Review by VincentX

"The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4 has begun..."

Tekken 4 has got to be one of the best 3D fighters I've played in while. Normally I don't like 3D fighters, I usually just play Street Fighter Alpha or Guilty Gear X, but Tekken 4 has really shown me that 3D fighters can be extremely good as well.

Gameplay - All twenty of Tekken 4's characters are completely different from each other which truly brings out the many different gameplay possibilities: If you want speed you can use Lee, if you want variety you can use Lei, for powerful juggling combos you can use Heihachi. Every character is unique with practically no similar moves. There are three new characters: Steve, a boxer who has great punching combos; Craig Marduk, a wrestler who is very powerful and has some great attacks; and Christie Monteiro, who uses the same moves as Eddie. However, Jin Kazama, a returning character and my personal favorite, has an almost completely new set of moves. The only move he has kept is the powerful Demon's Paw, everything else is brand new. However, for all you other Jin fans, he is still one of the best, his new moves work perfectly and are very useful(especially his Kazama Style 5 Hit Combo is one of my favorites). The control is dead-on and you have absolutely no problems when taking on either the computer or a friend. The actual fighting itself is a lot like the previous Tekken games, but instead of simply sidestepping to use 3D motion, you can walk in all directions, which adds more strategy to the game. Plus, levels now have boundaries that you can utilize to beat your opponent into and cause more damage to them. The Tekken Force mode from Tekken 3 has returned and is in full 3D, the point is to take on groups of enemies at once and beat the boss of the level. Tekken Force is fun, thought the camera does present a tiny problem at points, but otherwise it is a solid addition to the game. The only downside I have seen in the gameplay is that the Computer can be downright cheap and sometimes the difficulty is a little uneven. An example is that Kuma kicked my butt about then times when I was using Paul Phoenix, and then, with the same character, I beat the life out of Heihachi. However, Tekken 4 is definitely one of the best fighters for the PS2 even with this minor flaw.

Sound - The music is up beat techno which is fun to listen to and the voice acting is well done. Sound effects aren't anything special but they work well and don't warrant any complaints.

Graphics - Wow...the graphics in the game are simply amazing. Each character is wonderfully detailed and the environments look great as well. Each character has two costumes and they look amazing in either. Jin's sweat suit costume has a cool feature: when he is knocked to the ground enough times, the hood on his head falls back and doesn't reset till the end of the match. All the characters are also well animated, especially Paul's hair in one of his costumes where is flows around very fluidly. The cutscene graphics are also perfect and so are the original art still scenes in each of the characters' story intros and endings. If there is wind blowing in a level, characters' clothes and hair will flow with the wind and it looks amazing.

Story - Each character has his or her own story that is shown in the ''Story'' mode. The basic outline is that Heihachi Mishima has announced The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4 and each character has their own reason for participating, which range from Kazuya's revenge against Heihachi to Paul's need to be recognized as a great fighter again. The story mode starts off a scene showing one of the characters in a different situation(i.e. Jin training) and then hearing about The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4. The story disappears as you progress, but returns after you beat Heihachi.

Replay - Tons, with multiple difficulties, multiple characters to unlock and master, a great versus mode to fight a friend in, and Tekken Force, you'll be playing Tekken 4 for a long time to come.

Rent or Buy - With Tekken 4 now a Greatest Hits title, it is a definite buy for any fans of the series or anyone wanting a great 3D fighting game. However, if you aren't a big fan of the series, you might want to rent it first just to see if you like it.

In summary, Tekken 4 has great control, almost perfect gameplay that can produce a little frustration at times, amazing graphics and a lot of replay. Though it doesn't change drastically from the basic Tekken formula, it still delivers a great gaming experience. If you are looking for a great fighting game on the PS2, this is the game for you.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/07/03

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