Review by Galactus21

"The legend continues? You decide."

Hailed as one of the best 3d fighters on the market, the Tekken series has had a long stint in the arcades and home consoles as a high profile fighter. Tekken 4 follows the story of Heihachi who failed in his mission to use the Ogre blood from the previous Tekken game. Heihachi and the Tekken Force find out that the devil gene is the key to unlocking the secrets of Ogre's blood. During the search for the devil gene, Heihachi figures out that his son, whom he had killed 2 decades earlier, was brought back to life by G Corporation. So with the story in place, the King of Iron Fist Tournament 4 was announced. The tournament gathers fighters around the world with different fighting techniques to battle it out in a gruesome tournament, where only the mentally and physically tough will survive.

For a fighter, Tekken 4 certainly has an appealing story. The game had a very nice pacing to the storytelling. The story was able to set the atmosphere and showcase the importance of the tournament. The story was made even better through the nice narration in the beginning. The narrator in his somewhat serious tone of voice is able to portray the story and why the fighters enter the tournament with fluidity. Then at the end of the game, the beautiful cinematics further expands the story and does a great job of bringing a sense of closure to the overall experience.

Round 1, FIGHT

Tekken 4's core mechanics is a bit slow for my taste, but it makes up for it with plenty of hard hitting and eye popping moves. Combos are certainly harder to pull off, so a well organized combo is not only difficult, but it requires plenty of practice and knowledge for the game. The depth provided by this fighting engine is certainly a big plus for fighting elitist. Not to mention that the more complex combos require plenty of skill, thus requires plenty of practice from the player. The simpler combos are also easier to block, so the game forces the memorization of combos upon the player. While the depth is certainly good, Tekken 4 feels more suited towards the gamers who love to practice and master a game. But for the people who just want to have an easy fighter to pick up, then Tekken 4 doesn't quite meet that need. It certainly can be friendly towards the newcomers, but the game feels a bit lacking if you don't hone and memorize the combos.

The fighting engine is a bit slow paced and requires the player to anticipate their opponent's moves. The game also requires a certain amount of strategy during battle. The complexity of the combos certainly enforces this feeling because some of the moves are quite difficult to pull off. During a fight, the player will entangle in a match of wit and skill, but more importantly the game feels solid. Even despite some of the action feeling a bit sluggish, the game in general feels good. What I especially liked was the limited amount of toggle attacks that the player can do. Unlike some fighters, where somebody can just toggle you in the air for a long period of time, Tekken 4 feels like the exact opposite. Grapples and ground attacks also feels balance. And in general the game does have a sense of balance and fairness to it, but the game really does feel a bit slow.

The game also sports a variety of modes such as story, arcade, and time attack. But one particular mode that is quite different from other fighters is the Tekken Force mode, where the player will go through various levels to fight numerous enemies. And while the player will retain the moves just like any battle, the mode's horrific camera and lack of A.I efficiency, ultimately makes the Tekken Force mode a failure. For one, the A.I on many occasions will just let you pound them to a bloody pulp. And besides the hidden characters that can be unlocked in story mode, there really isn't much incentive to play besides playing with friends.

This is interactive?

When the cover of the box is sporting the line “interactive backgrounds that call for strategy”, the game should have more interaction between the player and the environment, but instead there are only a few instances that the player will feel apart of the environment. To be truly interactive, I think it takes more than a few more broken pillars in order to impress. The game for the most part looks good, but the graphics are hardly anything to brag about. For instance, the character models could have used more detail. The animation looks quite good, but special effects feels quite outdated. However, the game does run with great fluidity and in a way it makes up for some of the graphical shortcomings.

The voice acting in this game is quite shaky, and ranges from good to poor. The voiceovers in this game are really a hit or a miss. Lei's line of “freeze” is by far one of the worst voiceovers I have ever heard. Throw that in with Hwoarang's voiceover during the ending and this game possibly sports some of the sloppiest voice acting to listen to in a long time. Then the game comes back and hits you with Heihachi or Xiaoyu and showcases what great voice acting can do for a game. The narrator at the beginning of the game also did a great job at setting the pace of the story. And with some of the graphical hiccups and horrible voice acting, Tekken 4 seems to lack the high production values that you would come to expect from a Tekken game.

Final Round

It has been a while since I played a Tekken game, but to my surprise the series is still holding up rather well. While it certainly has its issues, the game is still reminiscent to the games of the past and is certainly quite fun. There is certainly plenty of depth, but the fighting engine feels slow and for the most part, and thus the game feels a bit sluggish at times. The game doesn't seem to have a high production value, you would come to expect from a notable series. This is quite apparent when the player first feasts his eyes on the graphics and listening to some of the voice acting. Tekken 4 is definitely a solid fighter with plenty of depth, but there feels like something missing, or better yet, it's missing that final push to put it over the top. But the game is still worth checking out, so if you own a PS2, then the game certainly provides plenty of fun.

Final Score: 7

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/16/06

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