Review by Lightning Fury

"Tekken's return to glory"

Tekken has been, since its foray onto the PSone in 1995, one of the best fighting games in the genre. Tekken 2 showed greater improvements. Tekken 3 was the best in the series. It had everything that the player wanted at that time. Tekken 4 was a BIG step backward in the series as it contained additions that should have never been. Now we are faced with the fifth installment in the series. Let's dive in, shall we?

Tekken's story is part of what makes it "Tekken." There are some gripes that I have here. While some of the prologues and epilogues are awesome(like Devil Jin-you have to see that one), others start off good but have endings that are confusing(like Kazuya and Jin). There are some stories that are funny in the end(like Law and both Anna and Nina), but there are some that are hopelessly stupid(like Paul and Xiayou). With Heihachi not dead, things get weird. The story is more intertwined this time around, but it could have been much better.

The graphics in this game are the best that I have seen in a fighting game on this system(sorry Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat fans, it's true). It is already one of the best looking games on the system. The new engine works perfectly. The characters and stages looking amazing. It is truly a major accomplishment for this game.

Tekken 4's gameplay was okay, but the addition of moving before a match started, along with repositioning commands, did nothing for this game. In Tekken 5, the play is very similar to Tekken 3, but it is faster and the punches and kicks thrown hit and hit hard. It is spotty in some areas, and since it is largely based on Tekken 3, there's nothing different than what I mentioned above. What I don't like is that with the ability to do more juggles, it makes it harder to use strategy in the fight because now it's all about getting the first attack and juggling your way to victory. It would have been great to see some major advancements in the gameplay, but I guess we'll have to wait until the next installment for that. Oh well.

There are a total of about thirty characters in this game. It surprised me to see certain characters, like Baek and Ganryu, for example, back in the lineup. There are three new characters this time around: Feng Wei, the Kenpo master; Asuka Kazama, Jin's cousin(?) and master of Kazama style martial arts; and Raven, a deadly ninja. The humorous characters(Kuma, for example) are only in the game for comic relief, though. You have a lot of characters to unlock(nie or ten), so you'll be playing the story mode a couple of times. Most of the characters are good, but some of them are considerably cheap. And with the juggling ability being greatly applied, they can sometimes seem broken. Still, they're all right.

The soundtrack for the stages are okay. The intro theme is great, though.

Aside from the theater mode, you have the arcade mode where you can take your fighter up the ranks from 10th kyu to Tekken Lord. Plus you earn money to buy items for your character in the customization mode. It's too bad that you can only name one fighter per memory card, though. And the items in the customization mode are not great in number, but it's a start. Then there's the arcade history mode, which includes the arcade versions of Tekken 1,2, and 3. This is a good addition as well. The final mode is called Devil Within, which stars Jin Kazama in an action-adventure game. It's nothing special, but competing it is the easiest way to unlock Devil Jin. So I suggest playing it one time(twice if you want to unlock more expensive items in the customization mode).

Final Comments
This game is actually a great game. It brings the Tekken series back to its former glory with everything that they've packed into it. There may be no online play, but that's not a problem(even though it detracts a little from the replay value). You should buy it if you're a Tekken fan. But for those new to the series(as if that's possible), rent it first just to see if you like it. This is a game ALL fans of the genre.

I hope you found my review very helpful.
-Lightning Fury

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/01/05

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