Review by magnawiz

"The King of Iron Fist redeems itself."

Let me just start by stating the fact that this game r0x0rz to teh maX! It's definitely one of the best fighting games out there and this one is the best yet in the series. Whatever was missing from Tekken 4, was recovered in Tekken 5. This game is a true redemption of the series. Everything from great graphics to balanced gameplay, this game seems to show that the developers spent much more time in polishing this game. Despite the disappointing fact that it lacks online play, this game is well worth it because of the neat extras and polished gameplay...not to mention more characters.

The Graphics

This game is absolutely stunning. Detailed backgrounds to realistic character models. The graphics are unbelievably awesome for a PS2 game. It's not what you'd expect. This is one of the few games on PS2 that show the hardware's true potentials. It's simply amazing that they could pull it off working with the PS2 and yet still have time to add in very cool details. The FMV movies are very well done and they give a much bigger incentive for finishing the game multiple times in Story Mode. Oh and the animations (motion capture) is very smooth and life-like, making the damage doubly painful.

The Controls

The controls are back to what they used to be and the game is fairly easy to get into (not to say that button mashers will always steal a win). The main game has great controls and you can easily adjust them to fit your style. The mini-game has some control problems including the target-locking system and minor camera control problems. That can be taken as irrelevant, however. The core fighting system is well balanced and the execution is perfect, making combos really fun to do.

The Sounds

The music, in my opinion, is a little more diverse than it was in the previous installments, making it a lot memorable too. It ranges from electronic techno beats to sounds of organ-playing requiem-like music. I have to mention the great diversity in the languages that are spoken. Each character speaks their native tongue, from Korean to bear talk. It's a great inspiration and can be humorous too. The fighting sounds like what you'd expect from Tekken: hard-hitting, bone-breaking, flesh-piercing, ground-breaking noises. This adds to the impact of each move, of course. I would like it better if the blocking noise didn't sound as metallic, but that's just me. :P

The Gameplay

What this game lacks in online play, it makes up in the pure fighting system. This game delivers a deep fighting system ranging from juggling moves, chain-combos, custom combos, unblockables, special moves, and some crazy-ass new moves. The 3 new characters fit into the roster perfectly. This game's polished gameplay makes it even harder to not want to play again. This gives it replay value along with the extras, which include the mini action game featuring Jin with powers to transform into the devil, a currency system that allows you to purchase accessories and new costumes to customize your characters, and even the arcade versions of Tekken 1, 2, and 3! The computers AI is great and makes playing alone not so bad. But the true treasure lies in fighting with people, so get some friends and family together and create some rivalries!

The Overall Score

The overall notion is, it's a must-have for Tekken fans, fighting game fans, and even newcomers! This game completely redeemed Tekken and still had room for neat extras big and small. The arcade versions of Tekken 1, 2 and 3 gives you a chance to see the progression of the series over the long years. They are very much playable and play exactly like the Arcade machines. The mini-game, Devil Within, is fun in its own right but I found it to be a bit dull and frustrating in some parts. But it's also very interesting to see how it (Fighting Force minigame) has evolved into something that can tell a story all on its own. The mini-game isn't bad, and it has improved in some ways.

Customization makes it very fun and worth-while to play through the different modes. However, I did find it disappointing that only one account could be made within a memory card. You need two memory cards to be able to customize second player. The account system can be confusing but you'll learn within a short time. Another disappointing factor, perhaps the biggest of all, is the lack of online play. Sure this game relies on frame-rates for its gameplay, but there can be ways to get around this. Online play would've been great in miming the addictiveness of the arcades.

Besides that, everything else is near perfection if not perfect. The sole fighting is as pure as it can be and you can expect great matches with this game. The characters are diverse (moves and appearance), there are stages with walls and stages that go on forever, there are cool extras, there are cool movies and it even allows you to listen to the soundtrack. :)

+Simple, fun and yet deep and balanced gameplay
+Interesting storyline and cutscenes within Story Mode
+Big character selection (some classic ones come back and 3 new ones)
-Lack of online

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/02/05

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