Review by RomanMuffin

"The King of Iron Fist Tournament 5 has come"

With Tekken 5 just recently coming to the states, Americans are clearly seeing how and why the Tekken series has revolutionized the fighting game scene from when its made its dramatic debut in the 1990's. The constant change in the gameplay mechanics brought new life to each game, the graphics are great, and the continuous additions in the character roster was always a pleasant sight to Tekken fans. Namco's fifth installment of the Tekken series shows us that they can really create a great fighting title by incorporating many features that have been successful to them in the past Tekken games.

After watching the beginning scene and soon afterwards the awesome CG ending scenes, I was rather impressed by Namco's abilities to emulate accurate backgrounds and character models. All of them look extremely realistic. The in-game fighting backgrounds and character models does not disappoint either. The character's movement is flows smoothly and their attacks seem like that of what you'd see in real life. Some other welcome features that Namco have implemented is the ground effects. Whenever you are to hit your opponent onto the ground, it makes a sort of “crack” effect that dents into the ground. In certain stages, some of the walls can break when your hit into it. Its really a nice touch. A nice upgrade from Tekken 4.

Sound usually doesn't play a factor to me whenever I play a video game because I rarely focus on it but the gameplay instead. Lets see whats in Tekken 5's music department:

Well, the usual screams the character shouts are back. It would be boring without it to tell you the truth. Nearly all the moves make somesort of sound effect. When a character is hit into a wall, you can literally hear the body getting smacked into the wall and sort of get a accurate feeling of the pain that character is going through.

Tekken 5 also features quite an amount of voice acting via each fighter's storyline. What really gets me is that some of the fighters have different voices during in-game fights. One example would be Steve Fox. He doesn't appear to have a British accent at some points. Other pet-peeves I've noticed are that some voices are not integrated well at all. This really doesn't detract from the gameplay though. A great feature I think Namco put into Tekken 5 was the different languages each character spoke. The Chinese spoke Chinese, the Japanese spoke Japanese and so on. Its amusing to see Kuma/Panda and Mokujin speak in their native tongues.

Take out the multi-level terrain effects and position change moves Tekken 4 had, and put in the gameplay from Tekken 3 all with improved graphics. Basically that is what Tekken 5 is. The game moves much faster than the arguably slow Tekken 4. It clearly shows when you play Tekken 5. Stages are now on even ground with no inclines that Tekken 4 had. The walls are still here, which mixes the fights up a bit calling for strategy without those cheap-ass position change moves that could turn a match in your favor in a heartbeat. The walls are destructible when hit into many times, which also racks up more damage to the one getting hit into it. With the features from Tekken 4, eliminated, Tekken 5 feels much more balanced. Button mashers wont have a hard time getting into this game, but the hardcore players will find it much more rewarding. The flow is much better in this game and works very well considering the mechanics of the game and all. The AI is much more skilled even in easy mode (clearly shown by Jinpachi)

Tekken 5 also boasts an impressive amount of in-game modes to also satisfy those playing the arcade version:

The Story mode, where all the characters go through their individual storyline about competing in the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5, is mainly where the hidden characters are unlocked. With more than 25 total characters in all, you'll have to spend quite a long time trying to unlock every single character in the game.

Devil Within- Its basically another version of Tekken Force with Jin staring in it. You control Jin as you journey through different levels while tackling enemies inbetween. The end of every level are boss characters which are harder than most enemies you encounter. You can also turn Jin into Devil Jin to wreak havoc through the special techniques in your arsenal. The controls are well done, but overall DW is quite monotonous and becomes boring once you get into it mainly due to the limited moves Jin has.

Arcade Mode- Wow, this seems familiar. Imagine Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, but made into Tekken 5 style. Both games show extremely obvious similarities, the painfully one being the inclusion of “classes”. As you play and defeat the computer controlled AI in Arcade mode, you gradually move up in ranks and earn money to purchase various costumes and accessories in the Customize menu. This allows you to add and tweak your fighter's appearance to your approval. At the end of the match, a little menu shows up that allows you to choose which fighter you would like to face. Obviously the higher the rank that fighter has, the harder that it will be to win. This allows you to improve your skills at your own pace. Although copied from the constantly compared to, “Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution” the Arcade mode is great and meshes well with the overall gameplay.

AC (Arcade History) Mode- Tekken 1, 2, 3 all packaged into one whole mode. Man, life is good. In this mode, you can see the vast improvements Namco has done to make the series better in each Tekken successor. Although drastically outdated, all 3 are still great games to pop in for a quick playthrough. Note, these are the arcade versions (hence, the word “arcade” in the mode name).not the PS1 versions.

You'll spend a LONG time trying to acquire all the accessories and such in customize mode. Story mode will also drain up your time, which is required to unlock many of the games character. The DW mode, while boring, will take up nearly 3-5 hours of your life, while Arcade mode also builds up the replay value. Unfortunately once everything is unlocked, you will barely get any fun through the single player experience. Tekken 5 is a killer to bring out when your friends are over, though.

To sum it up:

Graphics- Excellent. Stages are detailed; Character models look realistic. CG endings look awesome. 9/10

Sound- Great sound effects of attacks. Decent voice acting to fit the roles of characters. Everything from Tekken 4 and more. 9/10

Gameplay- The battle system in Tekken 5 to me seems to give me the most freedom and control of my character, unlike other fighters. Nothing can be done to improve the battle engine. Simply great. Controls are better than ever. 10/10

Replay- Tekken 5 gets old once everything is done with. Because of the long time you will take to unlock all the characters, I doubt you'd want to do it again. What puts this over the top is the huge selection of characters to choose from. Try mastering all of them. Playing with friends are always a blast. Best to stick with versus mode to keep this game fresh. 8/10

Best Tekken yet. Period. Graphics have been kicked up a notch, gameplay has exceeded my expectations, and the roster is phenomenal. Everything adds up to a fighting fan's dream, hardcore or not; nothing in this game disappoints.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/02/05

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