Review by Lord Alchemy

"Solid all around, a must buy for hardcore fighting fans."

I'm honestly not surprised by the quality of this game. I have been playing this for a few months in the arcade, and while there are some balance issues here and there, nothing that I had encountered to be game breaking. Just a solid, ass kicking fighting game.

You cannot deny how solid this game is. I have yet to see a useless character. Every one and do something that makes them a threat and enjoyable to play. Easily the most balanced Tekken game around. Some people may cry foul about Heihachi's 2,1, 1+2 and Steve being fast and safe, but these are minor when you look at the fact that the other characters can still dish out the punishment themselves.

Tekken 5 takes the gameplay that made Tekken a house hold name of fighting games and refines it. The uneven floors from Tekken 4 have been removed to keep positioning problems creating unfair combos from happening, side walking has been toned down to prevent everything from being side stepped, and juggles have been made readily available for everyone.

Many might look at Tekken 5 as not being an innovative game, and they are right. Tekken 5 introduces little to rewrite the universe of Tekken. Crush moves have been rewritten abit to be more useful in play and just more noticable then in past Tekken series.

The position change throw from Tekken 4 has been nixed, as well as the wall recovery. 1+3 has been reverted back to it's original throw status (pre-Tekken 4). With the removal of wall recovery, walls can be very dangerous. With the right wall combo/set up, you'll be seeing MASSIVE damage.

But all is not lost for those who prefer infinite stages, as they make a grand return in Tekken 5 after sitting one incarnation out. When one talks about the stages, you need to talk about stage damage as well. Stage damage has been bumped up from Tekken 4 (where it was just smashing booths and pillars). You will be seeing holes smashed into the ground and glass breaking around statues, it all depends on the stage.

When you talk about the stage damage though, you have to point out how in most stages, the ground damage actually warps around. Only one crater can be on the stage at one time. It does take away a little from the other wise sharp visuals if you are looking for the warping damage, but if you don't focus on it, you most likely won't even notice.

Tekken 5's visuals are polished like a stone. Some of the most impressive visuals and animations I have seen on the Playstation 2.... well, ever. This game looked fantastic on the flate screen arcade monitor, and it looks just as awesome on my home TV.

Tekken 5 brings the usual Story, Team Battle, Time trial, and Survival modes; but it also brings some nice added features. Like Customization and Arcade mode. Arcade mode is just an endless battle against players ranked by ability. You earn money for each of these battles (the money earned depends on the difference in rank between you and the opponent) which is spent on upgrading your characters with visual flare.

While these modes add a nice extra layer for the single player game, one can't help but hate Devil Within mode. Devil Within mode is not only a por excuse for an action game (the camera is TERRIBLE) but you can't even classify it as a mini game as it can take anywhere between 3 and 5 hours to beat depending on your skill level. Tekken 5 lacks any sort of mini game (like Tekken Ball or Tekken Bowling) to waste small amounts of time while cooling down from the main fighting.

When everything is broken down, Tekken 5 is a stellar fighting game. Just don't expect much more then that. The only added features that are good is the revamped Arcade mode and the character customization. Others such as Devil Within and Arcade History should have been dropped to make room and time for other side games, no one really wants to play a half assed fighting game or 10 year old fighting games that didn't age very well. We want to play Tekken 5, with a few mini games on the side.

But all in all, the core of this game is as solid as you can ask for. This game blows every other fighter on the market currently out of the water in terms of just overall fun gameplay that is also deep. If you like fighting games, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. Easily the most refined fighting game in the Tekken series and in all of video games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/07/05

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