Review by FrZnChAoS

"Tekken back on the right track"

Nearly a decade ago Tekken was one of the first solid 3D fighting games. Along with Virtua Fighter to define a new genre. Over the past years the Tekken series has had its up's and downs. With it's predecessor Tekken 4 almost leaving a sour taste in mouths of the series fans. Thankfully Tekken 5 gets the series back on track.

The first thing you will notice when you first get into the game are how stunning the graphics are. The arena's in which you battle are very detailed. With a lot of emphasis on creating a realistic atmosphere. One example that comes to mind is the level in which you are fighting underneath moon in a field of flowers. The background just seems so alive while you play. With flowers blowing and the petals flying at you in the wind. Not to mention the characters have been made a lot more detailed since the previous installment. One thing that has thankfully changed with the arena's are the unleveled battle grounds.

The action itself has been sped up since the previous game. Which I feel makes the gameplay seem a whole lot more fluid. Most of the previous characters return in this game. Along with three newcomers: Raven, Asuka Kazama and Feng Wei. The new characters fit well with the older characters and expand the gameplay. The coolest being Raven who looks like Wesley Snipe's in a ninja suit. With his acrobatic ninja tactics he bring a fresh sense of design to the game. Most of the old moves are back along with new moves for the returning fighters. Once aspect that is back from previous versions but was cut out of Tekken 4 is the 10 hit combo. Which are over the top dial up combo's that take a lot of timing to pull off. Although the pay off is there for those who choose to memorize and master them.

If you never played a Tekken game before the fighting system is very intuitive and user friendly. At lower levels allowing a player to just mash on buttons to beat a computer. Please don't be mistaken though this game requires a lot more finesse at higher levels to even stand up to the computer. Key techniques like counters and guard throws allow the game to have a nice learning curve to separate the boys from the men.

The music and sounds for the game are good if not great. The music which is still Techno tracks being mixed into the fighting fray. It really works with the game and gives it the right feel. The voices of the characters are acceptable. Where the characters speak there native language which is kinda cool.

Other than all the previous mentioned Tekken brings a nice slew of modes to keep the player busy. Like usual there is the story mode. Now they added an arcade mode which seems reminiscent to Virtua Figher 4's Kumite mode. Where you fight an endless stream of opponents and rise in rank and gain money. The money can be exchanged for items to trick out your character. Although the concept seems a little ill conceived because you may only do this against the computer. You can not put your characters record against your buddy in verse mode. Although not a big issue it is disappointing none the less.

Along with Story and arcade mode are your bread and butter modes you always expect. Team battle, time attack, survivor, team verse battle. If you played Tekken 4 you may recall Tekken Force. This was a simple beat em up where you played as Jin Kazama. You beat up relentless goons as you side scrolled through levels. The concept seemed great it just wasn't performed well.

This year Namco added Devil Within mode. In which you play as Jin in a 3D beat em up like Fighting Force. The controls for this game are very simplified from the standard game. Jin can bust out some of his traditional moves with relative ease. Ill be straight up here, this mode is a mash fest at best. The idea being you learn more about Jin as you progress through stages which are composed of rooms which spawn enemies. Beat the enemies up and continue oh and hit the odd switch on the way. One issue is the camera in this mode. You have a third person perspective and often you cant see the enemy or the platforms you have to cross from time to time. The level design leaves a lot to be desired. Overall you are rewarded for playing though it. It also makes a nice break when your sick of fighting in the games regular modes. Overall it is a nice addition in which I hope they improve on in the next installment.

The last bonus Namco through into this game are complete arcade ports of the first three Tekken games! So you can kick it old school with your pals as you think about the past. Although you will undeniably find the original Tekken to be pretty shall we say outdated. The other two games are quite playable and offer a lot more replay value onto the package as a whole.

Overall Tekken 5 is superb fighting game with only minor flaws at best. There is enough content in this game to warrant a purchase and should definitely be in any fighting fans collection. Compared to other games in the genre Tekken takes the crown.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/06/05

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