Review by ringlord71

"The Ultimate King of Fighters"

I was but a mere youngster when I played my first Tekken game in the series, and it was in fact Tekken 3 that I had played. It was the game that had me fall in love with the characters, the setting and the story behind it. On the outside, it may have looked like 'one of those fighting games', but what was really buried underneath it was an encapsulating story, with each fighter having their own rich history and part in the overall story. But when you make a game that is so great in everything that it does, lies the pressure of releasing sequels that are just as good, if not better. While Tekken 4 did have the series take a nosedive into uncharted waters, Tekken 5 was able to dip the series back up, in my opinion, being the best fighting game in the series, and it was up to Tekken 6 to continue that trend in making this series greater. The question is, did it succeed?

Well Tekken 6 came with a twist: it implemented a new, different campaign to what fans of the franchise have come to known. It had you playing as new characters Lars Alexandersson, an amnesiac who started up a rebellion group to combat Jin Kazama's Misha Zaibatsu, and Alisa Bosconovitch, an android created by Dr. Bosconovitch, as they embark on their quest to recover their origins. As dry as the story might sound, it actually proves to be really engrossing, revealing major points in the overall story arch that just leaves you hanging for the next game.

Now the campaign is made up of levels, with each level having one of the major Tekken characters as the boss, and having the whole level based around them. The gameplay is set up with a behind-the-player camera view, as players delve into these levels. But when opponents draw near, the camera switches to the standard 2D-fighting style that made this franchise so great. One of the major differences to these fights is the inclusion of weapons, which can be picked up by anyone, whether it be you or the AI-controlled opponents, and they consist of light poles to gatling guns. In each level, enemies drop money bags and clothing items, which can be picked up and then used at the end of each level in the Customisation mode.

In the Customisation mode, players can buy a lot of items, to customise their prefered fighters with. They can range from hatwear to glasses, to different coloured shirts, to jeans or tights, as well as boots. But buying isn't the only way to get access to these items. These items can also be picked up in the Campaign mode, dropped by enemies, with the only difference being that these types of clothing come with additional attributes, whether it be a 30% in fire damage or increasing the Defence by 25%. Up to 5 attributes, with one from each category, can be equipped. It's a different take on the Tekken games, giving it an 'RPG' type of feel to it.

Now while at the start you can only attempt the Scenario mode with Lars, as you unlock more characters, you can then try the levels again with these new characters, building up your wardrobes for all the characters, customising them any way you want, to try and create your own unique style.

But for those old-school Tekken fans who may not be interested or just don't like the new style of fighting, there is the Arena mode, which is the modes found in the previous 5 Tekken games, where you choose a fighter, a story screen is displayed detailing their pursuits before Tekken 6, then taking part in battles with other fighters in the standard style. However, those for looking for the '9 Battles' in-a-row followed by a Boss fight at the end may be disappointed. Each character does indeed have their own story in the Arena mode, but the amount of battles they compete in differs with each character. Some may have 5 battles, while others might only just have 3 before it is complete.

The controls to the game are, in most part, the same as previous Tekken games, with Circle and Triangle being the punch buttons, while Cross and Square are the kicks. Though some characters have different movies mapped to them, for example Steve Fox doesn't have kicks, instead both Cross and Square will see him evade the opponents moves left and right. For the older players, this game has a lot of combinations for the characters, with most characters having well over 100 different combos to try out and master. But new fans of the series, don't fret, because the fighting style is very user-friendly. New players can easily come into the game, and even by mashing buttons, they can easily dispose of the opponenets at the lower levels. However later levels do need to have some idea of how combos work, and even learning a few combos can be the deciding factor in winning or losing.

But for those who are unsure of the fighting styles, or want to practice some of the arts of fighting, then there is the Training mode. In it, you pick a character, and you battle a dummy, unleashing a barrage of moves on it, and practicing new techniques. The dummy can be customised to fight back, in order to give you some practice in trying out moves you've learnt against an attacking opponent.

Apart from the Arena mode, the closest you'll get to the standard Tekken action is the Arcade mode. Taken from Tekken 5, you pick a fighter, then you fight in battle after battle against any and all fighters. Starting off on 9th Kyu, you'll win matches, earning yourself a Promotion Chance, where a win there will see you move up a rank, to battle harder fighters.

As far as online goes, well it's pretty much the same as the offline-Arcade mode, where you pick a fighter and just battle it out with other fighters from around the world. There's the typical ranked-battles, and the unranked battles. Unranked battles are self explained. Ranked fights however, keeps track of your wins and losses, and like the offline mode, will give you Promotion chances every few rounds or so against other fighters who are also vying for a promotion.

With that being said, there is very rarely any lag online, and connections in games are very good, but again, it all comes down to who you're versing, and how good their connection is. But all in all, there was hardly any gripes with it, though the loading may be the only ones, however it also has long load times offline as well.

And if playing online isn't your forte, and you just want to play with a buddy, then there is the Vs. mode or the Team Battle, where you both choose up to 8 characters, and do battle to see who can knock off all 8 opponents first. It's a fun party game, that everyone involved can enjoy playing, whether they're new to the series or old veterans.

The graphics in it are very crisp and smooth, and are a major upgrade compared to Tekken 5, with this game being the first jump into the next-gen systems. There is a motion-blur in the battles, and paired with the rain in some of the levels, is very effective in setting a dark tone to the stages. Each character is designed and detailed, and are very unique to one another, with informative backstories and rich histories.

The only major downside to this game was the techno-influenced music. It hasn't got memorable tracks as most of the stages seem to have generic music. Compared to Tekken 5, which had a few 'epic' tunes to some of the stages, this game just doesn't quite compare. However, there's no stopping you from playing your own songs on top of this game.

Overall, I believe this to be one of the rare sequels that actually manages to be better then the game before it, and even though it was a risky move introducing the Scenario Campaigns, it was an efficient one, due to the large variety of levels and enemies, and the amount of fun one can have with these beat-em-up styled level designs.So if you haven't played this game, whether you're a Tekken fan, or a new player looking into getting into this series, then get this game, because it is one of the better games the series has produced in a long time. Tekken 6 has won the title of the Ultimate King of Fighters.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/11/12

Game Release: Tekken 6 (AU, 11/05/09)

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