Review by Mephistofun

Reviewed: 11/18/09

Are you Tekken the Michael?

Welcome to 1998. Tekken 3 has increased the character roster, added a series of 'side attacking' moves and there's even a 3D scrolling beat-em-up in here to…. Oh wait a minute....

It's 2008. At least I got some right.... Welcome to 1998. Namco has taken all the bits that didn't quite work in Tekken 3 and focussed on them completely instead of making a new game for Tekken 6. Cheer as you are forced to play the 'new Tekken Force' for their single player campaign and marvel at the repetitiveness. Feel nostalgia as Namco ignore the conventional wisdom of varying the gameplay, mid level save points and clever AI.

Feel bewilderment as the game reminds you what it was like to wait for cassette tapes to load twenty years ago between levels that are almost identical to the last.

For your entertainment they have elected to ignore all the developments in their own fighting games such as the eight-way run in Soul Calibur 4 and the simplicity and accuracy of Capcoms Streetfighter 4 and focussed on everything that made Tekken 3 okay ten years ago.

They have boldly chosen to ignore the mistakes of others, such as making an end boss that spams out unfair moves in a way that turns an Easy Mode Boss fight into exactly the same frustrating reliance on luck as a Boss fight on Hard Mode (Hello Techmo's Dead Or Alive.)

Marvel as they take gimmicks of other brawlers, such as breaking floors, and makes them so underwhelming that some players don't even notice that the level has changed. Stare in awe as they take a character customisation feature they did for Soul Calibur 4 and make it less customisable and less user friendly.

Squint until your eyes bleed as Namco forgets that an awful lot of people don't have HD TV's and forget to make the text big enough to read…. Oh you get the idea.

If you don't own an HD TV don't buy this game. I played it on a HUGE standard def TV and whilst it isn't unplayable, couldn't read any text. I played hours of the story mode they called Scenario Mode trying to read the instructions, hints and story. It took about 3 hours to woke out that in order to use most of the moves you have to use the D pad. Okay, so I'm not very bright but when you have finished laughing just think, I ignored that D pad for good reason. No other game uses it. Why? Because it is rubbish. Everyone knows that. Except Namco apparently.

When I did get to play this game on a TC that wasn't steam powered I could read the text but then a lot of this game still didn't make sense. Okay, I could now read the story in "Snorio Mode" but then the gameplay didn't make any sense. Aside from the character endings , which are not the best in the Tekken series to be honest (They were far more bonkers in previous versions) the motivation was a bit hazy.

You see normally you play story mode to learn the characters moves, not just the one you want to learn but some of the moves of the character's you will fight against in multiplayer. It's a clever way of giving you that little taster of the whole game whilst not making the learning process to obvious.

Namco forgot this and opened all the characters at once. So the multiplayer bit is all unlocked for you so online playing gets going faster but then what is the inexperienced player do to learn the characters. They could grind through the Arcade mode, no reward there aside from an achievement or, far more likely, not bother. 41 characters to learn and no motivation to do it?

Actually I bet they're all already playing Street Fighter 4 anyway. Or SC4. Or DOA4. Those games are all online and Tekken has as much lag as SC4.

Tekken does have one thing in its' favour. Drunks. You see Tekken was, ten years ago, the post-pub brawler of choice. There are more moves in this game for one character than the whole of Streetfighter put together so the experts are able to impress their more inebriated mates. The more 'casual' or drunk players can button mash and achieve near the same performance. The expert will win most of the time but the casual player never feels overwhelmed. I had a friend who used to hold the pad in the same way he held it for the old 'Track-n-field' games.

And that brings me back to my rather sarcastic opener. The good bits of this game, and there are many, are the good bits from Tekken Tag and, even further back, Tekken 3. Almost every new addition is a step backwards.

Gameplay 6
Snorio Mode is broken. It's made tolerable by the complete randomness of the victories you pull off and artificial stupidity of the NPC's. I lost count of the number of times I reached an invisible wall because I had inadvertently run past a bad guy who was still stood next to a box. The camera fixes on the NPC it thinks is most threatening but your lock on invariably picks something else and then stays locked on it for several seconds (an age in gameplay terms) after the target is dead. It never locks to the boxes you need to break to get health so you often rely on steering enemies into them instead. It is far worse than 'Death By Degrees' a game Namco ought to have learned from seen as how they also made that one.

It is 'entertaining' for one playthrough IF you can read the text since the story is a must for Tekken fans but it's the same kind of entertaining you get from catching a really terrible movie at 2am and somehow can't stop watching until the end. Remember that such movies rarely cost you £40 or more. Just like bad a bad movie the next time you try and play Snorio Mode you'll find yourself unable to face it again. This mode really drags the overall mark down since it feels below average for the single player modes. Halve that again if you don't have an HD TV. All the instructions are text, 90% of the story is text and all the help menus are text. Take those away and you have a game with thousands of moves you will never know.

I can hear some people saying; "Well go on the internet and read them there!" Good argument. Just remember that the developer is supposed to put these little details in. (It says so on the back of the box and in the strangely instruction-free manual.) If they don't, they need to reduce the price because whilst everyone else charges the same money, everyone else teaches you how to play the thing too.

The new characters are brilliant, wish I could read their move lists.

A six for Gameplay, too many single player options missing and it needs to lose another mark if you don't have the right TV. Your 360 may be compatible but the game may not be. Do check, it's a game breaker. (If you owned Dead Rising and couldn't read the subtitles avoid this one)

Graphics 8
The game shines here. The character animations are… hang on. they're kind of similar to the animation they always do. It's brilliant, don't get me wrong. The characters over the top blows convey a real sense of impact under those explosions that hide the clipping and near misses so neatly but it is hard to see if it really is better. The character models are top notch but then they don't stand out as being better than the other fighters I've mentioned. Just as good. Floor collapsing has been done better by just about everyone else who nicked the idea but thankfully they didn't go back to the uneven floors of Tekken 4. The levels feel claustrophobic when compared to the open, run anywhere you like-ness of SC4 and there are some poor colour palette choices. You want to make something look more green, artistic convention has it you use a little of it's opposite, red. In Namco land you add more green apparently. For a 3D game this doesn't half look flat sometimes. There are good levels and the cutscenes (the ones with no text or subtitles) look great but getting the text wrong undoes any good work they do. It'l break your eyes.

Sound. 5
Instantly forgettable fighting game music you've heard in every bad fighting game in the arcade. There is one standout tune. The end boss. If the boss doesn't make you shatter your teeth trying to kill your pad in frustration this 'haunting' theme will. You still won't remember it but when you'll hear it you will recall how inappropriate and how distracting the choir chanting was the first time. to do worse in the themes for each level than they did ten years ago is sad. Considering they were hardly iconic back then is diabolical. Why didn't they just recycle the old ones? They did it with so much of the rest of it. Average in every sense of the word.

imagine if you will, that EA released FIFA 2002 this year. Instead of adding up all the incremental changes, all they did was add a few more teams and instead of a Season Mode they threw in a Sensible Soccer clone you could get on XBL's Indie Games section. Would you pay £40 for it? If they made it look nice would you pay that much for it? This is Tekken 6. The multiplayer is good, but no better than any Playstation 2 outing was. It has new characters, and all the old ones but then it takes away so much by focussing on the parts that didn't work and have never worked. Tekken Force was a nice experiment but it isn't ready for such a massive focus in this incarnation.

It makes so many silly mistakes that other fighters make, but then surely that just makes it average? I love Tekken, I still love playing it with my mates but unless I get them drunk enough they want Streetfighter 4 first or they want Mortal Kombat. MORTAL FLIPPIN' KOMBAT! The 2D one! Tekken has slipped a long, long way since its' heyday.

SC4 plays better online for some reason, even though Tekken has better balance and SC4 is no challenge to the revamped SF series. So what is the point of Tekken. It is just an update and we tend to scowl a bit at the yearly updates of sports titles. So that's what I'm going to do here. I love Tekken. I wouldn't have missed the next instalment of Brian Fury or Jack for anything. Except maybe small text. Small text would just ruin it.

Tekken should be Namco's Golden Goose. They could have just polished Tag off and stuck a few characters in but they broke bits of it instead. The multi platform release seems like an attempt to milk said goose for all it's worth but sadly it is unlikely to set the 360 on fire. I doubt anyone who is new to Tekken will notice it. After all, you can't get milk from a duck. Not milk they'd pay for anyway. Hope Namco are Tekken notes….


Total: 6/10
Knock a couple of marks off if you don't have the right TV. You are going to have to work very hard just to play it.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: Tekken 6 (EU, 10/30/09)

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