When it comes to fighting game franchises, there are a few that stand out from the days of the arcade. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Soul Calibur are some of the more popular series that have withstood the test of time. However, Tekken is not to be forgotten. This venerable series has been around for 15 years and has seen numerous installations. Last year, the sixth Tekken hit the arcade scene and now the game has made its way to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles.
Not that a fighting game needs a story or anything, but Tekken 6 tries to piece together something. Basically, Jin Kazama has taken control of the Mishima Zaibatsu and is looking to take over the world. In charge of the Mishima, Jin essentially declares war on every other nation. Now this ticks his father, Kazuya, off and these events lead up to the formation of the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6. Around the globe fighters come together in an effort to take Jin down. There’s more to each character’s individual plot than that, but that’s up for players to discover. All gamers really need to know is that Tekken 6 offers a serviceable story that sets the stage for the battles that follow.
The setting is all well and good, but what fighting fans are probably hankering to know is how well the game plays. Tekken 6 is very much a successful game in that arena. There are a nice variety of modes to explore, some online functionality, and overall this installment keeps up in step with many of its competitors.
For starters, Tekken fans will be pleased to know that this release holds over 40 fighters. Some newcomers are available and the home release of the game includes additional content that wasn’t available in the arcades. New fighters like Alisa, Lars, and Leo help flesh out the ranks, though this reviewer does have to admit that Bob and Miguel are not the greatest. There’s even another version of Jack for this sequel as well, so his fans have something worth cheering about. No matter how many characters the game has, though, the thing that stands out the most is the fact that every fighter stands alone in regards to techniques. There are no Ken or Ryu clones like the Street Fighter series keeps pumping out. The characters in Tekken are wholly unique.
As is the case with any fighting game, Tekken 6 lives or dies by its various modes. Just having an Arcade mode and Versus mode simply does not cut it these days, and the creators of the franchise have realized that. Sure both of those perennial favorite play types are included here, but online matches, a campaign mode, and other customization features help keep gamers coming back for more. Throughout each mode, the core gameplay remains roughly the same, and though there are a few tweaks, longtime fans will likely feel right at home. This installment of Tekken feels very much like the last, for better or worse.
Players who haven’t stepped into the Tekken arena before should note that this franchise is all about memorizing combos, having perfect timing, and juggling your opponent. Sometimes battles are one-sided and when novices are facing a skilled player it will feel as if they might as well just put the controller down and walk away. The battle system takes a lot of practice and getting used to, so it’s suggested that you step into the Practice mode first to pick up some skills and attack combinations. This is only a place to start though, and after figuring out the basics it’s advisable to tackle the Ghost mode for additional training time. With the addition of bounce moves and a rage feature, you’ll definitely want to take your time with your preparations.
The Arcade mode pits you against a tier of the game’s fighters and inevitably throws you up against a ridiculously powerful end-boss. This hulking monstrosity is arguably the cheapest boss to come about in quite some time, even giving Seth from Street Fighter IV a run for his money. His moves are simply too powerful, he ignores all of your attacks, and everything he does is virtually unblockable. Needless to say this guy makes the Arcade mode more frustrating than it’s worth, even on the easiest difficulty setting.