Game Info:

Tekken 6
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Released: October 27, 2009
ESRB Rating: Teen for Alcohol Reference, Crude Humor, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Available on: Playstation 3 (version reviewed), Playstation Portable, Xbox 360
Genre: Fighting
MSRP: $11 new
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The King of the Iron Fist Tournament 6 is just ahead. It\'s only been a couple of months since the last tournament, and the world\'s problems have only escalated since then. As a proving ground for the greatest fighters in the world, the tournament is seen by its entrants as a way to settle old rivalries, draw hated enemies out of hiding, and prove supremacy in martial prowess. Or it\'s just an excuse to pit 40 fighters against each other in hand-to-hand combat.

Whether or not you\'re interested in the lore of Tekken 6 really has little to do with the game\'s primary appeal. To be fair, some of the game lore is quite interesting, even if you have to wade through less interesting things to get there. The game\'s main draw, however, is its combo-intensive take on 3D fighting games.

Oh, and by "combo-intensive," what I really mean is, "you won\'t stand a chance of getting ahead until you learn how to execute combos." I play a lot of fighting games, and I think it\'s fair to say that Tekken is one of the hardest fighting games to excel at that I\'ve played.

The funny thing about it being a difficult game is that my first impressions had me thinking it was a button-mashy fighter with little going for it. At first, it seems you can just punch in the right attack button sequences and watch as combos unfold. It\'s true that there are some of these time-insensitive "canned combos" in the game, but they only do a small bit of damage.

After further play, and facing off against people who know what they\'re doing, I found out that the fighting system is much, much deeper than dialing in a few quick combos for a win. Instead, those canned combos get wrapped into much, much larger and more devastating combos. While building these combos, you\'ll need to launch opponents into the air, keep them from hitting the ground (a tactic known as juggling) for as long as possible, then slam them into the ground, only to make it hard for them to get back up.



Strong Points: Diverse character roster; deep and rewarding move lists; great campaign mode for a fighting game; some very pretty cutscenes

Weak Points: Voice acting is simply average; experienced players will devastate newcomers due to combo system difficulty; campaign story isn\'t exactly great thanks to trying to utilize every character in the story

Moral Warnings: Gameplay revolves around beating up opponents until they are knocked out; weapons (melee and projectile) can occasionally be used; two characters have devilish natures; many costumes are rather revealing; at least one character\'s Drunken Boxing style mimics drunken stagger


Of course, if you want to further increase your damage potential, you can send your opponents crashing through walls and even the floors of some areas (taking the fight to a lower level of the arena), knock them into the ground so hard that they bounce (allowing you to start a new juggle combo), and throw in some grappling arts to mix up your strategy. There is a ton of depth to this system, and it makes for some very intense fights.

But make no mistake, you will take beating after beating after beating while learning the ropes. It definitely takes work to get good at the game. You don\'t absolutely have to train to have fun with it (primarily if you have similarly-minded friends to play with), but you will need to hit up training mode and study your guides if you have any notion of being a force in the ring. Then again, few fighting games feel as rewarding as Tekken upon making progress in skill and execution.

Speaking of execution, each member of the sizable character cast has an average of a hundred different attacks at their disposal. Thankfully, to make the game slightly easier and more intuitive, you won\'t need to utilize an entire controller of buttons. Controls make use of a four-button scheme, each button tied to a limb. A simple left punch, right punch, right kick combo is common among many characters and easily executed smoothly thanks to this control scheme.

Still, that is a lot of memorization to work on. Since most attack inputs are character-exclusive, having one or two characters to focus on when training will be a big help here. That said, I recommend playing through each of the cast members a little before deciding on a favorite.

There is a very wide range of characters to choose from, too. You may favor the combo-happy boxer Steve Fox or the erratic dance-like style of Eddy Gordo. Perhaps you\'d like the tried-and-true MMA-inspired Craig Marduk or the traditionally themed martial arts of Baek. Whatever it is you like in a fighting game character, Tekken is sure to have someone that you\'ll like.

Namco Bandai even saw fit to add character customization to the game. With costume pieces (including new hair styles) and intimidating glowing auras available, you can make your character a bit more personalized. These items are unlocked with in-game currency (gained pretty much any time you\'re playing) or through the game\'s Scenario Campaign mode.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay 16/20
Graphics 8/10
Sound 7/10
Stability 5/5
Controls/Interface 4/5

Morality Score - 80%
Violence 6/10
Language 10/10
Sexual Content/Nudity 7/10
Occult/Supernatural 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

Scenario Campaign is a surprisingly enjoyable diversion from the core game. The campaign mode plays out like an old-school beat-em-up. You work your way through linear levels, battling enemies along the way, and defeating the boss at the end of each level. For the most part, the game engine remains intact; automatically locking on to a nearby puts this into effect. Once locked on, main game attack inputs are in full effect. Additionally, you can get projectile weapons on occasion in these levels.

Furthermore, it is here in the campaign mode that the game\'s story unfolds. I mentioned at the beginning of the review that Tekken has some interesting lore to it. This is primarily found in some of the complicated character relationships and their motives. Beyond that, the tale of war between the G Corpation and Mishima Zaibatsu that takes place in narrative segments is decent enough. Unfortunately, the bulk of what happens in Scenario Campaign is a collection of excuses to include all of the characters in the story.

Thankfully, this is Tekken 6\'s greatest shortcoming. Barring some of the voice actors being a bit ho-hum, I have few complaints with the game\'s production qualities. Even with the mediocre voice actors, there is something that Tekken does that other games don\'t: All characters speak in whatever their native tongue is. American fighters speak English, Japanese fighters speak Japanese, and so on. It\'s a nice touch.

Also nice is the game\'s online offering. Basic ranked and unranked play modes are included. The game\'s netcode is really solid. Though matches often begin with a paused screen while the connection is synchronized, lag is rarely an issue once the match kicks in. As a bonus, Scenario Campaign allows online co-op with a friend.

I must also confess that the visuals are quite pretty, but they stop short of being entirely excellent. The pre-rendered cinematics are the exception to this; they\'re very polished. The rest of the game uses the same character models throughout. The models for the main cast are well detailed and animated fluidly in battle. Unfortunately, they don\'t look quite as good when used in narrative sequences of the campaign.

The level designs are a mixed bag, though. The main arenas look great and have a lot of variety, ranging from devastated bridges to graveyards to lively promenades. The levels in Scenario Campaign, on the other hand, are mediocre at best. Bland textures on bland and repetitive structures fail to impress. It\'s not just the levels, though; the generic baddies are also underwhelming.

But these complaints are ultimately minor strikes against the game. In the areas it matters, which is to say in the arena, the game\'s quality remains high. The graphics stay firmly locked in at 60 frames per second, and that\'s pretty important in a game as dependent on timing as Tekken.

When all is said and done, Tekken 6 is not a perfect game, and it is most certainly not for everyone. Definitely not recommended for young ones due to the brutality, even if it is not graphic. Likewise, those with sensitive eyes ought to be mindful of the revealing costumes in the game. Probably the biggest turnoff of all, however, is that the game demands being devoted to training and improvement in order to actually compete. Still, for those who are willing to get past these things, Tekken is a very rewarding and addicting fighting game that deserves the praises it gets. Now that it\'s available at an absurdly low price, it could be a great time to add it to your collection.

-Kenny "Kendrik" Yeager

Additional Details

The copy reviewed was purchased through an eBay seller in Namco Bandai\'s Tekken 6 Limited Edition bundle for $45. The PS3 version is the reviewed copy, but experience shows that the 360 version is identical. Over 20 hours were spent playing the game before reviewing it. Scenario Campaign was completed and considerable time was spent in online and offline matches. An arcade stick, such as the one included in the Limited Edition bundle, is recommended but not necessary for enjoying the game.

Objectionable Material

Violence: Fighters punch, kick, grapple, and throw opponents. Many moves can be brutal and would break bones or worse in the real world, but the game world does not depict these things. Though it is not blood, red special effect splats appear at the point of impact. Yoshimitsu wields a sword in all gameplay modes. Scenario Campaign includes oversized lead pipes, machine guns, and flame throwers.

Language: No profanity recalled, or noted by the ESRB.

Nudity/Sexuality: Many costumes are revealing in nature, including exposed cleavage, midriff, and thigh. No nudity or sexual acts are present. In the back story, some characters are illegitimate offspring of other characters.

Supernatural: One playable character has an alternate form, transformed by the "Devil Gene," that looks like a devilish form of a man. Arcade mode\'s final boss is himself labeled a god by some and a demon by others.

Other: One character is a practitioner of Drunken Boxing. Though no alcohol consumption is present, his style has him staggering like a drunk.



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