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GAME REVIEW: Tekken 6 (PS3)

It' been a LOOOONG time coming, but Namco Bandai's King of Iron Fists 6 has finally hit home. Kangaroos, Pandas, and Bears, oh my!

I am a fan of the Tekken series. I played Tekken in the arcade and thought it was OK, but when Tekken 2 came out for PS1 I really got into the franchise. I know fighting game purists scoff at Tekken and its masher friendly dial in combos. Fuck them. Tekken is more about heart. If Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter 4 are pinnacles of the fighting game heap, why is it almost every character is so damn lame. Yeah I said it.

Do the MATH!

Without going into too much of a rant here the most glorious thing about Tekken is they have consistently added cool new characters to the roster while maintaining (with the exception of part 4), and even updating all the old fighters. What this adds up to in Tekken 6 is a wet dream of Tekkeness, 40 characters to choose from! Even better is that these are not pallet swap BS characters, and even the characters that started out as palette swaps (King/Armor King, Eddy/Christie) have been fleshed out with new move sets and added awesomeness. This is one of Tekken 6's main strengths. The characters and fighting style variety make it so almost anyone can pick someone they like (we're not talking 3-4 shoto clowns in one game here). It's one of the few fighting game franchises where over half the characters are actually cool, and worth using. If you're not happy with the look of a certain character, the character customization in this game is also on point. It's not just attaching stupid shit to your back or head like in other games.

Holy CRAP!!!! Is that a 21 inch cutting blade!

If you've played Tekken before then you'll pick this one up and feel at home. There seems to be more of an emphasis on bouncing people off the ground to continue juggles in this go around, and they also added a stupid "I'm losing I need an advantage" mode that kicks in when you're almost dead. What with the economy...

So Tekken 6 is par for the course for a Tekken game. So far so good. Then you play Scenario Campaign Mode. Just look at videos of this thing and you know you're in trouble. Back around Tekken 3 they had this idea for a side scrolling beat em up. It was passable. It came up again in Tekken 4, but by Tekken 6 it blew wildly out of control. This new half assed beat 'em up mode IS the majority of the single player Tekken 6 experience.

Uh oh.....

Think about that for a second. At first I was infuriated. The game controls are based off of the regular control scheme. Translate that to "terrible for a side scrolling beat em up". The camera swings wildly, there's no auto targeting and the environments are straight out of 1996. So what you have is a gimped mode that you have to play to get money, unlock endings, and get trophies. Time to start a lynch mob right? Maybe not...
As much as I initially hated the idea of SC mode, I realized "wait, if I wasn't playing this shit, what would I be playing?". The answer is what I do on all other Tekken games. Practicing in practice mode, survival mode, or fighting a friend if they happen to be sitting next to me. I can still do all of that, yet I was playing SC mode. Maybe I'm just a masochist. By the middle of SC mode I was kind of enjoying it and the random completely unnecessary cut scenes are kind of entertaining. After beating the damn thing (including the super frustrating Nightmare train), know that it's not by any means good, but it is extra, and advances the story, and if you don't want to play it, just don't.

So enough sugar coating. Whats wrong with the game?

First up: ONLINE. Lag + fighting game = me playing Modern Warfare 2. Sorry, but if you can't get 2 characters fighting in sync with broadband internet in 2009, develop for the Wii.
Second on the hate agenda: AZAZEL. If that looks like I just had a seizure on the keyboard, know that it's far more coherent than the last boss of Tekken 6. This thing is stupid. I know that's a strong word, but I'm not pulling any punches. He deserves it. You will hate fighting this stupid. I found the best way is to continuously 1,2 1,2 1,2 his ass into retirement. Bravo.

Oh and it also shoots scarabs.

Overall I like Tekken 6, but then I like Tekken. It's got a great roster, solid fighting (offline), and a ton of extra modes that will please newcomers to the Tekken franchise (the 360 kids). The customization, redone animations for all characters, and new fighters make it definitely worth a purchase for Tekken fans. If they ever fix the netcode I'll see you online.

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