Gasp, it’s an essay.
Tekken 6 time, guys. Seeing as Street Fighter x Tekken AND Tekken x Street Fighter have been announced, I thought it was the “right time” to go guns blazing on why I love and hate Tekken 6 in equal measure.
Tekken lives on, boosting its way onto the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Yeah, I know, it’s not Sony exclusive, but it’s not the first time.
This installment of Iron Fist contains the marvellous modes that made Tekken 5 and it’s twin-sister Dark Resurrection a blast to play, including online multiplayer and offline ghost battles. It also has a brand new mode, the Scenario Campaign Mode, which is the result of crossing Tekken 3‘s Force Mode, Death by Degrees, and Tekken 5‘s The Devil Within.
If you’ve played Tekken 5 then you’ve played Tekken 6, bar the new mode. If not for the Scenario Campaign Mode, Tekken 6 would have been almost completely passable to me, despite that I love this series. I’ve never been ‘good’ at fighting games so Tekken 6 feels welcoming with its new mode, and stuff like this is what Street Fighter needs for me to take it seriously as a fighting game series.
I’ve probably pissed you off with that sentence, Graeme. I’m sorry.
Tekken 6 is relatively easy on the most part, except for the bonus stages. And by bonus stages, I really only mean the ‘Kigan Island’ and ‘Nightmare Train’ stages. And by the ‘Kigan Island’ and ‘Nightmare Train’ stages, I really only mean the ‘Nightmare Train’ stage. But more on that in a moment.
It takes a lot of time getting used to the fighting engine that is used in the Scenario Campaign Mode. The movement isn’t anywhere near as smooth as you’d hope, with characters being able to move in what is apparently only eight directions. When you lock onto the nearest enemy, the gameplay changes to the 2D fighting engine, whilst in 3D space. Confusing? Yes, absolutely.
What’s even worse, you’re running through the stage and enemies appear, sometimes your character stops running. You want your character to keep running so that they knock the enemies to the ground with a tackle. Also, when enemies are raping you but your character is too busy locking onto a wooden box, you’re screwed, in all senses of the word.
Because the analogue stick defaults to “run”, you have to do all your combos with directional pad movement. The directional pad controls mimic the ordinary arcade mode – but because the directional pad on the Xbox 360 controller isn’t any good, it becomes tricky to win any fights. I would imagine PS3 users won’t suffer from this issue so bad, because the PlayStation 3 controller has buttons as opposed to a hat switch.
Because the 2D engine is very tête-à-tête, when enemies come at you from odd angles, you’re a sitting canard. Sacré bleu!
Enemies tend to gang up in fives or sixes, from all different angles. Fair? Of course not. During boss battles (which really should be a 1-on-1 affair), several enemies will jump in, gangbanging you from all sides.
The worst level for this is “Nightmare Train”. Cue slide:-
See what I mean? Leo’s popular with the gargoyles for sure. They just gang up on Leo, like so. Leo’s trying to fight one, but there’s seven gargoyles wanting some of that fine gender-ambiguous body that Leo has.
What happened to my A.I. partner, Alisa “It’s hard to pronounce my surname” Bosconovich? Well, she got killed, twice. You can only revive her once per stage, so after that you’re guaranteed to DIE on this level. Nightmare Train is exactly it’s name, a “transport of nasty bad-dream stuff,” and perhaps the worst level ever concieved in a videogame.
It’s just a bunch of highest-level enemy gargoyles who gang up on you and make themselves very acquanited with you. Daaaamn! I can’t actually get to the boss of this level. Cheap as chips, David Dickinson would say.
Back onto the list of flaws, there’s the camera. The dodgy farkin’ camera. You can’t move the blasted thing when it’s in the way, and you can’t when it isn’t. Whether you’re locked on to something or not, the camera refuses to budge. If you’re locked on to an enemy around the corner that you can’t actually see, why does the camera stare aimlessly at the wall? Nice one, guys. You can run straight around the corner and into a group of six enemies because the camera sucks.
Campaign Mode is set out to destroy you. Its sole purpose is to make you angry and to see if you’re capable to snapping the Xbox 360 Controller in half. I can confirm that on the several occasions that I have tried, I am unable to snap the Xbox 360 Controller in half.
If it wasn’t for Nightmare Train, I’d really like this mode. Apart from these issues, the story is a chunk of good honest fun. You just have to get good at the game, is all. And I mean, really good. Tends to be that the more you play, the better you get, so just keep practicing. And praying. Keep praying. Praying’s good.
The only thing actually helping you in Scenario Campaign Mode (seeing as your A.I. partner eventually betrays you anyway) is the Customization menu. Like in Tekken 5, you can buy clothes and effects for your characters. Tekken 6 does have a bit more stuff in the way of equipment to buy, but still nowhere near as much as I’d hoped for. It is a very fiddly menu that confuzzles me broadways. Seeing as Namco also make Soul Calibur, would it have hurt to dip into that series customization features for influence? Or made the menus as simple as they were in Soul Calibur III? No? Sure, whatever you want, Namco.
I like being able to buy every piece of clothing in a game like say, Rockin’ Pretty, where you eventually earn far more money than you can spend. But buying everything in Tekken 6 just isn’t going to happen because it’s expensive business. You’ll need millions and millions of in-game money just to afford everything in one character’s wardrobe. If items were cheaper, it would be a bit more fun to customize with them.
Also, where characters who are human or at least moderately human have a lot of customization options, characters like Kuma and Panda have barely anything they can unlock. If you thought, “I’ll play the scenario as Panda,” then you’re at a clear disadvantage because she has fewer items than everyone else.
There’s a catch, or three, with this customization menu and the outfit system.
1) You customize the character’s outfits for all modes, not just scenario campaign. The most suitable solution would have been to specify one outfit slot for each character that is exclusive to Scenario Campaign. But no.
2) When you selected your character, if you pressed X, that’s Outfit 1. A is Outfit 2. You’d imagine the buttons to be opposite, but it’s been this way since early fighting games. Never understood it. Pick the wrong outfit when you load your Scenario Campaign mode data, then you have to go back to the character select and pick the right one. Again, solution in point #1.
2b) If you picked Outfit 1, then the outfit your A.I. partner wears is their Outfit 1 too. If you picked Outfit 2, they wear their Outfit 2. Again, solution in #1.
3) Only the items you find have special powers that help you, not the stuff you buy. So effectively, you can’t buy your way out of a tough spot, and you can’t make your character look cool because you’re too busy trying to get them strong enough to pass the Nightmare Train level.
4) Nightmare Train—wait, that isn’t a flaw with the customization menu, sorry. I’m not sour that I can’t beat that level, oh no.
You’ll be playing Scenario Campaign mainly for the story (and if you’re like me, the Gamerscore). The plot is totally hit-or-miss, I don’t understand half of it, but so long as I’m beating people up, I’m not particularly bothered. There’s a lot of the Japanese wackiness that makes sense to them but bewilders some of us, so tread softly and where a translation seems odd, don’t take it literally. For the most part, the game is well translated though, so no problem really. Characters speak in their native dialect, which results in some cutscenes being unintentionally funny. Characters speaking in Japanese and English but fully understanding eachother, that’s stupid.
The graphics shine the most of all the game elements (seconded by the soundtrack), and it is clear from the get-go that the graphics are only marginally improved since Dark Resurrection, but that is fine. No, really, I like the style, and I love the awesome background sheep.
Wait a second! Does that ewe… Eeew! Why does that sheep have two heads?
Sheep-head strangeness aside, why do they bounce when I run into them? Are all Tekken characters so powerful they push sheep away? And why do the bears in Kuma’s stage dance? We’ll never get answers because I swear these oddities in Tekken 6 are there just for giggles.
The graphics aren’t quite the 2009 standard we were seeing at the time, but they’re beautiful nonetheless. Ling Xiaoyu is as pretty as ever (it’s pronounced Shao-You, not Ex-Eye-Yuu) and I’ve never once witnessed the framerate drop, unlike a certain game about fights in the street that I know.
I always feel the appeal of fighting games comes from the character design and what the characters themselves offer. Tekken 6 gives us eight new characters (not all of them playable), and most of the roster from Tekken 5. It is quite a large roster and results in an odd mix of fighting styles. No Kunimitsu makes me sad, but she’s been kind of ignored since Tekken 2 (apart from her appearance in Tekken TAG Tournament a.k.a. Tekken Hero: Smash Hits) so it comes as no shock she’s not in this game.
Oh, and about TAG Tournament… why doesn’t it work backwards compatible on the PS3? Look, I paid for a super-fancy backwards-compatible model, I want to play my Tekkens, understood? At least Tekken 5 works flawlessly.
Also, concerning missing characters, the totally awesome Jun died in the stupid canon, so she’s not here either.
I say that for Tekken 6 you have to either be a fan of the series, a fan of fighting games, or actually good at them. It’s not Dead or Alive 4 hard, and if Samurai Shodown Sen and Tekken 6 were sitting next to eachother on the store shelf, then you’d pick up Tekken 6 without a moment’s hesitation.
For all intents and purposes, the Scenario Campaign mode isn’t the worst attempt I’ve seen at a story mode in fighting games, just that it should have been more Power Stone in its delivery. It’s almost, almost there with the weapons that can be picked up, but they’re so few in number and show little in the way of variety.
I regret (at least partially) every fighting game I buy, because I’ve never been any good at them. I traded in Super Street Fighter IV the same day I bought it because all the online players thrashed me in seconds with shitty ranged attacks,and they were probably hacking too, the little snivelling fucking cheats. Apart from Devil Jin and Alisa, it appears nobody in Tekken 6 has any ranged moves, so no hadoukens and +1 Namco this time.
Street Fighter IV and its “expansion pack” offer nothing in the way of decent offline gameplay (that’s the truth). The arcade mode on SFIV leaves a lot to be desired. Tekken 6, on the other hand, has a story mode and a proper arcade mode to offer, plus a few other goodies that offline players can appreciate. It also has a far more plausible achievement set, and although I know this shouldn’t sway my opinion, ten seconds into Super Street Fighter IV after I got my first achievement, I freaked out when I saw the rest.
With Tekken 6, there is a goldmine of content for online and offline players, with achievements of a healthy difficulty level (apart from “What A Nightmare” which, you guessed it, is the achievement for pulling a miracle out of your arse). Probably a million times easier with a hori stick or fight-pad, I still found Tekken 6 a blast without any of these expensive peripherals. It’s just really hard to pull off the combos in Scenario Campaign Mode on an ordinary Xbox 360 controller.
Tekken feels far more involved than Street Fighter ever does and kicks butt as always, but Tekken 6 could have done what it does new a bit better than it did. If you’ve got other Tekken games, and you do enjoy them, then snap up Tekken 6 now that it has halved in price. You could probably grab a preowned copy now for even less. If not, then wait a little bit longer for this to drop a tiny bit more, then you’ve got yourself a bargain.
What I said in my Samurai Shodown Sen review, that fighting games should take Dead or Alive 4 as an influence, has clearly been done here with Tekken 6. Does Leo not look more or less identical to Elliot from DOA4? But who cares—the influence bleeds further, because the environments and characters are stylized and curved in a way that makes them appear better looking than they are, a trick employed by Team Ninja all the time.
The quick retry in Arcade Mode (so long as you have the “Quick Select” turned on) is far better than hanging around for a 15-30 second loading time like in Samurai Shodown Sen.
Namco have proved themselves, again, to be capable of making games that are easy to learn and hard to master. Like Katamari Damacy, it takes minutes to understand the concept of the game, but it takes years of devotion to become unstoppable.
There’s a lot on offer with Tekken 6, and with this time-passing sentence that thoroughly wraps up the entire review (you thought I’d never finish!), I’d definitely reccomend Tekken 6 for the gamers who don’t play fighting games online but like a spot of the old arcade action. It is only Tekken 5 with a fresh lick of paint and a new story mode.
Tekken, if I didn’t have you, someone else would have taken your place (but do not let that get you down). Over the ten years I’ve spent with you, I have loved every innovation. Keep bringing us new and fresh ideas, but no more stunts like the bloody Nightmare Train, if you could be so kind.