Between Namco Bandai’s two fighting franchises: Soul Calibur and Tekken, I’ve always preferred Soul Calibur. I like the full 3D movement and more natural, instinctual feel of it. Tekken is more dial-a-combo and is also more accurately a 2.5D fighter. However, that in no way detracts from the excellence that is Tekken 6. It is deep and refined in its own combo-happy way.
Refreshingly, 40 characters are available from the outset. There’s no need to defeat X number of opponents or earn money to unlock them. Every major character that has punched or kicked in the Tekken series is available and a good chunk of time will be spent trying all of them out or mastering a specific one. Tekken vets will immediately find their signature characters, and rookies will no doubt find their own favorite. They cover a broad spectrum of martial arts styles with the requisite superhuman embellishments, robots, and fuzzy animals.
Six new playable characters join in the King of the Iron Fist tournament: an android with all manner of hi-tech implements, a Spanish brawler, a Swede who might be Heihachi’s illegitimate son, an androgynous German practitioner of Bajiquan (Google or Wikipedia that one), a dancer using “ancient assassination arts”- but the most surprising character is the morbidly obese (by choice) freestyle karate practitioner mundanely named Bob. Like Rufus from Street Fighter 4, Bob is deceptively fast, user friendly, agile and has effective combos. Nothing says trash talk like being able to say: “I just beat your ass with a Type 2 diabetic!”
All the characters in Tekken 6 retain their familiar tactics and moves but remain fresh with new techniques that will surprise and delight returning fans. The latest addition is the “rage” system where a player with very low stamina will glow red and his/her attacks will do extra damage, simulating a last second adrenaline surge. Some may see this as a reward for being a loser; on the contrary, it gives a player on the ropes a chance to break the momentum of an opponent on an offensive onslaught, but it isn’t overpowered enough to be considered “rewarding suckiness”. My best buddy and I have been playing Tekken for years. The best/worst thing about playing him in Vs. mode is his seemingly superhuman ability to come back from behind with only a tiny bit of stamina, his “last bit of energy” rally. Exciting and frustrating at once…Namco designed rage mode with him in mind.
The game suffers online though. During all my matches there was a small but highly noticeable lag. At worst, certain matches slowed to a molasses like speed that was just painful. Most of the time it ran fairly smoothly and the lag doesn’t make online matches unplayable, but it is frustrating because it affects combos, high/low movement, and throws off timing.
The single player game comes with the unfortunate addition of the Scenario Campaign. Who asked for it? The Tekken story, if you’re one of the few who follow it, is drawn out in the Scenario Campaign. It plays like the most lackluster beat ‘em up from the PS2 era, with uncooperative camera angles and mindless button mashing. It actually makes you a worse Tekken player. Playing through this torture is necessary to unlock Stuff, so it’s up to you how much garbage you want to trudge through for extras. I’m eternally grateful this was not a requirement to unlock characters.
Ghost Battle is the best mode in single player. It is simply match after match against random computer controlled opponents. On high difficulty levels it’s a good way to practice if you don’t have any human opponents and don’t want to experience the sluggishness of online matches. The Arcade mode is OK, but it has an annoying “bonus” boss, which is a towering robot. And final boss Azazel is cheap and even more annoying. The music for his stage is pretty epic, though.
Tekken 6 is a great overall package for fighting game fans. It’s chock full of a variety of characters to practice with and master. Offline, the fighting is fluid and fast paced. I just wish that Namco focused more on fixing the online kinks instead of including that clunky and unnecessary Scenario Campaign. Unlocking extras and telling a good story can be done just fine in the standard Arcade Mode. (See Blazblue: Calamity Trigger). Hopefully the next installment will be “TEKKEN” to the next level. I know…that joke was awesome.
“It’s a glandular problem!!”
- 40 Characters, all available in the beginning
- Fast paced, fluid gameplay
- Offline Vs. Mode
- Scenario campaign plainly sucks
- Online lag
- Cheap bosses in Arcade Mode
Final Verdict: Praise It