I hadn’t played Tekken since Tekken Tag so it was nice to jump back into the series. Just from watching game videos and trailers it was clear the game had undergone a noticeable facelift with larger environments, detailed costumes, and number of playable characters. This iteration has everything you would expect a fighting game to have and little else. While that may be a negative to some, to fans of the series, I am sure they will be more than pleased with the new additions.
The Tekken series has spanned a number of games and, with this being the sixth one, one may need to recap on all that has happened. Thankfully the very first thing you see when you enter into the campaign is a movie retracing the steps of the Tekken series one game at a time. The sixth picks up with a Tekken force captain suffering from amnesia in which you must traverse through the game’s single player to piece things together. After about 15-20 minutes of cutscenes you actually begin your quest to find out who erased your memory and just who exactly you are. With a fighting game such as Tekken one would expect a more traditional if not innovative way of going through a story line besides a linear path with an unlockable character at the end. Campaign mode takes on the form of an RPG in a way and heavily reminds me of Drakengard for some reason. You and your sidekick robot girl fight your way through a linear environment with randomly spawning, only the first time through, baddies to face off with a boss character. Along the way you have crates that contain either eggs for health, money for upgrading, or a weapon of some sort. Yes, you can pick up things like a gatling gun or a flamethrower. At this point I lost nearly all interest I had in fighting these spawning baddies to “solve the case of my amnesia,” which I already knew why my character had it.
The detail of the environments was bland with all detail going into your characters. Fighting the bosses felt pointless as there was hardly any story told as to why you should be fighting them in the first place. Also if you die on your way to the boss you will have to start all over again. Even if you manage to reach the boss and die in battle you have to start all over again and pound your way through the baddies. With no checkpoint system in place and no recharge in health or anything when you face off with a boss, things get real annoying, real fast. The only reason I found that I should stomach the campaign was for the items that can be found. Items and money are awarded to you upon completion of the level which can later be spent on upgrades and customization. However if you are not one for upgrading your character, there’s that RPG feel again, there really is no point in playing the campaign. To fight the baddies you have to utilize a lock-on targeting system which can be both helpful and hindering if you use it correctly, such as continuing combos and getting extra points. The control system while fighting doesn’t seem to have changed or improved much here and can be expected to meet typical standards. Luckily there is another mode within the campaign that allows you to go through 3 matches in the Iron Fist Tournament then face off with the big boss. This mode is essentially the arcade mode only shoved into the campaign. Again, no real incentive.
But like most fighting games the real meat is in the fighting possibilities and character combos. Tekken offers you a choice of 40 characters, all of them which are unlocked in the arcade mode of things. With 40 characters to choose from, numerous possible upgrades, and a healthy move list the arcade and versus modes are entertaining. The arcade mode offers a short but challenging round of matches, each facing off with tougher and tougher opponents as you go along, depending on what difficulty you have it set at. Also in the arcade mode you will notice the upgrade in detail and environment focus. It is easy to tell that the developers spent a good portion of time on this which is a good thing since most people will be spending their time against couch side opponents or online fighters. Another key feature in the Tekken series is the ability to play online against people from around the world. There aren’t any special rounds or match types here however which is a bit disappointing. I expected the development team include a ffew interesting battle types but it is still early on so a patch or DLC down the line wouldn’t out of the question. A patch for loading times however would be nice as they seem to drag on for ages, in-game and online, for something that doesn’t seem like it should take too long.
Overall Tekken 6 is a solid fighting game with a healthy set of moves, characters, and environments. But what it does well in its name sake it lacks in everything else. Story and gameplay don’t seem to be a large focus which seems contradictory since the game gave you an entire overview of the series before you started. Given the length of the series I am surprised at how much the game has developed and branched out into other arcs besides pure fighting. This game will not disappoint if you have an affinity for character brawlers. It is a worthy game to add to your collection of fighting epilogues and button mashing franchises.