reviews\ Oct 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm

TEKKEN 6 - PS3 - Review

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at E3 ’09 and, after being told that my next meeting would be starting a little late, I looked around the enormous room and saw something truly spectacular. It wasn’t a booth babe or some unique attraction. No, this little beauty was something much rarer, especially in America: a real-life Tekken 6 machine.

So big, so beautiful, so capable of making grown men cry. The arcade cabinet was an instant throwback to days of public gaming, causing a person like myself to reiterate stories that will no doubt annoy the younger generation and everyone else who doesn’t know what they’re missing.


Perhaps the most amazing thing about the moment (other than watching lines form behind the machine – a truly memorable sight) is that the console version of Tekken 6 was sitting right next to it, and you could barely tell the difference between the two. Sure, the arcade machine was cooler. But that’s not the version we’ll be playing. The majority of gamers will get their Tekken 6 fix on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Tekken 6 is just what it should be: immeasurably addictive and exciting. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it hasn’t changed much since Tekken 3, which was equally addictive and exciting, nor has it changed much since Tekken 5, which was also addictive and exciting. Basically, we’re playing a series of rehashes. While that may sound horrifically devastating, let’s not forget that fighting game developers are scared to death of change, and for good reason. When Tekken 4 deviated from the path, people left the franchise. The last SoulCalibur didn’t exactly blow our minds, nor did Mortal Kombat’s comic book-infused insanity bring home gold with anyone but the most diehard MK fans, making the change pointless (Midway hoped the DC license would increase the MK fan base, not keep it in the place it has been for the past seven years).

Tekken 6, on the other hand, avoids failure by sticking with what works. That, of course, brings us to the question of whether a third rehash is worth buying. The answer depends on what you value in a fighting game. If having perfect one-on-one multiplayer, as many unique characters as possible, and as many unique moves as possible are the primary reasons you play a fighting game, then Tekken 6 will be hard to resist – despite knowing that you’ve played a huge chunk of this game before.


As you’ve likely heard by now, Tekken 6 comes home with 40 combatants – a new record for the series. Heihachi, Nina, Paul, Eddy, Jin, Yoshimitsu, Mokujin, Julia, Hwoarang, and Xiaoyu are among the returning favorites. Lesser-known characters like Asuka and Marduk have also been carried over. Best of all, the game offers six new fighters: Bob, Zafina, Alisa, Miguel, Leo, and Lars.

All six are good characters, but Leo and Miguel are the most predictable, as they both contain moves that are a little too similar to other Tekken characters. Zafina, however, is sly and seductive. She forms weird positions that seem to be an offshoot of what a contortionist might do. This allows her to conceal the type and potency of her attacks, which are very quick and hard-hitting.

Alisa, who practically moves with the playfulness of a child, is also trying to hide something. You’ll catch on to her secret whenever her robotic parts creep out and pummel an opponent. Her attacks are devastating but she has a few Xiaoyu-type movements that could leave her vulnerable to retaliation.

Bob, on the other hand, is somewhat of an anomaly. His large, rotund shape fails to disguise his love of pizza and beer. But he fights like a kickboxing bouncer, striking with the force of a battering ram.

If you’re looking for the most challenging of all the new characters, Lars is the one to master. His low kicks and open-fist back-hand assaults aren’t likely to turn any heads. But watch out if a skilled player uses him. To be safe, that skilled player should be you.

Considering how detrimental slow speeds have been to other fighting games, it has to be said that Tekken 6 is the fastest Tekken ever. It’s only slightly faster than Tekken 5 (honestly, the speed increase is so minor that I’m probably one of the few players who will notice), but slightly faster is always better than a decrease in speed.

Like so many of the previous home conversions, Tekken 6 contains a campaign (beat-‘em-up) mode that features hours of button-mashing nonsense. It’s clunky and contrary to the rest of the game (which is intelligent, engaging and NOT a button-masher), and should be examined only when trying to kill time.


Even then, Tekken 6’s primary one-on-one gameplay is so much better you’d be wise to play it instead. If you need a different challenge, try the survival, time attack or team battle modes.

Gameplay: 8.2
Don't come to Tekken with expectations of great beat-'em-up action (the campaign mode is, as always, a disappointment). The one-on-one battles are the primary feature, and they still rock.

Graphics: 8.9
Stunning. Tekken 6 is the most detailed and most gorgeous fighting game since Street Fighter IV.

Sound: 8.0
The classic Tekken sounds are still classic, but only to long-time fans of the series. If I were a newcomer, or perhaps a more casual Tekken player, I could see where the music and sound effects would become very annoying.

Difficulty: Easy
The difficulty hasn't changed for the single-player one-on-one battles. Meanwhile, the new campaign mode is like an unbaked cakewalk (a cake batter-walk, if you will).

Concept: 6.0
It may be a bit of the same old thing, but at least it doesn't regress any. These days, most fighting game sequels are slower and feature fewer characters than their predecessors. Tekken 6 is slightly faster and features the most characters of any Tekken game.

Multiplayer: 9.0
The King of Iron Fist Tournament is still the King of the Fighting Game Genre.

Overall: 8.4
An excellent (albeit marginally updated) sequel that is sure to please Tekken fans all over the world. Buy it for the thrills and the massive character lineup.


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