Xbox 360 Review: Tekken 6

Can the Tekken series still pack a punch?

When most people were playing Tekken on the PSOne, I was smashing the hell out of Mario with Link. Yes, I was a Nintendo fanboy and although I did play Tekken at the time, I struggled with it. The amount of moves that could be pulled off was impressive but hard to master like that of the best fighting games. I didn’t stop being a Ninty fanboy till the late Gamecube days, so I consequently missed out on most of the other Tekken games…but can Tekken 6 prove it deserves the fighting crown?
Over the past year, we’ve had the outstanding Street Fighter IV which I believe taken the crown forever, but can Tekken steal it back? Rather predictably, the answer is no. While the series maintains the classic formula to a high standard that is impressive, there are problems holding the game back…mainly known as the Scenario Campaign.

The problem with the campaign is that it just doesn’t work. It handles terribly with poor camera and controls that is just embarrassing to play. It does however give you a lot of credits to unlock items the fastest way. It’s meant to play like a side-scrolling beat-em-up like Streets of Rage, but its clunky and looks incredibly dated. The contrast is that the cutscenes look amazing, apart from when the camera zooms in a fighter and you can see the background which can look pretty bad at times.

I would suggest to completely ignore the campaign and focus on the arcade mode, which is the best part of the game. It’s where the real Tekken is and while the formula doesn’t seem to have evolved much, it’s a classic case of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Mastering combos and moves will take a lot of dedication since there is so many of them and so many characters to choose from, but they are all balanced fighters. It can be incredibly tough to beat some opponents and then you take it online…
The problem with online is that it can be very laggy and almost unplayable (at the time of this review) I did get a patch prompt the other day, but it didn’t improve things that much. The game is crying out for another patch to fix things. I have to admit, the controls for fighting games don’t usually work too well with the 360, but Tekken 6 does a surprisingly good job…even if it does take a long time to get used to them.

Visually, Tekken 6 is a mixed bag. It’s character models are well detailed, but animation can be all over the place. The scenario campaign looks plain awful, but the rest looks decent…but it’s pretty obvious which fighter looks better. Music and voice-acting are also fairly good, but forgettable.

The Verdict

Tekken 6 is a good fighting game, as is the series in general. The problem is that the competition has proven to be too strong that Tekken 6 doesn’t do enough to topple Street Fighter IV’s crown. The online needs a major fix and the less said about the campaign, the better. If you can look past that, you’ll find a decent fighter.