Tekken 6

It’s been more than four years since we last saw Tekken on the consoles. Just for nostalgia alone it was great to see the series back outside of the arcades; but more importantly, for the first time on next-gen consoles. Tekken 6 marks another new era for the franchise too, controversially appearing on a non-Sony platform this time around with an Xbox 360 version.

It’s note worthy though that Tekken 6 isn’t exactly a new release. In fact is has been around in Japanese arcade parlours since late 2007. However, last year an updated version known as Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion was released which introduced new characters, stages, items and the customisation feature. The console version of Tekken 6 on shelves today is based off this new more balanced update, but also includes a new game mode that the arcade version has never seen.

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This extra mode is entitled "Scenario Campaign" and shares similarities with the "Tekken Force" and "Devil Within" modes from previous instalments. When first launched, the campaign opens up with a cinematic sequence that tells the story of Tekken right back to the very first King of Iron Fist Tournament, tracing the main storyline between Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin. The history lesson will be appreciated by Tekken fans and the whole story is recreated in a black & white hand-drawn style that reads like a violent soap opera. It covers the Mishima family feud, the Devil Gene and the introduction of the G Corporation but clocking in at nearly ten minutes long, many people will feel compelled to skip it.

Immediately after this though, the real next-gen cinematics kick in with an action-packed movie that introduces a new character, Lars Alexandersson. Lars is a young soldier in the ranks of the Tekken Force who has been sent in to dismantle the Mishima regime and the G Corporation. Immediately you know Lars is one kick-ass dude as he struts onto the screen with armour that has a lion’s head on his chest, a scar above his right eye and a haircut that defies gravity. To confirm this, you then see the guy block rockets with his forearms… just like how a real man defends against bazooka attacks. The Scenario Campaign is based around Lars and incorporates two different modes of play – one being the traditional Tekken of round by round duals and the second a third-person beat-‘em up game.

The Devil Within and Tekken Force gameplay modes from previous instalments proved to be a huge success and offered fans the chance to use their fighting skills in a 3D “Double Dragon-esque” arcade mode. Players would battle their way through waves and waves of bad guys before encountering bosses (other characters from the game) at the end of each stage. In Tekken 6 however, this mode has been expanded to incorporate role-playing elements and allows for flexibility in changing characters.

Firstly, there is a greater focus on the story-telling side of things. Unfortunately this means a lot of cinematics. In between fighting you will find yourself listening to plenty of mindless drivel between characters and although the script ain’t great, at least it’s pretty to look at. Especially considering your partner is Alisa Boskonovitch, a new character introduced to Tekken 6 who is as cute as a button. She also has a strangely mismatched wardrobe and chainsaws that come out of her arms though so the jury might be out on that one. Without giving too much away, the Scenario Campaign lets you learn more about Alisa, a cybernetically-enhanced daughter of Doctor Boskonovitch; and Lars, who appears to be an unknown descendant of Heihachi Mishima himself.

As aforementioned though, you can switch out characters as you unlock them in the game. Every big boss defeated becomes a playable character and makes for a welcome change to a relatively uninteresting Lars in terms of combat. However, the story and in-between cinematics don’t change, making for some strange inconsistencies at times. Despite this, players will still appreciate the opportunity to pick their favourite characters and plough through waves of enemies. Running between waves of enemies is best controlled via the analogue stick and the combat controls are slightly simplified from the traditional game.

Other changes from the Devil Within mode include a “pick-your-path” map navigation that lets you explore areas in your own order. One of the most noted additions though are weapons that you can pick up and use through the game including lead-pipes, machine guns and even flamethrowers! Alisa accompanies you throughout the campaign and is helpful except for the fact that she is close to brain-dead most of the time. She’ll fight and beat up her fair share of the enemies on screen, but she’ll fail to collect health when running low (forcing you to lure her into the path of health supplements) and will often just fall off the edge of something and instantly die. As you progress, Alisa’s AI apparently upgrades through levels although at level 5 I still couldn’t notice any improvements.

Speaking of health packs, it was great to see the return of chickens and eggs to pick up. I was saddened though at the lack of “CHICKEN!” being yelled out every time. In typical zany Tekken style, there are also funny large-headed aliens that can appear at certain stages of a level and hop around in an irritating fashion. If you manage to smack him before he disappears again, you’ll be rewarded with treasure and money. I still have no idea why he’s there but it is fun pummelling him every now and then. Playing through the Scenario Campaign and earning money can be used to unlock or purchase clothing and accessories for your characters.

Tekken 6 includes a ridiculously awesome array of customisations with thousands upon thousands of variations that mix in hats, glasses, haircuts, face-masks, trousers, skirts, armour and plenty more. Players can also gain new moves and taunts that can then be used during gameplay. This will make a huge impact with online multiplayer as fans kit out their favourite characters with stunning (or maybe hilarious) attire and make them their own. The only criticism in the customisation area is the lack of a preview and the time consuming loading with every change.

Moving on from the story campaign, the other half of Tekken 6 is of course the traditional side-on fighting game. On top of the stunning high def graphics, all of the animations have been updated making it the best looking Tekken game to date. There is a whopping 42 characters making up the roster of fighters and as usual, each one is diverse and carries their own distinctive style. Familiar faces like Capoeira mistress Christie Monteiro, mentally disturbed wrestler Craig Marduk, spirit samurai master Yoshimitsu, the sassy Nina Williams all make a return. I have to admit though, despite Tekken’s brilliant cast over the years there has always been something a bit odd about the inclusion of animals like Bears and Kangeroos. Beating the living hell out of a fat Panda just doesn’t sit right to me. It doesn’t stop me from doing it… but I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt that even though I donate to WSPA, here I am pile-driving the face of an endangered species.

The selection of characters is great, but as usual, the game still contains plenty of exploits that players will no doubt take advantage of. Unlike other fighting games, there is no dreaded fireball spam but fighters such as British boxing geezer Steve Fox’s barrage of punches followed by a reverse upper-cut can still take down most opponents quickly. Also zombie-cyborg-guy Bryan Fury’s brutal strength and speed make him an easy candidate for quick and easy KO’s.

The controls haven’t changed at all since we last saw Tekken and the four face buttons still correspond to high punch, low punch, high kick and low kick like normal. The D-Pad is usually the best way to trigger moves and allows for rapid double forward like controls efficiently. Combinations of buttons, such as high-punch + low-kick activate moves as well and these can be programmed to the left and right triggers and shoulder buttons for quick access to your liking. These attacks can range from throws through to powerfully devastating punches or kicks depending on who your character is.

Working your way through fights in the King of Iron Fist Tournament puts you up against a random assortment of rivals who gradually get harder as you progress. Each fight takes place in an inviting backdrop as well, with interactive environments including flaming carparks, breath-taking snowy plains and what looks to be a cemetery. Although the levels are flat, some of them are collapsible and can give-way to another arena below where the fight continues. Each one is also walled off by a boundary where players can get pinned and easily finished off unless you know how to evade when on the ground.

Towards the end of the tournament, players will get presented with a Bonus Round that pits you against a robo-Godzilla type thing known as NANCY-MI847J. His comedic name is ironic though as the sucker takes up half the screen and looks like he eats tanks for breakfast. I still don’t know what you get if you manage to defeat him as the bastard is nigh-invulnerable and has a huge assortment of brutal weapons such as rockets, laser-beams and such like. Thankfully losing to NANCY doesn’t affect your progress. The last two fights however are reserved to set characters, Jin (the new owner of the Mishima Zaibatsu empire) and a new unplayable character known as Azazel.

Azazel is “the embodiment of the ultimate evil” and the source that created the Devil Gene within the Mishima bloodline. Azazel looks to be inspired by an Egyptian God but resembles a dragon with ice or crystals growing out of his forearms. Just like NANCY, Azazel towers over your puny fighter and has an insane amount of ruthless attacks at his disposal. Personally I found the sudden hike in difficulty to be extremely frustrating. It was possible to get through six fights with perfect scores, but then get absolutely dicked by NANCY and Azazel in a completely one-sided contest. Of course, true-fans will find weaknesses and exploit them appropriately, but I guarantee they will end up repeating the same move routine over and over like clock-work in order to beat him.

Coming up against these big bosses will definitely be a turn-off for the more casual player. Personally I can’t help but think it’s a carry-through from the arcade version where those crafty developers lure you in with easy wins and then rob you of all your money in order to clock the game right at the end. But Tekken fans will embrace the ruthless challenge and should be able to master their favourite characters for leader-board domination. Tekken 6 is definitely a worthy return for the series and incorporates plenty of online action as well with versus and team-matches all available via Xbox Live. The only thing you’ll need after this is an arcade stick controller to really show off your chops. Highly recommended if you have a serious grudge against grizzly bears too.

"Still plenty of exploits…"
- Tekken 6
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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Comments Comments (16)

Posted by Oliver
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 10:57 AM
Nice review, and very thorough. From watching game after game after game in arcades, I know that the trick to beating Azazel and Nancy is sidestepping their attacks, which is often the only way to avoid them, and you'll need to get good at juggling so you're getting at least 5-6 hits per attack. Otherwise their health won't go down as quick as they get yours down.
Posted by Oliver
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 11:29 AM
By the way, just noticed "Punch him in the jeans". Awesome.
Posted by ChatterboxZombie
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 11:29 AM
panty shots........
Posted by jbl316
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 11:31 AM
10 November 2009, 10:57 AM Reply to Oliver
Nice review, and very thorough. From watching game after game after game in arcades, I know that the trick to beating Azazel and Nancy is sidestepping their attacks, which is often the only way to avoid them, and you'll need to get good at juggling so you're getting at least 5-6 hits per attack. Otherwise their health won't go down as quick as they get yours down.
Thanks for the advice man. I have been playing Tekken for 12 years and have never come across bosses so cheap like this!
Posted by Omg_a_kid_with_GTA
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 4:56 PM
Played through this today, not really keen on the rage system as it can easily be exploited and with my characters "paul" and "heihachi" you can easily pull of a 10 hit combo in rage mode and kill someone on full health.
Posted by Donutta
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 5:50 PM
Is online still borked? Because the story mode sounds absolutely crap and I have no one to really play this offline with. Guess I'll stick with Dark Resurrection on my PS3.

Seriously, why do they do this Streets of Rage stuff? They never, ever do it so it's anything else but crap. Tekken Force was horrible and I will be forced to play The Devil Within in Hell for eternity.
Posted by brettz0r
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 6:37 PM
good game but online sux - SO laggy! no point in even trying to win against a japo
Posted by p-nutt3r
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 7:18 PM
Good review. Looking at getting it this week....or the next.
Posted by Dogonabus
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 8:03 PM
10 November 2009, 11:29 AM Reply to Oliver
By the way, just noticed "Punch him in the jeans". Awesome.
!! I was just coming in here to say that's one of the best teasers we've ever had up!
Posted by Oliver
On Tuesday 10 Nov 2009 9:48 PM
10 November 2009, 08:03 PM Reply to Dogonabus
!! I was just coming in here to say that's one of the best teasers we've ever had up!
Damn right it is. My favourite Lonely Island song.
Posted by Sp3kt0r
On Wednesday 11 Nov 2009 4:23 PM
I love the game fighting-wise. The rest, well...it's like NamDai put as little effort as possible into this console port as possible. 1. The scenario campaign is about as boring as it gets, horrible controls, crappy camera etc 2. Online Mode. Nuff said. 3. The ending cutscenes! I loved em in all Tekkens and was looking forward to some awesome-next-gen CG action! But no. Sadly, you're given some 10 second crap that has no relevance to the current plot whatsoever. What happened to Jin and Hwaorang's rivalry? And are they going to explain how Asuka and Jin are related? Can't believe it took 3 years or whatever to make these 'extras' smh

Despite my b*tching about it, I still less-than-three Tekken with all my gaming heart. Favorite fighting game EVAR!
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Wednesday 11 Nov 2009 9:39 PM
Im over Tekken in a big way, just one of those games i wont touch.

Do wonder when Tekken10 comes out Ill be able to tell the kids that I played the first Tekkens lol
Posted by Sai_
On Wednesday 25 Nov 2009 5:06 PM
"Highly recommended if you have a serious grudge against grizzly bears too."

I definitely have a grudge on that..that...brown...hairy..ugly Kuma!
Stupid bear:P
Posted by Donutta
On Tuesday 1 Dec 2009 1:11 AM
I know that this comment will be "old" in Internet terms and that no one will likely read this, but I felt the review to be fair(ish) but the score to be a bit high.

1) Online is borked. Don't play anyone outside NZ if you want to have any hair left after.

2) Azezal is f**king bullsh*t. There has never been a more frustrating boss this side of Gill. He makes Seth look fair.

3) The Streets of Rage mode is completely crap. Why am I still locked onto a character who is dead? Why did I just lock onto a guy the other side of the room? History has shown that this kind of game doesn't work in 3D. Why do it now?

I could go on. This is a mess of a game and an embarrassment to the Tekken franchise. To think they spent three years on this. The only thing saving it is that it's Tekken and it looks better than Tekken 5. To think it costs four times as much as DR is a f**king insult though.

They better make a Tekken 7, if only to redeem the franchise before they retire it. Because this game is the equivalent of a Zidane headbutt.
Posted by Soyerz
On Saturday 6 Mar 2010 6:01 PM
Looks fun. Might be worth a rent but still a bit pricey for me yet.
Posted by brettz0r
On Friday 2 Apr 2010 12:05 AM
"1st time on next gen consoles"
what a load of crud lol . I got Tekken Dark resurrection for ps3 not long after it ps3 came out :|