It’s one of the most popular fighting game franchises in the world. Its trademark 3D fighting style that caters to casuals and pros alike, along with its characters and story, make the Tekken series one of the hottest fighting games on the market. Unfortunately for most of us that don’t have an arcade in our area, we haven’t had the chance to play the latest version of the game for over 3 years until now. Tekken 6 is the latest entry of the fighting game series. Built on the Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion Arcade as well as adding a substantial single player mode along with character customization, online play, and a roster of over 40 fighters, does this game’s release cap the year of the fighter on a high note?
Originally released in arcades in 2007, the game still looks good and sounds good, thanks to its quality soundtrack and voice acting (though its strange to have characters hold conversations with each other in completely different languages). However, being over 2 years old, the graphics have shown its age. The colors for the most part are vibrant, though more of the subdued skin colors are rather muddy. Lighting is also a mixed bag. In some stages such as one taking place on a helicopter pad during a thunderstorm, the lighting is fantastic. On another stage that takes place in some sort of forest, the glowing is out of control, making it difficult to even see the character’s face.
Overall, there seems to be an uneven amount of effort. A lot of characters have redone stances, animations, and are refreshed very well, such as Bruce and Law. The new characters themselves are also done well, both artistically and from an animation standpoint. However, some characters still have the same animations dating back to the first game. While the main characters and stages overall look great, the assets used in the Scenario Campaign side mission mode looks downright ugly.
Ever since Tekken 4, they have included some sort of beat-em-up story mode in their console releases, and this hasn’t changed with Tekken 6. Unfortunately, the core gameplay is some of the worst I’ve played. A very limited moveset, terrible controls, and poor A.I. make playing the game more like a chore than as a way to have fun. On top of this, it’s the only viable way of earning equipment and money for their characters (as through the game’s other modes give drastically lower rewards in comparison) which ends up forcing players to play in order to get the most out of their experience.
The core fighting however remains solid. With several gameplay tweaks to the system and many of the characters, the result remains a solid and distinct fighting style that players have come to expect from the franchise. Nothing big has changed that would change people’s minds though, so if you weren’t a fan of the series, chances are you won’t change your mind now. Personally, I’m on the fence with this game. I used to be a big fan of the Tekken series since its inception, but the drastic differences between low, mid, and high level play came off as a huge turn off due to its playstyle revolving around shaving your opponent’s life with large combos, leading to very quick matches where one mistake usually costs the whole round. The changes in Tekken 6 result in a slightly slower game with some damage scaling on some of these combos, making the game very enjoyable when playing someone in the same skill level as my own. However, playing the right character with the right combos that can result to loosing over half your life doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth either. Despite its initial accessibility, it’s a love it or hate it game.
Nowadays with online gaming available to consoles and the lack of arcades in the states, good netcode has become the deciding factor in many fighters’ choices. Some games such as Blazblue catapult their popularity due to their excellent netcode, while other games such as King of Fighters XII’s netcode cause great disdain within the community. After a few hours of playing with friends as well as strangers online, the quality of the net play is inconsistent at best, and downright terrible at its worst, with no real reason why. I would have matches with one character that would start off running fine with a little bit of input lag, only to have it improve several matches later, and then stutter to the point of playing the game in slow motion with no real explanation. Though the game also has downloadable ghost data, it is not a proper substitute for good online play, which should be expected of all fighters nowadays.
Despite all its shortcomings, the scenario mode will keep players busy if they decided to churn through it, and does add a bit more to the standard arcade/survival/time attack/practice modes that the game comes with. In the end, most players’ mileage with this game depends on how much of a competitor or completionist they are. If you’re a fan of the series and have some local competition, the overall gameplay is the best the series has to offer yet. Otherwise, I would recommend waiting a bit to see if the online will be fixed in a timely matter. It is somewhat of a shame that the leading fighting franchise in arcades can’t be the same online as well.