Published on November 8th, 2009 | by prime0
Summary: It has a technically sound fighting engine, cast of iconic characters and variety of beautiful environments
The widespread belief that the days of the arcade cabinet are all but numbered is obviously something Namco isn’t quite willing to accept. Indeed, the ‘Insert Coin’ and ‘Credit(s):0’ warnings layered prominently over the top of Tekken 6’s opening FMV serve well to remind us of the times when we happily piled our coins into Namco’s latest fighter; when players would gather round cabinets to watch skilled players battle, rather than simply download the ghosts of their idols in their bedroom. But nonetheless, the developer is starting to come round the idea of a console-shaped future and the increased life expectancy of a home console product that goes with it – something that’s hugely distanced from an arcade developer’s five minutes of fun’ thesis.
Which means that Namco has included a brand new mode into the home version of Tekken 6 – Scenario Campaign, a third-person/side scrolling mode similar to Tekken 5’s Tekken Force. It’s been included for all the best intentions – to offer a new and relatively lengthier fighting experience – but its quality is inexcusable. Although it can be played with any one of the game’s 40 characters (with each character’s move roster still fully accessible), Scenario Campaign feels sloppily designed, repetitive and inherently basic, forcing players through uninspired environments – factories, woodland and crate-ridden docklands are all here – before facing them up against wave after wave of identical enemies. Not only does it play poorly (comparisons with PS2 title The Bouncer are ultimately inevitable), but it’s technically inept too. Short gameplay segments are regularly interrupted by poorly scripted cut scenes, themselves each separated by relatively lengthy load times, while the fighting itself is often literally hit and miss – frustration soon sets in after your move fails to hit your target for the umpteenth time. Its quality is comparable to the likes Time Crisis 4’s Complete Mission mode (another Namco disaster, we should point out), complete with horrendous PS2-era visuals, poorly animated character models and, frankly, awful gameplay. It’s an abomination that Tekken 6 would be better off without.
Nevertheless – and despite its positioning on the game’s menu screen – Scenario Campaign should never be considered Tekken 6’s main port of call. Instead, it’s still all about the one-on-one fighting, which remains undeniably top-notch. It’s very much the antonym of Scenario Campaign as a technically sound fighting engine, cast of iconic characters and variety of imaginative and beautiful environments – though the less said about the bizarre sheep-infested yodel-soundtracked arena the better – come together to provide the greatest Tekken experience yet.
The fighting model isn’t as deep or as tactical as say, Street Fighter IV (Tekken is arguably the button-basher’s fighter of choice), but it has that vital ‘pick up and play’ factor, meaning that amateur fighters can instantly get to grips with it without feeling overly intimidated by insane combos and counters. The new characters may not be particularly exciting or inspiring (Bob, for example, is an almost exact replica of Street Fighter IV’s Rufus), but with a library of old and new characters to choose from, each with their own fighting style, Tekken 6 is an exciting prospect for any fighting fan.
It may just be an HD update on the established Tekken formula, but look past the horrific Scenario Campaign and you’ll find a confident, gorgeous and thoroughly addictive fighter. Whether it should be crowned king of the genre is all down to personal preference, but one thing’s for sure. Tekken fans certainly won’t be disappointed.