Ah, Tekken. Beautifully in between absurd and serious, mashy and technical, revered and reviled. It would seem this series has lost a lot of momentum in the PS2 age, both attention and sales wise, though I must note saying that of a game series that still manages sell well over a million every installment is a bit like saying you only afford to drive a Lexus. Can Namco do anything to save this series from going down the Street Fighter route or is it doomed to become more of the domain of the hardcore?
Me, I’m one of the few who really really liked Tekken 4.
Firstibly, the movement scheme felt like a brilliant reworking of all things Tekken, especially since the game felt more VF-esque.
Secondally, those wide open arenas were really something, especially the crowded Shinjuku, the mall and the rooftop with the statues.
Thirdibibble, Steve was an incredibly well conceived new character.
Fourthly, I just liked the calmer, less spastic and far out mood of the game.
Fifthely, the story mode had cool art and a great narrator.
SiXxXholicly, it had some of the series’ best designs like Xiaoyu’s friend, Hwoarang’s military costume, Jin’s super bad-ass trainer/hoody outfit, Kazuya’s scarred businessman attire and butterfly Yoshimitsu.
Seventhly, I really liked how differently some of the characters played and felt, it was a real eye opening, actual change rather than a tweak. Despite the fact that its endings were weaker graphically, they still had the Tekken magic.
A lot of people agree that Tekken 5 is a great game. Surely, it has some of the PS2’s sharpest, most vivid and stunning arenas and the game actually looks better than DOA3, because DOA3 has shitty character design. It actually reforms series mistakes Christie, Eddie and Marduk into better versions of themselves. The Jack robot this time around actually looks kind of cool. Paul’s hair is even more ridiculous than ever. Asuka is an excellent new character. Devil Within is the least obnoxious add-on beat em up yet. And the plethora of extras in the PS2 version is mindblowing.
Yet for me, while Tekken 5 is good stuff, I miss the free movement of 4, so it and 2 remain my favorites. (2 just because of the memories and the feel. I’m one of those people who thinks Street Fighter Alpha 2 is better than Alpha 3.)
For all of Namco’s trying, it seems like 5 couldn’t quite revive the ridiculous hype and adoration the series provoked before, perhaps because better than arcade perfect ports are such not a hot thing anymore.
Or it might be because Tekken used to be so much better than other 3D fighting game alternative on the PlayStation save Tobal and Soul Blade and now it has to compete with not only Soul Calibur, but the grand king in Virtua Fighter and it becomes all the more blatant when you have VF4 on the same system and the upcoming 5’s trailblazing that Tekken was always more of a follower than a pioneer.
Still, there’s nothing quite like Tekken. The Mishima Corporation storyline and the weird things they do (like setting 3 so far in the future) actually sets it a little apart from other fighting games. Nina, King, Marshall Law, Jin, Kuma/Panda, Mokujin, Brian Fury, Paul, Heihachi, Kazuya, like Street Fighter and King of Fighters, the list of highly personable characters goes on and on. The secret characters and goodies in true kitchen sink style will always endear me to the series.
And of course, the endings. Who could forget the Tekken endings? Best out of all fighting games ever? I think so! A lesson to developers who like to skimp on uninteresting, unrewarding endings? I think so. Memorable even many, many years after you’ve seen them (Ah! King saved the orphanage!) I think so!
Here’s hoping Namco can revive the energy and electricity around every Tekken release with this upcoming generation. Though personally I’d like to see them do it by going so far out of our expectation that the reinvent the series completely, though I realize that’s probably way too much to expect.
At least VF will always be there to turn all of Japan into crazed joystick monkeys, but I’d like a series that can have that enthusiasm reciprocated worldwide.
Ah, how do I delete the other thread? Don’t reply there, I don’t think you can delete if you reply…Sorry! :(