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Tekken 5

Publisher: Namco

Developer: Namco

Release Date: 2/28/2005

Platform: PS2

After the release of Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken purists were longing for a true sequel to the stellar Tekken 3 released years ago. Unfortunately, Tekken 4 was unleashed unto the unsuspecting public, and received a horrible backlash from the series fans. Its slow gameplay and unfair wall damage made for a very dumbed-own and sluggish experience that felt nothing at all like Tekken.

But the series redemption is brought unto us in the form of Tekken 5, and it brings all of the features we have come to love, and adds a few more to boot.

First and foremost, Tekken 5 brings back the same speed and ferocity that was very present in Tekken 3, battles come with a pacing that will make your heart pump and test your skills based on who you are matched up with. The learning experience is not facilitated for the newcomers, though, as Tekken 5 features the series largest roster of fighters. Old favorites such as Hwoarang, Jin, Law and Paul are back, who are also joined by Bryan Fury, Christy, Feng, Steve, Marduk, Kazuya, Raven, and also some secret characters are to be unlocked as well.

This impressive roster is backed up by an even more impressive and robust game system that borrows a whole lot from fellow fighting game powerhouse Virtua Fighter 4. Each and every character is able to accumulate money in their Story Mode and Arcade Mode matches, and the amount is dependent on how well you fight your match, and other factors as well. This money can be spent on small trinkets to large accessories to don upon your character as they battle their way to the top. While this feature is nothing more than a way to distinguish your fighter from the rest of the pack, the computer will also take the liberty of dressing up their characters as well.

This “dressing up” is to inspire individuality in the computer opponents is to expand upon the games philosophy of fighting in the Arcades. Each character is given a name to simulate the experience of playing against someone else; so instead of just seeing “Jin” under your opponents health gauge, you will see names such as “Nyo 2005 ^_^” or “Bloody Backbreaker” in their place. This makes the AI seems more human-like, if anything.

Another great element added to the game is the ability to rise through the ranks of fighters by taking on higher classes. You will recognize this system from Virtua Fighter, as your character will go from Kyo to Dan, Champion to Conqueror, and so on. The way that you are able to rise is also very nicely done: at the end of every battle, you are given 3 choices of which fighter you want to face, and which rank they stand at. You could take on lower ranking players continuously, which will make your progression slower; or you can take on experienced fighters that will skyrocket you to the top. But the higher you go, the heightened understanding of your character required will call for a staggering amount of practice. In some of the Conqueror matches, one false move is the end of the match, and knowing your opponents entire arsenal of moves, and how to counter them, is the key to the entire fight.

The gameplay in Tekken 5 has finally risen from the ashes of its predecessor to reclaim its white-knuckle brawls that required the player to have the utmost understanding of their own character, as well as their opponents. The game retains all of the same button combinations that veterans have come to know, but still keeps the game simple enough to allow newcomers to pick up the game and easily find their niche fighting style. Each and every character in the game feels unique and powerful in their own way, and over time, you will become aware of their weaknesses. Collision detection in the game is great, you won’t be punching through any characters, and you will easily be able to create new aerial combos as it is easier to hit your opponents in mid-air. Also, Tekken 5 makes blocking a strategic element, instead of a cheap way of finding an open shot on an opponent. If you find your opponent is blocking a bit much, you will easily be able to perform a throw move on them, which can easily end the match. The game has made blocking safely executed while defending against a combo and nothing more; so cheap shots are easily eliminated.

Tekken 5’s arenas are also a very nice sight to look at, as well as destroy. Environments range from a space station in which the glass floor will crack if you throw your opponent to the ground, to a very familiar battleground from Metal Gear Solid 3. Each and every arena is very well done, but it almost seems like some areas were given more detail than others. Also, while fighting in some arenas, throwing your opponent into a wall or fence will make the environment react in some way. If you land a heavy blow on an opponent in an arena that is set in an underground “Fight Club” scenario, the crowd of bloodthirsty fans will cheer and shout phrases; on the other hand, an arena set outside of a temple has statues that will break apart if you throw your opponent up against them. This all adds up to a very varied and exciting experience that never feels the same each time you enter a specific arena. The improvement with walls and environments in contrast to Tekken 4 is the revision of the unfair wall damage that hampered many a player if they were backed up against one. Now, walls do substantially less damage, making the player rely on skills rather than moves that will press characters towards the edges of the arena.

The game also features a small minigame that borrows directly from Namco’s Tekken spinoff “Death By Degrees” that starred Nina Williams. This mode is basically a clunky beat-em’ up starring Jin, where your opponents are Jacks and robots. The mode is a small distraction that won’t entertain the player for more that 20 minutes, and only the most hardcore of fans will want to finish it.

But the most resounding surprise for Tekken fans has to be the inclusion of the Arcade modes from Tekken 1 through 3, which loads incredibly fast, and brings back tons of nostalgia. It’s a great feeling to go back a take a look at how the series has progressed over the years, and how well the game has held up to the test of time.

In conclusion, Tekken 5 is a solid fighting game that returns with its critically-acclaimed fighting system, with a few tricks up it’s sleeve. It doesn’t try anything bold or new, but rather refines and perfects a fighting engine that helped start the 3D fighting revolution that shaped many of the fantastic fighting games we enjoy today.



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Published on: 2005-06-04 (18189 reads)

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