PS2 REVIEW: TEKKEN 5

Tekken fans are sure to have a good fight on their hands with Tekken 5. I'm going to avoid saying that it packs a punch because that would be cornball but then again, so is the humor that courses throughout the game.

Taking all the best elements of the series, Tekken 5 is kind of like the "best of" but it's not just rehash. It continues to redefine the series with new features while maintaining the elements that have proven universal appeal. Even though the series continues to evolve it will still be comfortable for loyal fans.

There are so many positive aspects to this game that I don't think I can cover them all in detail within this relatively short review. I don't want to bore the average reader that just wants a truncated overview but suffice to say that this game is virtually without flaws. From the graphics to the gameplay mechanics everything runs smoothly and precisely like a Swiss-made clock. The controls are tight, the animation is fluid and the gameplay is extremely varied for a fighting game. It's a winner.

I should mention that an online mode is not included. It's too bad because this style of game would really benefit from one since you actually fight virtual opponents from around the world. However, the CPU is very intelligent and will satisfy even the most ardent of gamers. There's no substitute for battling a worthy human opponent but the AI is the next best thing. At least there is a two-player mode, but that's pretty much a given at this point in the series.

The variety of gameplay features comes in the form of modes such as training, time trials, two-player and story. Each character also has different fighting techniques and personalities. The story mode gives each character dimension as we learn more about their background and motivation. There is different theme music for each of them and they all have dialog which is spoken in their native tongue. The characters really come to life here. There's a healthy dose of humor that lightens the mood and helps to make them more realistic and enduring. They don't come across as B-list superheroes spouting off cheesy statements.

The more powerful the opponent, the more money you will earn to unlock a plethora of goodies from wardrobe accessories to new characters and mini-games. There are 24 characters, the overwhelming majority of them are from past games. There are three new fighters, Asuka Kazama, Feng Wei, and Raven. They are a welcome addition and fit right into the Tekken stable of fighters. All of the characters are well balanced and the speed of attacks has been increased.

Floors and walls are destructible. The damage that you do to the environment can change the strategy of a bout. Obstructions can be used to hide behind and block some of your opponent's attacks. By breaking down walls you can force your opponent out in the open but you also have to watch out for those holes that you put in the floor as they can trip you up. The use of multi-level environments has become a staple in the Tekken series and can be put to good use since it's also been included in this version. You can jump up out of the way of attacks or jump down on your opponent's head with a more jarring impact.

Jin Kazama is the star of the mini-game. It's an action adventure segment called Devil Within that sees Jin battling hordes of robots. If you complete it you will unlock Devil Jin. It's a lot of fun and you can unlock a few bonus items. The control scheme is different than the one used for fighting so it will provide a bit of a challenge.

Without a doubt the best bonus of Tekken 5 is the inclusion of the emulated versions of the first three Tekken arcade games. They are so close to the original versions that I can hardly detect and differences. This dramatically increases the market for Tekken 5 since beginners can get into the series right at the start. Add to that the training mode and there's no reason for anyone not to purchase this game. Just having Tekken 1, 2 and 3 available in one package is worth the price of admission.

Tekken was never concerned with graphic realism, opting instead for a comic book style of hand drawn art. The graphics have never looked better. They are bright, rich and detailed. Facial expressions and the fluid animation help to bring the characters in the Tekken universe to life. There can be no doubt that the Tekken series has its own signature look and style. Tekken 5 preserves it but enhances it. If you have HDTV you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Even if you don't you'll still be able to appreciate the fact that this is one of the better looking PS2 games on the market.

Loaded with action, options, variety, unlockables and replay value, Tekken 5 is a must-have for any discriminating PS2 owner.

Preview By Grayson

While Tekken 3 made gamers stand up and take notice of Namco's then powerhouse fighter for the PSone, Tekken 4 made them yawn. Namco isn't about to make the same mistake twice.

The development team that brought you the insanely wonderful Soul Calibur II is readying to bring the King of Iron Fist Tournament to your door in February 2005.

Gamers can expect new characters (Raven, Feng, and Asuka), old favorites, new moves, costumes, modes and if the screenshots don't speak for themselves, unprecented visuals along the lines of the aforementioned SC2. While unconfirmed at this time, I have been told that gamers can expect a fleshed out quest mode which will give single players a reason to keep coming back.

I've been told that we're expecting a playable preview copy any day now, so we'll refrain from filling this preview with conjecture, rumor and myth. Stay tuned for more details.

Features:

  • Over-the-top fighting action.
  • Beautifully rendered environments with destructible objects.
  • Several new characters join your old favorites from throughout the Tekken series.
  • A completely new graphics engine means more stunning visual effects and lush environments than ever before!
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System: PS2
Dev: Namco
Pub: Namco
Released: Feb 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Fenix
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
4.5