Friday, February 16


Namco finally shows off its Big Gun.

After mucking about and giving its last installment a Dark Resurrection, Namco-Bandai's Tekken series finally moves on to a REAL sequel. The first time we saw signs of the sixth King of Iron Fist Tournament, it was just a CG 'concept' teaser. The second was an underwhelming trailer with graphics that really didn't impress at all (especially when placed side by side with graphics from competition like Virtua Fighter 5). But now, in a late-breaking development, Tekken 6 has finally reared it's not-at-all-ugly head from development mirk, to show up online in the form of a nifty official website, showing off two brand new characters, some screens and a slick trailer.

Hey! It's Vaan from Final Fantasy XII!

At first glance, Tekken 6 looks really slick, but once you give the trailer a closer look, some things are apparent. For starters, there are CG pre-rendered images along with the actual gameplay stuff. While the actual in-game character models are improved a bit from Tekken 5- mainly by being more rounded and smooth, and sporting lots of nice detail particularly with clothing- it's not a big departure from the last Tekken. There's that bit of 'plasticky skin' syndrome, as well as the usual lifeless eyes.
In short, it's better than before, but actually still inferior to the character models in the competition, AKA Virtua Fighter 5. I think it's mainly a bit of the details of character sculpting- faces are kinda iffy, and even females have HUGE hands. Perhaps it's the 'Tekken-ish' style of being a bit cartoony, still at work. Basically, it's still Tekken, for better or worse. As for animations, that is still up in the air. I hope that Namco went the extra mile and re-did their animations instead of recycling the same movements they've been using since Tekken Tag Tournamnet. We'll just have to see how this pans out when more gameplay footage is revealed.

Zafina brings her slinky fighting style to the table.

As for the new characters so far revealed- Leo looks like he just stepped off the Final Fantasy boat, with his blonde hair and effeminate looks. His overall look brings to mind Rock Howard from Fatal Fury; he definitely has this 'lone hero' feel- is he a new main character? As for fighting style, it's some kind of karate, not unlike Jin's. Probably the most intriguing thing about Leo though is... is he really a SHE? There's a growing suspicion among gamers that Leo just might be a girl in disguise. If so, this is probably a first in fighting games...
The second new face, Zafina, is a sexy female who sports predictably little clothing and, like Lili before her, a fighting style that's about as authentic and probable as Using the Force. She seems to slither, curling up in impossible twists and having some dangerous-looking special effects accompanying some of her major blows (though this may be shared by all the characters). Still, I can't complain about her looks. You can never have enough hot Tekken babes. Never. Heh.

Tekken 6 will supposedly feature the biggest character roster in the series, so Leo and Zafina won't be the last new fighters we'll see. Another feature is Character Customization, which will allow you to totally alter your character's look- the trailer shows Asuka transforming into a wild, punk ninja hybrid, while Gun Jack is seen with various parts that make him look like a humanoid tank. Hopefully Namco will take a page from Sega's book for some really cool and sexy custom characters. As for the actual fighting, I wasn't able to see much to judge whether Namco just recycled their animations again or if things are totally new. We'll just have to wait and see, but I'll just say that I'm hopeful. And I'll also say I want to see Soul Calibur IV too.

The website says that Tekken 6 will be out '2007', so we can only hope that Namco doesn't take too long to bring out this much-awaited new brawler. Let's see if it holds a candle to the reigning PS3 fighting champ. Round two in the battle of next-gen fighting juggernauts has begun.

To see what the next-gen of Tekken looks like, go to The Official Tekken 6 Website.

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