Wednesday, March 2


Namco saves the best for last.

Got Tekken 5 for the PS2 a couple of days ago, and it's pretty awesome. I've also played the arcade version, and all I can say is that the conversion is spot on. Graphically, it's almost identical- save for stuff that only a hardcore Tekkenhead would miss. As for gameplay, it's tight and pretty cool... it takes off the unwelcome additions made in the unpopular Tekken 4, giving it a bit of the old school feel from the better past games.
Anyway, the gang's back, including some oldies like Wang Jinrei and Bruce Irvin, and the offspring of the original Roger the Kangaroo. There are three totally new competitors; power-hungry, amoral kung fu badass Feng Wei resembles an oriental Paul Pheonix with his hard, brutal hits, while ninja superspy Raven enters the fray with his deceptive moves. Finally, teen dream Asuka Kazama is the spiritual successor of Tekken 2's Jun Kazama, with her graceful moves and counters.

The PS2 version gives the customary home extras, but revs up the juice with stuff like the arcade versions of the first three Tekkens, playable in the disc in the game's Arcade History mode.
Playing through Story Mode is now a lot cooler thanks to new and improved voice acting for all the characters- Namco did a great job, and the characters sound great, some even speaking in their native languages. It helps a lot that the Story mode has some nice extra scenes along with the opening narration and ending CG... you CAN actually make heads and tails of what's going on... though often what's going in is pretty crazy.
The best part of the Story Mode is of course the CG endings, of which every character has one. Despite the serious storyline shown in the Opening CG, any of the endings are pretty funny... if not downright comedic. My only gripe is one ending- which shows off a couple of the Tekken MEN in skimpy skimpy thongs(!). Now, Namco has resisted putting their babes in bikinis... but WHY oh WHY do they have no compunctions in putting Heihachi in a thong? EH? Gah, my eyes.

Aside from all the fighting, there's an action side-game starring Jin Kazama called The Devil Within. where you guide Jin through various corridors, fighting guards and the occasional boss. It's pretty repetitive and kinda boring, but worth a shot for some extra goodies.
Another great new thing is the ability to accessorize your characters and buy new colors and stuff for your fighters with money you earn in the various modes. It's a page borrowed from Virtua Fighter, though hopefully in the future they'll add more stuff and more costumes (take a hint from Dead or Alive too, Namco).

Aside from a few little nitpicks and the inclusion of a totally cheesy and cheap end boss, Tekken 5 PS2 is the BOMB. It's loads of fun and totally cool. A great way to cap the PS2 with perhaps the last and best fighting game on the console. A MUST-buy for any gamer. Get. NOW!

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