Sunday, August 13

Pocket Fighter

I've been playing quite a bit of Tekken: Dark Resurrection on my spiffy new PSP... pretty inevitable since it's as yet my only game on my new toy. Anyway, the beauty of a fighting game is that you they have, basically, some of the best replayability of any game genre. Well, at least the good ones do. There have been crappy fighters that you would hate a minute after playing it the first time, and there have been shallow brawlers that you get tired of in a day or two. Tekken, particularly the latest Tekken (Tekken 5 and PSP's DR included) is thankfully among the best fighters around. The fighting system is rock-solid and challenging, with awesome attacks and fighting styles, a ton of characters to choose from and gobs and gobs of extras.
Tekken: Dark Resurrection is a port of the arcade-only (so far) upgrade to the PS2 Tekken 5; all the available characters from T5 are available off the bat with no unlocking needed. As I've mentioned before, there are two brand new fighters, each of which fits into the general theme of things quite well: mash-friendly dancing lolita Lili and touchy-feely commando Dragunov. Then there's Armor King, who was supposed to be dead but somehow back and piledriving everyone in sight... perhaps that's why this game was given the 'Dark Resurrection' subtitle.

The many videos available online don't really do the game justice in terms of eye candy. Tekken DR looks positively smashing on the PSP screen. The crisp, detailed character models emulate their arcade and PS2 counterparts almost exactly, save for slight simplifications. Overall, the detail can't be faulted- hands have individual fingers and up close, faces are perfectly rendered. Animation-wise, the fighting action moves at a perfect 60 frames per second- translation, smooth as silk fighting that's as fast as lightning.

More eye candy is to be had with a brand new intro CG movie and tons more cinematics to unlock and enjoy (though you've probably seen most of them if you've played the PS2 game to death), and there are tons of modes to play with. As with the PS2 and arcade games, you can purchase items and colors to modify and customize your characters' looks using money earned by playing the game. It's no Character Creation Mode, but it'll do for now (at least until Tekken 6 or Soul Calibur III gets ported to the PSP...).
Aside from the obvious, I've noticed the occasional new animation and little tweaks that are pretty cool. Thankfully, the end boss Jinpachi has been toned down, so now he's not as cheap as before (playing this at Hard difficulty)... which is probably to keep casual gamers from throwing their PSPs into orbit. Noticing these little details every now and then just makes this title all the sweeter.

As a fighting game, Tekken DR ranks right up there among the best of the best in the genre, which makes it's portability even more awesome. Now you can actually have streetfights ON THE STREET (well, make sure you're in a nice neighborhood first) or on the beach or on the road. The challenging gameplay, tons of characters to learn and master ensure that I'll be playing this for a long time to come. This is a MUST-HAVE title for any PSP owner and fighting game fan... get it while it's HOT.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work unlocking that nurse outfit for Nina...

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