There’s no stopping a good thing, and Namco is onto a good thing with Tekken 6. The long-running beat-’em-up franchise is arguably the only fighting game series other than Street Fighter to be guaranteed to shift copies - it’s insanely popular with legions of supporters.
So how does Namco aim to satisfy the army of fans that want old-school Iron Fist Tournament action as well as draw in a crowd that demands something more from a 2009 game? The answer is to add in co-op. Settle down - on the surface this looks like Namco bowing to market pressures that demand co-op play in everything these days, but really, box-ticking isn’t new to the series.
Namco has always included quirky value-added minigames and alternate modes into its console Tekkens - co-op was included in Tekken 3 in the form of Force Mode. Like that golden oldie, the new Tekken 6 Scenario Campaign mode is essentially a scrolling beat-‘em-up – you move in and out and along the screen, brawling with martial arts goons, gunmen, and giant mechs. It’s old-school arcade nonsense melded to the slick combo system Tekken is famed for.
It’s a hybrid of classic Tekken and more recent melee action games like Devil May Cry of God of War. It’s never as expansive as those two classics, but you get the idea. What’s interesting is you’re free to move around the screen and push the action on, but there’s a ‘soft lock-on’ that occurs when an enemy is met, at which point the action moves into typical Tekken gameplay, using the combos and strategies mastered in Arcade and Versus modes to good effect.
What separates Scenario Campaign from your bog-standard add-on mode is that Namco has put great effort into filling out the levels with cool characters, a variety of stories for each character, and some crazy enemy types usually reserved for those glossy opening CG movies Tekken has become famed for. There are huge screen-engulfing mechs to tackle (and ride) as well as cool weapons and items including rocket launchers, chainguns and flamethrowers.