Tekken 6

The core gameplay remains the same, though each character has been through the refinement process with Namco’s fighting team tweaking and revising each fighter’s move set or application of a move. Some combos do less damage now, for example, but are easier and quicker to pull-off. It means that old fans will grab the essentials again, but find new ways to use each character, while newcomers won’t feel like they’re starting too far behind the pack. Everyone who picks up Tekken 6 will have their own individual learning curve to master.

Mastering a new slew of colourful characters adds to the challenge. The rotund Bob is fast becoming an office favourite. Fat Bob, as he’s affectionately known, is a deceptive character. He’s, well, a fat bloke with incredible martial arts powers of violence, but he’s also quite quick on his feet and has some combos that can unsettle even the best players – like Wang’s drunken master of old.

The arenas are more expansive than in past Tekken games too, with multi-tiered sections meaning you can now bash opponents through floors and walls into alternate areas of the stage. It’s not a new idea - Tecmo’s Dead or Alive series and even Mortal Kombat have been refining the concept for years - but it adds a little spark to the fights as you try to work out where and how to activate the new stage.

There’s a new Rage meter that will give you a way out of certain defeat. Effectively, this is the same kind of game breaker bar that SNK titles have been using for many years. When down to a small percentage of energy, you can activate Rage mode, where your character glows red and you have the chance to turn the tables with more powerful attacks - although you’re still effectively one hit away from defeat. In Tekken this is bordering on being dangerously cheap, as the series is notorious for extensive linked combos, meaning if you get one hit in during Rage mode you can effectively finish off an opponent in one go.

Another new feature enables you to ‘bounce’ opponents off any surface, so this combined with a ‘locked in’ combo sequence and Rage ensures that you can defeat an opponent in a single move. It’s something Namco is looking to tinker with before the game’s October release. Tekken 6 could steal the 3D fighting crown – its new Scenario Campaign mode is great fun and the wealth of characters, customisation and weird items are welcome. If Rage mode doesn’t ruin the game, it could be loads of fun.

Jul 23, 2009