Tekken is an exclusive country club. Similar to other fighting games, Tekken has an audience that understands and expects more of what made them join the club in the first place. Tekken 6 isn’t an open invitation to newcomers; it’s another incredible complimentary buffet for its members.
Understanding what makes Tekken different from other fighting games comes with time. Getting the timing right for a juggle and memorizing combo chains for a stronger defense aren’t found in a Tekken 6 tutorial. Tekken’s slow-paced, methodical battles start making sense after hours and hours of practice; don’t expect any pampering from this game. Tekken isn’t reinventing itself or grasping for a new audience (as Street Fighter 4 tried so hard to do before). Tekken 6 knows what it is and doesn’t hide it. That deserves a fist pump.
Namco Bandai apparently doesn’t care what people’s expectations are for a portable game. From its ridiculously large character roster to pleasing aesthetic, there’s no reason to give a pass to Tekken 6 for being on the PSP. This game stands on its own.
However, with no online infrastructure battles (only ad-hoc here), the members-only attitude is reaffirmed. Without a local group of friends, newcomers are left alone to learn alongside computer opponents - opponents that are easily toppled over one moment while being frustratingly difficult the next.
Character customization has lost some of its zeal as well. Without online fighting there isn’t an audience for your silly or impressive costumes. There is self-appreciation in crafting a character that is all your own, but without the chance to jump online and find a knight in hot pink armor fighting off a user-crafted Gandhi flailing a baguette, it’s not quite as rewarding.
Tekken 6 isn’t an open invitation to join the country club. The requirements for admittance are the same as ever; practice, practice and practice. Tekken hasn’t changed much here, but it keeps building upon a strong, rewarding foundation.
Nov 30, 2009