Tekken 5 PS2 Review

It has been ten years since Tekken was first released and wowed the “just born” Playstation audience. It was one of the titles the Playstation brand was founded upon, with Gran Turismo, Wipeout, Tomb Raider and Ridge Racer being the others. Throughout the years some of these games got better with age, as each incarnation of them passed by. Others have taken a very long fall from grace (sorry Lara). Tekken has had quite the bumpy ride over the past ten years with the series hitting its peak at number three and taking a few steps back at number four. Will the landmark series return once again to revolutionize console fighting? Welcome to the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5!

Gameplay

Hard hitting and fast fighting, if there ever were two trademarks of the Tekken brand then the above named would describe them perfectly. Every box, every suplex, every kick, and every throw looks and sounds brutal. The pace of the same has also taken a slight shift. To me it seems slower than Tekken 3 but faster than Tekken 5.

First off as with all fighting games the single player story mode will probably be your first port of call where you can hone your skills and unlock most of the game’s extra characters. This story mode is slightly more advanced than the ones that came before with a few extra cut-scenes during the course of your play as you fight through the eight or so matches. As with all Tekken games the fights are fast and furious with fights often ending long before the time limit is near expiring.

Arcade mode is where you will earn money to buy the items from character customization, which seems like it was ripped direct from Virtua fighter 4 (I can hear the VF fanboys a tearing Namco’s security walls down as we speak!). This mode sees you fighting through different AI controlled players as you visit a “real life arcade”. Each character you will fight has their own nickname and ranking, and winning means cash prizes! Cash equals more money to spend on items, which means more customizability for your character.

The magic of Tekken is that anyone who can pick up a control pad and know what the majority of the buttons do can play the game. It is nowhere near as intricate as the Virtua Fighter series but it never set out to be. It is a completely different beast with a different set of rules. Once someone learns a few of the basic moves, any fight can look rib-burstingly spectacular and with a few more moves learned each day they can move up to brain-bashingly awesome! The Tekken series has always tried to be accessible and Tekken 5 is the best example of user-friendliness in Tekken’s decade of destruction.

Graphics

Without a doubt, Tekken 5 is one of the finest looking games to ever grace a Playstation branded console. A lot of painstaking work must have went into the character models and environments to get them looking they way they do. There are many intricate details included that all add to the game feeling alive. All the characters are animated well, leading to beautiful flowing moves. As a result of this, the complex 10 button combos look better than ever (for those of you that can pull them off). The CG is as always up to Namco’s high standard with loads of stand out moments and a few jaw droppingly detailed scenes for some of the characters. The game also supports 16:9 and progressive scan to make all of the above look that much better

Sound

On the acoustic side of things, Tekken 5 delivers some of the best compositions and sound effects since Tekken 3 with an assortment of orchestra, techno and rock used throughout the game. There is a wide variety of tunes fitting each of the character’s style and persona very well. Each character ending is graced with their own special melody that flows well with the character style. Each thud, kick and box is paired with well implemented sound effects. Each character seems to have their own set with no two of them sounding alike; each of these all fit well with each character. Lastly, the voice acting for each character was of a surprisingly high quality. Each character is voiced extremely well, each one of them utter their dialogue before and after each match.

Lifespan

Tekken 5 brings back the popular cast of characters from the previous games including Jin, Kazuya, Martial Law, Paul Phoenix along with some recent ones such as like Steve Fox, Craig Marduk, and Christie Monteiro, and throws in three new faces for good measure, namely Asuka Kazama, Feng Wei, and Raven. You get a total of 20 characters to start off with, and about 10 which will be unlocked after many hours play. As always each character in Tekken 5 seems to have their own unique style. Not many moves are shared between characters. New comers will no doubt be overwhelmed by the amount of characters and moves available. Even Tekken veterans may be taken aback by having to learn a few more moves. Even if you have favourite characters from previous titles, there is no doubt you will want to learn one of the new character’s styles.

The new addition of purchasable clothing adds to the replayability, with loads of different combinations of clothing available for each character. Then there is the new mini-game for this incarnation, this feature has become a regular in Tekken games but usually they are never that good, however they can be fun in short bursts. Tekken 5’s mini game centres on Jin Kazama and is called ‘Devil Within’. It is an action/adventure style mini game in which Jin runs around kicking legions of robotic Jack ass. It is slightly better than Tekken 4’s Tekken Force but that not saying much is it?! There is a lot to do in Tekken 5, it could take at least 100+ hours to learn all the moves and unlock all the items and characters. If you have some Tekken loving friends, the game could literally last forever (or at least until Tekken 6).

Overall

Tekken 5 is a fantastic return to form for the Tekken brand. While it is not technically the best beat-em-up available on the PS2, it is certainly the most accessible and as a direct result of its accessibility, it results in being the most fun, surprising even those let down by that fourth incarnation that they don’t like to talk about! Oh! I nearly forgot,Tekken 5 also includes the first, second and third incarnation of the series which are emulated perfectly. So if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic (or too lazy to get your old disks out) everything is waiting for you in the one disk. This is a must buy for Tekken fans, and Namco will probably create a whole lot more new ones. Well done Namco this is how it should be done. You are back on form!

9.0 out of 10
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