It has felt a little weird playing Tekken back on a console again. The last version I touched was the 3rd instalment back in the day, since then only touching the arcade versions. Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, based off of the 2 year old arcade version of Tekken 6, still has that same old Tekken feeling. Hard hitting battles and an ever growing selection of ridiculous characters to choose from, you’d think the game was losing its charm by now. There isn’t something quite right about this version though, let me tell you about it.
It’s called Scenario mode – A brawler style campaign. This is where you run around as your chosen fighter and defeat waves of repetitive enemies, collect up chickens, and beat up boss characters. As you progress through the levels you unlock new items to equip and customise your fighters as well as upgrade their levels and gain money to purchase upgrades. The customisation is quite elaborate, not only with the sheer amount of clothes you can obtain but also hair styles and colours as well. You can tweak your character to look completely different, which is something always welcome. Items worn can also have effects in scenario mode such as influencing drops or health, so it is worth delving into the customisation menu from time to time.
Each level feels extremely repetitive and the camera is quite finicky, especially if you want to turn back and destroy some crates you might have missed out on. Along with the camera, you have to work out which target you are locking onto, and it does take a good couple of seconds for the lock to unlock and switch after the target has been terminated. Fighting feels like a real chore in this mode and most of the time you end up using some simple punch, punch, kick combos to take out the majority of the enemies. This just becomes even more of a frustration, during the odd boss battle, when not only are you taking on a boss in hand-to-hand combat, you are also taking on several of their lackeys who wish to attack you at the same time making the whole process a little frustrating if the game wants to reward you on creating combos.
You don’t head in alone however. The mode allows you to be accompanied by an AI partner, usually Alisa, the freakishly beautiful robot with chainsaw arms. Levelling her up along with you increases her fighting competence and in result makes your AI partner a lot more useful when it comes to larger battles. This does mean that near the start she is absolutely useless, keeping an eye on her is pretty vital during the first few stages. Luckily you can revive her at least once if you have a medikit available.
There is the usual overly dramatic, cliché and equally as ridiculous story as with all the Tekken franchise. The in-game cut scenes use your character, but the pre-rendered ones use Lars Alexanderson as the main protagonist for the scenario mode. You follow him and his rebel army into a lab, and after some complications, you suddenly lose your memory and thus begin your journey with Alisa. The cut scenes are quite long and the voice acting is mixed up, for example, Japanese characters speak in Japanese while English characters speak in their native language. It is quite a clever concept, but I am totally bewildered when two foreign characters start chatting to each other in their retrospective language and understand each other with no issue whatsoever.
Let us get back to the bare bones of Tekken, the fighter. You have a variety of fighting modes to enjoy. The online mode offers Ranked and Player matches, as you’d expect, as well as data downloading and uploading of player matches. This is probably the most interesting aspect of Tekken, downloading ‘ghost’ data of online players as well as watching their matches. The download was extremely quick and the playback seems to be read from button input, which means you are not downloading movie files to your console. Downloading a player’s ghost data means you can fight them in the ghost mode offline, something worth doing if you can’t get in touch with the best players.
Playing a patched version of the game, I expected the online mode and latency issues to have been fixed. To a degree they have, out of the twenty or so matches I played online, only three of them had serious lag issues and one connection drop. The ranking suits you with people of near or equal skill, meaning you are not being thrown in the deep end straight away. You are also required to choose your character prior to heading into matchmaking, meaning none of that annoying waiting around to see who has picked who, which was a major flaw in Soul Calibur 4. You also level up your character during the online matches, giving you something to accomplish as you duke it out online. Overall, the online feels at least solid, just not perfect.
Offline wise is the same old Arcade, VS, Practice, Team Battle, Survival Mode and Time Attack. Ghost mode allows you to fight against random ghost characters as well as those you have downloaded from the leaderboard. The arcade mode runs just like any fighter would, but if you found Seth from Street Fighter 4 quite annoying then you’ll certainly not enjoy the perils of Tekken 6’s Azazel. Even on an easier difficulty I struggled to overcome the beast in one go. The fight felt very unfair, with the teleporting, eye lazers and sweep attacks frustrating the hell out of me, and from what has been said online a lot of people agree.
Add the gallery mode, where you can replay matches, opening and ending movies as well as check out various statistics you have built up. Tekken 6 feels certainly more capable than some other fighters on the market. There is a huge character roster to choose from as well, meaning there is certainly someone to suit you.
The games high glossy visuals and insane style, including some crazy arenas to choose from, makes it a promising fighter to check out. It’s certainly different from Street Fighter, but that is never a bad thing. It is great that Namco tried to do something different with the scenario mode, but it is just a shame it doesn’t feel right in the game. Tekken is fun, nothing can take that away. Heavy looking characters and hard hitting battles are what Tekken fans are looking for, and this is certainly what the game delivers, it just doesn’t seem to have that sparkle this time around.