Tekken 5 (PS2) Review

by Mark Julio aka MarkMan

Publisher: Namco Hometek
Developer: Namco Ltd.
Players: 1-2
Rating: Teen(Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol & Tobacco, Violence)
MSRP: $49.99

Memory Card(for PS2): 57KB
Features & Compatibility:Digital Control, Analog Control, Vibration Function

A Decade of Dominance.

Ten years after the first Tekken redefined the console fighting scene, the legendary King of Iron Fist Tournament returns to dominate the genre all over again. Prepare for the deepest, most relentless fighting action ever. Because in the space between opposing fighters, there’s no room for mercy.

Classic Tekken brawlers from every discipline square off with newcomers Asuka Kazama, Raven, and Feng Wei.

Earn fight money and customize your character with hundrers of caps, shades, alternate costumes and secret items.

A completely rebuilt graphics engine delivers the most exquisite visuals to Playstation 2 3D fighting fans.

Reveal the unholy origins of the Mishima curse in the bonus action side story, Tekken: Devil Within.

The storyline continues as such…

After the conclusion of The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4, an intense battle between father and son, Kazuya and Jin, took place at Honmaru in the Mishima Zaibatsu headquarters. Jin emerged as the victor and Heihachi turned his back on Kazuya.

“What a pathetic wretch… Worthless coward!”

The battle between Heihachi and Jin began. Filled with anger, his black wings spread, Jin defeated Heihachi. Just as Heihachi thought he was doomed, Jin regained control of himself.

“You have my mother, Jun Kazama, to thank for your life.” Jin said as he took flight.

The sounds of battle gave way to silence as Heihachi lay spread out on the ground. The silence was soon interrupted by approaching aircraft.
The roar of the aircraft increased and the sound of something being ejected was heard. A group of Jacks crashed through the ceiling. At first, Heihachi suspected that Kazuya was responsible for the intrusion but realized that Kazuya was just as bewildered by the sudden attack.

“Why are you here?” yells Heihachi as the wave of Jacks approaches. Heihachi and Kazuya battle waves of Jacks but reinforcements appear as fast as the Jacks are destroyed.

Heihachi starts to lose his breath. Kazuya betrays Heihachi, throwing him into the middle of the army of Jacks, and uses the opportunity to escape from Honmaru. Shortly after, Honmaru is devastated by a huge explosion.

Close by, the battle is watched by a man dressed in black. He raises his hand to his ear and speaks into his radio.

“Heihachi Mishima is dead…”

At that moment, a Jack attacks from behind but it cut in half instantly as the man disappears.

Honmaru is completely destroyed, a raging inferno in it’s place. A pile of debris was blown apart as something emerged from the earth, unseen.

The next day, news of Heihachi Mishima’s death spread rapidly across the globe. Most people believed that Heihachi’s death would bring about the end of the Mishima Zaibatsu, but behind the scenes someone else had taken control, and business went on as usual.

A month later, it was announced that the Mishima Zaibatsu will hold the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve been a Tekken fan since the first game… starting at about Tekken 3, I took my game to the next level and actually really started learning the game. Getting into all of it’s depth and hidden meaning. I started playing at high level play in tournaments with National calibur skills. There is a big difference of views from that of the casual gamer and that of a hardcore Tekken fan. That being said, some parts of this review may be a little different from whats already been reviewd on other sites… but who needs other sites when you got VGO? :)

First and foremost, Tekken 5 is the 10th anniversary game of the Tekken series. The developers really wanted to reach out to fans of the whole series and cater to their wants. Thankfully the character selection includes just about every fighting style/character style that we’ve seen in previous Arcade Tekken games. There are 30 unique playable characters, some old, some new, with crazy new moves and new looks… Tekken has never been better. Among the characters lineup are:

Craig Marduk
Marshall Law
King the 2nd
Asuka Kazama
Feng Wei
Christie Monteiro
Paul Phoenix
Lei Wulong
Nina Williams
Steve Fox
Kazuya Mishima
Ling Xiaoyu
Jin Kazama
Lee Chaolan
Julia Chang
Bryan Fury
Roger Jr.
Anna Williams
Baek Doo San
Devil Jin
Wang Jinrei
Bruce Irvin
Heihachi Mishima
Panda(Alternate Costume)
Eddy Gordo(Alternate Costume)

Tekken 5 at it’s core, is very similar to previous Tekkens… that being said, it’s not a revolutionary change from Tekken 4(gameplay/system wise). Compared to Tekken 4, T5 is much more fast paced and the damage in the game has been turned up a notch. The wall system has changed significantly. There is no more wall tech(quick roll off the wall to avoid wall stun followups), instead Namco got rid of the wall tech and only let the player quick roll when they hit the floor. Leading to some big damage for everyone.

Another thing that has changed is the sidestep/sidewalk system. In Tekken 4 you could perform a sidewalk by holding up or down on the directional control, more like the Soul Calibur run system, but only up and down. In Tekken 5 it has reverted back to the classic sidestep system of either tapping up or down. Sidewalk is not gone altogether though, you can still sidewalk by tapping up twice then holding up or down to go the other direction.

Namco also focused on the “crush” system while building the game. Basically it’s a clearer and more strict system of rock paper scissors. High, mid, and low. High moves will always get beat by low moves. Jumping moves will beat out low moves. Mid moves can not be crushed. For example. If Steve jabs and Law does a low kick. The low kick will win. Simple as that. It works together for the most part, but the game has it’s exceptions, which you eventually find out the deeper you get with the game.

The game engine is based on the arcade system 256 hardware, which is basically a pumped up PS2 that processes 33% faster. And since not everyone has a 33% faster PS2 Namco had to make few graphical sacrifices to port it to the good old PS2. The result? One of the best looking titles for the PS2 this year. The graphics engine is beautiful and while you may not be able to tell off hand that it looks that much better than Soul Calibur II and Tekken 4… try a side by side comparison and you’ll see the huge leap Namco has made graphically.

The in game cut scenes found in story mode are done in real time. It’s a great change of pace from previous games and adds a dramatic flair and draws you in more to the actual story that surrounds the fights going on. The FMV seen in the intro movie and the ending sequences are all CG rendered and some of the best and longest endings seen in any game. Namco always delivers on the FMV, this Tekken is no exception. You would think with the arcade release being so close to console that the game would be rushed, but it is VERY well done. You can’t notice any differences really at first glance.

Each character has their own distinct voice and most characters even speak their native language. The music is classic and makes you get into the fight.

One of the most innovative thing about Tekken 5 is the ‘borrowed’ customization system which is simliar to the added items for your character like in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution. The customization system in Tekken 5 has it’s own flair and style that really makes it stand out from current fighting games on the market. You earn “G” by playing through a number of modes… with those “G” you can purchase new colors/costumes/items for your characters and use your custom character when battling with your buddies. The concept is simple, but it’s fun to play dress up. Especially if you’re beating down your friends with a bright pink Kuma wearing a unicycle on his back.

Story Battle – Fight your way through different stories depending on the character you choose.

Arcade – Battle against the CPU or a friend in a one or two-player game.

Time Attack – Defeat computer-controlled opponents in the fastest possible time.

VS Battle – In this two-player mode, you can set handicap values to give the weaker player an advantage.

Team Battle – This is a one or two-player mode. Create a fighting team of up to eight characters.

Survival – Defeat as many opponents as you can. When your health meter runs out, the game is over.

Practice – Play as any character you want and practice his or her fighting style.

Tekken: Devil Within – Play as Jin Kazama in a 3D action-adventure game.

Arcade History – Play the arcade version of the early Tekken series.

Theater – View movies or listen to the game’s background music.

Customize – Change the player name or equip characters with customized items.

Options – Change game settings, adjust the display, access the memory card (8MB) (for PlayStation 2) or view records.

I’ve been waiting a LONG time for Tekken 5. I’ve been an avid fan of the series since the first game. Let me tell you this as one Tekken player to another… This is by far the best Tekken release ever. At it’s core it’s a fighting game, but now there’s just so much more to do with it. Awesome graphics, sound, and music… all the game modes you expect from a Tekken game. Add in customization, gorgeous endings, and whole new mini game(Devil Within)… what else!? Tekken 1, 2, AND 3 included on the same disc.

The fun doesn’t end here folks. If you are lucky enough to get the collector’s edition of Tekken 5 which includes a Tekken 5 Arcade stick, consider yourself in good hands. The T5 arcade stick made by Hori is one of the best fighting game sticks on the market, no contest. Modeled after it’s Japanese counterpart, the Hori Real Arcade Pro… it uses an almost identical design, minus the auto fire/turbo buttons… The only other major difference is the actual stick is made by Hori and not an actual Sanwa stick like in the arcade and the buttons are made by Hori as well. Investing in this bundle will be well worth it though. A high quality Tekken stick, a collector’s edition DVD case to house all your other Tekken games, and of course the coveted game, Tekken 5.

If that’s not enough Tekken for you, pick up the BradyGames Tekken 5 Official Strategy Guide, written by Joey Cuellar and Adam Deats. This guide features in depth strategies(wall game/both good and bad character match ups) for each character as well as a list of secrets and unlockables within the game. Also in the guide, a complete move list, tournament level combos, top ten moves for each character and more. Not your ordinary fighting game guide, this one is a must for those trying to learn the game.

Tekken 5 is already my game of the year. Get it NOW!

Originally reviewed on VGO Network in Feb. 2005

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