The most recent outing from Namco Bandai's martial arts fighting's camp is the updated version of Tekken 5 which was originally released in the arcades and on the PS2, then as Tekken 5: DR on the PSP. Namco then decided it was a good idea to re-release the aforementioned game on the PS3 as a downloadable title, updated accordingly for Sony's next-gen system. Was it worth Namco's efforts and the playing time? Read on to find out.
Tekken 5:DR is the latest entry in the long-established fighting franchise that until recently had been an exclusive mainstay on Sony's Playstation format. A revised version of Tekken 5 with 3 additional characters added to the mix as well as new stages and greater customisation options, upon release Tekken 5:DR has a lot to offer for the reasonable price you pay to download it.
Graphically, Tekken 5:DR has been updated with hi-res quality visuals and although it may not look as good as its other PS3 counterparts it still looks solid and Namco's design choices are more or less sound. Characters have distinct designs which are highly detailed and they also have plenty of facial detail too with perfect lip-syncing as well. The arenas you fight in are interesting too with plenty to see and are either lively or memorable (the field of flowers and the roof of the bowling alley spring to mind.) All in all Namco has done a sterling job graphically which is to be expected of the team that dealt with previous Tekkens and Soul Calibur. Not to fixate on how pretty the game looks, let's move onto the meat and potatoes of the review, that of the gameplay.
Having been around for 12 years, it goes without saying that the battle system in Tekken has gone through some changes with each installment. Tekken 5:DR is mostly an evolution of the system established in Tekken 3, minus the position change system of Tekken 4. This works out to be a very satisfying system to play around with as you have your typical 2 punches, 2 kicks, special moves, power moves and throws to toy around with. There is also the opportunity for performing juggle combos as well which if mastered can be quite damaging but never to the point where the other opponent would just give up.
Granted it would be unreasonable to expect a beginner to give a seasoned player a challenge but the good thing is that it can be played from either level of expertise, each deriving their own pleasure from getting the most out of their fights. Not many fighting games can strike the balance between satisfying so many different levels of play but Tekken 5:DR can sit at the top for managing this achievement.
Tekken 5:DR is not only good for its gameplay alone. Namco have incorporated a really great online feature with this release, allowing players to play each other from around the world. You can either play one-on-one or join a room to have matches like an arcade where you can play opponents whilst others comment on your ability and you view their's when they are playing too. It's a great way to play many different opponents and you can even customise your search criteria so that you can fight people of your own skill level. It increases the longevity of the game as like any great fighting game its strength lies in playing human opponents over A.I-controlled ones and allows you to test new and advanced tactics on challenging opponents.
Players can also download ghosts from PSN of high-level players in the efforts of playing against challenging opponents, learning their playing styles and how to combat them. It proves to be a useful training tool in addition to having the regular practice mode that will even show you how to perform certain moves and combos (which is more for the seasoned Tekken player to use but useful never the less.) The game also includes a survival mode that allows you to rise through different ranks, giving you something to aim for as well as being able to fight players of similar ranking online. It all contributes to the game's replay value.
Originally introduced in Tekken 5, the customisation options in Tekken 5:DR have been increased allowing you to customise characters and change costume colours more than ever before. Again it adds replay value to the game, having you accrue the game's currency to buy different clothing items and accessories for the different characters. You can create some interesting outfits and in a way make alternate costumes for the characters. It is a shame that there was not as deep a costume customisation option as there was in Soul Calibur 4 but given the cost of the game it is understandable that Namco essentially have put out a HD-updated Tekken with online play.
Minor criticisms aside, Namco have done a quality job on updating one of their established franchises, making it playable online and at the price charged is a very reasonable fee for a decent fighter that accommodates beginners and experienced players alike. Recommended to anyone who would like to become The King of Iron Fist Tournament!