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Tekken 5

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It’s been a whole decade since Namco released the first of many Tekken’s. Having success solely on the PlayStation and PlayStation2, Namco are now into their fifth iteration of their ever-growing Tekken franchise. Director of Namco Ltd. told the gaming world, “Tekken 5 will propel gamers of all ages to the next level in the fighting genre,” and coincidentally, it’s true. Tekken 5 has propelled Gamestyle to the next level.

There’s always a reason behind the King of Iron Fist Tournament’s, and there’s no exception this time around. The opening sequence of the game shows Kazuya and Jin fighting, before Heihachi turns his back on the defeated Kazuya. Challenging Jin after this, Heihachi and Jin team up to take on the brutal Jaks that have attacked Mishima Zaibatsu, until Jin murders Heihachi by throwing him into the Jacks; the camera moves over to the distance to show the new character confirming Heihachi’s death. Spreading around the world like wildfire, the battleground for the next King of Iron Fist Tournament is announced, it will be hosted on the grounds in which Heihachi perished, Mishima Zaibatsu.

Tekken has had some of the most famous characters to date in the fighting genre, and Namco have treated us all with over 30 characters; 20 of which are unlocked as default. Characters will range from those in the older games to new characters, and each of them have a particular reason for entering the tournament; some for some financial reassurance, others to prove to the world that they are the best, in the world.

Each of the characters has a story to tell, so there’s a lot of playability in the ‘Story Mode’ alone. Each character must fight approximately 10 stages with cut-scenes every 2 to 3 stages, telling the characters story. Some of the characters make a welcome return such as Jin, Nina and King; plus, there are many more. A debut is to be made by Raven, a ‘Blade’ look alike as he has been described, and he is a default character, so you can play as him from the start.

The character models have had a total makeover. From those that were criticised in Tekken 4, Tekken 5 has had a complete makeover, with a new graphics engine, and the ‘endorphin’ Dynamic Motion Synthesis software that has been implemented for the cut-scenes has made it a hit with us; making it a visually stunning game, one of the best to hit the PlayStation2.

Along with the character models, Namco have enhanced the locations in which the fights take place, from the icy surfaces run by penguins in the Antarctic, to the fierce blazing temple, Namco has yet again taken gamers on a ‘round the world trip’. As much as there feels as if there’s lots of locations, there is infact only 13; not a lot we know, but there really does feel as if there’s more.

One thing Tekken has struggled with is the longevity the game has had. Continuously fighting, Namco have added a new Customisation mode in which characters can now be customised, but characters cannot be customised for free. To earn credits, it’s up to you to battle through the other modes that are available to you, Survival and Time-Trial to name two. The customisation is huge. Characters can be customised all the way, from their tops to their socks, right down to the ‘extra-bits’ they wear such as sunglasses.

Having already upped the longevity by adding a customisation mode, Namco have now added a Tekken History Mode. Tekken History Mode allows gamers to go back to the roots of the series and play through Tekken, Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 all over again! It certainly does bring back the fond memories that Gamestyle had back in the day. Although there has been no improvements to the graphics, the fun factor is still there, and it seems that the Tekken series has never lost its touch in the gameplay department. Having these additional modes, Namco couldn’t have put another mode in … could they? Yep, they did! Namco has included a side-story to the main story of Jin, ‘Devil Within’. The story focus’ on Jin after he threw Heihachi into the bunch of deadly Jacks, coming in as a third-person action adventure title, which has simply been rushed as there’s several issues, namely the camera.

All graphics and gameplay aside, Tekken is not renowned for its sound, but the themes that are played during each of the levels become more and more memorable as you play them. A nice feeling; especially as you’re handing your opponents heart on a plate to him. The effects are still there of the characters. The pain felt when you kick your opponent in the face; or you’re on the receiving end, Namco has still got these little touches perfected.

All negativity aside (yes, the Devil Within mode), Tekken 5 has surpassed many fighters out there, and comes highly recommended by Gamestyle. While it’s not the best fighter ever, Tekken 5 is truly something special. It has the style, sound and longevity you want from a fighting game. The Director of Namco Ltd. should be dancing around the fire-lit temples in which the designers designed, as Namco have certainly propelled Tekken 5 to the next level. A must own for Tekken fans, fans of the fighting genre, and “newbs” to the genre.