So Tekken is back, casting aside the poor outing of the last instalment. For the hardcore Tekken fan there’s little here that you won’t like - Action, challenges and power-ups galore, but what about the rest of us?



From the outset, the premise, storyline and even options seem to be the same as they always are. You have the choice of playing story mode, arcade mode, survival and time attack.

Story mode attempts some kind of narrative although in keeping with the usual Tekken formula, this is in Japanese with subtitles. It’s the usual affair; two blokes fall out, one kills the other and then many more get together for a fighting tournament to be crowned King of Iron Fist. Battles, depending on the chosen setting, are fairly easy to bludgeon your way through without knowing too many moves and then all of a sudden it gets really tough. This sudden change in AI is annoying to say the least and while we appreciate the game has to be hard a more graduated learning curve would have been welcomed.

To get your skills up to scratch you can either opt for the practice sessions or the out-and-out arcade mode, which allows you to choose any fighter (as long as they are unlocked) and fight against either the computer or a human opponent.

While the storyline is virtually non-existent, this game isn’t really about that. It’s about beating your opponent in a best-of-three, no-holds-barred grudge matches. With this in mind, the moves are plentiful and the level of skill in which you can master them endless. A fist full of multi-combo key presses later and you’re either dead or victorious, it is as simple as that.

Realising that this might only be able to hold your attention for so long, Namco, the game’s developer, has added the first three arcade versions of the Tekken franchise on the disk as well. Perhaps due to the universal dislike of version 4 it’s just the first three, but either way for the purists it’s a welcomed addition to the game even if the first one is a little dated. The same unfortunately can’t be said for the third-person beat-em-up also bundled with Tekken 5.

In an attempt to mix up the gameplay, Namco has included Devil Within, an action adventure yarn with one of the fighters, Jin Kazama battling his way through robots and corridor after corridor. The gameplay is mediocre at best and you’ll wonder why you didn’t just watch the grass grow outside for an hour instead of wasting your time playing it. Namco, for some reason, believes that if it plays fast repetitive dance music as the soundtrack you’ll be excited enough to want to carry on playing. In reality the fast repetitive dance music is good for about 30 seconds then it just becomes annoying.

Verdict

So, should you go out and invest your hard earned cash on Tekken 5? If you're looking to vent some of that pent-up aggression then it will certainly let you clear it. That said, no more than Tekken 3 or any of the Dead or Alive series. There's nothing wrong with the game, in fact for a battle beat-em up, it ticks all the boxes admirably. It's just that for us, Tekken 5 is a little one dimensional even if this is something which is always good in the right circumstances like a drunken Saturday night in with some rental DVDs and your mates.