Tekken 6

Year: 2009
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Bandai Namco
Genre: 3D Fighter
Review Date: 1/7/12
Rating: **

I've never been much of a "Tekken" fan, and the last one I played was "Tekken 3" (1998) on the PlayStation. But after seeing the delightfully goofy "Blood Vengeance" movie, I decided to give the series another chance. Sadly, the latest iteration still isn't any fun to play. I won't bother going into the convoluted story about the Mishima Clan and their cursed bloodline, because quite frankly, it's never interested me. Suffice to say that Heihachi Mishima, Kazuya Mishima, and Jin Kazama are still at each other's throats, and so are Nina and Anna Williams.

The game features the standard Arcade, Practice, Time Trial, and Survival modes, plus a beat 'em up Campaign mode that takes Lance and Alisa Bosconovitch through a progressive fighting adventure. Unfortunately, this isn't nearly as fun as it could be, due to clunky controls and overly frequent and lengthy loading screens. Much like every other "Tekken" game I've played, the fighting controls are sluggish, and movement on the Z-axis is cumbersome. It's odd that the Dreamcast version of "Dead Or Alive 2" (2000) is the only fighting game to get this right, by putting XZ movement on the analog stick and keeping XY movement on the D-pad. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is with the graphics, which look like a Dreamcast era game (and not even as good as DOA2). This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but for a game that came out in 2009 on significantly more sophisticated hardware, this seems unfathomable and unacceptable. The interface is also cumbersome and overly complicated, and the game was obviously designed with an HD display in mind. The onscreen text is nearly unreadable on a standard TV, and the character command lists are completely indecipherable. Naturally, these aren't in the user manual, and with each character having about 150 moves, the only way to learn and memorize them is through experimentation. On the plus side, the roster is HUGE, with forty characters to choose from. Only ten of them are women, and Jun Kazama is still unfortunately MIA. Hopefully she'll show up in "Street Fighter X Tekken" (2012).