Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection
It’s late to the party. It’s stumbled in a good few months after getting lost on the way to PlayStation 3’s house (“the invite said go to PSP’s house, I swear!”) and the poor thing has only arrived to hear the guests cut dead their gossiping about Virtua Fighter 5 and how beautiful it looks. Awkward glances all round as Tekken: Dark Resurrection HD has stumbled in surprising everyone. Let’s not moan though, let’s raise our glass to Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection for finally arriving and providing the first PlayStation 3 taste of beat-’em-up blood! Then we can get back to gossiping about how beautiful Virtua Fighter 5 looks. That’s because Tekken: Dark Resurrection HD, bless it, is already slightly yellow and crumpled around the edges through age. Yes, age. The uninitiated will need some backstory to explain what we mean (everyone else, skip ahead a few paragraphs). Dark Resurrection was the update to Tekken 5. There was nothing wrong with the brawler, which was crisp, quick and brutal. However, a few of the characters were overpowered to the point where all you’d ever see in tournament play was Steve, Nina and Bryan, over and over again. The world yawned, Namco panicked and thus, Dark Resurrection was born in the arcade with tweaked characters and a nervous Namco watching from behind its seat. “We approve!” said the Tekken community and Namco wiped the sweat off its brow. In addition to that are two new faces. Lili was an instant hit, thanks to her flowery girly-girl appearance, light-footed fighting style and stage with giant bouncing hearts and teddy bears because hey, she’s a girl and girls love that kind of stuff. On the other hand, Dragunov looks like a World War II Michael Jackson impersonator and his clunky fighting style hasn’t really appealed to anyone. Given neither character has changed for this PlayStation 3 outing, it’s hard to see their reception changing either. Everyone will love Lili, just as everyone will wonder what the point of Dragunov is. It’s simply the way some things are. As an added bonus, you can now play as Jinpachi, the giving this a slimmer fit-for-download waistline. It also means the cursory moaning about the PSP’s D-pad isn’t allowed anymore because hey, this is the PlayStation 3 and Tekken controls just fine on Sixaxis. The series was created with the original DualShock in mind and despite all the morphs, changes, lawsuits and silly names PlayStation pads have been through over the years, the design is more or less unchanged. In short: it works. It works really damn well.
With all the tweaks in place, Tekken: Dark Resurrection HD will quite comfortably slot in alongside Virtua Fighter 5 as its accessible counterpart, the one you turn to when you don’t want to worry about frame advantage or open and closed foot stances (ask a Virtua Fighter fan, he’ll explain). The emphasis with Tekken is on flashy juggle combos, where you hit your opponent into the air and keep him there with further hits, until he finally touches back down to earth and has a chance to defend himself. Even so, we know all this because it’s a wee bit old now, with high definition highlighting the warts-and-all look of an underpowered arcade game. It’s done the rounds and it’s not exciting anymore. Oh, and there’s no online option. There’s no gentle segue into that sentence because there won’t be any gentle segue in your mind from “hey, this is quite good” to “hey, there’s no online option!” It’s a mixture of confusion, disbelief and outright shock when you discover there’s not a single way of playing against human opposition bar the oldfashioned huddling on the sofa. In 2007 where we have DVD regions for space and can have online video cam chats with Japanese girls while lying in bed wearing just pants, that’s rubbish. Borderline unacceptable. Even the PSP had more multiplayer options.
That’s the problem with Tekken: Dark Resurrection HD. You fight opponent after opponent with very little window-dressing to disguise the boring structure. There’s no meaty online mode to flesh out the multiplayer and there’s no meaty single-player to get stuck into either, as we refuse to count ghost mode and gallery mode as proper modes at all. It all feels underfed, an anorexic looking creature when it should be plump, curvy and confident. You can name your characters, earn money through winning fights and deck them out, but playing dress-up with Lili is hardly worthy of the label ‘single-player mode’. Then again, it is cheap. And it is still good. And it is still fun. Sadly, Tekken: Dark Ressurection HD has come to the party too late to see anything other than Virtua Fighter 5 dazzle all with its stunning looks and gameplay. Shame.