Tekken: Dark Resurrection Review
So the Japanese have been playing an arcade perfect port of Tekken: Dark Resurrection for the PS3 for exactly 2 months now. Namco-Bandai were mum about an American release, at first, but would soon announce it for both American and European PlayStation Networks. And now, for the first time in a long time, Virtua Fighter and Tekken are sharing the same playground yet again. While Virtua Fighter 5 is easily the better fighter between the two...what does the PS3 Tekken offer that validates its purchase, as well?
Well, chances are if you're a Tekken fan, then you've played either Tekken 5 or the updated Tekken: Dark Resurrection on the PSP. Both games offer a ridiculous amount of value, a terrific amount of depth, while still providing the classic Tekken quality we've all come to known. If you're looking forward to those extras (bowling, dojo, etc.) with the PS3 iteration, you'll be quite disappointed to know that they aren't there. Essentially, what this downloadable title gives you is a carbon copy of the arcade Tekken: Dark Resurrection and then some. Gameplay is the standard Tekken affair. If you've played Tekken 5 or Tekken: Dark Resurrection before, then you'll feel right at home. You can expect the same tight gameplay and the same well balanced fights.
You'll be able to select between Arcade, Versus, Ghost Battle, and Gallery. Ghost Battles are sort of like what Virtua Fighter 5 offers. You'll engage in a continuous gauntlet against CPU controlled fighters, whose intellect and strategy is based on that of real-people. In both Arcade and Ghost Battle modes, for every fight you win, you earn points. Now these points are there because the game doesn't have endings tacked-on to every fighter you beat the game with. So when you complete the Arcade mode, you'll just get the status screen; you'll have to use the points you earned and purchase the ending. This was purposely done in order to save on game's download size, which is just around 800MB.
If you wish to use your points for the endings, you may do so. They will be downloaded onto your system, and available in the Gallery Mode. But know that the endings are identical to the PS2 and PSP games. Furthermore, you'll still be able to customize your fighters, too. So once you've purchased the game endings, you can start spending those credits on customization items for your fighters -- or spend them on items first and endings later. For the PS3 port of Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Namco has also unlocked the game's last-boss Jinpachi as a playable character. All you do have to do is complete the game once in order to fight as him, but be warned: he's slow, has a limited move-set, and not very fun to fight as.
When you're in the middle of a match, you can still pause the game and check out a fighter's move-set. Likewise, you can also adjust the difficulty level and configure your controls. And, if for any reason you'd like a manual to consult, there is one embedded in the game inside the options menu.
As far as how Tekken: Dark Resurrection looks...well, the added support of rendering the game up to 1080p makes a considerable difference in quality. The present textures are much more defined than before, and the overall picture exhibits a sharp quality. Any framerate nuisances found in Tekken 5, or Tekken: DR on the PSP, have been corrected for the PS3 port. Because the PS3 is actually the only hardware that is more powerful than the game's arcade board, it makes this version of Tekken 5/Tekken: DR the best and most accurate, and then some. You may notice a few scenic changes in the backgrounds with the PS3 Tekken: DR too. Such a change isn't a very uncommon thing to be done when arcade fighting games get updated, so it's kind of nice to see that Namco decided to give the PS3 port this treatment.
The full picture of Tekken: Dark Resurrection doesn't stack up to Virtua Fighter 5, because, afterall, these games were developed in two different generations. That said, don't expect to see any other visual enhancements other than what I just mentioned: framerate, HD resolutions, and stages. So that means the fighters won't look superb, and you'll see some rough spots here and there -- and it'd have been nice of Namco-Bandai to smooth out some of those rough edges. Regardless, Tekken: Dark Resurrection still looks solid even by next-gen standards; the ability to render in 720p, 1080i, and 1080p really makes a difference.
The audio is pretty much lifted straight from the arcade game, as well; so you're getting the truest sound out of the PS3's Tekken: DR. Where as, Tekken 5 and Tekken: DR (PSP) had their audio toned down, because of limitations, the PS3's Tekken is practically flawless. Those same bone-crunching sound effects that have defined the Tekken series for years can be found in this port. Likewise, the same solid soundtrack that Namco implements into every iteration is perfectly translated, too. The same goes for any other audio features in the game.
Overall, the bottom line is that even though this isn't exactly a next-generation game, it's still Tekken. In fact, it's the best iteration of Tekken, thus far. You're getting an arcade perfect port that features enhanced visuals and superb gameplay. Despite the fact that it's a little barebones, Tekken: Dark Resurrection for the PS3 is still a terrific value. The customization and the purchasing of game endings should definitely keep most people playing for quite some time. With Virtua Fighter 5 and now this, it's a good time to be a fan of the genre.
2/28/2007 Arnold Katayev