Tekken 6

Jason Cook

The plot is so convoluted and winding that it speeds past distracting and takes the next exit into mind-boggling.

Tekken 6

Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Price: $59.99
Players: 1-2
Developer: Namco Bandai Games America
Platforms: Playstation 3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
Release Date: 27-10-2009

A music critic once told me never to compare one album or sound to another -- it's lazy writing.

Well, you should not play Tekken 6 when games like Street Fighter IV and Soulcalibur IV (and a host of other fighters released this past year) exist.

Tekken has a long and storied history. The third installment of the series remains one of the greatest Playstation fighters ever, viewed as such by both critics and players. Starting in 1994 and releasing eight games since then, the series is loved by many for the “technical” skill required to play -- unlike games like Mortal Kombat that rely on special moves.

A “beat 'em up”-style mini-game was introduced in Tekken 3. This feature persists in 6 as a “Scenario Campaign” (translation mix-up much?) mode. This mode is awful. From a third person perspective, you take the role of someone who is trying to do something. What it is is really inconsequential. Reminiscent of Resident Evil -- games in which there are familiar faces and similar plots -- yet the plot is so convoluted and winding that it speeds past distracting and takes the next exit into mind-boggling. Furthermore, the mode itself is not fun. Movement is clunky, as you'll go from “moving” stance to “fighting” stance whenever an enemy appears. Also, while there is merit in actually performing attacks, button mashing seemed to work for me under most circumstances. Waves of enemies -- who outnumber you at every turn -- abound, boss fights can kill you very easily, and a throw-away plot line makes this mode seem very tacked on.

But you didn't get the game for the story mode. And the actual fighting in Tekken 6 is enjoyable. Like all good fighters, there is a pick-up-and-play aspect to the game that then leads to a desire to learn a much higher degree of strategy. With only four buttons to worry about (the face buttons, which correlate to left/right punches and kicks), it's easy to start performing moves. But where I ran into trouble was actually learning combos. Some of the moves in Tekken 6 look like this: X, A, B, A, Y, Down, X. Compare to a game like Street Fighter, where a quarter circle forward punch does something with 50% of the characters in the game. Such controls make it much easier to execute moves that you want to universally without having to memorize lengthy command strings.

And yet pulling off a combo (whether unintentionally or not) is very rewarding with each one looking as if they were choreographed from a martial arts film. And getting into parries, counters, and recoveries adds a lot of depth to the strategy of the game.

What's a fighter sequel without a deep character roster? With 42 fighters from the history of the game , including multiple versions of a few staples, there's a lot to choose from. But to those new to the series, a lot of these characters' faces seem to run together. Adding to the dizzying roster is a list of available upgrades to customize your favorite characters. If you need a new piece of clothing for your favorite fighter, you'll have more incentive to play the campaign mode, as there's money to be made there.

Graphically, fights look gorgeous with lush backgrounds and fluid fighter animations. And it should, as loading times can be an annoyance. There was also some lag with online play, but it was nothing game-breaking.

But as a whole, I was left wanting more with Tekken 6. Ever the competitive tournament staple, the series begs to be played for hours and hours, honing your skills and mastering counters and parries. If you're a Tekken fan and this is the fighter that you'll buy, then you'll be satisfied. But with games like BlazBlue, Street Fighter IV, Soul Caliber IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on Xbox Live, and a host of others, we are in a true renaissance of 2D or quasi-2D fighting titles. If you're in your local game store and looking for a fighter to scratch that itch, I can't recommend that you pick up Tekken 6 over any other fighter with so many strong contenders to choose from.


To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.