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Gaming: I played some Tekken 6

There's only one real King of Iron Fist, and his name's Paul Phoenix.

I don’t really like fighting games. Everything I like most about gaming – things like solo play, a strong narrative or sense of a fully-realised world – are either irrelevant to fighting games or just not that important. The focus is on competition, on mastering routines and skill, on a series of battles unconnected to any real narrative. Here we are again though, with me playing my sixth Tekken game, having started with Tekken 2, and being annoyed by the same things again.

Because I don’t exactly throw myself headfirst into a fighting game I’ll probably never be in a situation where I can give a proper opinion of Tekken 6, so here are some initial impressions/rants:


The first thing I did upon starting the game was to jump into the practice mode. I have a few favourite characters I remember a bunch of moves for but it never hurts to refresh my memory and look at what new moves they have. Previous Tekken games have had a training mode that displays a bunch of moves in sequence for you to copy, which is an excellent way to get a quick grounding in a character, teaching me enough for me to get through the Arcade mode and unlock their ending movie. As far as I can tell Tekken 6 doesn’t have any equivalent in its practice mode.

You can go into the command list, choose a move to display on screen and practice it (as well as have the game show you how it’s supposed to be done), but it’s not the same. I ran through a few of the moves I remembered for Paul Phoenix, my favourite character (for his moves as well as the character himself), to check they all still worked as I remembered and then quickly left the mode.


Heihachi thankfully seems to be over his 'wear nothing but a nappy' phase.

At the top of the main menu is Scenario Campaign, an option not present in the arcades and presumably the main way to play the game (the classic arcade mode is consigned to the Offline Mode sub-menu). It starts off with a summary of the story across the entire series so far, highlighting what has become a major flaw in the game’s story. I’ll summarise the summaries below, bolding a character’s name the first time they’re mentioned for each game:

  • Tekken 1Heihachi Mishima is head of the Mashima-Zaibatsu Corporation. He holds the King of Iron Fist Tournament and is defeated by his son, Kazuya Mishima, who throws Heihachi over the edge of a cliff and assumes control of his company.
  • Tekken 2Kazuya enjoys his new power and falls in love with Jun Kazama. Heihachi climbs back up the cliff, defeats his son and throws him into a volcano.
  • Tekken 3 – After attempting to locate the ultimate warrior, Ogre, Heihachi holds a new tournament almost two decades after the previous one. Jin Kazama, son of Kazuya and Jun, goes to Heihachi after Jun is killed and enters the tournament. Upon defeating Ogre he is killed by Heihachi, only, to rise up in devil form and fly away.
  • Tekken 4Heihachi discovers Kazuya has been resurrected by G Corporation and holds a new tournament in an attempt to lure out both him and Jin. Jin again flies off after defeating his father and grandfather.
  • Tekken 5 – Immediately after Jin leaves, Kazuya and Heihachi are attacked by an army of Jack-5s. Kazuya abandons his father and Heihachi is assumed dead in the ensuing explosion. A new tournament if announced, hosted by an unknown sponsor who turns out to be Jinpachi Mishima, Heihachi’s father. Jin defeats Heihachi and takes control of the Mishima Zabatsu.

Tekken 1 had a roster of seventeen characters but Namco only mention two in the summary. Tekken 2 had twenty-three characters but the summary mentions three, only one of whom is new. Tekken 3 mentions three of the game’s playable characters (two new) and two who have been killed off, out of the full roster of twenty-one. Tekken 4 summarises the story of three of the characters, none of whom are new, of a roster of eighteen. Tekken 5‘s summary covers five, one of whom in unplayable in the PlayStation 2 release, of a full roster of twenty-eight (twenty-nine with the unplayable Jinpachi or thirty-two with the three additional characters from the Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection release).

Having a huge roster is excellent. Having a story that treats only a handful as important is less so.

The Tekken series then has become the story of Heihachi and the Mishima Zaibatsu. The tournament has only ever been won by him or his descendants, and it’s the only story Namco are truly invested in. For anybody who prefers other characters the story they get is only ever really filler. They’ll either get a story that’s small and unimportant (with an ending movie that doesn’t include their winning the tournament, so it can be canonical around the official story) or a non-canonical ‘what if?’ scenario, that’s fun to watch but not ‘real’.

Tekken 6‘s scenario campaign opens with the story of newcomers Lars and Alisa, two people I don’t know but who are both connected to the Mishima Zaibatsu story. It’s not very interesting, even before it throws in an amnesia angle. Lengthy cutscenes and dialogue really aren’t things the series has been calling out for.

For those of us who want to see the story of other characters? Completing the initial couple of Lars levels lets you unlock an additional character to play as, with basic integration into the campaign (Lars and Alisa going to an abandoned Tekken Force facility becomes Paul going there as it looks like a place to train, Alisa tagging along for some reason). There’s also an arena mode in the scenario campaign that gives you a couple of fights (like a truncated Arcade Mode) to unlock that character’s ending movie.

Solo Offerings

For solo players like myself there are seven modes on offer: Practice (which I’ve already covered), Scenario Campaign, Arcade Mode, Ghost Battle, Team Battle, Time Attack and Survival.

Scenario Campaign is the game’s main solo offering, a campaign made exclusively for the console versions. It’s the latest entry in Namco’s attempts to make a scrolling brawler out of Tekken (in the vein of something like Streets of Rage). The main Tekken mode already has some 3D  movement so it works okay, though the shifting angles and multiple combatants mean it’s not as smooth as the regular combat. In previous games they were more something to suffer through than an enjoyable part of the game, but I’ve not put enough time into it yet to have an opinion beyond not being enthusiastic.

Arcade Mode is the classic mode present in the arcades, a series of fights against random opponents (made more random by the game’s ‘ghost’ system, which I’ll cover in a minute) until you get to the two final bosses, Jin Kazama and Azazel. In previous games this was always the way to unlock each character’s ending movie, but as I mentioned above that’s not the case here, ending movies being granted for completing the arena with each character in Scenario Mode.

Ghost Battle seems to be Arcade Mode without the bosses, the ghosts being computer ‘characters’ that have their own usernames, character preferences and difficulties. It’s this addition that intrigues me far more than the Scenario Campaign mode. I don’t like boss characters in Tekken, so a version of Arcade Mode that removes the bosses and goes on as long as you want it to is very appealing. Indeed, with the ending movies being in the Scenario Campaign and Ghost Battle being a superior way to play the main mode it seems fighting annoying bosses is the only reason to ever play Arcade Mode.

The others should be familiar to anybody who has played a Tekken game before. Team battle lets you choose a team of up to eight characters, with which you try to beat an equal-sized team of computer opponents (it can also be done with a second player). Time Attack times you through the Arcade Mode with the default settings (difficulty, number of rounds, etc.). Survival pits you against an endless string of opponents, the challenge being to see how many you can defeat before dying (your health isn’t fully restored after each fight). Survival is usually where I end up spending most of my time, trying to beat my previous records.

Customisation and Persistence

Playing through Arcade Mode or Scenario Campaign unlocks customisation options for that character and money to buy them with. For Paul there isn’t a tremendous selection, and beyond a selection of glasses and hairstyles (I don’t know why anybody would ever change Paul’s iconic hairstlye) it’s mostly seems to have options for making him look like a cowboy. I’m very pro-customisation (being able to fully make my own character like in a wrestling game and then assign an existing moveset would be ideal for me) so I’m not going to criticise it too much. For other characters with more obvious visual variety I imagine it could be more interesting.

As I mentioned above the game also tracks your win/loss record for Arcade Mode and Ghost Mode and has a ranking system than allows you to advance after every few fights. I don’t really know what you achieve by advancing in ranks but it’s nice that there’s a system in place for solo players, some sort of goal to aim for.



Tekken has always including a few ten-hit combos in its training mode that allows you to essentially carve off huge chunks of an opponents health in one sequence, though they have a chance of blocking if they’re familiar with the combo. A couple of characters (especially King and Nina) also had a series of grabs that could be activated in sequence without letting go, which could be devastating if you could get them memorised.

For the last few entries the idea of ‘juggling’ has become a big thing, trying to keep an opponent in the air for as long as possible so that they can’t fight back at all while you take their health away. I’ve never been a fan as it feels cheap, winning because you rendered your opponent helpless rather than because you were better. The AI does it sometimes, especially at higher difficulties, and you just have to sit there and watch them beat you. It’s not fun for me to do (not that I’m any good at it), not fun to watch happening to me, and just not very interesting.

This isn’t my video but it’s pretty much how I imagine most first encounters with Azazel go.

On the cheapness scale few things compete with final bosses in fighting games. When your whole game is built around balance and skill the easy way to make your final boss unquestionably harder is by giving them cheap tactics. Tekken 5‘s Jinpachi was awful, all stuns and teleports and quick range attacks, as well as ways of just ignoring that you were hitting him (when an opponent is supposed to be helpless) so that they can attack you as well.

Tekken 6’s Azazel is another worthy contender for cheapest final boss. He has more ranged attacks than Jinpachi, including swarms of insects, lasers and claws that pop up out of the ground, he has a teleport that moves him away from you and puts him up in the air before he comes flying towards you, and his player model is huge, so that you can’t see when you’re properly in range or make out how your hits are connecting. I can see him being very frustrating, especially when I’m playing as a character I’m not so familiar with.

Beyond that though it’s still the same Tekken I’ve somewhat enjoyed for six entries now. Every character I enjoy playing as is present except for Jin (who used to be a mix of Kazuya and Jun until both character’s movesets returned to the series, prompting Namco to change Jin’s moves entirely), giving it that comfortable familiarity within the newness. So far it’s shaping up to be another fairly forgettable entry, but it’s not terrible.

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