Giant Bomb Review

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Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion Review

3
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  • X360

Tekken 6 is a great fighting game, but it's bogged down by a lot of extraneous baggage.


You can customize the fighters with all sorts of different parts. 
Tekken was once the bellwether for the coming generation of consoles. Seeing Namco develop home versions of the first few Tekken games that surpassed the arcade games upon which they were based was a magical moment back on the original PlayStation. It was the moment where you could immediately see arcades becoming less relevant, as the machines hooked up to our TVs were now just as impressive as the stuff you had to drop quarters into to play. These days, it's not quite the trendsetter that it used to be, but the Tekken series keeps trucking along with Tekken 6. In addition to also appearing on a non-Sony console (!), Tekken 6 has some very sharp fighting that builds onto the existing framework nicely with some cool new moves and characters. But just about everything that surrounds the actual fighting part of this fighting game is pretty disappointing, making this one strictly for Tekken fans who have enough local opposition to keep things interesting.

The new fighters added to the fray include Lars Alexandersson, a Scandanavian dude with ties to the Mishima bloodline--which means he has excellent hair, obviously. Alisa Bosconovitch is a pretty Japanese robot girl who can make chainsaws pop out of her arms. These are the two new "Bloodline Rebellion" fighters that appeared in the second arcade release, but if you've only been following the series via its home releases, then the four fighters from the first Tekken 6 release--Bob, Leo, Miguel, and Zafina--are also new. The six additions to the roster fit pretty well and are fun to learn and fight with. If you count alternate versions of the same character (specifically, Kuma's second player "outfit" is really Panda), there are over 40 characters to choose from. It's a hefty roster, thick with the series' favorites.

The fighting style in Tekken 6 hasn't changed dramatically. There are some changes to the combo system that allow for longer juggles, adding more depth to the combat for players who can pull off moves within very specific timing windows. For players who aren't already in too deep, though, Tekken has always felt friendly to new players, provided you're playing against players of the same skill level. Tekken 6 keeps up that tradition, even if the game's practice mode doesn't offer much to help you truly get a real understanding of the game, just a bunch of button-pressing notation that'll only really be of use to those already steeped in the franchise.

Big Pimpin'. 
When you combine Tekken's high-level play--which is all about precise timing--with Tekken 6's network code, you get varying degrees of disappointment. Even at its best, Tekken 6's online play feels like a completely different game, forcing you to think a second or two ahead and plan your moves out way too far in advance. It's not entirely unenjoyable, but you give up so much of what makes Tekken tick that it's really not worth it. If you want to play Tekken 6 competitively, plan on rounding up your friends and getting them all into one room. It's unfortunate, because the game has things like character-specific win/loss records, plus it's a good way to show off the items you've purchased and used to customize the look of your fighters. In unranked matches you can get up to four players in one game for a quarter match sort of setup, but considering the game usually can't handle a one-on-one matchup, getting spectators in there seems like a bad idea.

Most of the other modes fall into the typical fighting game loadout, with a survival mode, a team battle mode, and time attack. It also has a "ghost battle" mode, which is something that's popped up in different forms in recent Tekken releases. Here you can battle against different AI profiles ("ghosts") that come on the game disc. They're a bit more interesting to fight than the standard AI, plus you'll never run into the arcade mode's ridiculous end boss, which is certainly a plus. When you hit the game's online menu, it takes the ghosts that you've made by playing the game and uploads them. You can also download ghosts of other players. It's probably not perfect science--the ghost doesn't totally ape your style or anything like that--but it's a neat idea that lets you feel like you're fighting against, like, an answering machine version of the folks on your friends list. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any sort of notifications about how well your ghosts are performing out on the Internet. Considering the game's sketchy online performance, the ghost battle mode is probably the best thing you can do with Tekken 6 unless you've got another player in the house.

It's the first thing on the game's menu, but the Scenario Campaign mode is probably the worst thing in Tekken 6. It's an expansion on the old Tekken Force mode from Tekken 3, and it wraps a bad brawler around Tekken's fighting mechanics. While I appreciated the motion-comic-style intro, which details the "who threw whom into which volcano" parts of the Tekken storyline, the bulk of it, which involves Lars losing his memory, getting it back, and fighting a ton of Jack robots, is pretty dull. Also, even though you can play as any character in the campaign mode, the story bits always put Lars back into the lead role. So it goes from Lars talking about how he's got to find Heihachi to Paul Phoenix doing the fighting (because that's who I decided to pick), then back to Lars again when the cutscenes come up. While it's nice that you aren't forced to play as Lars for the entire game, it makes the whole thing feel extra sloppy.

For a robot lady, Alisa is pretty, OK? Look, I know that makes me a bad person, just LEAVE ME BE. 
Though it's getting easier and easier to notice a lot of reused animations from previous games in the series, Tekken 6 looks really nice. The characters are big, the game moves really quickly, and the backgrounds are cool. The ability to customize characters is present, as it has been in the past, letting you do a lot of weird things to the fighters. If you want Paul to rock an eyepatch, or if you want Kazuya's robot costume to have a glowing aura around it, you can spend some of the fight money you earn in the game's various modes to make all of that happen. The game has a pretty good soundtrack, though there's also a lot of stiff voice acting, especially in the campaign mode.

The awkward campaign mode would be completely forgettable if Tekken 6 worked better online. But with it ranging from "almost acceptable" to "pre-patch King of Fighters XII" in connection quality, it's hard to recommend to anyone who doesn't already have a local crew of Tekken fiends at their disposal. If your crew is nuts for Tekken, though, the fighting in Tekken 6 is hot enough to make it worth your while. 
 
Disclosure: The game featured in this review is or was an advertised product on giantbomb.com.   Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
58 Comments
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Posted by MasturbatingBear

agreed

Posted by AjayRaz

i'm not touching it until they patch up the online. 

Posted by bjorno

 Disclosure: The game featured in this review is or was an advertised product on giantbomb.com. 
 
COOL

Posted by alConn

  Disclosure: I need to poop
 
Indeed.

Posted by TheHBK

Disclosure, Tekken has always sucked.

Posted by BackpackKat

So Street Fighter 4 is still the fighter to beat. Jeez, I will probably saying that for years! LQTM
Posted by MisterMollusk

Do they have a history for patching messed up games?

Posted by Yagami

Totally agree. I hated the Scenario Campaign mode, and it felt like a punishment having to play through all of it to unlock all characters. It is a good fighter though if you play anything except the Scenario Campaign mode.

Edited by CitizenJP

SF4 ftw. Jus sayin...lol...Tekken's oook though. I defs giv it the hand gesture Jeff is giving in the review picture of him.

Posted by ChickenPants

Tekken is awesome to me as always.Hope they patch the online soon though.As long as they got the fighting right I couldn't care less about the other modes.
 
Street Fighter is trash.

Posted by FunExplosions

Damn

Posted by Diamond

I can at least partially agree with this review.  However, I am having more fun with Tekken 6 than most titles this year.
 
Actually, if the scenario mode was a $60 game by itself, and there was no other content, it'd probably be one of the worst games this gen.
 
But the fighting is still great & still Tekken.

Posted by imayellowfellow

hmmm whats with fighting games and these online problems... maybe a western developer should make a fighting game

Posted by Diamond
@imayellowfellow said:
hmmm whats with fighting games and these online problems... maybe a western developer should make a fighting game
Hellz yea!  Tao Feng 2 bitch!
Posted by Dragonseer

As a long time Tekken fan, I can understand that there are a few disappointing aspects to this release, but importantly this game has still got it where it counts - and that is pure vs gameplay.   In this regard it is superior to a game like Soul Calibur 4, which would seem like a fair comparison based on the score given here, but that would be unfair.  Tekken has gone from strength to strength in terms of it's gameplay while games like Soul Calibur have gone completely off the rails.
 
And no, Street Fighter 4 is not the fighter to beat.  That's because SF4 isn't as good as the older games in the franchise, like Third Strike, Alpha 3, hell even Capcom vs SNK 2.  It might be a good nostalgia trip but it also made rubbish like fireball spamming powerful again - a big step backward. 
 
Anyway I'm not going to complain about the review score or anything, but I do want to make this point fairly clear - if you are going to put serious time into a fighting game these days, this is the game to do it with.  That's because there is a massive dedicated community out there, so the investment of time you make can be really rewarding both now and in the future.

Edited by Ramyun

I didn't even know that Tekken was being advertised, which is awesome. In my heart Tekken 3 or Tag is the only ones for me.

Posted by MisterMollusk
@Dragonseer: good luck playing online with that community. :P
Posted by LackLuster

I have it for ps3 and i have played almost a dozen online matches and have had no lag or noticeable delay so I don't know whats up.

Posted by Symphony
@AjayRaz said:
" i'm not touching it until they patch up the online.  "
Feeling the same way.
 
You're gonna get it for the 360 if they do fix it though, right? ;)
Posted by ShadowKing7

The Scenario Campaign is really uninspired.  I got bored of it within the first few levels and haven't been back to it yet.  However, I am enjoying the online gameplay and the fact that it's still pretty much the same Tekken gameplay that I remember from 4.  Now I just gotta get better at the fighting again...
Posted by Yummylee

Wow, such a dissapointment from what i've read through most reviews, how Tekken 6 is a serious departure from the excellent that was Tekken 5 =/
Posted by Symphony
@Dragonseer said:
"And no, Street Fighter 4 is not the fighter to beat.  That's because SF4 isn't as good as the older games in the franchise, like Third Strike, Alpha 3, hell even Capcom vs SNK 2.  It might be a good nostalgia trip but it also made rubbish like fireball spamming powerful again - a big step backward. "
Your personal feelings aside, yes it IS the fighter to beat from a developer's (and a consumer's) perspective. It revitalized the fighting genre and introduced a whole lot of new players to fighters. The online works and there are still tons of players playing it a year later. 
 
For developers (and producers), it's an example of how to do things right, make a profit, and see a player base that sticks around for more than a month or two after launch. From a consumer's perspective it has most of the things a player is looking for and is easy to pick up and play -- online or off. 
 
I'm not saying Tekken can't do these things. I own every Tekken since the first (aside from DR on PS3, have it on PSP though) and I'm really disappointed that this one will be the first I am passing on, at least until the online is fixed. With the current generation of consoles, there's no excuse for poorly developed online play. In fact, after the combat system itself, online play should be the second highest development priority.
 
Why? Because that's what is going to give it replay value among regular players ultimately. That is what is going to keep people who aren't part of the Tekken community or tournament scene coming back for more. We've seen it with SFIV and while it might not be the best in the series from a combat-sytem standpoint, it's had the largest "casual" following, generated the most media buzz, and done more to introduce people to the genre than another other game in the franchise since Street Fighter II.
Posted by quantumshift5

HA! 3 stars...It should of gotten a 1 star instead. Never liked this stupid franchise. The whole fighting formula is juggle your opponent as long as you can, while unleashing as many combos as possible..LAME!
Posted by Nettacki

It's weird that I hearing mixed comments about the quality of online play in this game. Some have no real problems with lag, while others have bad lag throughout. Granted, the game itself relies so much on frame-by-frame animations and fighting mechanics that it may be understandable as to why it is worse than say, SFIV.

Posted by Dragonseer
@Symphony said: 
Your personal feelings aside, yes it IS the fighter to beat from a developer's (and a consumer's) perspective. It revitalized the fighting genre and introduced a whole lot of new players to fighters. The online works and there are still tons of players playing it a year later.   For developers (and producers), it's an example of how to do things right, make a profit, and see a player base that sticks around for more than a month or two after launch. From a consumer's perspective it has most of the things a player is looking for and is easy to pick up and play -- online or off.   I'm not saying Tekken can't do these things. I own every Tekken since the first (aside from DR on PS3, have it on PSP though) and I'm really disappointed that this one will be the first I am passing on, at least until the online is fixed. With the current generation of consoles, there's no excuse for poorly developed online play. In fact, after the combat system itself, online play should be the second highest development priority.  Why? Because that's what is going to give it replay value among regular players ultimately. That is what is going to keep people who aren't part of the Tekken community or tournament scene coming back for more. We've seen it with SFIV and while it might not be the best in the series from a combat-sytem standpoint, it's had the largest "casual" following, generated the most media buzz, and done more to introduce people to the genre than another other game in the franchise since Street Fighter II. "
I hear what you're saying, but a lot of this applies only to how fighting games are received in the US.  Tekken has proved to be way more popular in the Arcade scene than Street Fighter 4, and the arcade scene is still large in Japan, Korea, Oceania, etc.   
 
I haven't really enjoyed online play for any fighter so far, so no that is not how I'm going to be spending most of my time with this or any other fighter.  Even Street Fighter 4 is simply not the same game online and off, the only fighter that has really pulled off a decent online experience has been HD remix and (so i hear) Marvel vs. Capcom 2.  So even if lots of casual fans are still having fun with SF4 online (I'm not really sure how) well that's not really moving the genre forward. 
 
There may be improvements to the netcode in Tekken 6 by way of a patch, but really, the things that make Tekken the best 3D fighter, in terms of it's precision and responsiveness, are the same things that make it suffer the most when it moves online.  That's just the way it is. 
Posted by animateria

More PS3 Tekken 5 DR it is then...
 
6 more characters, and a slight change in mechanics isn't worth $60 bucks for a casual player like me.

Posted by Nettacki
@Dragonseer said:
 the only fighter that has really pulled off a decent online experience has been HD remix and (so i hear) Marvel vs. Capcom 2.  "
 
Don't forget Blazblue.
Posted by zleilndka
@Dragonseer said:

"And no, Street Fighter 4 is not the fighter to beat.  That's because SF4 isn't as good as the older games in the franchise, like Third Strike, Alpha 3, hell even Capcom vs SNK 2.  It might be a good nostalgia trip but it also made rubbish like fireball spamming powerful again - a big step backward. "

A step backward getting over 1000 participants in SF4 alone at EVO2K9?  Fireball spam is only powerful to those who don't know how t.o punish them see this (1:17, 1:59, 7:04 and etc.).  I play both Tekken and Street Fighter and they both have things that might discourage newer players from playing; Tekken has bound combos and leading to a wall splat into over half life damage and OKI.  
I know the Miguel combo was an extreme example, but combos like it are used in T6 competitive play all the time--the combo was guaranteed up to about 60% of Miguel's health, then the rest were bad guesses/reactions. SF4 has well, flowchart Kens, random uppercuts, random supers, and focus cancel combos.  
 
They are both good games.  SF4 is just much easier to pick up and play.  Compare the moveset of Ryu (only 13 named moves) to Ling Xiaoyu (well over 100+ named moves and variations), Tekken is just more daunting to the casual player.  I just wish the online play was better in T6 =-(.
Edited by hamchan

This review is spot on in the score and in the text. The same brilliant tekken gameplay is still there but the extras are bad this time around. They make it mandatory to play the horrible scenario campaign before you can see each character's story. Why would they make you do this? At least in T5 it wasn't required to actually play and finish devil within. 
 
@zleilndka said: 

@Dragonseer said: 

"And no, Street Fighter 4 is not the fighter to beat.  That's because SF4 isn't as good as the older games in the franchise, like Third Strike, Alpha 3, hell even Capcom vs SNK 2.  It might be a good nostalgia trip but it also made rubbish like fireball spamming powerful again - a big step backward. "

A step backward getting over 1000 participants in SF4 alone at EVO2K9?  Fireball spam is only powerful to those who don't know how t.o punish them see this (1:17, 1:59, 7:04 and etc.).  I play both Tekken and Street Fighter and they both have things that might discourage newer players from playing; Tekken has bound combos and leading to a wall splat into over half life damage and OKI.   
I know the Miguel combo was an extreme example, but combos like it are used in T6 competitive play all the time--the combo was guaranteed up to about 60% of Miguel's health, then the rest were bad guesses/reactions. SF4 has well, flowchart Kens, random uppercuts, random supers, and focus cancel combos.   
 
They are both good games.  SF4 is just much easier to pick up and play.  Compare the moveset of Ryu (only 13 named moves) to Ling Xiaoyu (well over 100+ named moves and variations), Tekken is just more daunting to the casual player.  I just wish the online play was better in T6 =-(. "
I disagree with this. Most casual players don't care about learning movesets and competitive play. Tekken is more pick up and play because it's easier to button mash and end up doing a cool looking move.
Edited by zleilndka
@hamchan:
Hmmm, very true.  I guess that's what made Soul Calibur so popular on the Dreamcast easy to look awesome even when you don't even know what you are doing >.<.  Not so true with almost any Street Fighter game..
 
Guess its just easier to try to be competitive in SF xP.
Posted by JJOR64

That's a bummer but, at least the fighting part is still good.

Posted by gggames_se

 Tekken 6 for the home consoles isn't named "Bloodline Rebellion", is it? That's the Arcade version... and how could you forgot to mention the new "Rage" feature?
In my experience, Tekken is not "all about precise timing", the combos are quite forgiving when compared to other fighting games.

Posted by Dragonseer
@zleilndka said:
Fireball spam is only powerful to those who don't know how t.o punish them see this (1:17, 1:59, 7:04 and etc.).  I play both Tekken and Street Fighter and they both have things that might discourage newer players from playing; Tekken has bound combos and leading to a wall splat into over half life damage and OKI.  
I know the Miguel combo was an extreme example, but combos like it are used in T6 competitive play all the time--the combo was guaranteed up to about 60% of Miguel's health, then the rest were bad guesses/reactions. SF4 has well, flowchart Kens, random uppercuts, random supers, and focus cancel combos.  
 
They are both good games.  SF4 is just much easier to pick up and play.  Compare the moveset of Ryu (only 13 named moves) to Ling Xiaoyu (well over 100+ named moves and variations), Tekken is just more daunting to the casual player.  I just wish the online play was better in T6 =-(. "
  
With the fireball spam, yeah I've seen high level play in SF4, that's what I'm referring to - one of the best examples was in the Japanese tournament finals - see Sagat and Dhalsim spamming like crazy here.  Fireball recovery was much slower in games like Alpha 3 and Third strike, a big part of what made these games more interesting.  I'm not saying that SF4 is bad, just that it is not the best title in the series like some people take it for.  Also, is it really easier to pick up and play?  There are so many Kens because I'm sure people can't learn to use Zangief's and Guile's Ultras, for example. 
 
I agree that Tekken can be a bit daunting to the casual player, but part of the fault belongs to Namco because they have never released a proper tutorial mode.  They chose instead to put a lot of effort into this stupid Scenario Campaign and this is a big part of why it was marked down here.  Yes the combos have gotten a bit longer but you have always been able to KO your opponent in two or three combos in Tekken.  The skill is involved in setting up your opponent through mind games, spacing, mix ups etc where variety is everything and being predictable = quick and painful death.
Posted by DiGiTaL_SiN

Alot of unexpected 3 star reviews from GB! Too bad, I was looking forward to this game. But from reading the review I can honestly say that the cons in the review do not matter to me at all, I want a solid fighting game and this is pretty much it.

Edited by Scarabus

Got Tekken 6 yesterday. At first I thought I was spoiled by SF4, but the truth is that Tekken 6's net code just isn't very good. It slows down terribly in green connections and I was dropped out of matches for no good reason. No change from Tekken 5:DR on the PS3. Fortunately, I believe Tekken is one of the better fighting games when it comes to its single-player portion (not including in the campaign mode). Fighting ghosts and earning ranks and money is fun. 

Posted by Scarabus
@DiGiTaL_SiN: I'm with Jeff. It's definitely a three-star. A good game, but the horrible online makes it kinda "meh".
Posted by Broitman

It's a decent game but I find it's final a little to cheap for my liking, everytime I encounter him I end having to set it back to easy because his guard seems to be copnstantly active even during most of attacks and there's no real way to when those invincible periods are exactly. anyways my two cents, halfbeard out.

Posted by get2sammyb

As a Tekken fan I'm really enjoying it. I have played maybe 12 matches online -- 10 of which have been fine and 2 very shoddy, so the online does seem hit or miss (PS3 version). The scenario mode is terrible but I'm compelled to play it more.
 
As a Tekken fan I'm please, but I can see how this would do nothing for those who are "meh" on Tekken.

Posted by Kohe321

Good review, I think I'll get this as my friends like playing Tekken so I have a crew of good opponents.

Posted by galfisk

Though it is not the best fighting game ever, I've had no problems playing it online yet. I must have played 30-40+ and only had one match with lag and disconnection. Am I just lucky?

Posted by hamchan
@galfisk: Yes you are. A lot of people have had problems with the online.
Posted by Eggn0g
@Dragonseer: I could be wrong here, but I think Dark Resurection on the PSP had a tutorial mode.
 
 Speaking of which, Dark Ressurection was amazing, so T6 not being so good is pretty dissapointing :(
Posted by Cross

Doesn't this review sound more like two stars than three? O_o

Posted by Mistzero
@zleilndka: totally disagree with you.  tekken games are way easier for casual gamers to get into because its so easy to pull off crazy looking moves by button mashing unlike street fighter where the moves are more technical and way harder to pull of combos. 
Posted by Lepuke

You know, I like Tekken...In fact I used to love it. But honestly this game is one I am going to wait to pick up when it is cheaper.
Besides, all of my free time is taken up by Borderlands at the moment and I just bought Dragon Age: Orgins for the PC yesterday as well.
With Forza 3 on my buy list still and Mass Effect 2 on the horizon as well it is going to be awhile til' I got time for Tekken 6.

Posted by DiGiTaL_SiN
@Scarabus: As I said, the online mode is almost irrelevant to me, I only plan to beat the crap out of my friends locally (the old fashioned way), which is the only way to play fighting games if you ask me :-D. No lag or "rage quitting", just pure smack talk and face to face ass kicking.
Posted by JokerClown88

I have the game on the PS3.  It is just a fun game for me.  The scenario campaign is indeed a pain in the ass, but just straight up fighting 1 on 1 is a blast.
Edited by zleilndka
@Dragonseer said:

 
With the fireball spam, yeah I've seen high level play in SF4, that's what I'm referring to - one of the best examples was in the Japanese tournament finals - see Sagat and Dhalsim spamming like crazy here.  Fireball recovery was much slower in games like Alpha 3 and Third strike, a big part of what made these games more interesting.
.
.
.The skill is involved in setting up your opponent through mind games, spacing, mix ups etc where variety is everything and being predictable = quick and painful death. "

I wouldn't call it spam, its just part of how you space and play mind games in SF4 and older fighters; throwing fireballs out recklessly will get you killed quick.  Just as you would throw out 1,2's, quick mids, far reaching lows, and strings out in Tekken hoping for slow/miss reactions, Street Fighter's spacing revolves around controlling the space in front of you trying to force errors.  The most basic way of spacing in SF is throwing fireballs, that's probably why its very common.  Ryu's fireballs, and fireballs in general, actually recover slower in SF4 then 3rd Strike and SFA3.   Main difference is you can't parry or airblock in SF4.

 Mix-ups and mind games can get you far in SF4 even with non-fireball characters (pad Abel ended up 4th place, Fei Long won this tournament).  You just have to be very creative with a limited moveset.
 
 

@Mistzero

 
Yeah I agree games where you can button mash--Soul Calibur comes to mind--are probably the easiest for casual players to get into (said this one page back).  At the same time, with SF4 it is easier for a player to go from casual to competitive as it is less daunting to learn it in depth--looking up move lists, character matchups, blockstun, frame data, combos, and etc. Again Ryu has 13 moves, Xiaoyu has 100+ moves and even a basic character like Miguel has 70+ moves.
Posted by Jeffsekai

MAH FIGHT MONEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Posted by Dragonseer
@Ygg said:
Tekken is ass, the juggling mechanic feels so dull to use and it's a very mash friendly game, SFIV is the fighter to beat of this gen and Super SFIV looks to be even better as they bringing Mr. Sagat down from the top by rebalancing him. "
I think you need a reality check here.  Super SFIV is not going to have an arcade release, what that means is that the game balance is going to be "ass" when it comes out - you can bet on it.  The characters that are returning are some of the worst in the whole franchise, like Dee Jay and THawk.  I don't think it's going to be that popular either because a lot of people see it as something that should be DLC.   
 
So you don't like Tekken, whatever, but if you think that mashing is what gets you good at the game then you are just clueless.
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