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Tekken 5 (PlayStation 2) artwork

Tekken 5 (PlayStation 2) review

"Tekken 5 was out for more than a year before I even realized it existed. Kind of sad, really, when you consider I’m the guy who spent most of his teenage years pumping enough quarters into Tekken 3 to pay for college. Why? I just didn’t care anymore. Tag was boring and 4 never entered my thoughts let alone my collection, but in browsing I had hope for 5. “Rebuilt engine, customize your characters.” I read. “Prepare for the deepest, most relentless fighting acti..."

Tekken 5 was out for more than a year before I even realized it existed. Kind of sad, really, when you consider I’m the guy who spent most of his teenage years pumping enough quarters into Tekken 3 to pay for college. Why? I just didn’t care anymore. Tag was boring and 4 never entered my thoughts let alone my collection, but in browsing I had hope for 5. “Rebuilt engine, customize your characters.” I read. “Prepare for the deepest, most relentless fighting action ever.” This is gonna be friggin’ awesome!


Okay, most of them anyway. Yes the engine was rebuilt and baby did it work. This is the best-looking Tekken out there. The characters look as stunning on the battlefield as they do in the selection screen (Nina especially). No more “great headshot, blocky body”. Everything is smooth, polished and oh so pretty. Even the environments are nothing to scoff at. One arena is set in a field lit only by the moon, flowers swaying in the wind, petals drifting away with the breeze. It’s actually quite serene… until you realize while you’re playing prancy your face is getting smashed. Yeah, 5 is gorgeous but--and call me shallow--for the same reason I won’t date a pretty girl who doesn’t have a brain, I want it to actually do something.

Which is sadly where the newest Tekken falls short.

Don’t get me wrong it does a lot, but it’s a lot of nothing. Take for example the characters. 30? Let me say that I understand some people, mainly meth heads, have an insane amount of free time and can learn the moves for 30 different fighters. I, cannot. I choose my favorite few--Law, Lei, Nina, Asuka--and tear it up for a while. It just seems kind of overdone to me. 15? Yeah. 20? Okay, but 30 is just a waste of time.

Not to mention some of the “newer” ones are just the old ones in disguise. Above I mentioned Asuka as one of my favorites, she technically isn’t. Jun was my favorite, but there is no Jun, only a younger version with the same moves named Asuka. And what is the deal with Christie? If I wasn’t watching her boobs bounce, I’d swear it was Eddie. Who the hell are these people? Somewhere between 3 and 5 they’ve jammed in almost twice the characters and yet most of them have no backgrounds. Bios may have been nice, but instead Tekken chose to eat up that space with more characters.

And more crap. The list of useless things just snowballs from there. There is a mini-game in this latest sequel, but sadly it’s not bounding a beach ball around or knocking down pins. It’s called “The Devil Within” and it is without a doubt the worst, most retarded, most redundant “action” game I’ve every played. As Jin, you travel through the Mishima Corporation and accent ruins to try and figure out what causes the “devil” side of yourself. Who cares? I didn’t, but anyone who does I hope your really, really desperate for the answer because you’re going to have to suffer. The enemies look exactly the same, the environment is dismal and sterile and the boss battles are incredibly cheap. You beat people up, open doors, walk down a hallway and start the process over again. Great. I’d rather count the fibers in my carpet than sit through that mess again. It’s ugly, people.

Remember I mentioned the ability to customize your characters? Yeah, it’s in there. A whole lot of nothing, but it’s in there. You earn money from various tasks--mostly fights, but you can earn a cool mil from snoring through Devil Within--in which you can use to buy all sorts of accessories and colors for any fighter of your choice. The only problem with this is Tekken’s wonderful ability to not take anything seriously. Most of the options are a joke. I don’t want Nina wearing a stupid nurses cap or carrying around a syringe. I don’t want Asuka wearing stupid glasses or Law carrying around a frying pan. It’s not me. So I just left it alone. Again, another thing in Tekken 5’s huge menu that I didn’t even touch.

What did I leave out? Oh, right. The actual fighting. I forgot between the customizing and the mini-game that this is a fighting game. My mistake.

I don’t get it, and when you consider the fact that Namco also included the first 3 installments of the Tekken series right there in menu for you to play I shouldn’t be blamed for not getting it. Where is the value? I’m doing the same moves, with the same style on a more than dead battle system. I’m actually sad that I didn’t pick up 4 because I heard they went a new direction, and then dropped it because it needed to be tweaked. So go back to what works, right? Hollywood does it and they’re on top of the world…*Cough.* It’s drab. I’d like at least something new and being able to slam guys into the wall occasionally just won’t cut it. I sit there like a zombie, alternating my fingers between square and triangle, x and circle with the only characters I know how to play.

Yes, I did try some of the new characters briefly just to get a feel for them and Namco did provide easy access to their list of moves but I just want to play through without getting my ass handed to me--even on easy--with someone new. Is that so hard? I don’t want a practice dummy, I want to beat the game in story mode with the new people so I can actually get a two page description and a cheap ten second movie of who they are.


I had to be an expert on every character. Why? Two words: Jinpachi Mishima. Without a doubt, the cheapest, lousiest boss in a fighting game. Ever. I remember when I played in the arcade, I almost got into a fist fight, literally, with some guy who kept using “Devil” and blasting me with his lasers before I even got up. If I ever, EVER find the guy that plays Jinpachi, or even the one that invented him… I’m throwing him out my window. Jinpachi can stomp the ground and leave you paralyzed, he can shoot an enormous fireball out of his chest which takes three-quarters of your life with one hit--and may I add is almost impossible to dodge--and he dodges most of your throws with ease. Fights with him last twenty seconds if you’re lucky, three if you're not. I found myself trying to beat him for almost half an hour one night, then finally gave up. He’s a spoiled child who just will not let you win sometimes.

I can’t support Tekken 5 for the same reason I won’t buy a hot air balloon. Yeah, it may look great and grandeur but it only gives the illusion of depth. There’s absolutely nothing worthwhile inside of it. Too many modes and too much useless crap like mini-games and customizing try to overshadow or overcompensate for a fighting system that is tired and played out. Tekken 5 is useless. The only thing that sets it apart from anything else in the series is that it looks better. It makes me sad, because I had hope for this one. Sorry folks. True Baby loves Nina, but True Baby hates Tekken 5.

True's avatar
Community review by True (April 26, 2006)

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