The Tekken series has been getting quite a bit of exposure lately, with the releases of Tekken Hybrid,Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (in arcades) and Street Fighter x Tekken seemingly happening one after another.Tekken 3D Prime Edition is yet another game to join the line-up, which this time, as the name implies, is a title for Nintendo’s 3DS system. The year-old console already has a fair number of fighting games on its roster (namely Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition and Dead or Alive: Dimensions), but can Tekken 3Dwrestle the genre’s fans away from the competition? Sadly, it probably can’t.
Tekken 3D marks the second game in the series to be released on a Nintendo console, the first being the Game Boy Advance title Tekken Advance. With technology advancing as it has in ten years, you would be forgiven for expecting a long list of features and goodies fitting in one little cartridge. Instead, gamers are offered a paltry, bare bones port of Tekken 6 that is hardly worth the hefty recommended retail price of AUD$69.95. The standard story mode is nowhere to be seen, which could have added hours of replayability, given the game’s impressive 41 character roster. Instead, the single-player modes consist of Special Survival, Practice mode and Quick Battle. In Special Survival, you pick the number of opponents you must survive against on a single life bar. While you can be ranked according to how long according to the time taken and your score, there didn’t seem to be an infinite option available, which was sad to see. Practice mode is… well, practice mode, although it’s nice that developers Arika and Namco Bandai Games didn’t pull any punches here. Full command lists for all the characters are here, as well as handy options such as visible button input and training dummy stances.
Quick Battle is exactly that – ten rounds in which you can play to your heart’s content – although it almost feels like a slap in the face when staff credits begin to roll at the end of the ten rounds. However, players will likely spend the most time on this mode as it gives you the chance to ‘level your character up’, which in this instalment means very little other than a little tag next to your name. In a lot of the newer Tekken titles – hell, even in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection for the PlayStation Portable – each battle would earn you money, which could be spent on costume elements for your characters; levelling up would earn you more customisations. Customisations were silly, but a worthwhile little distraction that allowed you to add a bit more personality to the characters. Although the game does let you palette swap each of the characters’ two outfits, it’s very disappointing that customisation isn’t present in Tekken 3D, especially since the game is visually impressive and looks great in 3D while running at a solid 60FPS.
Tekken 3D also has both a local and online versus mode, which would understandably be the main drawcards for many players. The 3D option has been disabled for these modes of play in order to preserve the aforementioned 60FPS, which works wonderfully for local multiplayer. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for online matches. From the few matches that I did manage to find (the servers seem to be deserted most of the time), performance was mixed, with half the games running smoothly and the other half ruined by terrible lag. With no ability to gauge any reason for connectivity problems, this could be a real kick in the head for those purchasing Tekken 3D solely for online matches on the go. Another aspect of the game that is likely to cause dissatisfaction is the control scheme. The 3DS’s analog nub and D-pad aren’t really sufficient enough to pull off some of the tougher commands, so much like Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, there is the ability to assign any combo to one of the four touch screen buttons. This definitely takes the difficulty of executing more difficult combos, but on the flip side, it takes a lot of the challenge and pulse-pounding action out of it too.
To make up for its omissions and flaws, Tekken 3D attempts to incite players to continue playing by introducing card collecting. There are over 700 cards to collect, which are unlocked at various stages during the game and via the 3DS’s StreetPass function. These cards consist of various character art for the cards, as well as stills from the movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance, which is also available on the game card, complete with 3D viewing options. If you’re purchasing the game just to watch the movie however, I’d recommend purchasing Tekken Hybrid instead.
It’s a shame that Arika and Namco Bandai Games thought it necessary to include Blood Vengeance on the game card, because it makes me wonder how much better Tekken 3D could have been if they had the extra space to add more features. It’s clear that Tekken 3D is built for portability, with its fast game modes, but even then, it’s a poor excuse. Gamers picking this up for the first time will probably wonder if this is all theTekken series has to offer, and returning fans with PSPs are better off finding a copy of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection for their on-the-go desires. Tekken 3D had potential, but it’s just dropped the ball.
Visually impressive | Decent training mode | Loads of cards to collect
Lack of game modes | Online multiplayer is dissatisfying | Was the movie really necessary?