Fighting games - one of the world's mysteries in terms of why they are so popular, or is it so mysterious? They allow you to prove one on one who the best gamer is in very quick and intense fashion and also take a high level of skill to play well. However on the other hand for the home versions they have never represented the best value for money, but with online technology now available, the arcade is starting to come home or, in this case, on the train/bus. Tekken PSP sure took its time to arrive, but the wait seems to have been worth it as PSP owners have been given a true arcade port of what will surely become yet another Tekken classic.
For those who haven't played Tekken or any of its offshoots (such as Death by Degrees starring Nina), Tekken revolves around the Dark Fist Tournament, a championship for the best fighters in the world to fight it out for. And so they come with their skills and unique martial arts styles to prove who the best fighter is. Of course being a fighting game there is a number of cliche storylines to play through as well with nothing really to write home about. There's the man trying to avenge someone's death, the lady trying to prove she can do it and a whole host of other cliche stars both new and old coming from previous Tekken games.
The game itself is quite full of meat with a number of game modes on offer to choose from. Of course the primary game mode is ripped directly from the arcade version of the game, which is the main arcade story mode, but there are a few other interesting options such as the Dojo mode where you progress through fictional dojo's taking part in leagues to become a better fighter and move on. Then there is the typical survival mode where you either take on wave after wave of enemies till you lose and the time mode where you must last for a preset amount of time. Each are fairly stock standard for fighting games these days.
What is interesting is the amount of characters. There are thirty to choose from which by our count is the most offered in a fighting game for an extremely long time and rivals that of the Guilty Gear X series from Japan. The characters can also be customised when you earn money. Of course this really is only aesthetic but we're sure there are a few people out there who enjoy playing barbie with their video games. If you're an optimist this leads to an incredible level of replay value. Thirty different stories to play through and if you're a completist gamer then you will have many hours of gaming ahead of you. The problem is, that like most fighting games, Tekken: Dark Resurrection is repetitive.
There are a few problems with the game but the positives far outweigh the negatives. The lack of analogue stick control continues to baffle us, but the DPAD does the job fine. Also, the repetition kicks in very quickly unless you are a big Tekken fan. However, the ability to play Tekken against people over a network and the Internet is a big move and also the load times are incredibly impressive given how detailed the game is. The start of the game takes a long time to load, but once in the memory, the game flies between levels.
Visually the game is on par with its PS2 counterparts which is a stunning achievement for the Namco development team. The characters are highly detailed as are the numerous levels on offer and really if someone was watching it on a TV and didn't know the PSP was powering the game, they would probably guess PS2 as the console on offer. Sound effects and music are, as per usual, not that much to write home about but the anime style and in-engine cut scenes for the storyline are a highlight of the main game mode.
Tekken: Dark Resurrection PSP could have been better, but when the only notable problem with the game - its repetition - is a genre wide problem, then you know you have a winner on your hands. Tekken buffs will dig the ability to play online and those who just want a quality fighting game for the PSP will have to wait no longer, Tekken: Dark Resurrection is it.