Hands-On: Tekken: Dark Resurrection

Namco's arcade brawler hits the portable screen in impressive fashion, with Dark Resurrection.

When Tekken 5 first hit the arcade scene and was later ported to the PlayStation 2 it was a crowning achievement for the series. Namco had taken the age old Tekken formula, given the fighting engine a pretty good overhaul and finally managed to craft a fighting game that would have broad appeal to long-time fans, newcomers, and even detractors of the series (the latter of which included yours truly). The result was a game that was easily the best Tekken game they had produced yet.

Of course when it comes to fighting games, the refining process is a seemingly never-ending one, something the likes of Sega and Capcom can certainly attest to, and Namco shows that it's up to the task with a port of their Tekken 5 arcade update of the same name, Tekken: Dark Resurrection.

What makes Dark Resurrection special is that, rather than taking the highly predictable path of releasing the game on the PS2, Namco has instead chosen the PlayStation Portable as their target platform for this conversion, providing the unit with its first high quality 3D fighter. With that said, Namco couldn't have picked a better fighter.

Originally released for Namco's System 258 arcade board during the latter half of 2005, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection brought with it new levels, as well as a number of enhancements over the original Tekken 5. In addition to the usual gameplay tweaks to help better balance the fighters, Dark Resurrection contains a total of 30 playable fighters including two new fighters.

There's Dragunov, a creepy looking Russian soldier with some pretty fast and sharp looking combos, as well as the less menacing but equally deadly Lili, a cute singer who hails from Monaco and uses capoeira-like dance movements in combat.

Additionally, Dark Resurrection also features the return of Armor King, a mainstay of the series who appears to be quite effective at stringing combos together with devastating grapple attacks.

In addition to the increased fighting roster, Dark Resurrection will also feature additional new costumes and accessories for each of the fighters, adding more options to the customization feature originally introduced in Tekken 5 where players could use their fight winnings to deck their fighters out with fashionable attire and accessories.

We had a chance to check out a short playable demo of Tekken: Dark Resurrection at E3, and were pretty pleased by the offering that was on hand. The same great gameplay found in Tekken 5 has been adapted beautifully to the portable screen. We engaged in 2-player battles against a Namco rep and battled through the limited single-player arcade mode, both of which played really well and had a wide selection of playable characters to choose from. The Tekken control scheme has translated really well to the PSP, and thanks to the responsiveness of the controls we had no problems pulling off combos, juggles, counters or throws.

When Tekken: Dark Resurrection lands on the PSP this summer, players will have a wealth of game options available to them. The game will feature your standard Practice, Arcade, Story, Quick battle, Time attack, and Survival modes. Additionally you'll also have more feature-rich character customization options, a theatre mode where you can unlock and view CG movies from the game, as well as view Records, Rankings, Profiles, and Ghost Lists.

In addition to the standard stuff, Dark Resurrection will also feature new original modes in the form of a Gold Rush mode where you'll have to beat your opponents out of their money by chaining together combos to increase your fight money. Another interesting aspect of Dark Resurrection will be the Tekken Dojo where players will select a dojo, a match type and then sharpen their fighting skills by defeating ghost players in order to become the dojo master.

The PSP outing will also feature an all-new intro movie as well as bonus mini-games that will add to the game's replay value. While Namco was promoting the game's online feature, touting it as Tekken's first online mode, the Wi-Fi networking battles will be limited to 2-player local Ad-hoc connections. Where the online mode comes into play is that players will be able to upload their Ghost data as well as download Ghost data uploaded by other players. Players will also be able to see how they rank against other players across the globe through the game's Network ranking system.

Based on what we've seen so far, the graphics appear to be coming together quite nicely on the PSP. The backgrounds looked great on the PSP's widescreen display with interactive environments that are modeled, textured and lit very nicely. The character models also looked great and animated quite smoothly, easily making Dark Resurrection one of the most impressive-looking fighting games we've ever seen on a portable gaming system.

Tekken: Dark Resurrection is currently slated for a Summer 2006 release. Stay tuned for our full review of the game as it nears release.

Joseph Jackson
Staff Writer, Kikizo.com

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