by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Beat 'em up fans certainly have had it good this year. Dead or Alive 3, Virtua Fighter 4 and now Tekken 4 have all arrived within the last seven months. There must be bleeding thumbs all over the UK. Of course whilst Dead or Alive 3 is without a rival on the XBOX, on the Playstation 2 it is an entirely different matter altogether. Virtua Fighter and Tekken are long standing series that have long been rivals. Most gamers either choose one or the other. Only the hard-core beat 'em up gamers will usually go out of his/her way to own the both. We looked at the latest Virtua Fighter game recently and were impressed with it. So what's the latest Tekken game got in store for us then? Let's take a look.
The gameplay modes this time around are Story Battle, Arcade, Time Attack, VS Battle, Team Battle, Survival, Practice, Training and Tekken Force. Story Battle is the usual mode where you take a fighter and compete with various other fighters to complete the story. In fact the other modes with the exception of the Tekken Force mode, are identical to what you'd find in previous versions of Tekken or most other beat 'em ups. Tekken Force is a rather kind of awkward, from a camera angle point of view, side on scrolling beat 'me up in which you must take on wave after wave of opponents. To be completely honest it gets old really quick and is probably a mode you'll only consider when you need a change from the other modes.
Of course multiple game modes are nice but the quality of the gameplay is far more important in a beat 'em up than the number of gameplay modes. The basic controls still revolve around the circle, square, triangle and X button and will be instantly familiar with fans of previous versions. There have even been some dodge moves included this time around and this adds an edge to the fights. In total there are five difficulty levels ranging from Easy - Ultra Hard. Veterans of the series will probably be split with the alteration of some characters move sets but aside from being forced to learn the different moves it doesn't cause a problem. There are also a couple of new characters. Christie Monteiro, Craig Marduk, and Steve Fox have been added to the roster and in total there are now 19 fighters, although not all are available initially.
Visually I would put Tekken 4 in front of Virtua Fighter 4 but obviously behind Dead or Alive 3. The models look solid and the animations are quite complex and look impressive. You don't get environmental damage in the same way that you got with Dead or Alive 3 but overall the game is visually pleasing, far better than Tekken Tag Tournament, and better than anything seen in a beat 'em up on the Playstation 2 to date.
While not all verbal comments are subtitled in the game there is no problem at all for deaf gamers. The story line is given in text as well as verbally, which is very pleasing to see. Occasionally the fighters will make verbal comments which are not subtitled, but this is not a problem as it is usually just a taunt which should have been subtitled but it is not really a problem. Gamepad icons help to show you how to perform the moves during training so there is no problem there either. Some comments are made during the Tekken Force mode such as 'chicken' etc. but again the lack of subtitles for these comments is not too much to worry about.
Tekken 4 will certainly please fans of the series and certainly seems to have utilised the Playstation 2's power much more than the, just above average Tekken Tag Tournament. Virtua Fighter 4 purists will probably still not get on with it because it's Tekken but on the whole it's a very good beat 'em up with fighters and many other things to unlock and keep you occupied for many months to come. Namco have certainly not disappointed with Tekken 4.
Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10 A great sequel to continue a very good series. For veterans there's not too much that hasn't been seen before but it's still a very worthwhile purchase.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems. There are little subtitle omissions but they do not harm the gameplay at all.