Tekken: Dark Resurrection
Jeff Downs walked away impressed, but how will the more hardcore Tekken fans feel?
While I've always considered myself to be a loyal follower of Tekken, after witnessing how serious gamers on the west coast take their beloved fighting series, I've since then been put in my place. I live on the east coast, and while my friends and I like to enjoy a few rounds on a mildly-serious level, venturing to the arcades in the OC a few years ago was a definite eye opener for me. Keeping this in mind while I was playing Tekken Dark Resurrection last week at E3, I knew that there would be two differing opinions on how well the game is performing at this point in its development cycle.
First and foremost, let me just state that Tekken Dark Resurrection was perhaps the most beautiful game on the PSP at E3. And by this point, with some of the games that have already hit store shelves, it should come as no surprise that this type of visuals can be pulled off on a handheld. Still, the fact that Namco was able to get a handheld Tekken game visually on par with the already stellar looking PS2 release is a marvel in itself. Namco's done the unthinkable - they've crammed high poly characters models, high quality textures, and a rock-solid frame rate into a handheld fighting game. Come to think of it, there's no perhaps about it, Tekken Dark Resurrection was definitely the best-looking PSP game at E3.
Sadly, most of the hardcore Tekken fan base is already crying foul in response to Namco's decision to put Dark Resurrection exclusively onto the PSP. In my opinion, their response is warranted, seeing as that this game is a port of the significant arcade upgrade to the original Tekken 5. Tekken 5 on the PS2 had its share of problems that the arcade release of Dark Resurrection resolved. Now, there's no way for the rabid fans of the series to experience this upgrade at home, besides purchasing the PSP version.
For any other genre, I'd tell the people complaining about the game's release plans to suck it up, and buy the PSP version, but in this case I can definitely see where hardcore Tekkennites are coming from. First of all, while playing the build showcased at E3, I noticed that performing moves consistently was more or less a spotty affair. I don't know if this was due to the actual software, but it felt like another fighting game casualty suffered at the hands of the lackluster PSP d-pad. It's no secret that the PSP's d-pad is less than ideal for fighting games, and as a result, it only adds fuel to the fire of those who disagree with Namco's decision-making skills. Secondly, explain to me just how you're going to own somebody that dares challenge your elite Tekken skills, if you can't embarrass them in front of a large crowd of people? Exactly, you can't. I'd like to see you try to gather 20 people around the PSP's screen. It ain't happening.
For what it is, Tekken Dark Resurrection appears to be everything that a casual fan of the series could ever want from a handheld version of America's most popular 3D fighter. It's got the graphics, the gameplay, the sound (I presume), and the polish. With all the additions that made Dark Resurrection a worthy upgrade to Tekken 5, intact - new characters, new moves, improved load balancing, ad-hoc multiplayer, and more - it's hard to argue against the game's potential. Hardcore gamers, on the other hand, have plenty to be skeptical about as well. Will Namco somehow pull off precise control with the PSP's limited d-pad? Will they ever release Dark Resurrection on the PS2, so that hardcore gamers can use the PSP version as a mobile dojo of sorts? Only time will tell, but judging from my brief playtime with the game, Tekken Dark Resurrection is obviously gearing up to be the best fighting title to ever grace a handheld console, and a first day sell for the average fighting game enthusiast.