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Tekken 5 review: Tekken 5

Almost a decade after its debut of digital destruction, the latest installment of the Tekken series is here to wreak havoc on our senses.

Zennith Geisler
4 min read

For fans who have been eagerly awaiting that resounding command of "Fight!" to kick off a new Tekken challenge, the time has come. Tekken 5 is finally here and trust us -- it's been well worth the wait.


Tekken 5

The Good

Extremely realistic gameplay. Amazing graphics and a soundtrack to match. Over 30 fight contenders. Prize money and character customisation. Includes arcade versions of Tekken 1, 2, and 3. Bonus mini-game: Devil Within.

The Bad

Previous characters omitted. Customisation not available for all characters. No online mode.

The Bottom Line

Tekken 5 ties up the loose ends from earlier releases and turns a great fighting game into the stuff dreams are made of.

Utilising a completely new graphics engine, Tekken 5 impresses from the moment you power up the console. The opening movie sets the scene for what those familiar with the series know as the King of Iron Fist Tournament. We find ourselves at Mishima Zaibatsu headquarters, where leader Heihachi Mishima has come under attack and is quickly proclaimed dead. Instead of being the end of the reign, the fifth King of Iron Fist Tournament is announced and the battle begins.

With three new contenders stepping up to the plate, Namco brings us a 20-strong cast of characters on default, and the possibility of unlocking 13 more as the game progresses. Old favourites such as King, Nina Williams, and Yoshimitsu are joined by newcomer Asuka Kazama, who shares her last name with existing fighter Jin (and we're guessing is his sister or cousin as has been speculated). Also added to the lineup are Feng Wei -- a kung fu master with incredible power, and a mysterious agent code-named Raven, who looks amazingly like Wesley Snipes from the Blade movies. All of the new characters sport an impressive arsenal of deadly moves, while the existing fighters' moves lists have also been updated.

There are 15 beautifully rendered CG environments that fights take place on, and have names such as Acid Rain, Burning Temple, Cathedral, City at Sunset, Dragon's Nest, Hell's Gate, Moonlight Wilderness, Pirate's Cove, Polar Paradise, Poolside, Secret Garden, The Final Frontier, Urban Jungle, and Waterfall. Whether filled with lush greenery and serene elements of nature or industrial, futuristic surroundings, each brings something special. The final stage of the game is set in a barren, desert wasteland, with an eerie green alien-esque aura.

If you can switch your concentration away from the mind-blowing graphics to listen to the audio, you'll notice the soundtrack is quite diverse (especially compared to previous Tekkens) and blends smoothly with the theme of each background scene. Sound effects are sharp and intense, with the many familiar skull-shuttering reverberations complimented by various new additions. The characters also hold their own in the sound department, with each fighter offering verbal provocations to their opponents as well as physical force. They all speak in their own native tongue or accent, and even the non-human fighters such as Kuma the bear and Panda are able to communicate.

Tekken gets girly with the addition of prize money and character customisation. You can earn money (represented as "G") in each mode of play, which is then used to customise fighters with accessories and different coloured clothing. Make each your own by adding hats, gloves, sunglasses, mobile phones, and more, with each item unique to their character. Brazillian Capoeira princess Christie Montiero, for example, can purchase carnival headdresses, while Julia Chang complements her own style with a pistol and holster.

But accessories can go beyond mere objects. Although omitted as a standalone character, Eddy Gordo appears as an "extra costume" for Christie, but he doesn't come cheap. It'll cost you 500,000 G to get him to emerge, and while fairly easy to get a hold of , G's still take time to stack up.

Different amounts are accrued in different ways. When you complete the "Story Battle" mode with a fighter, you receive 100,000 G. If you complete this mode with each of the 32 fighters, you can earn a maximum of 3,200,000 G. The amounts you can win in "Arcade Battle" vary according to your rank and that of your opponent. Earn 800 G for defeating a lower-rank fighter, 1000 G for a fighter at the same level, and 1000 G plus 100 G for every rank your opponent is above you. Battles won against a warlord or higher demand a 1000 G bonus payment.

There is also a bonus feature within the "Arcade Battle" mode which gives you the opportunity to increase your winnings 2, 3, 5, or 10 times the original amount. "Tekken Roulette" appears randomly, and is identified by a flashing red light above the life bar.

Once the cash starts rolling in, we can bet you'll let down your guard and head straight for customisation city. With the time spent here combined with everything T5 offers in terms of gameplay, opponents and stages, you may find yourself engaged in this violent wonderland forever. But wait, there's more, as you can switch it up by going back in time to the arcade days of Tekken 1, 2, or 3. T5 includes all three of those previous versions on this release, which is a great gift whether you want to reminisce about the good old days or compare them to see just how far the game has advanced.

Also not to be overlooked is the game-within-a-game featuring the character of Heihachi Mishima's son Jin Kazama. In the action-adventure offshoot "Devil Within", he must make his way through Mishima Zaibatsu HQ, destroying robot drone-like enemies that appear from within walls similarly to Agent Smith in The Matrix. There are also objects to destroy -- it's button-bashing aplenty, but great fun and something different than the traditional gameplay and other add-ons such as Tekken Tag's bowling feature.

Perfect execution and seemingly infinite replayability ensure this fighting franchise is back with a vengeance.

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