|The huge Craig Marduk uses the Vale Tudo fighting style, which offers another completely different and original fighting style never before seen in the Tekken series. Although there are only two new fighting styles here, Jin Kazama has adopted an almost completely new fighting style for you to master. Once you have unlocked all the characters there will be 19 in total. While this is less than previous Tekken games all the characters have distinctly different moves, Namco have removed all fighters with identical moves. Most of the old returning fighters look better and a bit different to before, fighters also have most of their old moves but some have some new useful ones. |
Tekken 4 plays just like its predecessors for the most part, the four buttons, square, triangle, circle and X control each individual limb of your fighter and most special moves are accomplished by pressing these buttons in a specific order while tapping the D pad in different directions. The special moves are all pretty easy to pull off but remembering all moves for each character could take a lot of time and practice. If you have already played Tekken 3 or Tag Tournament you will be able to get into Tekken 4 without any problems.
Before long you will notice some new features in the game-play, most noticeable are the closed arenas of different shapes and sizes. This is a first for the Tekken series as Tekken 4's predecessors all took place on infinitely wide stages. Now you can throw your opponents into walls and set them up for some devastating combinations. If you find yourself pinned against a wall there is a quick recovery move that will enable you to roll to the side and out of harms way. As well as walls there are phone booths and cars that can either help of hinder your progress. In previous Tekken games each fighter had a couple of standard throws when you pushed either left punch and left kick or right punch and right kick together. Now each character can execute a position change move when you press the left punch and left kick buttons simultaneously. This move does not cause any damage to your opponent but it does force your opponent behind you. This is best used when you are cornered against a wall to turn the tables on your opponent, let the combos commence.
All the changes in Tekken seem to have followed the changes that took place in Virtua Fighter 3, Tekken's main rival. Virtua Fighter 3 introduced the walled environments and uneven surfaces as well as the addition of some more evasive manoeuvres. Tekken 4 now also includes the uneven/inclined surfaces contrary to what you might think the fighter on the higher ground is at the disadvantage since he/she is vulnerable to getting their feet taken out from under them and then being juggled in mid air for successive hits. Some of the walled arenas don't play much of a factor in the game-play as you might at first expect this is because some of the fighting arenas are very big and not all of them are completely surround by walls. Unfortunately these elements could have been implemented better than they have been.
Although the action in Tekken 4 is still great you will need to mix up your fighting style with high, middle and low attacks, counter hits, dodges, reversals, parries and throws in order to succeed. Some experienced Tekken players say that Tekken isn't very well balanced as some characters have moves that are overly effective allowing less experienced players to unfairly beat experts. The last couple of Tekken games have remained the same. This is not a bad thing at all though it can allow novices to play Tekken with easier characters against an expert with a character that demands much more precision and tactic. This is an argument that is likely to remain in the arcades as its no were near as relevant when you're playing at home. Tekken offers many characters that look and fight very differently from each other and this is one thing that attracts people to the Tekken series over the competition.
Another "new" feature of Tekken 4 is the Tekken Force mode that featured in Tekken 3. This version has been implemented much better and it's a good diversion as you get to take on loads of enemies and the frame rate keeps hanging in there even with the screen packed full of characters. Tekken Force mode is basically a side scrolling beat-'em-up similar to Final Fight or (for those of you that are old enough) Double Dragon.
One thing for certain though Tekken 4 looks great and it's one of the best-looking PS2 games out at the moment. The stylised characters look fantastic with realistic clothes and facial expressions and loads of great motion captured fighting moves, although some have been taken straight from previous Tekken games. The 3D arenas are much more detailed than any other arenas seen in any of the previous Tekken games and one level looks like something out of Fight Club with a circle of cheering spectators. Some of the breakable objects in Tekken do look a bit strange when broken though, although saying that it does in my opinion look better than Virtua Fighter 4.
If you haven't played any of the Tekken games before or you're just a novice the presence of 19 characters will mean you can spend a long, long time playing Tekken 4 against your friends or just against the scalable computer AI. If you have mastered the previous Tekken games, it won't take you long to discover the new subtleties of this version and maybe Tekken 4 will not feel quite new enough. That is not exclusive to Tekken though it is basically a bug with the whole fighting genre. Not even Virtua Fighter 4 offered anything new that broke the mold of the standard formula. If you're not really into fighting games but you wouldn't mind giving one a go then Tekken 4 is a good choice as it is very accessible to the novice, much more so than Virtua Fighter 4. When you have mastered it and you would like something different then you should have a blast on the much more technical Virtua Fighter 4. Tekken 4 could have done with more new moves and some of the game-play aspects are slightly dubious such as the inclined fighting arenas. Tekken 4 has exhausted all the formulas that exist in a fighting game, until something completely original comes along this is what all fighting games will be about. Tekken 4 does exactly what it says on the tin, it's extremely solid, long lasting, accessible, and is a "fun to play" fighting game that comes with a real pedigree.
8.5 out of 10