Tekken: Dark Resurrection

REVIEWTEKKEN... one of the best, and in many opinions, the most rewarding hand-to-hand 3D fighting game in existence appears to be picking up some steam in the mid 2000's. I suppose I should mention that Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection has been one of the most popular games in my local arcade community (spanning 2 major cities), following the release of Tekken 5.1. In Summer 2006, the first true handheld version of Tekken exploded onto Sony's PSP (which was in dire need of more fighting games)! Luckily for us Tekken Fanatics, the first "true" portable iteration of Tekken just so happens to be the latest installment... Dark Resurrection!


Tekken 5: DR Team Battle on PSP. I repeat. TEAM BATTLE. . . On PSP.
Need I say more? Packed with excellent modes!


Namco randomly tossed the "5" out of the title for the handheld version, dubbing it simply "Tekken: Dark Resurrection" (perhaps to distinguish it from its arcade counterpart). PSP's first solid 3D fighter includes every single character from the arcade version and packs a presentation you could only expect from Namco these days. Tekken + 5 + DR + PSP = an updated opening movie just for the PSP version, all the staple modes from previous Tekken installments, a new "Tekken Dojo" mode, more character customization items and options, an ass-kickin' soundtrack (in addition to an awesome BGM player, complete with dancing bear), downloadable ghost fighters from human players all over the world, a Theater Mode where you can watch character endings / stories, and finally, entertaining mini games like Gold Rush & Tekken Bowling (back from Tekken Tag)! Are you kidding me? Tekken: Dark Resurrection on PSP makes some CONSOLE fighting games out there look bad.... Really really bad.

Tekken: DR simultaneously wins the titles of "Best PSP Fighting Game" and "Best Handheld Fighting Game" (to date). Technically, it's also one of the most complex (and most rewarding) 3D fighters you can currently play on any system. Those are all facts by the way, not opinion. Seriously though. (Geez Namco, quit making me brag about your damn games). Character models on the PSP "shine" and look nearly as good as their Tekken 5 PS2 counterparts, only lacking a few minor details and polygons here or there. Character faces also seem to have translated almost perfectly from the arcade version, and even include facial expressions! All the stages are also incredible eye candy (especially for a handheld game), although the textures are a much lower resolution than those in the original version, but that's to be expected. However, it must be stated somewhere on the web that "how Tekken really looks to the human eye depends on who is behind the controls." It's true you know. 

Excellent character models for a PSP game, actually!

A Rant from pretty good Tekken Player. . . 

 You see kids, when two random button mashers start playing Tekken, you'll usually witness a lot of pointless jumping, overused crouching jabs and kicks, and probably a few jump-to-ground-punches from the likes of Tekken (1) or Tekken 2. Players like that will always make Tekken look horrible for anyone watching. For some reason, Namco hasn't taken these ancient, "less impressive" animations from earlier installments out of the game yet. I think the dev-team keeps those silly moves in the game just to laugh at how noobs play the game, for their own entertainment... lol. Whatever the case, it's always easy to recognize a "non-Tekken player" in the first 10 seconds of a match. Besides a few cool moves that are easy to pull off, all together, you'll usually see boring "linear" gameplay when watching two beginners attempt to play Tekken (and to think, some of them will surely think it's the game that sucks, not their own abilities). I don't have a problem with beginners who want to learn how to play Tekken, but button mashers I can't stand. It's true some people haven't even learned that Tekken actually includes sidestep mechanic (and it's important)... but don't worry, Namco has them covered. 
Yeah, I went there.
Just for the beginners, Tekken: Dark Resurrection on PSP offers a "Tekken for dummies-esk" Tutorial mode which explains basic movement, commands, aaaand... take a deep breath.... "It teaches you how to block!" *Gasp!* Tekken: DR is your new Tekken guru, or something to that effect. I only wish Namco would include this type of Tutorial mode in other console iterations of Tekken, not just on PSP. Aside from the Tutorial Mode, simply playing the PSP version of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection can actually improve your game if you're just starting out. Unlike the PS2 version of Tekken 5 (and all previous console versions), the computer AI characters actually combo you "correctly" which can be a great way to learn combos (and ultimately, how to properly play the game). Thanks Namco, this may help minimize the button mashers of the world... maybe. 

Doriya! Doriya! Doriya! ... Doriya!!!  Learn to EWGF.


Tekken 5
made it somewhat easier for beginners to pull off "cool-looking" moves by "moderately" button mashing or experimenting with different "staple" commands, since Namco is constantly adjusting the movesets to feel more natural, intuitive and comfortable when playing a character. Regardless, the only way to understand and fully experience how complex of a game Tekken: DR is, is to fully learn a variety of characters and become skilled at defending against a good majority of the cast. I say this, because I've heard too many people in the past say "Tekken always looks the same." Little do they know, those "surface gamers" would likely change their minds on Tekken after they witnessed two highly skilled players go at it. Witnessing battles coming down to a shred of life left on either side, mixing up gameplay strategies drastically with only a single character, mixing up combos which "leave" opponents in various strategic situations... it's such a different game at high level. Thus, Tekken is what you make it, like most quality fighting games.

The all-important controls were clearly among Namco's top priorities when making Tekken: DR, and thankfully the game plays close to arcade perfect. Namco even included an "alternate D-pad" with the first print copies of the game, which conveniently fits on top of the default PSP's default D-pad. In my experience, the alternate D-pad actually made diagonals easier to hit consistently and allowed for slightly smoother sidestepping. Even so, I'd say the biggest drawback of the handheld version is that the sidestep game is slightly more stiff due to the limitations of PSP's D-pad. Many high level Tekken players use a "sliding" sidestep technique (discovered in Tekken 5), which doesn't quite work the same on this version. Of course, using an arcade stick or PS2 controller for Tekken is leagues better than the PSP's D-pad... but the PSP version is a suitable substitute when on the road, and a great way to practice your combos and timing at the very least.




Once you grasp the slight learning curve of the PSP controls, the game literally plays exactly like the arcade version of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. Tekken 5's earlier bugs and balance issues have been fixed, and new combos and moves are waiting to be learned. The game runs at a perfect 60 fps during gameplay, with cut scenes running at 30 fps. Replays are still 60 fps and look as good as you'd expect. Unfortunately, the camera angle during cut-scenes between rounds (where both characters are usually seen), has been altered so that only the losing character is clearly visible. It's not a huge deal, but it's kind of a shame, since both characters were given brand new "between-round" animations in Dark Resurrection (arcade). Most players skip the cut-scenes anyway. (I don't). Some other graphic imperfections I noticed, including the opening and closing of hands, which isn't animated smoothly like in the arcade version. Also when looking at a character model closely, some strange black dots between the polygons are visible. Again, not a huge deal... but worth mentioning. 

Now that I'm done nitpicking, let's talk about some other things that make Tekken: DR totally badass! Once again, Namco went the extra mile and introduced some innovative features never before seen in a handheld fighting game. Firstly, Team Battle with up to 8 characters per team (which is just awesome). Secondly, Ghost Creation, which enables players to train CPU-controller characters who will eventually "mimic" their unique combos when fighting against other human opponents. No, it doesn't really substitute a human opponent at the end of the day, but this is the closest way currently possible to "fight against yourself" in Tekken Any of your friends that own Tekken: DR can easily fight against your ghost and vice versa. It's a cool little bonus that Namco didn't need to include for this title, but did.

Thankfully, the computer AI has improved vastly since Tekken 5's, and many higher ranked ghost characters will actually combo you effectively and even low parry... which is something Tekken 5's AI left out completely (as if combos and low parries didn't exist in the game). The AI still isn't perfect, which means the ghosts you and your friends create will also suffer from "getting up too fast" and "doing predictable wake-up kicks" in addition to other things that skilled human players will always anticipate and punish. (In short, the CPU AI still doesn't help new players actually learn how to play Tekken.) In any case, the ghost system is still entertaining and not only an innovative aspect for handheld fighting games, but for console fighting games in general. And if all that isn't not enough for you, you can always play a round or two of Tekken Bowl on the go!





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Page Updated: March 13th, 2024
Developer(s): Namco, 8ing/Raizing
Publisher(s): Namco
Designer(s): Katsuhiro Harada
Platform(s): PlayStation Portable
Release Date(s): July 6th, 2006          
July 25th, 2006      
Sept. 14th, 2006    
Sept. 15th, 2006    
Characters Dragunov, Lili, Asuka Kazama, Feng Wei, Raven, Kuma, Panda, Bruce, Anna, Jin Kazama, Eddy, Lee Chaolan, Ling Xiaoyu, Bryan Fury, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix, Yoshimitsu, Steve Fox, Craig Marduk, Christie, Hwoarang, Kazuya Mishima, King, Marshall Law, Julia Chang, Jack, Lei Wulong, Armor King, Roger Jr., Wang, Baek, Ganryu, Mokujin, Devil Jin, Heihachi, Jinpachi

Featured Video:

Related Games: TEKKEN 5: Dark Resurrection, TEKKEN 5: Dark Resurrection Online, TEKKEN 5, TEKKEN 3D: Prime Edition, TEKKEN Advance, TEKKEN, TEKKEN 2, TEKKEN 3, TEKKEN Tag Tournament, TEKKEN 4, TEKKEN 6, TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion, TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2, TEKKEN 7, TEKKEN 8, TEKKEN Hybrid, TEKKEN Revolution, Street Fighter X TEKKEN

Gameplay Engine  9.0 / 10
Story / Theme  9.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  10 / 10
Animation  9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  10 / 10
Innovation  9.5 / 10
Art Direction  9.0 / 10
Customization  10 / 10
Options / Extras  10 / 10
Intro / Presentation  9.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  9.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  10 / 10
Characters  10 / 10

 9.6 / 10



Final Words: 2006 was a special time for TEKKEN players... not only did we have an innovative, revolutionary (and underappreciated) TEKKEN 5 arcade cabinet... and an updated to TEKKEN 5 with Dark Resurrection, we had a portable version to take anywhere with us and practice. Namco spoiled us in 2006. Imagine if every fighting game launched with a portable version you could take anywhere. You'd get pretty good at the game, right? 

TEKKEN 5: DR on the PSP requires even more of a learning curve due to the layout and controls of the PSP itself, but it's definitely worth your time if you want to become a better player. In fact, for any TEKKEN player, I'd say it's a must have... along with the portable version of (the later) Tekken 6 of course. On that note, Tekken: DR is actually a more polished, more "complete" portable Tekken title... over the PSP version of Tekken 6 (which was decent). In any case, this is easily one of the best handheld fighting games ever made... and even features a slew of bonus modes that certain console fighting games wish they had.

Once you pop this UMD into your PSP... there's eye candy in every corner of your screen. The menus are slick, the diversity of modes can keep you busy for a long time, the music player is great... and ohh yeah, Tekken anywhere. A must-have game on PSP if you're a fighting game fan. It seems Namco gave new players every reason to want to play this game. Like I stated earlier in this review, if you're a beginner at Tekken and want to learn more on the go, Tekken: Dark Resurrection on PSP is an excellent starting point!
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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