Published on February 23rd, 2012 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition Review
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Arika, Namco Bandai
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: Feb. 14, 2012
Price: $39.99 USD
A franchise that originally started on the PlayStation, Tekken has now become a multi-platform series that has been often spoke of as one of the better fighting games available. Now, after a 10-year hiatus, Tekken returns to a Nintendo platform with Tekken 3D: Prime Edition for the Nintendo 3DS. How does this latest entry fare? Do Nintendo fans get justice after a severe Tekken drought? Well…sort of
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition is a fast and fluid fighter. Running at 60 FPS, the game is very smooth and mostly a treat on the eyes, which is one of the strong points of this game. There are over 40 characters to choose from, each with multiple costumes. Every fighter from King to Nina is bright and colorful and each has their own charm. While every character model looks great, the same cannot be said for the backgrounds. Much like Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, the environments are stagnant and devoid of any life. Some of them also have some odd scaling issues, which is more noticeable a the 3D slider is turned up. For the most part though, the visuals are very strong.
None of that really matters if the gameplay is bad, but rest assured this is classic and polished Tekken. Controls are responsive and fluid, and everything moves really well. Shoulder buttons are your block, and your face buttons are used to pull off moves. The game also maps four moves to your touch screen, which seems to be the standard for 3DS fighters now. Juggling and linking moves to create combos is prominent in this game, but a training mode allows novices to ease into the game at a slower place. The core fighting engine is solid, and a lot of fun, mainly because each fighter has a great variety and feels different then the other characters. A lot of the fun stems from trying to find what character fits your game play style the best, and I really enjoyed that.
So if the graphics are good and the game play is good, then the game must be topnotch right? Well, that’s the problem. The game is very light on content. Normally I don’t care about ‘Story Mode’ in fighting games, but the absence of this fairly common mode feels odd. There isn’t even a true “arcade” mode. For single player, you can fight in a ‘Survival’ mode, ‘Quick Play’, or ‘Training’. There is a ‘Versus’ mode for wireless play, including online, but that’s it. Those are your modes. I don’t understand why there is such a lack of modes, as it really hinders the game. Also, there are some serious design decisions made in this game that make no sense and flaw the presentation. When you win a round, there is no replay showing the final move. Virtua Fighter 32X had this, why does this not? It just seems lazy.
Online mode, while fast and fun, has two design flaws that I do not like. The game does not allow for 3D online, which is to keep the 60 FPS. That’s okay, I can understand it, even if I don’t like it. The main problem is you have to pick your fighter before you join a match. So, instead of trying to create match up problems by selecting a different character when your opponent picks one, you have to choose before the match even is initiated. I just don’t understand why someone thought this was smart and was a good idea.
I want to love Tekken 3D: Prime Edition, because I really enjoy the visuals and the game play. The game even comes with a full length 3D Tekken film, which is a nice addition. But did this addition cause the lack of game modes? The video must hog a lot of resources on the 3DS card, so maybe that is why the game feels bare bones. Tekken 3D: Prime Edition had potential to be the king of 3DS fighting games, but the untapped potential leaves it just under the cusp of greatness. What is here is enough to warrant a purchase I feel, but I just think Namco Bandai could have done a little more fan service on this game; solid, but flawed.
[xrr label=”Rating: 7.25/10″ rating=7.25/10]
+ Fast and fluid fighting
+ Visuals are crisp
+ Full 3D Tekken Movie
– Lack of Modes
– Questionable design flaws
– How much did the movie detract from what could be added to the game?