Tekken 3D Prime Edition bashes its way onto the Nintendo 3DS, ending a ten year long hiatus since the franchise last appeared on a Nintendo platform. However, with the genre already well represented on the handheld, does Tekken do enough to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack?
Alongside its extensive roster of forty characters, with variants including a young Heihachi, what impresses most from the outset is Tekken 3D Prime Edition‘s consistently smooth frame rate. Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada readily boasted that the game ran at 60 frames-per-second, even in stereoscopic 3D, and it delivers, providing a particularly fluid animation that ensures combat always feels electrifying and responsive.
Special Survival is where you’ll spend the majority of your time in single-player, pitting you up against increasingly large quantities of enemy combatants. What heightens difficulty, somewhat unfairly in places, are sporadic ‘Special Challenges’ that occasionally only allow you to damage your opponents through specific means. It’s a welcome challenge, yet flawed by confusion as the game never tells you how to do so – the player required to experiment with different styles of attack to work it out themselves. Those familiar with the franchise will appreciate such difficulty spikes, yet those treading unfamiliar territory will surely feel bemused that they are no longer able to damage their adversary.
Quick Battle provides a more basic set-up and is closer to the more standard ‘Arcade’ mode ever present within the genre – the player choosing a character to fight through a series of stages with. The difference here is that such mode directly records your Win/Loss statistics for each specific character, and also grants the opportunity to raise your rank in using them for you to have something to show for your expertise.
It is important, then, that those wishing to do so have somewhere to hone their skills further, and are free to do so within the Practice mode, allowing you to learn and perfect each character’s moves and combos to provide an upper hand within battle. Despite having such a sizeable roster, there is a great deal of variety in terms of character combat styles, and players will enjoy experimenting to find their personal favourites.
Multiplayer is supported through both local and Wi-Fi connections, providing the chance to go head-to-head against friends and worldwide competitors – players able to alter parameters such as location and skill level to suit. Again, statistics are further tracked here. Whilst such inclusion should be noted, it doesn’t quite demonstrate the level of depth that would be expected.
StreetPass is supported through the implementation of Tekken Card collectables, gathered through playing across any of the game’s individual modes. There are a colossal 765 available, ranging from in-game character screenshots to concept artwork. With so many up for grabs, StreetPass becomes a necessity with players able to choose three of their collected cards to share at any given time. Merely passing someone won’t grant you extra cards immediately, however, with players required to spend Card Points to unlock them. The game provides you with the function to use your accumulated Play Coins to cover such cost, such a choice seeing you trade 10 for an extra 30 Card Points.
Also housed on the game card is computer animated feature Tekken: Blood Vengeance, which marks the first film to be released on the Nintendo 3DS. Approximately 100 minutes in length, it’s based on the events of Tekken 5 and 6 providing a further insight into the franchise’s universe. It centres upon Xiaoyu Ling and Alisa Bosconovitch, as well as the frequently spotlight-stealing Panda, with appearances from the more recognisable faces amidst Tekken’s expansive character roster.
The plot itself is typically ludicrous, as is always the case with film tie-ins. Mixing humour, honour and betrayal, it’s rounded off by an epic, rousing conclusion accompanied by a sweeping orchestral score, underpinned in entirety by the rather over-used ‘What are we fighting for?’ moral value.
It also makes use of the handheld’s glasses-free stereoscopic 3D support although, for whatever reason, the visual effect is minimal at best. Marginally enhancing, yet not overly improving the experience. Still, the quality of the animation itself is unquestionably striking, and the film itself is enjoyable in its own right to both long-term fans and newcomers alike.
For all of its strengths, Tekken 3D Prime Edition is ultimately let down by a lack of gameplay modes. The praise showered upon animation fluidity and combat style variety superseded by disappointment that there isn’t enough content on offer to maintain your attention for any lengthy period of time. Still, it remains a credible handheld instalment and one that fighting fans most certainly won’t want to be without.