Previews

First look at Tekken 6 on PSP

Director talks PSP specific content

First look at Tekken 6 on PSP
|
PSP
| Tekken 6

The Tekken series may claim to be the king of iron fist fighters, but the newest version demands featherweight fingers as it comes to PSP. Building on a phenomenal heritage, Namco-Bandai plans to extend Tekken 6 to the portable in concert with its console release that promises to be nothing short of dazzling. Flashy visuals, fine-tuned fighting mechanics, and a wealth of new options could make this the premier handheld fighter.

Tekken 6 won't be the first time the franchise has gone portable. Rave reviews and strong sales met Tekken: Dark Resurrection when it hit the handheld two years ago. While it would be easy to simply duplicate that experience, Director Katsuhiro Harada is taking a more ambitious approach. Overseer of the series as a whole at Namco-Bandai, he asserts that "radical changes" are being made in this new iteration.

Enhanced fighting mechanics, new moves, and the incorporation of additional styles mark this newest outing. Revised controls promise improved accuracy and agility, something that is intended to make the game more accessible to newcomers while at the same time keeping the depth that has entertained followers for years. The ability of PSP to mimic the controls of its PlayStation 3 counterpart contributed to the decision to bring the game to the portable where it promises to be just as nimble.

Though emulating the high definition gameplay of a console is a challenge on handheld, Harada has established that as the overarching goal with the PSP version of Tekken 6. "We're focused on portraying movement as realistically as possible." Animation has been given high priority, particularly in this portable companion where the slightest stiffness stands out on the small screen. Aside from animation, the game is visually stunning with crisp graphics and vibrant colors that go noticeably further in quality than Dark Resurrection.

The game boasts a roster of characters larger than any previous installment, though revealing a full list of fighters isn't something Namco-Bandai plans on doing. Instead, expect trickles of new information to come over the next few months. We do know of a few characters making the cut including notables Law, Kuma, Kazuya, Panda, and Feng.

New to the mix are Bob and Zafina. Easily spotted by his hefty gait, Bob bounces competitors about the screen with the right button presses. Though rather chubby, he's awfuly spry and capable of quick punches and kicks. Zafina, on the other hand, is skilled in the art of assassination. Her Middle Eastern heritage contributes to a sly fighting style. Of the 42 characters making it into the console version, Namco-Bandai wouldn't confirm if all would make it to PSP.

You can pit these characters against each other in a new story mode parallel to the console release, as well as standard modes like Arcade and Versus. Multiplayer will likely steal the spotlight, however, with support for real-time bouts via Ad-hoc mode (local wireless play).

No online fighting, though the game will allow you to download ghost data from other players globally via a central server. Naturally, you'll be encouraged to upload your best bouts too. While it's the lag associated with WiFi gaming understandable limits the appeal of real-time fighting, at least Tekken 6 provides a worthwhile alternative.

Although the PSP version juxtaposes the console game, Harada assures that there will be incentive for taking Tekken 6 on the go. "We have specific content to PSP," he admits. The extent of that exclusive content is being kept secret, aside from the fact that it includes a couple of stages that will only be available on PSP. Fortunately we don't have to wait terribly long to find out all that Tekken 6 has in store, as Namco-Bandai should have more information to share (and hopefully a playable version) of the game at E3 ahead of its autumn release.