LOS ANGELES--We had an opportunity to play Tekken Dark Resurrection just before E3 but wanted to check it out on the show floor, if only to take on some random challengers. The game is being shown on four kiosks that are linked together for competitive versus play. It's striking how similar this game looks to its PlayStation 2 counterpart, which is one of the best-looking games available on the platform. All the characters and their great-looking motion-captured moves are in here, in addition to a few new additions not found in Tekken 5.
Most notably, we got a chance to play as a new character named Lili, who's an attractive young woman with long, straight blonde hair. She seems to have a completely new set of moves, including a variety of tricky grappling techniques and unusual kicks that almost look like capoeira, though her fighting style is definitely different from what other Tekken fighters bring to bear. She's got a couple of different outfits, much like the other characters, all of whom return for this installment. The other new character is Dragunov (like the sniper rifle), a goth-looking Russian commando who seems partial to painful-looking grappling moves.
We saw a bunch of other fighters in action, including King, Hwoarang, Lee, Devil Jin, and Kazuya. There are about 30 characters in all, which is crazy considering how deep many of the individual fighters are. Also like in Tekken 5, you'll be able to customize your fighter with parts and accessories that you can unlock, though this aspect of the game wasn't being shown. The game will feature a new intro cinematic for good measure.
The visuals looked terrific (despite a few frame rate drops during win poses), and the loading times seemed decent, so the question is, how well did it play? The answer is, pretty well. Because the PlayStation Portable's D pad is recessed, unlike the PlayStation 2 controller's D pad, it's a little harder to get command moves to register. For example, we had trouble getting Kazuya Mishima to pull off his signature wind god fist technique, which required a dragon-punch-style input. Hopefully, though, this is just a matter of practice-makes-perfect. Meanwhile, Tekken's four attack buttons are a perfect match for the PSP's face buttons.
It's pretty wild to see Tekken looking this good on a portable system. Tekken: Dark Resurrection will be out this summer. Stay tuned to GameSpot for complete coverage closer to the game's release date.