Earlier today, during one of several visits to Sony's huge E3 2009 stand, we had an opportunity to get in a few games of Tekken 6 on the PlayStation 3. Namco's upcoming fighter is running on three or four consoles in the Sony area and, predictably, it's attracting a lot of attention. We didn't have to wait too long for a spot to open up, though, and after picking up our player 2 controller, player 1 helped us to locate our weapon of choice: Jackie Chan doppelganger Lei Wulong.
Of course, it's crazy that we couldn't immediately pick him out on the roster, but there are no fewer than 40 fighters in the game, and the character-select screen currently displays only headshots for them. Anyhow, with Lei selected, we set about going toe to toe with our opponent's Steve. It didn't take us long to realize that Lei's move set has changed (or at least been added to) quite significantly. Most of his existing repertoire from previous games appears to have been retained, but one or two of the moves seem to do less damage now than they used to. It's hardly huge news, but it seems reasonable to assume that every character with some Tekken history has probably been reworked in a similar way. And then, of course, there are six new combatants entering the fray.
Going up against (or using) a character that you've never seen before is tough, which we found out when our opponent chose to play as Bob: a rotund, denim-clad fellow who, despite his size, was deceptively quick. The somewhat Jin-like Lars also proved to be a tricky opponent, although the only thing remarkable about him on this occasion was his gravity-defying hair style.
Anime hair aside, Tekken 6 looks a lot like previous Tekken games, though with more-detailed characters and a higher screen resolution. With that said, the antialiasing on the characters wasn't great, so there were definitely some noticeable jagged edges on display. Some of the locations looked a little strange as well, most notably the arena that's actually a field full of sheep. As the fighters sidestepped and the camera was forced to rotate, the layered nature of the environments became all too apparent and, at times, it was obvious that they weren't moving in sync. This has always been the case in Tekken games, but in HD it's more noticeable, and at times it almost seemed like layers were rotating in opposite directions. Furthermore, fighters could regularly be seen moving through the sheep, though on one occasion we did witness one of the herd getting launched a foot or so off of the ground.
Tekken 6 is currently scheduled for release on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PSP toward the end of 2009. We hope to bring you more information on the game soon--maybe we'll even head over to the Namco Bandai booth for a few more bouts before the end of E3. After all, even with a few visual oddities, this is still Tekken!
UPDATE: Namco Bandai sent out a press release after E3 closed for the day, announcing that Tekken 6 will feature an all-new Scenario Campaign mode. This mode, which frankly sounds more like something out a Dynasty Warriors Gundam game than Tekken, will be story-driven, and will pit one or two players against "hordes of enemies" that can be disposed of much more easily than regular Tekken opponents.
Furthermore--and this is where it starts to get a little crazy--in addition to your chosen character's melee skills, you'll have access to an arsenal of weapons that includes staffs, machine guns, flamethrowers, and "giant robots." Playing through the Scenario Campaign mode will purportedly let you collect numerous items for customizing and strengthening your fighter before you take him or her online. We'll bring you more information on Tekken 6's Scenario Campaign mode just as soon as we can get our hands on it.