Tekken 3D Prime Edition Review

Technical achievements set Tekken 3D Prime apart from other 3DS games in the genre. Visuals aside, it fails to meet expectations.

Tekken 3D Prime Edition is a joint effort between Namco and Arika, with the latter being responsible for the Street Fighter EX series, as well as the 3D revivals like 3D Classics: Excitebike. It's abundantly clear that the technical performance was a top priority during development, but overall, the amount of content seems to have suffered as a result. The inclusion of the Tekken Blood Vengeance film is a fleeting curiosity at best and doesn't even come close to making up for the lack of variety in gameplay.

Prime's greatest triumph is its smooth frame rate, which does the game's hard-hitting nature proper justice. You don't have to sacrifice speed for 3D, for the most part. Multiplayer is the one exception, in that the 3D mode is automatically disabled. Regardless, the fact that the single-player modes support the full frame rate with 3D enabled is an outstanding achievement. It absolutely sets the bar for any future fighting games on the system.

Most of the character models look exactly like their counterparts found in the PSP version of Tekken 6, which is a good thing; both games share the same roster. The 3DS has a slightly lower resolution, but the smaller screen diminishes any discernible differences in the end. The one major exception is Heihachi, who has been given an overhaul from the waist up, similar to Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Character models are large, detailed, and crisp. Screenshots do not reflect the excellent work that's gone into rendering the characters on the 3DS, and they truly stand out with 3D turned to the max.

Still images don't accurately represent the quality of Tekken's character models.

If you've played a Tekken game before, you can expect to feel right at home with Prime. The move lists are on par with recent entries in the series and it's easy to get lost in the heat of combat. Sadly, the 3DS's small D-pad and buttons make it hard to input a lot of your favorite moves. Using the circle pad makes more ergonomic sense, but Tekken is a game where commands are heavily dependent on directional inputs. Without defined directions, the circle pad is just the lesser of two evils. This is a hardware problem, and the developers tried to remedy this by allowing you to program inputs, or combinations thereof, to large buttons on the lower screen. It works in theory, but true competitors often shy away from these types of shortcuts. That said, if you want to play Tekken on the 3DS, the limitations and solutions provided might be a necessary evil you have to endure.

Stage design took a bit of a hit. There are few transparencies, little to no animation in any given stage, and depth is often handled through the use of parallax to presumably minimize polygon counts. Overall, the stage design feels secondary to the characters, which sounds bad, but it makes perfect sense in a Tekken game where the stages usually have little practical impact on gameplay.

Background features are often static images that rotate with the camera.

Beyond design, there is a lack of variety that really stands out in a negative way. There's no story to speak of, and character customization is limited to palette swaps. The various items available in previous games didn't bolster the gameplay experience much, but they were omitted from this release. After all, an entire movie fit on the card, so clearly memory wasn't the issue.

Arcade mode has been replaced with Quick Battle, a series of 10 rounds with increasingly difficult opponents. It sounds similar to what you'd expect from an Arcade mode, but there isn't a final battle with an iconic boss, so it's not traditional in that respect. Because there's no story, the only ending cutscene available is the credits, which might not fit most people's definition of an ending in a Tekken game.

Local multiplayer performs well, showing no signs of lag. Online multiplayer is a slightly different story. In the matches we were able to find from the small sample size of users who actually have the game, we experienced a range of results. The game lets you specify whether you want to search locally or not, but regardless of our choice, lag would pop up now and again. This feature is heavily dependent on a user's individual connection, obviously, so it's disappointing to see there is no indication of signal strength when choosing matches from the lobby. Another limitation of multiplayer is the inability to switch characters when playing online. If you want to rematch outside of local multiplayer, you have no choice but to continue using the same character.

I got this for you. I hope it's the right size.

The Practice and Survival modes are fundamentally bare bones as well. Special Survival mode is pretty much what it sounds like: you face off against a series of opponents using a single bar of health that regenerates slightly between rounds. The "Special" designation comes into play when you face off against opponents that only incur damage in a specific manner, such as being hit in midair. The Survival mode is challenging at best and frustrating at worst. There's nothing like proving your worth through 39 rounds, just to lose the final battle because you can't juggle your opponent properly.

The truth is that the only rewards the game provides are in the form of cards, static images of Tekken characters from throughout the series. Generally speaking, the cards are nothing more than a distraction. There are 765 cards to collect, which are earned in numerous ways during the course of the Quick Battle and Survival modes. They consist of static images with varying degrees of depth when viewed in 3D mode, but that's it. You can select three cards to trade during StreetPass interactions in the wild, but unless you're the most diehard Tekken fan, why bother? It's the wrong kind of motivation, considering the entire game is based on Tekken characters represented in 3D.

Perhaps the missing costume augmentations could have been utilized as a means to boost the combat and social experience, if only in a superficial way. At least you would get something out of random interactions in the real world. Though it may be asking too much, why not have the hypothetical customizable characters transferable over StreetPass as well? Talk about missed opportunities. Having a pair of aviators to slap on Roger Jr. is preferable to a picture of Heihachi's scalp. The keyword is scalp, which is not a comment on a particular feature of Heihachi but a criticism of the entire contents of card number 665.

We like Heihachi, but there's more to him than just a good looking scalp.

Last, and justifiably least, is the inclusion of the Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie. The film is really tailored for the most diehard Tekken fans. The one upside is that the encode was done incredibly well and does a good job of showing off the potential for 3D movies on the system. Some people may see the film as a bonus, but considering the gaps in content of the actual game, it's easy to imagine it was intended to fill in those holes, rather than to provide a cool bonus.

Tekken 3D Prime Edition is an inconsistent package. On the one hand, it sets technical milestones for future fighting games on the 3DS to meet. Apart from these achievements, the game leaves a lot to be desired. If you love Tekken and don't mind the inherent control limitations of the 3DS, the portable multiplayer experience may be reason enough to justify your purchase. If you're looking for a portable fighting game that mimics the content found in console titles, however, you should look elsewhere.

The Good
Impressive character models.
Fast frame rates.
Tried and true Tekken combat.
The Bad
Limited gameplay modes.
Lack of any real unlocks or rewards.
Complex inputs are limited by the 3DS hardware.
6.5
Fair
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45 comments
enrique_marrodz
enrique_marrodz

This is the first Tekken I play "at home" as I used to play only at arcades several years ago. I'm not proficient at fighting games but I really enjoy them. This one hasn't been as fun as DOA or SFIV, both are great and all the expected content is there. For Tekken I really would like to have history mode as I'm not acquainted with the characters. In any case, I agree this is a bare bones fighting game and the bonus film is scarcely a real extra as it doesn't really impacts the game at all

billsadler89
billsadler89

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rsnow7
rsnow7

This game wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be. Whenever I play a Tekken game, I usually only do Arcade mode, with character customizing in the console versions. This experience translated pretty well onto the 3DS imo. I play this game in short (30 minute) intervals, but that's how I play all of my Tekken games.

Locke_FF6
Locke_FF6

I dont care about de history modes etc xD, I love this game as I love my street fighter IV. im happy just fighting and the movie is great =D.....the only problen is the pour bonnuses...colourS? but bah I donde care. prefect portable tekken xD as psp tekkens too

zennioparty
zennioparty

I still think DOA Dimensions is awesome. It played perfectly on the 3DS with no real handicap. The Dpad could maybe be a bit better I guess.. but still, no reason to let the hardware mess anything up.

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

I think Nintendo should make one of those circle pad pro things with fighting stick features for fighting games...that would make most of the fighting games on the 3ds way more playable. either that or make it so you can have a 6 button on the touch screen

Anema1986
Anema1986

lazy development are lazy those lazy guys from akira should get fired, they ruin up the first (and maybe the only) tekken for 3ds heck the advance version is better

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

And Street Fighter stays the best fighting game on the 3DS.

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

tekken prime edition visual looks really bad its like a revamp psp's tekken 5 or 6 unlike super street fighter 4 3d edition its a ps3 or xbox 360 into the handheld so the difference is huge but at least the background are not all static which is good and the 60fps in 3d is great but i have to skip this not a tekken fan sorry :)

DARKNESSxEAGLE
DARKNESSxEAGLE

I love when people come on and talk about how one console has better graphics than another using some facts and then filling the rest with opinions, assumptions and rumors. This game was poor because it was just a bare bones arcade port, not because the graphics were bad.

painpas
painpas

The DS cannot compete with the PSP graphically. xxbrothawizxx I am sorry that I offended you and all that but the facts are what they are. The 3DS has twice the ram of a PSP 2000 and onward. The GPU is better aswell BUT Nintendo wanted 3d. Now the processing power takes a hit and cannot devote that extra to surpassing the PSP outright. I think revelations looks wonderful dont get me wrong but that is because the GPU for the 3ds can run that engine. However, I am not convinced that every game that I have seen so far would not be able to be ported to the PSP. Yes there will be no anti ailiasing and such but if you have seen on the net from Japan MH tri 3DS and MHP3 same locations look just as good as the 3ds and to SOME the game LOOKS better than on the PSP. There is no denying that certain engines are more optomized for the pico GPU in the 3DS however at this point I an in no way convinced that you have to abandon the PSP for a 3DS which has the exact same control screen generally and 3d. Look at RR 3DS force to make everything in 3d and end up looking worse than the PSP version because of that design decision. If there was no 3D games would look better on the 3DS without question but that is not the case. Tekken 6 on the 3DS and PSP are definitely comparable.

xxbrothawizxx
xxbrothawizxx

@painpas You REALLY must care about resolution to say something as crazy as Silent Hill: Shattered memories could go toe to toe with Revelations is just insane. I'd say it's a lot better to compare Silent Hill SD to Dementium on the DS (not knocking the PSP or the game, but if you upressed the game the two would look pretty similar both because of the amazing graphics of Dementium for a DS game but also due to their similar setting and lighting). I'm sorry, but Revelation is on an a whole different graphical plane. Anyway, I'm sure that the Vita's OLED, bilinear (may be trilinear) filtering, and abilty to map controls do wonder for its games, but to say they surpass 3DS game just because of a lack of heavy aliasing and some deeper colors is a heavy overstatement. There are 3DS game that have 2xAA anyway (including Revelations) if you really think it's such a problem. Revelations must looks like a PS3 game with 2xAA by your logic.

xxbrothawizxx
xxbrothawizxx

@jamyskis Lazy development is lazy development my friend. There are many other games out there that could help you discern whether the 3DS is superior tech or not (RE:R, MH3G, DoAD, MGS 3D), and it is.

xxbrothawizxx
xxbrothawizxx

@SciFiCat I have no idea what your talking about. To call SSFIV stripped is a severe overstatement. The game matched its console counterparts toe to toe, mode for mode. The only thing different was the graphics, but the game did come shockingly close at times. You could tell that Capcom hit a brick wall with the cartridges storage limitations though (Ono himself said they did). Some stages looks almost exactly like the console version object wise, but others didn't come close and were bare. DoA came along and again changed my expectations of fighting game on the 3DS with its beautiful graphics and plethora of game modes (Chronicle mode with story from games 1-4 with all new in-game cut-scenes, etc.). Tekken 3D PE is just a lazy game that doesn't stand up to the quality and content of previous fighting titles released a year earlier. Other than the less than stellar control setup of the 3DS, the system is not to blame and SSFIV 3D and DoAD show just that. The screen resolution really isn't too bad (higher pixel density than PSP at least) and when games run at a steady clip it is easy to forget the game has aliasing at all (some game do have 2xAA, such as SSFIV 3D, when in 2D also really is that much of a problem).

xxbrothawizxx
xxbrothawizxx

I don't understand why people are using this as an indication of the 3DS's ability. The fact that the game is missing various modes already shows that it is suffers from lazy development. Graphically, I think the game is a nice step up from the PSP games (much nicer character models in my opinion, lighting also make the game feel a lot closer to T6) w/ the only drawback being the lack of moving background objects from what I've played so far (not an amazing amount). 60fps in 3D really is just.....impressive (seriously though, it's beautiful). The thing that kills the game are the lack of game modes, and to a degree the 3DS's control limitations (you can adapt easily). Anyway, I wouldn't use this as a very good indication of the 3DS's abilities. It's not developed by Namco, but instead Arika....not the best devs. I don't know why they didn't pass it off to 8ing like the PSP games. They're great fighting game developers. Hopefully somewhere down the line we'll get a fully featured entry.

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

@jamyskis If the 3DS controls make it harder to play why shouldn't it loose points? And if it has less features to a similar tekken game then shouldn't it deserve less?

SciFiCat
SciFiCat

The 3DS is not a devise suited for the fighting game genre neither for screen resolution or control interface, this, just like SFIV are scaled down and stripped versions of their console counterparts. More like honest efforts to produce compelling content, these are just cash ins. Portability aside, I don't see any reason to play this over the full featured console versions.

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

again with the static background seriously didnt harada learned from the complaints on ssf4 3d edition?????

dxdevilex0
dxdevilex0

Looks like I will very likely pass this.

jamyskis
jamyskis

So the reviewer has effectively spent half the review complaining that the game is a fairly faithful port of Tekken 6 with no bells and whistles. I can understand that it's fairly disappointing that the game is inferior in every way to the PSP version of Tekken 6 (I was under the impression that the 3DS was superior tech-wise to the seven-year old PSP, but it sounds like I was wrong), but the fact of the matter is that it is a competent port of Tekken 6 that is perfectly playable on the go, and the reviewer has docked a whole point and a half simply because it has less extras and the D-pad is small. Way to go.

GreenReuben
GreenReuben

@painpas gtfo, you're clearly a sony fanboy so stop looking at reviews for games that aren't relevant to you.

painpas
painpas

Here is what the reviewer did. He played or should have played tekken 6 psp on the vita like I have for the last 3 hours. The Oled screen brings out the greatness of this games visuals and I will state this that the Vita does so much for PSP games in general. Nintendo is in a tough position 3rd party wise. PSP games on the Vita are really good games now with dual analog option etc. Tomb raider legends, MHFU etc.... now have a new lease on life. I am busy replaying PSP games that had control issues that have now disappeared. Tekken 6 PSP is a great title. Not as good as the king of handheld tekkens Tekken 5 DR PSP but still pretty close. If Namco puts that game on the store it should be a killer app. Why? PSP games on the Vita are right up there with the 3ds. Silent hill Shattered memories will be phenomenal on the Vita for instance and can go toe to toe with Revelations. This is the truth believe it or not. Even if you don't see a game on the Vita launch that you like, Prince of persia Revelations, Tomb Raider, Gun etc... all are now really good games thanks to the Vita. From better graphics to gameplay.

GreenReuben
GreenReuben

Seems like a harsh review, surely nobody plays tekken for the story. This game seems like it was designed as a portable game, you're not meant to play for hours on end and therefore a few quick battles is all anybody would be getting in anyway.

RX-78MajiGundam
RX-78MajiGundam

the review is totally true. the psp version(tekken 6) had more content than this. i actually cant believe i spent a full 40 bucks on this. 30 is more like it. still, the movie wasnt bad. graphics is amazing.

nintendoman555
nintendoman555

Well I guess this decides it...I'm going with Revelations

justin4444
justin4444

Some complaining about the graphics, the problem is not the graphics its the modes/gameplay. The graphics is awesome and its in 60 FPS and well animated. Learn to research and read, fanboys.

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

Good review. elbert, you're an idiot. Did you actually read the damn thing?

bigruss51
bigruss51

Background is just as important as character modeling to me. I love Tekken but what a letdown. No story and funny animations, what?

elbert_b_23
elbert_b_23

once again GS reviews are poor i have to wonder if anyone takes them serious any more

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Well dang, Super street fighter 4 did a better job and it was a launch title. Still, if you want a tekken game there you go, but if they didn't care about the movie, it would've been a better game.

the9thinning
the9thinning

This game could have been so much better if they didn't feel the need to put the movie in with the new games. Then they could have put in some more content.

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

I'd still play it, because I'm not letting a 6-6.5 (heck, sometimes not even lower) bug me.

chazy035
chazy035

PSP Dark Resurrection is soo much better than this lazy attemp. Ohhh well at least it has 3D right? Right? And a exclusive movie that will be eventually available in a couple of months to everyone am right right? Right?

chazy035
chazy035

PSP Dark Resurrection is sooooo much better than this lazy attemp.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

so it looks like the psp tekken 6? I though 3ds was suppose to have nicer graphics, but sacrifice game content, even if the graphics are not that amazing is not worth it if you will only play a couple of hours

bloomberg23
bloomberg23

Should have been on the vita as a launch title

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

Such a disappointment, I was expecting it to have at least as much content as Dark Resurrection, guess not.

Francision69
Francision69

Guess I won't be picking this up. Customization kept the game going for me with the PSP version and the fact that it's absent in this version is just a deal breaker.

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

 @Sgthombre Well, DOA:D is IMO the best fighting game on the 3DS. The next best is a tie between BlazBlue and SSFIV. Not having played The Tekken game yet.

Tekken 3D Prime Edition More Info

  • First Released
    • 3DS
    Namco Bandai brings the Tekken franchise to the Nintendo 3DS.
    6.6
    Average User RatingOut of 45 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Tekken 3D Prime Edition
    Developed by:
    Arika
    Published by:
    Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games
    Genres:
    3D, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence