Tekken 5 is a lot of fun, but its bare-bones mode selection and high price tag make it a harder pill to swallow.
Right off the bat you'll notice that there are two versions of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection that you can buy. There's a twenty dollar version and a thirty dollar version. What's the difference you ask? The twenty dollar version is the original release of Dark Resurrection, and it comes with a bare-bones selection of modes. The thirty dollar version is an upgrade to the original release which includes online play, survival mode, and a practice mode. Yes, you read that right, the basic release of Dark Resurrection doesn't even come with a practice mode. The patch which included the much-needed modes was released separately several months after the original game was launched, and went for the price of ten dollars. It makes you wonder why they didn't just wait to release a fully-featured game instead of ultimately releasing two different versions.
So depending on how much you're willing to pay, your experience and mileage may vary. What is there however, is a highly competent fighting game that's a lot of fun to play. The main modes you get are arcade, ghost battle, and versus. Arcade is your standard fighting game arcade mode which has you fight against a series of challengers until you eventually get to a boss fight. Unfortunately there is absolutely no story mode whatsoever to Dark Resurrection, so the arcade mode is pretty basic, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. It's good if you just want to fight a series of opponents, but if you're looking for something with some substance to sink your teeth into it probably won't hold your attention for very long.
Unless you have some human competition to go up against in versus mode, ghost battle is most likely going to be where you're going to spend the majority of your time. Ghost battle attempts to mimic human players by giving them unique appearances through the game's customization feature, as well as making them all have different play styles. They'll even have a win/loss ratio which helps make them feel like more than just mindless A.I., but they're still nothing compared to the real thing.
Tekken's battle system is pretty easy to just pick up and play, but it's also something that's incredibly difficult to master. It works by having each of the four buttons on the controller controlling one of your character's four limbs, and combining them in different ways will allow you to perform a variety of different moves. Learning and mastering combos is definitely an extremely important part of any fighting game, but successfully pulling off a powerful combo in Tekken can nearly instantly end a battle. That's perhaps the biggest complaint that can be had with Tekken, once you get sucked into a combo there's almost nothing you can do aside from watching yourself get pummeled into the ground. This can lead to a lot of frustration for newer players, so learning the proper timing for blocking and evading attacks is something you'll want to focus on very early.
Visually Dark Resurrection looks like a PlayStation 2 game running in HD, so it looks pretty good on the PlayStation 3 despite its aged appearance. The widescreen support definitely helps, and it makes you wonder why they were too lazy to add this to the Soulcalibur port on the Xbox 360. There's a lot of variety to the arenas that you'll fight in too, and the fighters all animate well, as you'd expect.
Tekken 5's soundtrack is also solid, with a pretty nice mixture of different types of music, ranging from upbeat techno tracks to fast-paced songs with a harder rock edge. The sound effects are somewhat mixed though; there's a very distinct sound effect you'll hear whenever you land a successful blow that comes complete with the trademark Tekken 'explosion' graphical effect, but there also seems to be a bit of a lack of variety when it comes to character sound effects; characters will often make the same sounds over and over without much variety when attacking, as well as when being hit.
Despite the fact that it's an older game, Tekken 5 still has quite a bit of value for the full thirty dollars. Unfortunately this has been diminished over time with the release of newer games, especially since you can actually get quite a few of them for a cheaper price. So while Dark Resurrection does have a somewhat questionable value, as well as a hurting lack of mode variety, there's still enough to do here if you go for the full thirty dollar version of the game. You'll earn money as you play which will allow you to customize your characters if you want to, and there's also a few new fighters in Dark Resurrection that haven't appeared in any earlier versions. The roster is absolutely massive, so you can spend quite a bit of time simply trying out and learning how to use many of the game's different characters. Dark Resurrection is also a PlayStation Network title, so it has the convenience of being downloaded from your living room, as well as nonexistent load times when playing the actual game.
Despite all of the great things that can be said about Dark Resurrection, it's hard to justify a purchase at this point in time when you consider what's already available. The full game goes for thirty dollars, and at its current price point in conjunction with the fact that there's a lot of other options out there including Tekken 6 itself, Dark Resurrection might have a hard time holding your attention for very long outside of a few hours.