The Playstation Portable is truly an amazing machine. When it launched, fighting fans were treated to the excellent Darkstalkers Chronicle. Less than a year later, Capcom again blessed us with what may be the best version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 yet. However, there haven’t been any successful 3D fighters for the system here in the States. Namco looks to remedy that by presenting us with what could be the first real system-selling game since Grand Theft Auto.
After playing the PSP version of Tekken Dark Resurrection, you’ll immediately begin making comparisons to Playstation 2’s own Tekken 5. Those who have played it will likely compare this to the arcade version of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. That alone is a testament to the sheer power of the PSP.
I’m going to try, for a moment, to forget that this is a port of an arcade game and look at this as a portable fighting game. As such, Tekken Dark Resurrection is a completely amazing achievement. Moving at an astounding 60 frames per second, you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid arcade comparisons. Being a portable, Tekken players should be able to pick this up and practice their combos and defensive training on the go or while waiting for nexties at the arcade.
Of course, by being on a handheld system, you’ll have to get used to the controls. For those who use arcade sticks exclusively, this will be your biggest step in enjoying Tekken on the go. Even those used to the Playstation 2 controller will have alight difficulties. The PSP’s D-Pad is riddled with issues when it comes to landing diagonal inputs. To alleviate this, Namco has made available their D-Pad attachment that makes doing such maneuvers a tad easier to accomplish. These dropped only days prior to the game’s release.. EB and Gamestop were handing them out to pre-order customers, but only a limited supply were shipped out to each store. Another way to alleviate the problematic D-Pad would be to use the analog stick, which sadly can be enabled through the options. However, enabling the analog stick disables the D-Pad. (It would be prudent to mention that on the newer PSPs, the D-Pad issue is almost non-existent.)
PSP design flaws aside, TDR controls remarkably. I haven’t seen any delay time between button presses and the action on screen. I found the controls to be fluid and arcade-perfect. The timing of combos and tech traps are just as they should be, making this a perfect outlet to practice for arcade outings.
Graphically, this may be as good as the PSP can get. If you’re wondering about ‘jaggies’, they are present, but they don’t seem to be as noticeable as they were in Tekken Tag on the PS2. The Character sprites are absolutely titanic for the screen. It takes a little getting used to, but were they any smaller, it would be difficult to see certain move queues in order to react accordingly. You’ll notice that during character intros and in-game cut-scenes, the game chugs along at 30 frames per second. It doesn’t affect gameplay, but it is noticeable – especially on moving backgrounds.
The amount of action on screen at once with no slowdown really blows my mind. I was worried when I heard that the PSP wasn’t getting an original Tekken, designed specifically for the handheld, but after some time with the final product, I’m staggered by what the PSP is capable of. This is the PSP title you should show to your friends.The graphics are astounding.
During the build-up to launch, all the demo versions of this title showed the game running nearly flawlessly, but with no sound in the background. I really thought this may have been one of the sacrifices we would experience due to the PSP’s limitations. Instead, Namco somehow pulled it off. All the tracks are presented in CD quality. All the music from the remixed stages is present, and much preferred to the old tracks.
Outside of the musical scores, Tekken isn’t known for sound effects. The fights are supposed to be more ‘realistic’ and less ‘anime’. Because of this, Street Fighter staples like “Hadoken” and whatnot aren’t constantly being shouted out. About the closest you’ll get to that are Kazuya’s “Durriah!” and Paul’s “Ooohhwaaahh!” To point out that these are in tact seems somewhat underwhelming, but without doing so, I feel I’d be leaving something out. Listening to the various hits and thuds on the PSP’s stock speakers is less than overwhelming due to the lack of bass. Listening to the game through headphones, if that’s your trend, will be a much more rewarding experience.
Speech, on the other hand is very good before and after matches and present in most of the endings. All of the ending cinemas of the PS2 version of Tekken 5 are present along with three new ones for Armor King, Lili, and Dragunov. For those too lazy to finish the game with every character, you can ‘buy’ the endings in Theater Mode once you’ve unlocked it. Of course, this requires you to have beaten story mode with at least one character.
Somehow, the team that worked on this, not only managed to cram in all the characters from the arcade, all their moves, and a huge majority of the stages, but they also had room to include the classic Tekken Bowl mini-game from Tekken Tag. While everyone was hoping for Tekken Ball, the decision was made to exclude it. Tekken Bowl is a much meatier mini-game anyway and makes for a better portable extra. If you so desire, you can even play Tekken Bowl with a friend on the same PSP using the hot-swap method.
Another extra mode is Gold Rush, which is essentially a single fight where you try to accumulate as much gold as you can in the allotted time. The opponent doesn’t die, but any damage you take will be subtracted from the amount of gold you receive. You always fight in the Pirate’s Bay for this fight – probably due to the gold splashing around all the time, but it gets old fighting there all the time.
There’s also Command Attack where you earn money based on how fast you can input random commands. The faster you finish, the more money you make. They even include some more advanced combos and such to help you learn better moves. It’s really a cool mini-game for short bus rides or anytime you can’t really get into a real match.
While these modes are okay, the real extra is called Tekken Dojo. In it, you will go from arcade to arcade, battling virtual opponents with hopes of ultimately winning becoming the top in each dojo.. The character ‘ghost’ data in this mode is taken from real top players across the globe so it should offer up a great challenge.
All of the other modes that you’ve come to expect from a console release of Tekken are present. Arcade, Practice, Versus, Team Battle, Theater, and a bunch more. Most memorable of these modes would have to be found in the multi-player aspects. This is perhaps the only fighting game to include the full-blown game with only one copy of the game. That’s right! Through game-sharing, you can use any of the characters in 1 on 1 battle with a friend who also owns a PSP. About the only conceivable complaint one could derive from this is the loading when you choose different characters. There is approximately 2-3 minutes of load time when loading a new character, but when doing rematches, there is no load time.
Ad-Hoc gaming can bog down from time to time. The lag can be unbearable at times, but for the most part, the game has little to no slow-down when it’s going well. Still, you might prefer using this as a method of practice when you’re away from the Arcade. Seemingly as if they had predicted this, Namco has included a ghost data download feature. With this, you can upload your characters and download others’. This lets you play versus people you might never get a chance to play otherwise. It works surprisingly well as the game really seems to ‘learn’ how you play. It’s not 100%, but it is damn nice.
Those looking for a good fighter on the go need not look any further. Tekken Dark Resurrection is the definitive 3D fighter on any portable to date. It is this reviewer’s opinion that it will be the game by which all other portable fighters will be judged. It’s just that good.
-Originally Posted by Bloodspoor