Tekken 3D: Prime Edition Review (3DS)
In years past, fighting games haven’t always had their best showing on handheld systems. With limited online capabilities, physical buttons, and technical horsepower, it’s been difficult to capture the console and arcade experience while on the go, but some recent titles on the 3DS, including Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition and Dead or Alive: Dimensions, have started to break the mold. Namco now takes advantage of many 3DS capabilities to deliver its long-running Tekken series in the form of Tekken 3D: Prime Edition.
What You Need to Know
For those not familiar with the series, Tekken is, in most cases, a one-on-one fighting game where players select a character to battle against an opponent in a 3D arena. You wouldn’t know it from this title, but the main series revolves around a martial arts tournament called the The King of Iron Fist Tournament. In fact, Tekken literally translates to “Iron Fist”, and you can even see the Japanese Kanji characters for “Tekken” in the game’s logo.
The Tekken series makes its second entry on a Nintendo platform with Tekken 3D: Prime Edition. After their first effort with Tekken Advance on Game Boy Advance, Namco brings an almost complete Tekken experience to the 3DS.
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition delivers the exact gameplay fans of the series will expect. The punch and kick buttons are mapped to match the console counterparts, and similarly to Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition and Dead or Alive: Dimensions, the touchscreen provides four customizable buttons that can be used for combos, throws and specials. While I still find these touchscreen buttons somewhat difficult to use during intense matches, it’s a nice option to customize these for moves where you might have a difficult time pressing multiple buttons simultaneously. The game also includes a very impressive 40-character roster that includes characters from Tekken 6.
The character models in Tekken 3D: Prime Edition closely resemble the console models with rich detail, and the game runs at a fluid 60 frames per second. You’re left with a really smooth-looking game, even with the 3D effect enabled. The only exception to this is in the game’s online mode, where 3D is not an option during gameplay. Namco said this was a design choice for performance reasons, and in my experience, I’d say they might the right decision.
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition offers very few single player modes, and none of which are fully-featured story, arcade, or training modes. The game includes a Special Survival mode where you try to defeat up to 50 opponents with a single health meter. There’s a simple Practice mode and a Quick Battle mode that faces you against ten random opponents, but it quickly ends with the game’s credits. I feel this is the game’s biggest shortcoming. With modern fighting games, and even previous Tekken games, it’s easy to expect character editing/creation modes, mini games, training modes, and arcade-style story modes with character-specific ending sequences.
In my opinion, the most valuable mode in the whole game is Versus Battle where you can you choose between multi-card, local play or Internet play. When taken online, you can choose between friendly and ranked matches, and in my experience with the online mode, it holds up fairly well. No online fighter is perfect, and Tekken 3D: Prime Edition is no exception. I’ve played a few strangers, and I’ve played our very own Mr. Shannon quite a bit, too. In both experiences, the matches would face some lag, but it would almost always resolve itself, and I only experienced one unexpected disconnect. Considering the game hasn’t been out long, I was surprised to always find an opponent online.
The game also offers a seemingly-requisite StreetPass mode to exchange 3D images called Tekken Cards. As you progress through the games Quick Battle and Special Survivor modes, you’ll earn cards and card points which can be exchanged with friends via the 3DS StreetPass feature. I unlocked a few of these, and I didn’t find them to be enough of an incentive to continue.
Love it or hate it (how could you?!), The Hidden Retreat stage from Tekken 6 returns in full force! The song “Yodeling in Meadow Hill” brings the zany sense of humor that I like to see in many Tekken games. It’s good to know there’s at least one Tekken throwback that can bring a smile to your face, right?
As an added bonus, the Tekken 3D: Prime Edition game cartridge includes the entire Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie in 3D. Shelby and I actually saw this movie in theaters last year, and while I’m certainly not a movie critic, we both seemed to agree this movie is pretty zany and over-the-top, especially at the end. While it’s nice to have on the cartridge, I’d say this movie is for fans of the series because it doesn’t do a great job of conveying any real history to the series or characters. If you’re looking for a more conventional Tekken story, I’d recommend the 2010 live action movie simple titled, Tekken.
Visually, the movie looks pretty solid. It’s obviously compressed to easily fit on the cartridge, but I really only found compression artifacts in some of the darker and fast-moving parts of the movie. The movie’s 3D effect is nice, but not as intense as what’s featured in a lot of 3DS games. If you’ve experienced any of the Nintendo Video 3D videos, you’ll know what to expect here. It’s worth noting that the 3D effect doesn’t scale with the slider like it does during live gameplay; it’s either on or off.
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition nails the core gameplay and graphics that fans of the series have come to expect. With smooth visuals and no-compromise gameplay, those familiar with the series will feel right at home. If you’re looking for a more robust single-player experience with a variety of different modes to enhance your replay value, you might walk away disappointed, but if you’re up to the challenge of facing online challengers, you might find Tekken 3D: Prime Edition to be worth your time.
Review copy of the game provided by Namco Bandai
Total Play Time: 4 hours + an additional 2 hours for feature-length movie.