Namco has at least thrown in a wide selection of modes, including arcade, versus, team battle, time attack, survival, ghost battle and practice. The practice mode is pretty basic and doesn't even include a way to record attack patterns or turn on the Rage state, but otherwise it's reasonably functional. Arcade mode is exactly that and ends with a showdown against the Egyptian ice-god Azazel - or at least that's what he/she/it looks like. As you'd expect, Azazel is the typical Tekken cheese-fest, with cheap tricks ranging from laser beams to summoning stalagmites from the ground. But in comparison to bonus boss Nancy-MI847J, Azazel is pretty tame.
"Tame" is also a good way to describe the new Scenario Campaign. This new mode kicks off with a lengthy cinematic that outlines the King of Iron Fist tournament's canon story. You know the drill: Heihachi throws Kazuya off a cliff, Kazuya returns the favour and then Heihachi throws Kazuya into a volcano and then shoots Jin, etc. Players are introduced to Alisa and Lars, the latter of whom has lost his memory, before the campaign begins proper. The campaign gameplay is best described as 3D Streets of Rage where you beat up waves of generic enemies before facing an end-of-level boss. It's all very basic, but Namco has done its best to inject the full fighting system, and although fiddly on the 360 pad, it's just about bearable.
Aside from the main story the campaign also houses the arena mode. This is similar to the standard arcade mode but can only be played through with characters you've unlocked in the campaign. The purpose of the Arena is to view each character's ending cinematic, and many of these are worth watching with Bob's a particular highlight. "Only 150 pounds... Noooooooooo!"
Playing the campaign will also unlock clothing and accessories for your character. By heading into the customisation menu you can completely change a fighter's threads and hairstyle, and although the options aren't that vast, there is scope to dress Marduk as an American footballer and Armour King in a "full" leopard costume. Similar to SoulCalibur IV, some of these accessories also confer special effects in the campaign, ranging from basic attack increases to health regeneration and element damage.
The most interesting customisation feature is the new Item Moves. By equipping Bryan with a mini-gun or Armour King with a studded bat, both characters can use their weapon with a specific command. Generally these moves do little damage, but there's something satisfying about finishing an online opponent with Law's legendary nunchaku.
With that said, Tekken 6 disappoints in the online department. It's a shame, because all the right features are in place including ranked and player matches, a solid matchmaking system, continental learderboards and ghost data swapping. But in my experience on Xbox Live the netcode is often inadequate, with noticeable lag - even during a solid green connection. It's not as bad as The King of Fighters XII, but it's definitely not as stable as Street Fighter IV or the excellent BlazBlue. As always, the input lag makes cheap tactics like spamming Kazuya's spin-kicks harder to avoid, and for this reason there also seems to be an increasing abundance of online capoeira. Just remember to block low early.
As a package, Tekken 6 is far from perfect but it's still a solid fighter and superior to the likes of KOFXII for head-to-head couch play. The new modes and features do little to change the classic formula, but the sixth King of Iron Fist Tournament is nonetheless deep, balanced and rewarding to those who invest the time. It's also very accessible to those who just want to dabble with an intuitive fighter and not spend hours in the practice mode. Had Namco spent a bit less time on the forgettable Scenario Campaign and more on sorting out the netcode, however, this could have gone higher. A miracle patch would be very helpful.
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