It's not often that you come across a game that redefines the sector it operates in, but to put it quite frankly, Tekken: Dark Resurrection is absolutely staggering. With its very first PlayStation 3 E-Distribution Initiative title, Namco has effectively annihilated just about every preconception you might have about budget downloadable games.
This isn't a decades old arcade port looking to sneak a few quid out of you for nostalgia's sake, it's a conversion of the very latest instalment of a hugely popular coin-op franchise, a game less than two years old. Not only that, but it's running in full 1080p, pleasingly enhanced with liberal use of the RSX chip's 'off-the-shelf' visual effects. It's not in any way limited either, matching the original arcade game in terms of content, including all 35 characters. It plays identically to the arcade version, has all the moves and techniques, and even has all of Tekken 5's stages built in as an unlockable Easter Egg.
All for a pitifully small £6.99.
That's it. Seven Great British pounds. There are no downloadable 'levels packs', 'bonus fighter unlock keys' or 'extra character content' to pick your pocket with, Fagin-style - even the extra costumes and fighter customisation elements are all included in the price. Dark Resurrection doesn't define itself and its content level by its price-point, instead it comes across a title made to be the best it could possibly be according to its original remit. And in that sense, it is absolutely magnificent.
Being a straight arcade conversion, there are very few surprises though. Boiled down to its essentials, Dark Resurrection is basically Tekken 5 with some attractive knobs surgically grafted on in strategic places - the key improvements being slyly purloined from Virtua Fighter 4 Evo. Just as in the latest VF outings, you're now able to create an arcade-going avatar, indulge in battle against other virtual arcade-goers and win extra rankings, character costumes and accessories. After each battle, you're able to select your next CPU opponent according to his or her skill level, the idea being to tailor the challenge level of the game according to your victories and defeats. For a quick solo-player blast, an original arcade mode is also available, as is a two-player versus mode.
Dark Resurrection's arcade port remit also defines its limitations in that all the usual goodies associated with Namco's home conversions are totally absent. There are no mini-games, no amusing CG end movies (though you can use in-game currency to buy a few movie bonuses), no online options. There's no dojo or training mode either, so learning a character by bringing up the command list mid-bout is the only option available. The only other slight disappointment is that while it's great to have another 1080p PS3 title, all the graphical tricks in the book can't disguise the occasional ugly low-poly moment, a couple of which have made it into this feature's accompanying screenshot gallery.
But the bottom line is that Dark Resurrection is an excellent 'story so far' game that delivers pretty much the whole Tekken experience thus far for an astonishingly inconsequential seven quid. More than that though, it's a hard-hitting fly-kick to the face of the software industry - a standard bearer that redefines the value and content level of downloadable games, and one that will hopefully bring more spruced-up last gen conversions to the new gaming platforms. How about a 1080p, RSXed up version of Burnout 2: Point of Impact for starters?