Platform: PS3 / Genre: Fighting
Developer: Namco Bandai / Publisher: Namco Bandai
When I heard a free-to-play Tekken was rearing its head on the PlayStation 3, it didn’t sit well with me. Maybe it was because of the stigma that comes with F2P, or maybe it was the bad press about Killer Instinct including only one character at launch. I don’t know, it just didn’t sit well with me. Tekken is wonderful franchise froth with intricate gameplay, a wonderful cast and intriguing back-story. If you asked which was the greatest fighting game during the original PlayStation’s era, I would have said Tekken 3 for the very reasons I just mentioned. Fast forward to 2013, and now following the surge of F2P titles to come out as of late, how did this latest Tekken fair after following suit?
Not bad actually. Pretty fun as a matter of fact!
Tekken Revolution is Namco Bandai’s first F2P entry into the franchise, and it both exceeds my expectations, and affirms them at the same time. Stigma be damned, this free-to-play game is ultimately fun. It simply lacks the content and features of previous titles.
In regards to actual modes of play, Tekken Revolution is extremely lacking. There is no local multiplayer; no training mode, the game doesn’t even have a difficulty selection for the uninspired arcade mode it does feature. Its pretty much a barebones local single player experience. If you have a friend that comes over, and wants to play Tekken, best not rely on this version to fill that void. That said, if you are simply downloading the game to retroactively play a few rounds online, or for whatever reason play the arcade single player, that option is most definitely there for you (and you alone).
The arcade mode itself is very disappointing – it only has one difficulty and someone cranked it down to “laughable.” But I did say that I thought the game was actually fun. So what gives? Aside from having a lack of features, the online play is still a lot of fun. Whenever you begin Tekken Revolution, you are given a set of five token for online play (and two for arcade). You use these tokens to plays matches online in both Ranked and Player matches. When they are used up, you have to a) wait for them to renew over the course of time, or b) buy some more tokens. I want to stress that is the only micro-transaction in the entire game. Characters are unlocked over time, not purchased. And you cannot pay to win. To this regard – well done, Namco.
So when you use one token, you will be taken to a lobby to fight an AI while you wait. Surprisingly, this AI is better than every arcade AI you will ever face. But as soon as player battles start, its just as you’d expect; fight best of seven; winner gets more experience; loser gets some experience. You rank accordingly based on your wins:loss ratio. So don’t lose too much!
Veteran players of Tekken Tag Tournament will pick up the combat very quickly, but will also notice the addition of “Critical Arts,” making the fighting mechanics much easier for newcomers. It difficult to say whether the mass fan base of Tekken will appreciate a decision to make the gameplay more accessible by bogging down the intricate system with powerful hits, but its welcoming to newcomers. Critical Art spamming is definitely an issue, one that the developers should address, but overall the additions have made a really fun and entertaining online experience if you can find someone of similar rank. At times, I wonder if the game looks at my rank of “Mentor” and circumvents all reason to decide that fighting a “Grand Master” rank is appropriate.
Beyond the online experience you have access to character enhancements, another key addition to this free to play iteration of Tekken. After battles, you accumulate experience points, gold points and gift points. Experience Points allows level up you up, allowing access for more stat increases. Gold Points allow you to purchase said stat increases. Characters can buy into Strength (power of hits), Endurance (amount of life) and Vitality (critical hit %). These help your odds in battle, but by no means overpower your character – at least not to point where I could say it “broke the game.” Namco found an interesting way to add RPG mechanics without necessarily making Pay-To-Win. Finally, Gift Points do exactly what you’d think they do, unlock gifts. These include characters, premium tickets, and more.
There is strong cast of characters, and at least 14 total by the time of this writing. Kazuya is in it, Jin is unlockable, my personal favorite, Law, is also available, among others. For a F2P game to include so many characters, and not feel tempted to charge us for them, is quite refreshing.
I came into Tekken Revolution very closed-minded. I left feeling pleased. Yes, there is virtually no offline play to speak of, but the solid online play has definitely kept me coming back for more. It’s by no means a perfect Tekken, or even a great Tekken, but it’s a experimental, if not interesting title that shines brightest where it’s supposed to. How bright it shines will vary player to player as they tried out the tweaked fighting system, but overall I believe it’s a positive online experience. If the game had a few more features to speak of though, it would be a shining example of what free to play game should be. And overtime, as the game is updated accordingly, Tekken Revolution may be a blueprint for how to make a F2P game actually feel reasonable.
- Fun Online Play
- Free-To-Play Feels Fair
- No Training Mode
- No Local Multiplayer
- Poor Arcade Mode
- Reasonable Matchmaking? Whats that?