Tekken 3D Prime Edition' on the 3DS suffers most when you are away from the ring. The lack of extensive single player modes is annoying, the fighting is still well done enough that we enjoyed our time with the game.
'Tekken' has been one of the stalwart fighting franchises in the video game world for the better part of the last two decades. Starting out as a simple console arcade game, the series has evolved continually with the release of console after console. Generally considered a console game, it was a surprise to hear that the franchise would be making its way over to the Nintendo 3DS in 2012. 'Tekken 3D: Prime Edition' was developed by Arika and Namco Bandai before being distributed by Nintendo. We have always been huge fans of the series, as well as avid fans of the 3DS. We dove into the game headfirst to see just what it had to offer.
If the developer Arika sounded familiar than you are probably already big fans of the fighting genre. Arika helped to create the ever popular 'Street Fighter EX' series, which gives them clout in developing this type of title. They have also worked extensive with 3D titles such as the rebooted 'Excitebike'. So right off the bat it seems like the development team has the right kind of pedigree to take on what 'Tekken 3d: Prime Edition' probably needs in order to succeed. We found a couple of things to love in this game and most of them reflected kindly upon Akira, but there were some issues that we had trouble getting over.
Right off the bat we wanted to tell everybody reading that the game looks gorgeous. The high frame rate is smooth, even when playing online against your buddies, and this allows the action to really get taken to the next level. The frame rate allows for each punch to crunch into your opponent. Running the 3D mode is nice, especially if you can find the sweet spot while fighting, and your game performance doesn't really suffer for using it which is a huge accomplishment yet one that will likely be looked over by many casual gamers.
Nintendo has likely conjured up an image that they don't know how to handle serious IP that isn't catered toward family gaming. That could lead fans to mistakenly assuming that 'Tekken Prime' would look worse than the PSP alternative. It doesn't. The character models are exact representations of the PSP version and the rest of the game looks just as good. You don't have to worry about any drop off in terms of how it looks. The 3DS DOES have a slightly lower resolution, but the screen itself is smaller so any differences that might be there are rendered negligible instead.
We loved the way that the character models looked. The intense attention to detail and function astounded us, especially with the 3D mode fully initiated. Still images won't accurately represent how good they look as most of what they do well is shown off in movement. Look up some videos if you want a tease as to their display.
Fans of the 'Tekken' series will feel right at home once they log into the game and start playing. 'Prime' doesn't seek to change the primary algorithm of how the series has played. You still get dropped into an arena as one of any of the 42 playable characters and you are charged with making sure the other guy doesn't walk out with any HP. As far as the fundamentals of the game, the move lists are similar to recent entries but don't worry if you get lost while fighting. The tendency to button mash is always there and sometimes it even works. One big problem we had was in relation to the size of the D-Pad and the rest of the 3DS buttons. Unlike our comfortable console controllers or arcade units, the 3DS felt cramped when trying to reel off our favorite combos. We also had issues getting our directional combos put into combat due to the rather ambiguous nature of the directional circle pad. A problem, sure, but not a deal breaker. We find that competitive gamers will probably flinch at the thought.
One big issue we had with the game was the lack of excitement in the stages that you fight in. Backgrounds have less animation than ever and often feel really static. They are colorful and some of them have great depth, but the lack of animation is definitely an issue. We suppose it can't be too big of an issue as your attention should definitely be focused on the action in the forefront, but it is a hard thing not to get over especially when the rest of the game looks so top notch.
The biggest problem we had with 'Prime' was that it lacked enough extra material to keep single players involved long term. There is no story mode and the character creation mode has been significantly handicapped. There are no items in the game, as they have been taken away. But there are a few nice things.
We have an efficient Quick Battle mode that is similar to the Arcade mode, only without a big iconic boss at the end. We also have an excellent local multiplayer mode that runs flawlessly and has no signs of lag, at least when we got on and played. Your own connection will probably be more telling so don't take our word for it. There is also a Survival Mode where you face round after round of opponents. If you are an amazing fighter you should be able to make it all 39 rounds, but it is pretty darn frustrating when you get beaten late in the game. The developers at Arika also packed in the film 'Tekken: Blood Vengeance' which you can watch in 3D. It is a full length film that is properly encoded so as to be an easy, fluid watch.
'Tekken 3D Prime Edition' on the 3DS suffers most when you are away from the ring. The lack of extensive single player modes is annoying, the fighting is still well done enough that we enjoyed our time with the game.