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Going into Tekken 3D Prime Edition, I had some expectations for Namco’s popular fighting game on the 3DS. The system is already home to Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Dead or Alive: Dimensions, which were very solid games. With Namco releasing their first real Tekken game on a Nintendo system (Tekken Advance doesn’t count), you would expect them to deliver on a proper Tekken experience.
Unfortunately that is not the case with Tekken 3D Prime Edition.
The game does deliver on the gameplay Tekken is known for. About 40 characters from the Tekken franchise are present, and all play like they have in past games. The touch screen has four hotkeys you can assign moves and combos to, similar to Super Street Fighter IV. Another positive about the game is the framerate. Not only is it 60 FPS, but the framerate stays the same when displaying in 3D. I’ve gotten used to seeing games in 3D on the system that I’ve found no problem with the 3D on any setting. Whether you have it on or off is inconsequential.
And that’s really all I can think of that’s good to say. The gameplay is solid and works, but everything else that surrounds it is very shallow. There’s no arcade single player mode of any kind, which means no crazy CG ending cutscenes for each character. There is a quick versus mode that sets you up against a computer controlled fighter, a mode where you fight several characters with a single health bar, and then the main versus mode, where you can choose to fight locally or online. No one I know has a 3DS for me to play this game with, and I did not try the online myself, but based on what I’ve heard about the online performance I’m glad I didn’t (doesn’t sound very good). There are also “Tekken Cards” you can collect, similar to the figurines in SSFIV, that you get via Streetpass. Again, given my situation I could not try that out.
So what else is there beyond the lack of modes? Well, when you start up the game, you get two options. You can start playing the game, or you can watch the CG movie Tekken Blood Vengeance. All I’ll say on that is that if you don’t have any investment in the Tekken universe, you’re going to find it incredibly stupid. If you do have an investment in that stuff, you’ll still find it incredibly stupid, and maybe even kind of like it. I certainly did.
In fact, watching that movie on my 3DS screen made me question something about this game: who the hell is Namco making this for? I can’t imagine them expecting fans to pick up a 3DS and this game when there is so little features. If they want a good Tekken game, they’ve already got one at this point. For a 3DS owner who sees this game, it’s not going to convince them that much either (the movie especially doesn’t help at all). Super Street Fighter IV was feature rich on the 3DS, and the franchise is no stranger to Nintendo fans. Dead or Alive had it’s debut on a Nintendo system with DOA Dimensions, and not only did it have plenty of modes, but it gave a decent summary of the universe and characters in that franchise. The features that gave those games worth are nowhere to be found in Tekken 3D.
It’s really hard to recommend this game to anyone, regardless of how good the fighting system actually is. Dedicated fans don’t have any reason to care about this entry, and it’s not a good entry game for newcomers either. Quite a shame.