February 15, 2007 - We already previewedTekken 5: Dark Resurrection a few months ago when it was released in Japan, but now that the US version of Namco Bandai's downloadable fighter is just weeks away, we're giving it another look. Rather than retread what was already talked about in the import, however, we're going to focus on some of the smaller (but still important) details.
One notable fact, for example, is that the North American version appears to be 100% identical to its Japanese counterpart. As far as we can tell, nothing has been fixed or altered and the modes are exactly the same with Arcade Battle, Ghost Battle, Versus, Gallery, and Options immediately selectable. With that list of features, it's possible that those who played Dark Resurrection on PSP may think that the game has been stripped down Tekken Bowl, Command Attack, and Gold Rush are nowhere to be found, but these omissions aren't because Namco Bandai half-assed the port, it's because the PS3 edition is a direct translation of the arcade original.
There are a few extras that the PlayStation 3 version brings to the table, however. The game runs in true 1080p resolution for one, and the player customization screen at the character select has been streamlined (add-on items are cheaper to buy too, almost half off in some cases). Namco Bandai has even thrown in end-boss Jinpachi as a playable character, and though he's weak and has fewer moves than most of the other fighters, hits like a ton of bricks. Keep in mind, though, that to unlock the fiery demon, you'll have to beat him in arcade mode first.
Interestingly, conquering the game with any of the characters doesn't immediately unlock their end movie (which are the same as the PSP version's). Instead, you have to take the money earned in battle and pay for them as a separate download. They're expensive too, so expect plenty of unarmed combat before being rich enough to see everyone's finish.
We do have to admit, we're not fans of the profile system that Dark Resurrection has in place. In order to load more than one at a time, you have to create it on a separate PS3 system ID and the move that save over to your own. Wins and losses aren't tracked in Versus mode either, so when compared to the PSP version of Dark Resurrection, it's a little less robust.
The good news is that the gameplay itself is still pure Tekken. Nicely balanced and overflowing with different characters, it's as fun now as it was the day it hit arcades. And while the geometry and special effects don't look as good as those of Virtua Fighter 5 (it was built on last-gen architecture), it's still extremely pretty -- especially in the highest resolution possible.
Unfortunately, Namco Bandai hasn't committed to an exact release date or price for the US version of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection just yet. So even though we've been told that we'll "see it soon," what that means is truly unknown.