REVIEW: Announced mere days before its surprise release on June 11th, 2013, Tekken Revolution is a PS3-exclusive, "free to play" downloadable title. Being a free game, Tekken Revolution has an interestingly different setup than your typical console fighting game. Revolution is built around a credits system, similar to a smart phone game, or even how you'd put a quarter into an arcade machine. There are several different types of credits: "Arcade Coins" are used to play Arcade Mode, "Battle Coins" are used for Online, and players can earn additional credits (in the form of Premium Tickets) by going through Arcade, winning online bouts, or logging in during special events. For players that aren't patient enough to wait for new credits to become available once they run out, "Premium Coins" can also be purchased from the PS Store (which can be used in any mode).
This "experimental" format for a fighting game is definitely interesting... and pretty darn exciting for Tekken fans (for the appreciative ones, anyway). Already, Namco has released a handful of free updates to Tekken Revolution, adding in new unlockable characters, new "remixed" stages from TTT2 (complete with brand new BGMs), and even new modes like Practice Mode & Mokujin Rush. With these updates, it seems like Namco is aiming to recreate something similar to the classic "time release" system used in past arcade versions of Tekken back in the day, which no doubt keeps the game fresh and exciting over a long period of time.
While Revolution is completely free to play, alternate costumes and "premium" special move effects are available as paid DLC. Costume packs are pretty reasonable at $1.99 (with 3 color variations each), but those flashy premium effects are definitely stiffly priced at $5.99 per character. Ouch. On the bright side of things, the premium effects actually look pretty damn awesome in motion and are impressively unique to each character! (Also, these effects definitely seem like a "warm-up" for what's to come in Tekken X Street Fighter). Early on, Producer Harada mentioned the possibility of adding entirely new characters to the game. Namco held a new character poll back in July 2013, featuring several previously scrapped character concepts from the past. After fan votes were tallied, Eliza, the sexy female vampire with narcolepsy, was the first newcomer to make the cut. From the looks of it, Namco will continue updating Tekken Revolution for quite a while... and so far, I have to say they've done a great job with the "spacing" of these updates.
Tekken Revolution uses the core gameplay system from Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (minus tagging). While Namco stayed safe and didn't alter too much from the TTT2 engine, there are some very notable changes. You'd be wrong to think Tekken Revolution's gameplay is a simple cut & paste job from TTT2. The tweaks made to many attack & hit properties are comparable to the likes of Capcom's numerous SF4 updates - meaning there are new combo possibilities to learn, and a few different strategies to adapt to. Some "lesser known" moves are even more effective in Revolution than they are in TTT2.
Returning TTT2 players will immediately notice that "bound" combos aren't present in Revolution. The removal of bound shortens the length of combos, generally making them less damaging (with default stats, that is). If you're familiar with the style of combos from the Tekken 5 era, you'll feel right at home. (In fact, many T5: DR combos still work beautifully!) Even though the Tekken experience has been streamlined in Revolution, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Revolution has a "traditional Tekken" feel about it, which may appeal to players intimidated by TTT2's advanced, combo-heavy mechanics. Even as a tournament TTT2 player, I can definitely still enjoy a fundamental 1-vs-1, more straight forward game of Tekken any day of the week. I also really enjoy the longer K.O. replays (TTT2's were too short)!
The returning characters contain their vast movelists from TTT2. However, each fighter now has 4 "Critical Arts," which are typically among their most signature moves. Critical Arts supply increased damage when critical hits occur, and present new visual elements like trails and blurring effects. Fighters also have one "Special Art" technique, which gives them a period of invulnerability during the move. (Interesting side note: Similar "invincible moves" were also present in Namco's Urban Reign back in 2005). The addition of these "easy" and effective special attacks doesn't necessarily change how Tekken is played, but they do offer new strategies and will also appeal to new players.
Along with the new visual effects on attacks, other graphical updates were added as well. All returning stages from TTT2 show off new filters and lighting effects. While a refreshing change, I think some of the "coloring" filters on a few of the stages are slightly overdone, but the new lighting and more intense shadows look great. Character models are also outlined by a subtle black line, giving the game a unique, slightly "comic-esk" appearance. A few character models were also updated, including new facial renders for all of the females in the game (the ladies look cuter, that's for sure)! In addition, a new "back walking" animation was added along with a new tech roll & wall break character animation. Overall, Tekken Revolution's graphics are slightly sharper and more vibrant than TTT2's!
Strangely, Revolution is strictly an online game, meaning you must be online in order to play. Online modes include Ranked Match & Player Match with various matchmaking options. Continuing Namco's track record with their most recent fighting games, the netcode in Tekken Revolution is top notch (an obvious necessity). Tekken Revolution is a great example of how far netcode has come in recent years... it's incredibly smooth online (99% of the time for me). Some offline modes, include: Arcade Battle, Character Enhancement, Options and Playstation Store. In Character Enhancement, players can increase their characters' in-game stats, such as: Strength, Endurance & Vigor. I think Namco introduced the stats system to "charm" beginners and casual players. It's sort of a fun novelty to "level up" your favorite Tekken characters... but personally, I think the stats system is unnecessary and causes imbalance. Characters with a maxed-out power meter can do ridiculous damage with only few hits and basic combos. *Scoff* In fairness, Namco has "toned down" the stats system in the most recent patches, which made things a little more fair overall.
Tekken Revolution has a fairly bare bones set-up, and for a free game meant to "replicate the arcade experience," it actually makes sense. I found it interesting that TR didn't contain a Practice Mode when it first launched, which also replicated a through-and-through arcade fighter. (Y'know kiddies, back in the day... we didn't get a "practice mode" when a new game came out at the arcade. You put your quarter up and waited your turn to fight - possibly against someone already VERY good at the game... and that WAS your practice mode). In a few ways, Revolution almost gives me that nostalgia from the arcade days. Anyhow, Namco did eventually release an update, adding in a very user-friendly Practice Mode. However, there's still no local VS Mode, which sucks if you have local friends who enjoy a proper game of Tekken. Like everyone else, I'm hoping Namco adds VS Mode at a later date...
GRIPES: It's kind of easy for experienced Tekken players to hate Revolution sometimes, mostly due to having to fight against "spammers" with ridiculously powered-up characters, who dishonorably abuse those cheap, invincible moves. I have to admit... I got kinda mad a few times after losing for stupid reasons. The truth is, after learning the quirks of invincible moves and learning how to predict players who spam (in addition to powering up my Endurance stats a bit)... I stopped losing for stupid reasons. Yup. Now, if I lose to a player... it's usually because they played smart in one way or another (or because I made some mistakes). Hey, just my 2 cents... I guess it's just my way of not taking the game too seriously.
Other random gripes I have: After all these years, why is the CPU AI of Tekken still horrible? Even on Very Hard, the CPU stupidly "walks forward" at times, doesn't combo properly, and still falls for stupid tactics (the same stupid tactics you could use to abuse the AI in Tekken 3!). The main reason this bothers me is because the CPU doesn't give new players a sense of how to play the game properly. Is it too much to ask for a CPU AI that strategically dashes, wavedashes, sidewalks, uses fakes, and maybe combos properly sometimes?! The same goes for the stats system - it doesn't teach the noobs the "right way" to do things. Thanks to stats, many newbs will just think: "DERPY DERP, I JUST NEED MOAR POWAH STATS!!!"... instead of "Hmm, maybe I should learn my character and experiment in Practice Mode sometimes." Hopefully, we'll see more of the latter (wishful thinking, I know).
Finally, my thoughts on unlocking characters in Tekken Revolution: I'm sure some players may feel constricted or limited since they can't immediately pick their favorite character(s) from the start (or perhaps they're missing entirely, at the moment). In the long run, I think Namco's design plan with the "stripped down" character roster is pretty smart. Why? Well... the initial small roster may promote new players to step out of their comfort zone for a while and try out some new fighters. (Or, maybe they'll just resort to picking Kazuya and spam the same 3 moves over and over - and in turn, get their asses kicked by proper Tekken players). ...As usual, Tekken is what you make of it. Whether casual players realize it or not, the smaller roster also enables them to better understand how to fight against these characters specifically. (Instead of having to learn how to be defensive against 59 different fighters at once, like in TTT2.) Tekken Revolution can be a great learning tool for beginner / casual players... if they want it to be, that is.
What could be improved in TR? It wouldn't be a terrible idea to limit the use of those invincible moves... not because they're really that overpowered, but because it'll promote better gameplay habits out of the beginner players (and those helpless, mindless spammers). Namco never tried any sort of meter management in a Tekken before, so it could've been halfway interesting in a game like this. I'd also love to see some "classic" environments from the likes of Tekken 5: DR or Tekken 6 make a comeback (instead of only TTT2 stages). But as long as Namco continues tweaking the game, Revolution will continue to improve and become an even better title. At 2.85 million downloads, Namco is obviously doing something right. Congrats guys!
Page Updated: March 7th, 2014 Developer(s): Namco Bandai Publisher(s): Namco Bandai Platform(s): Playstation 3 Release Date(s): June 11th, 2013 Characters: Kazuya Mishima, Lars Alexandersson, Asuka Kazama, Bryan Fury, Lili Rochefort, Leo Kliesen, Steve Fox, Paul Phoenix, Marshall Law, King, Jack-6, Alisa Boskonovitch, Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Hwoarang, Sergei Dragunov, Devil Jin, Kunimitsu, Feng Wei, Nina Williams, Miguel, Kuma, Lee Chaolan, Christie Monteiro, Armor King, Jun Kazama, Bob, Jaycee, Heihachi Mishima, Jinpachi Mishima, True Ogre, Mokujin, Tetsujin, Kinjin, Eliza
Related Games: Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken, Tekken 2, Tekken 3, Tekken 4, Tekken 5, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online, Tekken 6, Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, Tekken Advance, Tekken Hybrid, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition, Urban Reign, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate, Soul Calibur 2 HD Online, Killer Instinct (2013)
Gameplay Engine 9 / 10 Story / Theme 6.5 / 10 Overall Graphics 9 / 10 Animation 9 / 10 Music / Sound Effects 9 / 10 Innovation 8 / 10 Art Direction 7.5 / 10 Customization 7 / 10 Options / Extras 8.5 / 10 Intro / Presentation 7.5 / 10 Replayability / Fun 9.5 / 10 "Ouch" Factor 10 / 10 Characters 9.5 / 10
8.6 / 10
Even as a dedicated Tekken player, I was skeptical about Tekken Revolution even for months after the launch. Mixed feelings aside, the game is offering something that no other fighting game ever did. Any way you look at it, it's an innovative title. While TR isn't "perfect," what you end up getting for free is certainly worth the price of admission. Namco should've called the game Tekken Evolution... because the game has progressively changed quite a bit since launch (for the better)!
I have to admit... Tekken Revolution made me put down TTT2 for a while. Surprisingly, I've consistently played TR since launch, and found a certain addiction in both multiplayer and single-player modes. There is some 1-player "grinding" involved in order to unlock new characters, but I have to give Namco credit for making me actually want to play a "basic" 1-player mode in a fighting game for any extended period of time. I find the standard arcade mode fun, especially with bonuses... and the occasional Mokujin Rush (with Turbo Mode enabled) is just ridiculously entertaining, especially if you're a fan of Tekken's tried-and-true combo system.
Early on, I scoffed at the stats system and invincible moves, but as I continued to play the game, these things bothered me less and less. Along with finding new ways to exterminate the shameless spammers & stat-abusers, I've come to appreciate the most basic "new" aesthetics that TR has to offer. Simply put, I like the longer / "close-up" K.O. replays (over TTT2's), updated graphics, remixed stages, excellent new BGMs, and the general "new" and "festive" theme of the game. No... really... it's nice to come back to a game months later and hear a new badass music track on a new stage. I like that.
With weekly events and bonuses posted on the main menu, it makes you feel like Namco actually cares and wants you to have fun playing the game. The monthly updates and new character releases have also effectively kept the game fresh. Again, it's a pretty exciting time to be a Tekken fan. Instead of complaining about random things, Tekken "fans" should appreciate the fact that Namco at least has something going on during the "waiting period" before Tekken X Street Fighter.
While the prices for premium effects are steep, and paying for alt. costumes (many of which are ripped from TTT2) rubs me the wrong way sometimes... the reality is, I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the game and paid very little in return. In many ways, Tekken Revolution has an "arcade vibe" about it... which I like. It's nice to know that everyone plays the game with credits, and has limited options to do certain things.
Even though TTT2 is clearly the better, more complete package right now, Tekken Revolution offers a more straight-forward and "beginner friendly" game of Tekken that should appeal to new / casual players (and will likely also appeal to players that are constantly getting their butt kicked in TTT2). And when I use the term "beginner friendly," I don't mean the mechanics are dumbed down, per se. However, stats & invincibles do give a considerable leeway in the casual player's favor... but most of the time, smart Tekken fundamentals will always prevail.
Even so, it must be stated. "Revolution is the first Tekken game in a long time where it's actually not uncommon for a casual / novice player to beat a skilled Tekken player." (Example: Fighting against a player with powered-up character with 200+ points who "effectively" spams invulnerable moves and can connect a few easy combos can actually be a pretty rough fight. So yes, "losing happens"... but you shouldn't take Tekken Revolution that seriously. Namco didn't set out to make another tournament quality game, they tried something different (yet safe), which is admirable.
If you find yourself taking a lot of losses, don't get discouraged. Learn how to punish spammers, learn your characters' combos and strategies, and tweak your stats to make it a more fair fight if you must (I recommend "endurance" if you consider yourself a skillful player). And if you're meeting nothing but scrubs online, IMPROVE YOUR RANK. You'll find that you'll eventually begin running into more skilled players in the upper ranks, as most of the gimmicky players and spammers become weeded out. ~TFG Webmaster
CHARACTER UNLOCKING SYSTEM
Just to explain how unlocking new characters works: At the start of the game, players have access to 8 characters. Through playing the modes and leveling up, you earn "Gift Points" which will eventually unlock new playable characters at random (for free) once you accumulate enough points. On the main menu, you'll also be notified of various online events from week to week. These "live" events have a beginning & ending date, and generously award players with bonuses like bonus Gift Points, Gold (for leveling up characters) and EXP points.
Under normal circumstances, it may take a while to unlock characters. However, if you stay in tune with events and play during times of "Bonus Gift Points" and/or Mokujin Festivals, you'll unlock characters at a much faster rate! During a Mokujin Festival, with bonuses activated, you can pretty much go on a character unlocking spree if you have a few Premium Tickets available.
There's also the option for players to simply "buy" characters they haven't unlocked. The "Character Unlock" Pass is also pretty steep as paid DLC ($5.99 each). In my experience so far, I've never had to buy a single character... (I'm patient and I use a lot of different characters, so it all works out). I also play both the North American and Japanese versions of Tekken Revolution (on my main profile), which actually increases the amount of Gift Points earned if I play during events in either version. And finally, I use multiple PSN profiles for this game, which increases the odds for unlocking the characters I want (and also allows me to play online for longer if I feel like it). So there you go... Some helpful tips for those of you who've read this far. ~TFG Webmaster