Regardless of your affinity for the Tekken franchise, you’ll be disappointed by the 3D Prime Edition of the series on the Nintendo 3DS. With no story mode or in-depth character customization options, it ultimately feels like a stripped down version of what could have been the best fighter in handheld history.
Even the few add-ons Namco did manage to include are lackluster. A streetpass card system, similar to the system’s “Puzzle Swap” feature, allows players to exchange cards, which contain photos of the characters from the series, wirelessly. The problem is it takes too many coins to trade in for the cards and earning them is a tiresome chore. The interface to redeem the cards is also a clunky mess. The Tekken “Blood Vengeance” anime is a novel addition, but the movie, aside from being beautiful, is an annoying film that has little to do with the series.
Don’t fret though. You’ll probably spend more time watching it than actually playing the game.
The graphics are solid, running at a crisp 60 frames per second and do a more than ample job of showing what the visuals on the 3DS are capable of. The control makes the most of the handheld. Absent is an extra grapple move for each competitor, which hurts the gameplay experience. The touch screen controls also make the game way too accessible for novice players and make two-player battles a cheesy disgrace, especially when a hardcore fan is inputting the proper commands to perform moves.
Overall, Tekken 3D Prime Edition is an uneven experience across the board.
Even though the lack of features hurts the game the most, the inane enemy A.I. is the clincher. In the one decent gameplay mode, Survival, you’ll find it incredibly easy to corner your enemies and continue playing. On any other system, a survival mode in a Tekken game would be a challenge. Unfortunately, this problem with the A.I. is prevalent throughout the game and completely eliminates the fun.
After an hour of gameplay, any seasoned fan of the series will have beaten most of the gameplay modes, with little opposition from the computer.
There won’t be any sweat on the handheld during this hour either. Instead, they’ll be the hot breath of scoffs clouding up the top screen. The Tekken franchise is so much better than this. So much so that this game should barely qualify as a part of the much-renowned series.