Tekken Revolution is Namco Bandai’s latest entry into the fighting series. It was released exclusively over PSN and was made with a free-to-play model. While this model seems to be more miss than hit, there are some noble examples of this type of frugal financing. What makes a free-to-play game worthwhile is making sure that, as a publisher, you aren’t holding anything back from the gamer. A great free-to-play game will offer a complete gaming experience without any funds needed. If you can offer a gamer the full experience for free, they are more than likely to put in funds in order to tailor their experience, not to make the game complete, but to customize it even more. This being the case, how does Tekken Revolution fit into the free-to-play model? Read on and find out.
The first thing I noticed about the game is just how accessible it is, both as a free-to-play game, and as a tournament fighter. Right up front it tells you exactly how its systems work and does a good job of explaining that, should you want to become the leader of the boards, it is a better idea to drop some money on the virtual tickets and coins. It works similar to some older browser games I used to play. Resources, which in this game are coins and tickets, are replenished over time. You can pay money to replenish them or buy tickets in order to earn more experience and gain bonuses over time. While you can earn these tickets through playing the game both online and offline multiple times, those who are really into the Tekken series may want to drop a little cash to always maintain an edge. It might not be the most appealing model for those who aren’t hardcore tournament fighters, but it works well and I could see it being quite profitable.
Now, as a standard fighter, it is a little simple, but well worth the time. Its standard Tekken style is made quite clear. Simple combos are highlighted next to the character screen and the small character selection (12 in all with 8 available from the start) makes it a game that is easy to get a handle on. The graphics are great and highly detailed. Where it falters a little is with the variety of modes. There is the standard arcade mode, a ranked mode, and a player mode. The arcade mode pits you against a slew of fighters and features a few non-playable bosses. This mode is rather easy and only really serves as something of a practice mode. The ranked and player matches are where you’ll want to spend most of your time, and where you’ll spend most of your cash, should you want to. Connection is tight, and the player lobby allows you to find those of similar skill. Once waiting for your match you can chat with other players as well as view the current match going on. It’s easy to just jump into any mode, find someone with a similar experience level, and battle it out. The game never forces you to put money in but lets you pick how important being the top ranked player is and how much you value your time.
The graphics and overall presentation of the game are very nice as well. Each character’s look and style are animated beautifully and it is pretty obvious that, just because it’s a free-to-play, doesn’t mean that Namco-Bandai spared any expense. The music, while not as catchy as the soundtracks in some of previous entries in the series, is catchy enough to get you into the fighting spirit. The stages themselves are pretty great too, though fans of the series will notice that they are all-at most-slightly remodeled versions of past stages. Yeah, the game has a great visual presentation that works well; it’s not the most detailed or expansive entry into the series, but it serves as a great springboard for those looking for a place to start their Tekken career.
In summation, Tekken Revolution is a game well worth checking out. While its free-to-play model isn’t one that will have me putting money in anytime soon, the fact that it doesn’t limit the experience, but rather enhances it for those who want to, is a positive. The game’s pick up and play nature mixed with its bright and fun aesthetic make this a game that is really, if nothing else, a lot of fun to play. Tekken Revolution gets 4 out of 5 stars. While I think that they could have done more to get gamers interested in putting down some cash for their virtual goods (alternate costumes and taunts, anyone?) the game is easy to understand, easy to get into, but like any fighter is tough to master. The usual depth of the Tekken series is all here, but it is opened up a little to try and get new gamers interested. If you are at all interested in picking up a tournament fighter for the first time, or looking for a new one to master, Tekken Revolution is worthy of your time.