Tekken tries revolutionizing the fighting game experience

Tekken Revolution has a chance at changing the way we play fighters.

The game, which released on PlayStation 3’s online network this week, is the series’s first free-to-play fighter. Rather than asking players to pay $60 upfront for a game, PlayStation owners can download the title for free and jump in to arcade and online bouts.

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Tekken Revolution mimics the arcade experience by requiring digital tokens to play online and single-player matches. As seen in a lot of mobile games tokens recharge over time and in this case it’s about 30 minutes.

Like playing at the arcade, victory online means keeping your quarter, a loss costs another price of admission.

When I booted up the game for the first time I played five online matches and two eight-fight sets of single player against the CPU, which included an appearance from former Tekken bosses. The fifth online match ended my 4-game win streak so I was content with putting the game down waiting for tokens to recharge.

Players start with eight available characters with more earned through playing. The starter characters are Paul, Marshal Law, King, Kazuya, Lili, Asuka, Jack and Lars. After 20-minutes I added Leo to my roster. Single player showed things to come as I fought Alisa, Heihachi, Steve Fox and a few more characters I haven’t yet earned.

The game keeps Tekken’s character ranking system, which starts at 1st Dan and grows though experience and promotional fights.

This isn’t a watered down experience either, Asuka played just like I remember and the cheap tactics I used to beat my sister years ago still held up today.

Another new element is that characters can level up and receive stat boosts. Players earn money and skill points to increase their fighters’ power, health and critical hit and rage chance.

The game’s title, Revolution, is definitely appropriate. It’s a new way to look at fighting games; a genre that has tough competition for gamers’ dollars. This title provides a great opportunity to fulfill those combo cravings without a $60 commitment. The upcoming Killer Instinct will provide one free character with the ability to buy more, but Namco Bandai has found a way  to return to an era when fighting games were the definition of competitive gaming without feeling like a quick money grab.

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