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3DS  header logo

Tekken 3D: Prime Edition

For: 3DS

Past its prime

Product: Tekken 3D: Prime Edition | Developer: Namco Bandai Games | Publisher: Namco Bandai Games | Format: 3DS | Genre: Fighting | Players: 1-2 | Version: Europe
Tekken 3D: Prime Edition 3DS, thumbnail 1
On a handheld where fights aren't hard to come by, Tekken 3D enters a crowded arena.

In one corner, Blazblue: Continuum Shift II sits revelling in its slick visual style, while in the other Dead or Alive: Dimensions is transfixed by the size of its own voluptuous jubblies.

Perched atop its throne is Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition - undeniably the toughest opponent on the bill.

Describing itself as the "Prime Edition", Tekken 3D delivers a fight worthy of its name but doesn’t pack a punch worthy of its subtitle.

Best served with Jin

Over an 18-year career, the series has built up a reputation for solid fighting mechanics. Its punches have always been hefty swings capable of flooring opponents, its combos capable of juggling friends against the invisible walls of the arena.

It’s this essence that’s been successfully reproduced on Nintendo’s handheld, with few concessions.

Anyone who’s struggled to get to grips with the 3DS’s control setup in the past will find Tekken 3D: Prime Edition suffers from familiar issues. The D-pad continues to offer pinpoint precision over its larger Circle Pad neighbour, and the touchscreen commands borrowed from Super Street Fighter IV serve a handicap to newcomers.

To put this fighter through its paces, all 41 of the series’ favourites are on offer. Fan favourites such as Jin Kazama, Nina Williams, and Paul Phoenix make appearances alongside the more comical characters such as Kuma the bear, Rodger Jr the Kangaroo, and robot-turned-high-school-student Alisa.

Tekken the piss

Despite this abundance, a serious lack of variety in modes will leave you disappointed in the overall package.

The single-player offering consists of a meagre selection comprising Quick Battle, Practice, and Survival - a mode that pits you against a succession of foes and gives you a single health bar.

Multiplayer doesn’t fare much better, with local and online combatants. The former lacks a download play option, and the latter is crippled by unbearable lag.

Tekken Card is a nice little extra, with over 700 to collect, but as a StreetPass distraction it’s not as impressive as Super Street Fighter IV’s battling figurines or Dead or Alive’s AI exchanges.

Past efforts have demonstrated that the series is willing to lend its talents to such half-baked ideas as the Streets of Rage-inspired Tekken Force, tag team tournaments, and quirky mini-game Tekken Bowl. Their absence here makes Tekken 3D: Prime Edition a package that will leave you feeling short-changed.

Dinner and a show

Any shortcomings can probably be attributed to the whopping 92-minute cart-filling CGI movie crammed in alongside the game.

Tekken Blood Vengeance - the 3DS's first full-length 3D feature - won’t satisfy those let down by the game’s absence of a Story mode, and any fans that are able to find some entertainment in its high school squabbles and family feuds are likely to already have this kicking around in their Blu-ray collections.

The past 12 months have seen brawlers in all shapes and sizes bang fists on Nintendo’s handheld, but each with something different to offer.

For all its talk of trumping its competition with dazzling 60 frames-per-second 3D visuals, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition lacks enough variety to keep us coming back. It's Tekken, but it's not prime Tekken.

Tekken 3D: Prime Edition
Reviewer photo
Tom Worthington | 27 February 2012
Tekken 3D nails its formula but doesn’t provide much room to show off and flex it. As far as arcade fighters go, there are better, more substantial alternatives now with much cheaper price tags
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