Tekken's been one of the biggest names in the fighting game genre for years now, and for good reason. Namco's finally decided to bring their monster franchise to the PSP, and I recently ran through a few matches against some of the other media folk here at the event.
First off, it must be said that Tekken on the PSP pretty much pushes the visual limit. It's not surprising that a fighting game would look so good on any system, since they're not very technically demanding, but watching a trailer for Dark Resurrection on the big screen makes it impossible to tell it's a PSP game; it looks that great. The character models and backgrounds are everything you'd expect from a top line PS2 fighting game, and the animation is just as smooth as anything Tekken has ever done, perhaps moreso.
What's more important is that the core gameplay is classic Tekken, which should be good news for any fans of the series. The face buttons correspond to left and right punches and kicks, and while the analog nub for the PSP pretty much sucks for this type of game, most fighting game enthusiasts would probably use the D-pad anyway, which is easy to use in Tekken. In fact, the game's mechanics so closely resemble that of older Tekken games that there's really not much to report on that front.
What is new is that Tekken features network play, allowing you to take your baditude on the go. You can link up with other PSP owners and get your kickass on, and it plays silky smooth. There are also some new characters such as Dragunov, who resembles, in style at least, Bayman from the DOA series. The total player roster in the PSP version of Tekken is an impressive 35, which should make for some considerable replay value even for a genre that typically already has high replay. Of course, if you've been following the franchise for awhile now, you'll immediately be intimately familiar with all the classic players such as Law.
There's also a new Dojo Mode which seems to resemble Soul Calibur's Mission Quest feature, giving you specific objectives through various levels, essentially working as a creative sort of training feature; fun, challenging and rewarding in its own right, it also serves (primarily I'd assume) to make you better at the game overall.
Anyone looking for a good fighting game for their PSP is in luck, as Tekken: Dark Resurrection will be hitting stores in just a few short months. We'll be sure to keep you updated when more information on the title becomes available.