Many games are online these days, but one genre that took a bit longer to become an Internet multiplayer phenomenon was the fighting genre…perhaps for obvious reasons. With a new generation, though, comes fresh broken ground and two of the biggest fighting franchises in the world will soon be online. Virtua Fighter 5 for the Xbox 360 is all set to offer Internet bouts, and now, Namco Bandai has confirmed an online mode for Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection . It's actually already available on the Japanese PlayStation Store, and we're taking a closer look at Resurrection Online before it hits the North American Store some time later this year.
Basically, this is an update to the original Dark Resurrection , and Namco Bandai is only charging an extra 1,000 yen if you've already got the PlayStation Store Tekken installment. It'll be 2,800 yen if you want the whole package, and that's not a bad deal. This will include a practice mode, and of course, the key to the whole thing- an online battle mode, which is bound to deliver a ton of new surprises even to die-hard fans of the genre. Once you've stepped into this newfound gameplay mode, where you can challenge anyone, anywhere, you will be given your choice of matchmaking options. First up would be the "Opti-Match," will allows you to locate tournament rooms that match your player level. "Quick Match" is just what it sounds like; the server conducts a search of all the rooms, regardless of player level. Then you've got "Custom Match" – set your own parameters – and "Friend Match," where you can send out direct invites to your buddies.
You can also create your own room, which lets you set every option to your liking before you hit the ring. You can change the round time and round count, switch voice chat on or off, and alter the number of players allowed into the room with a maximum of eight. Best of all, we hear you'll be "master of your own domain," in that if you're not happy with some spaz who entered your room, you can kick him out. We're not entirely sure if we'll be able to change the tier-system used for the online battles, but the default appears pretty standard: the current champion fights everyone in turn until he gets knocked off the mountain, and any time you're not fighting, you can actually watch whichever match is happening live. This sounds like there's a lot more waiting than playing, but you tend to do more waiting than usual in online multiplayer, anyway. And besides, the entertainment is generally well worth the wait.
And the more you play, the more you'll see yourself on the Rankings lists. They'll be split up into three regions (Asia, Europe, and North America), and you'll always be able to see the current week's best fighter. Other than the Rankings and personal customization, though, it doesn't appear that Dark Resurrection Online features much more than the standard options we see in just about every online multiplayer game. Perhaps more news will arrive over the next few weeks, but for now, there doesn't appear to be anything too innovative or flashy about this new multiplayer Internet feature. On the other hand, fewer features could translate to a faster experience overall, so there's definitely a silver lining. And besides, we're playing Tekken online, and in the end, fighting games are very simple and straightforward: that's what makes them so much fun .
Also, this online mode uses the Tekken 6 fighting engine, so we can get an early look at the next full entry in the legendary series. We don't know if there are any major changes or upgrades from the previous engine – perhaps avid followers will be able to notice such things – but we'd like to assume the engine works nicely during online play. Of course, you will have to deal with the occasional system error, but Namco has realized this is a prime annoyance for many multiplayer online aficionados. If you're one of those unlucky individuals with a crappy connection, and you keep dropping offline, you'll suffer a point penalty. This penalty is assessed to any player who bows out of a match before it finishes, actually, so it won't matter if you quit intentionally or unintentionally. However, this double-edged sword will discourage both sore losers and those with erratic Internet connections, so it should serve the overall presentation well. Heck, the game will even list how many times a particular player has disconnected during one online session.
It'll only cost $10 when it arrives here in the U.S., and for the most part, it appears to be a darn good deal. Right now, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online seems to be exactly what fighting fans have been pining for, despite a significant lack of any glitzy bells and whistles. How many times have you wanted to test your skills against someone from clear across the country? Fighting games have been around forever, but this aforementioned opportunity was a long time coming.