Movie Review – The Wolverine

the-wolverine-cover-creator

Superhero-themed movies and comic book adaptations have no doubt been dominating the summer box office for most of the last century. The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold, is the latest in the line of comic book based films to hit theatres this summer. However, The Wolverine feels unlike any other film in the genre released this year with its focus on character, slower pace and tightly controlled action set pieces.

After the huge disappointment X-men Origins: Wolverine turned out to be, fans cannot be blamed for being a little gun shy of its follow up. Thankfully, I believe The Wolverine restores faith in the idea of Wolverine standalone films much like X-men First Class restored faith in the franchise after X-men: The Last Stand. Without a doubt, The Wolverine is better than Origins in every aspect, so don’t let your distaste for that film keep you from watching Wolverine’s latest outing.

Story and Characters

The Wolverine begins in Japan during 1945 at around the time the atomic bomb is being dropped on Nagasaki. Logan/Wolverine,  once again played by Hugh Jackman, saves the life a Japanese officer named Yashida, played by Ken Yamamura, shortly after the bomb hits.

The film fast forwards to after the events of Last Stand, where Logan wonders the Canadian wilderness in a guilt trip of sorts for killing Jean Grey, with Famke Janssen reprising her role, whom he loved. He is soon tracked down by Yukio, played Rila Fukushima, a Japanese woman with the ability to see the future. She was locating Logan for an elderly Yashida, now played by Hal Yamanouchi, who is now dying and has a last request to say goodbye to Logan in person.

Logan reluctantly travels to Japan to meet Yashida were he finds himself in the middle of conflict once again as he saves Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko, played by Tao Okamoto, from numerous kidnapping and assassination attempts. Logan also finds himself uncharacteristically vulnerable due to his healing factor being suppressed by the villainess Viper, played by Svetlana Khodchenkova.

For those not in the know, The Wolverine is very loosely based off the famous “Japan Storyline” by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. Those looking for a faithful adaptation of the storyline will be disappointed as the film makers take many liberties with the source material. Changes to characters like Silver Samurai and the absence of The Hand in particular may frustrate diehard comic book fans. However, the one thing the film does get right is Wolverine’s character, which is the film’s overall strong point.

The-Silver-Samurai-and-Hugh-Jackman-in-The-Wolverine-2013-Movie-Image

Comic fans may not like the changes made to Silver Samurai

What separates The Wolverine from the summer’s other superhero flicks, and comic book adaptations in general, is its smaller scope, slower pacing and straight forward character development. In a genre dominated by huge set pieces, gigantic explosions, and fantastical other worldly storytelling, Wolverine is a fresh experience with its smaller and simpler approach.

The focus of the film is rightfully placed on Logan’s character. The struggles he faces being an immortal being and the guilt he feels for killing Jean are front and center. The film even touches on the animalistic traits of Wolverine’s character, something the other films in the franchise barely even acknowledge. Unsurprisingly, Hugh Jackman does an excellent job playing the role and his performance alone is entertaining to watch.

Of course, Logan is not the only character in this story, though the rest of the cast is comparably less developed. This is understandable as Logan clearly is, and should be, the star of the show. However, some the larger roles like those of Yashida, Harada and Viper feel underdeveloped. Thankfully Mariko and Yukio are given a lot of screen time and play important roles from beginning to end.

wolverine_hugh_jackman

Hugh Jackman steels the show as Logan/Wolverine

The relationship that develops between Logan and Mariko, much like other movie romances, develops very quickly but it somehow seems more believable. This in part is due to how well the film makers handle their characters and interactions. The stakes feel higher as a result of this relationship because you get the feeling that Logan truly cares for Mariko.

The smaller and character centric story makes for a more straight forward and tightly controlled viewing experience. However, that is not to say that the story is without flaws.  For how simple the story is, the numerous attempts made to kidnap and or kill Mariko can get a little carried away. It was difficult at times to determine who exactly is working for who and why they are after Mariko. The final act of the film is also much faster paced compared the more deliberate pace of the rest of the film. The method used to try and harvest Wolverine’s healing factor during this said act is also quite unbelievable and just plain ridiculous.

Action and Cinematography

While the pace of the film is slower, this does not mean The Wolverine is devoid of action. There are plenty of fight scenes between Wolverine and Yakuza thugs and ninjas. Surprisingly, considering its PG-13 rating, Wolverine comes off as the vicious fighting machine he is known to be in the comics, which he doesn’t always in other X-men films. His attacks are brutal, ferocious and quite often merciless.

One particular scene that stands out in the film is the bullet train sequence where Logan fights Yakuza assassins at the top of a speeding Japanese bullet train. The cinematography at work here is very impressive and the scene is overall creative. This scene in my opinion feels every bit as thrilling and exciting as the large action set pieces found in other summer blockbusters.

The duel between Wolverine and Mariko’s father Shingen, played by Hiroyuki Sanada, towards the end of the film is also worth noting. The choreography is well done and the scenery and lighting are reminiscent of those found in the battles from Japanese samurai films. The scenery alone really makes this sequence stand out and sets the tone perfectly. The intensity of the scene is diminished however as Wolverine clearly dominates the fight.

wolverine_samurai_fight

Wolverine during the battle with Shingen

While the action scenes are well filmed for the most part, the use of shaky camera is a little overdone for my tastes. This heavy use of shaky cam is also at odds with the slower and relatively non-chaotic feel of the film. Thankfully,  the shaking camera is only present during action scenes, which I cannot always say the same for other summer blockbusters.

The sets, lighting, special effects and camera work overall is mostly well done. In particular, the film definitely feels like it takes place in Japan and has a good combination of modern and traditional Japanese environments. The Wolverine is not as visually spectacular as other comic book films but it works for what this film is and it feels mostly authentic.

Wolverine_Mariko

Mariko in one of the more traditional looking Japanese settings

Conclusion

The Wolverine is a refreshing summer blockbuster that focuses on character rather than action and fantastical settings. It offers a different experience from other comic book films thanks to its smaller scale, slower pace and character centric story. Action is still present with smaller but mostly well filmed sequences. Hugh Jackman owns the role of Wolverine and the character feels deeper and more complex than he has in past films. The same can’t be said for other characters as some feel underdeveloped, and diehard comic fans may not enjoy the liberties taken with the Silver Samurai character. The final act unfortunately suffers from an inconsistent pace and a less than believable plot mechanic. It is, however, the best standalone film for Wolverine and one of the better films in the X-men cinematic franchise. If you are a fan of the Wolverine character at all, you should definitely give this film a watch.

Score: 3.5/5

the-wolverine-20th-cf02

Update – Two Tekken Reviews and Quick Thoughts on the State of the Franchise

Hello everyone, It’s been awhile but I am back with some new content. I recently posted two reviews: one for Tekken Card Tournament and the other for Tekken Revolution. For those that don’t know, I am a huge Tekken fan and have been so since my early childhood. So it gives me great pleasure to finally be able to have some of my  reviews for the franchise published. These reviews are as honest as you can get. In fact, I believe I went harder on these games than I normally do because I expect so much from the series. So please give them a look and tell me what you think.

I must say it’s been an interesting and turbulent couple of years for the franchise. There have been so many Tekken games released. We saw the release of Tekken Hybrid, Tekken 3D Prime Edition, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Card Tournament and Tekken Revolution in less than two years. The Tekken franchise has also crossed over into the world of Street Fighter with Street Fighter X Tekken, which received a major update in January, 2013, and the world of cinema with Tekken: Blood Vengeance.

Despite these numerous releases and respectable, but disappointing,  sales, the Tekken franchise seems to be rapidly losing popularity. Tekken hasn’t been as active as other fighters in the world of competitive gaming. Offline tournament entrants have been decreasing since Tekken Tag Tournament 2 released in North America in September, 2012. Some members of the community feel Tekken Tag 2 has been disrespected and shafted at major fighting game tournaments including Evolution 2013. To make matters worse, the community lost its link to Namco Bandai  in the form of Community Manager Rich “FlithieRich” Bantegui after he left the company.

There are many that believe Tekken Tag 2 is on its death bead. It is hard to even imagine such an idea less than a year after the game released. Yet, the tournament turnouts , the lack of updates and involvement by Namco, and the shift in focus to the free-to-play Tekken Revolution and other projects all seem to support this conclusion.

Well, I don’t believe it is all doom and gloom for Tekken Tag 2 and the franchise as a whole. While the offline presence of Tekken has decreased, the online community has blown up. Tekken Tag 2 has arguably the best online offering of any fighting game today, and it shows with its strong online presence. Namco clearly still believes in the franchise, otherwise they wouldn’t be releasing so many products or continuing to support Tekken Revolution.

Tekken is not dead — it is changing. Change is almost always uncertain, which is why many might perceive this change as a sign of a negative future. I, however, am hopeful for the future of Tekken. The transition to an online heavy experience is not a bad thing. Competitive games such as Starcraft II, League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive all thrive off their online players and communities. Tekken may very well be one the few games pioneering online play for a genre traditionally seen as a primarily offline experience. Naturally, making Tekken more approachable is part of this transition and it is something players will also have to deal with.

With this said however, Tekken has not changed fighting games quite yet and may never do so fully. People still measure the success of a fighting game, or any competitive game for that matter, through its offline presence. The biggest games have the biggest number of players and spectators coming out to events and competitions. This presence is what shows the community’s passion for the game.

If you are an online player or new to the Tekken franchise and really love and have a deep interest in the game, I strongly encourage you to go out and support the game. Show the fighting game community, the competitive gaming scene and Namco you care about Tekken. If you don’t have money or transportation, at least make it out to local tournaments and meet others who enjoy the game as much or more than you do.

Just this past Saturday, July 20, I attended a local Tekken Tag 2 tournament. I had no plans to win or even place well. The event was not the most organized and the conditions were not all that ideal. Yet, I showed up. I went to show everyone there that people I play Tekken. Luckily I wasn’t the only one.

Over 15 entrants showed, which may not be much by major standards but more than usual for a small community like ours. I got fourth place, much better than I would have imagined. There I met a player who had exclusively played online. It was his very first tournament and he loved it, as shoddy as it was. He got second place.

Tekken may currently be dominated by online play and pushing the genre in this direction. However, attending offline events is still the way you show your support. It is still the way you show Namco and the gaming community that you play Tekken. So please go to tournaments. Go to offline events and gatherings.

Show the world that you play Tekken.

Video Game Review – Tekken Revolution – PS3

TR Wallpaper

*This review is based off the July 2, 2013 version of the game.

Polarizing.

That is the word that best describes Tekken Revolution, the latest free-to-play and Playstation 3 exclusive entry in the Tekken franchise. Revolution is a game players will either enjoy or despise.  There are many elements that work in Revolution and others that do not. One thing that is clear is that Revolution is unlike any fighting game entry in the series before it and is without a doubt the freshest installment in quite some time.

Gameplay

Tekken Revolution is a 3d fighting game much like the other entries in the Tekken Franchise. Familiar mechanics such as juggles, strings, crushing, side-stepping and rage are all still present, so it should still be familiar to players of past Tekken games. Revolution also returns to the one-on-one format as opposed to Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s two-on-two setup.

One big notable difference in Revolution is the absence of bounds, attacks that bound the opponent to the ground to extend combos, a mechanic present since Tekken 6. The removal of bounds actually gives Revolution’s gameplay a more traditional Tekken feel like that found in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection.

The removal of bounds is not, however, the biggest change made to Tekken’s gameplay in Revolution. There are several new mechanics introduced that without a doubt were designed to make the game easier and more beginner friendly.

Let us start with the biggest addition: Special Arts. Special Arts are attacks in each character’s command list that provide a period of invulnerability. Special Arts work pretty much as expected in that they out prioritize other attacks and are extremely punishable when whiffed or blocked. They are marked by a red icon in the command list.

Another new addition to Revolution are the Critical Arts or attacks that have a random chance of dealing additional damage. Each character has four attacks in their command list that are designated as Critical Arts and they are marked by blue icons.

tekkenrevolution-screen_2

Special and Critical Arts have additional visual effects that distinguish them from other attacks

In addition to the inclusion of Special Arts and Critical Arts, there are several more subtle changes to Revolution that make it  more novice welcoming. The way players get up off the ground has changed significantly in ways that makes catching rolls more difficult and off-the-ground resets impossible. Back stepping also seems to be much faster, making it a more viable way to avoid attacks. Throws also do more damage but are easier to break.

One very odd addition to the gameplay is the introduction of a stat building system. Characters have three different stats, Power, Stamina and Vigor, that can be upgraded using skill points. Each of these stats modify separate attributes of each character: Power heightens the damage dealt by attacks, Stamina increases HP of and Vigor boosts the chance that Critical Arts will deal extra damage.

All of these new additions to the gameplay of Revolution has made for a Tekken game that feels unlike any other, for better or worse. We mostly have the new Special Arts to thank for this.

The biggest effect Special Arts have had on the game is diminishing the effectiveness of mix-ups, offensive pressure and even punishment to an extent. Players no longer need to learn how to defend against strings or guess correctly during 50/50 mix-ups and frame traps as they now have an option that can be used in any situation. When put in disadvantageous positions, players always have the option to mash out a Special Art.

The dynamic of the Special Arts has ultimately made Revolution a very defensive game. Yes, Special Arts are very punishable and they can be baited out during mix-ups or frame traps, but, at least from my experience, it is rather easy to perform a Special Art on reaction. When used intelligently, the Special Art is incredibly powerful and can make players wary of being offensive.

Despite the defensive nature of Revolution, the game somehow still feels very fast paced. This is due to the combination of combos being shorter, attacks inflicting more damage and the game having a one-on-one setup. Add in Critical Arts and the ability to increase your damage and critical hit output and you have the potential for extremely short rounds.

I am personally not a fan of the new gameplay changes and I feel like they make Revolution too forgiving and inconsistent. Games end way too quickly and momentum shifts on the flip of a coin. It also becomes increasingly more difficult to compete at higher ranks when you encounter players with extremely high stats.

TR_Stats

It is not too uncommon to encounter players with ridiculously powerful stats

I am sure, however, that there are many players out there who will enjoy these new changes. The game certainly is easier and more beginner-friendly, at least initially, so it can potentially appeal to casual players. Tekken veterans who preferred the one-on-on style and did not approve of bounds might also enjoy Revolution.

Features and Modes

Being a free-to-play game, it is expected that Tekken Revolution would be a significantly slimmed down product, and this is certainly the case. At the time of this review, the game features 14 playable characters and three modes of play: Online Ranked match, Online Player match and Arcade mode.

The character roster, though limited in number, is very serviceable. 14 is a healthy number of characters for a fighting game and the roster is very varied. Only eight of 14 characters are playable at the start however. The rest must be unlocked randomly by accumulating gift points, which takes quite a bit of time. Namco Bandai has also promised to release more characters, with two scheduled to hit by the end July in North America.

TR_character_select

Revolution’s character select screen

Online play and Arcade mode work just as expected. Players play against a series of computer-controlled opponents in Arcade, though currently there is no option to adjust the difficulty, and against human players in online Ranked or Player matches.

The netcode for online play in particular is very good and most matches feel near lagless at 4 plus bar connections. Players are also put in a practice room of sorts before Ranked matches where they fight against a low-level CPU while they await their actual match. In both Ranked and Player matches, only the victories a player earns is recorded which will no doubt help new comers feel less intimidated when they play online.

Even for a free-to-play game, Revolution’s content seems very limited. The character roster is fine but the modes leave something to be desired. The absence of offline versus mode in particular is extraordinarily baffling.

Versus modes is a staple of fighting games and is as important to the genre as deathmatch is to First Person Shooters. Fighting games have always been a primarily offline experience and playing online just doesn’t compete with playing friends locally. I understand Namco needs to be able to make money off this product, but versus mode is essential and it should at least be available as a premium mode.

Training mode is also crucial, and, at this time, there is no traditional training mode available. Players should have the option to practice and learn new techniques on their own in a comfortable environment. This is can be especially true for casual players.

Thankfully, a mode called Warm-up Space is scheduled to be released soon in the upcoming update. However, at the time of this review, there is currently no training mode and it is uncertain whether this Warm-up Space mode will be a solid substitute.

Free-to-play Model

With Tekken Revolution being a free-to-play game, there will of course be questions about whether the game is truly free-to-play or a cash grab. In this case, Revolution has a very innovative freemium model that rewards playing online and good performance.

The currency model used by Tekken Revolution is easily the most interesting aspect of the game. There are four types of currency: Battle Coins, Arcade Coins, Premium Tickets and Premium Coins.

Battle coins allow players to play either online Ranked or Player matches and Arcade coins allow players to play Arcade mode. Once the player uses all of their coins, they will not be able to play until those coins are replenished: one Battle Coin every 30 minutes and one Arcade coin every 60 minutes.

This currency system seems very limiting on the surface, and it is quite frankly, but thankfully players have the option to spend Premium Tickets to continue playing. In Ranked and Player matches, the beauty of spending a Premium Ticket is that you receive a new one as a reward every time you win a match.

TR_premium_ticket

Players receive a new Premium Ticket if they win their match

If this setup sounds familiar that is because it is very reminiscent of a physical arcade machine. Players pay for a match and can continue playing for free as long as they keep winning. This approach to free-to-play is certainly unique and will no doubt appeal to those who have nostalgic memories about the good-old  arcades.

Premium Tickets are received as rewards while playing the game, usually by maintaining win streaks, leveling up and as gifts from Namco. Premium Coins function exactly like premium tickets though you have to buy them from the Playstation Store for about 25 cents per coin.

So to answer the question, yes it is possible to play Revolution entirely for free as long as you keep winning your matches. This will no doubt steer players in the direction of online play and promote better play and consistency from players. However, this model really is a double edged sword in that it encourages players to play well and get better but could also turn away casuals who struggle to learn the game or simply want to play with friends.

Presentation

tekken-revolution-screen_1

Revolution sports some fancy lighting and particle effects

The presentation of Tekken Revolution is, for the most part, very similar to Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The visuals, including menu and interface designs, are mostly identical. The only major differences are the addition of some lighting filters, giving the game a orange or blue hue, and additional motion blur and particle effects on Critical and Special Arts. For some odd reason , the faces of the female characters in the game have been altered to look cartoonish or anime like. Characters also have a cel-shaded like outline around their models.

TR_TAG2_comparison

The female characters have had their faces altered (Revolution right, Tag 2 left)

The music is the only completely new addition to Revolution as the tracks are all brand new. These new tracks can be really hit or miss. Some are very high energy and intense and others are slow and dull. The main menu background music in particular is painfully generic and gets old very quickly.

Overall, there isn’t much a difference between the presentation  in Revolution and Tekken Tag 2 as most of the assets where just transferred over, so the game still looks and sounds very good overall. Whether the new music and visual tweaks will appeal to players is entirely based on personal preference.

Conclusion

Tekken Revolution is freshest and most unique entry in the Tekken series in quite some time, for better or worse. The major issue with Tekken Revolution is that it indeed feels like a beta or test rather than a full game. Namco is experimenting with many new ideas including making the gameplay more beginner friendly and emulating the arcade experience through its free-to-play model. Some of these ideas work and others not so much.

The silver lining is that Tekken Revolution has nowhere to go but up. Revolution will only get better with time as Namco has promised, and has delivered so far, regular updates and more content. My recommendation, if you are at all curious about Tekken Revolution, is to just give it a download and see what you think. If you love it great. If you hate it, then at least you didn’t spend any money and you have Tekken Tag Tournament 2 to fall back on.

Score: 2.5/5

Video Game Review – Tekken Card Tournament – Android/Web

Tekken-Card-Tournament-Logo

*This review is based off the July 1, 2013 version of the game.

Tekken Card Tournament is a free-to-play card battle game released on Android, iOS, PC and other platforms. While the gameplay has little in common with other entries in the Tekken series, TCT is a fun and strategic game that can appeal both to casual and core video game players.

Let’s get this out of the way, Tekken Card Tournament is not a fighting game. What makes TCT a Tekken game is the inclusion of the franchise’s characters and setting. Those looking for a portable version of a Tekken fighting game should check out the few handheld console offerings available.

While TCT has is not a fighting game like its Tekken brethren, that is not to say the game has no value among Tekken fans and fighting game players. TCT is designed to be fast paced and mind game orientated. As a result, the game feels like a fighting game in card game form. It is not a substitute for an actual fighting game but rather a fun alternative.

Gameplay

On the most basic level, Tekken Card Tournament is an advanced game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The player has three options always available to them at all times: Focus, Attack and Block. Focus draws a card from a character’s deck (up to five). Attack plays all the attack cards in a player’s hand to deal damage to your opponent and break Focus. Block ,unsurprisingly, blocks attacks but can only block two at a time.

tekken-card-tournament-screen_1

Kazuya  has the upper-hand on this turn

While very simple, these three mechanics alone add some level of strategy. It is not simply about one option beating out another but about what time and situation is best to use each option. For instance, most players will always focus at the start of the match, and some players may choose to attack only when they have three or more cards.

The game’s real depth is found in the cards. Like any other card game, the deck of cards the player possess plays a huge factor in determining the winner. Cards in TCT are separated into two categories: Attack and Power.

Attack cards have Common (bronze), Uncommon (silver), Rare (gold) and Super-Rare  variations. They comprise the majority of your deck and are used by players to deal damage to their opponents. These cards each have certain damage values and, in some cases, special abilities that affect gameplay such as boosting  damage or healing HP.

Power cards are cards that increase a Characters HP at the start of a match. Players can only have one Power card per deck. In some cases, a Power card will grant a benefit in addition to an increase in HP, such as starting the game with one additional card.

tekken-card-tournament-deck_building

Players can build decks for up to three characters for free

The cards players have in their deck are determined by which character they choose to play. At the time of this review, Tekken Card Tournament features nine playable characters. Some characters have cards that are more suited to an offensive, defensive or mind game heavy playstyle. Kazuya for example has many cards that improve his abilities as his HP decreases while Xiaoyu has cards that boost her defense and allow her to draw cards more quickly.

All of these game mechanics and systems combine to create a surprisingly deep gameplay system that is simple to grasp. As a result, it can be enjoyed by both casual game players and the more hardcore player.

Despite its depth and potential strategy, TCT is still at heart a random game. Having a successful engagement ultimately comes down to who made the right guess or had the best cards. Yes, there are ways to force an action and mind games do play a big role in the overall strategy of the game, but it is still a guessing game.

To add to the randomness, cards are drawn randomly just like in every other card game, so the player has no direct control over what options they have at a given time. All they can do is hope they get the card they need.

Overall, the gameplay is still very enjoyable and strategic enough to ensure the better player wins in most cases. I personally would not take it seriously as a competitive game but the game has proven it can function as one through its Online Championship mode.

Free-to-play Model

Like with any other game that exploits the freemium model, there are questions about the model used by Tekken Card Tournament and whether it is actually free-to-play. While the model is not perfect, I can assure players that it is indeed possible to play this game without spending a single penny.

There are three types of currency, which can be purchased using real money, in TCT: Gold, Credits and Stamina. Gold is the most common currency and it is the one used to buy most of the in-game cards. Players can use Gold to both buy cards individually or through the starter booster pack.

Credits are the least common currency and are difficult to come by for free, mostly obtained by participating in the Online Championship mode. They are used to buy the more desirable booster packs, refill stamina and buy additional slots for decks (you only start with three by default).

Stamina is the currency that is automatically consumed as you play the game and the most controversial. Players can usually play five matches before their stamina is depleted. They then have to wait for either their stamina to replenish over time or buy more Stamina with Credits. It is possible to continue playing the game without Stamina but the player will not receive any rewards or experience while it’s gone.

Despite the rarity of Credits and the limiting nature of Stamina, it is possible to play the game completely for free using in-game rewards. Players receive Gold for virtually everything they do in the game. There are Gold rewards for playing matches, collecting cards, playing the game every day and even as gifts from Namco Bandai.

tekkencardtournamentsale

Namco holds frequent sales for their in-game booster packs

Additionally, Namco often has numerous promotional sales which sometimes greatly reduce the cost of booster packs. So, if players wisely save their credits for these promotions, it is possible to get some great cards on the cheap. Coupled with the abundance of gold and random gifts from Namco, it is possible to play the game without spending anything and amass a strong deck in the process.

The one major flaw I do see in TCT’s free-to-play model is that it promotes a pay-to-win strategy. While it is possible to create a good deck for free, it is going to take time and work. Players who elect to build a deck for free will no doubt lose to players who spend money buying the best cards early on in the game. This becomes more of an issue in Online Championship which is held only at specific times. In my opinion, if you plan to take this game seriously and be competitive, you will most likely have to spend real money or work your ass off building a viable deck.

Presentation and Platforms

The Presentation of Tekken Card Tournament isn’t anything remarkable but it works for this type of game. Music, artwork and various other assets are taken straight from other games in the series. This isn’t necessarily bad but it does limit the originality and new feel of the game.

The character models are pretty much the same as those used in the PSP version of Tekken: Dark Resurrection. They look pretty good though the polygon count and texture resolution are significantly lower than those of the console games. Stages are basically static versions of a few of those found in Tekken 6.

tekken_card_tournament

TCT is not the most impressive looking mobile game

One gripe I do have is that the attacks used by the characters in game do not mimic the attacks displayed on the cards. For example, Kazuya does not perform Electric Wind God Fist when you play his EWGF card, but rather does a generic punch or kick animation. This is certainly disappointing to fans of the series, although it ultimately has no impact on gameplay.

I would like to note that at the time of this review, the latest patch for the game, released on July 1, 2013, seems to have caused a significant performance dip on some Android devices. The gameplay slows down considerably during matches. Gameplay is not heavily impacted by this, but the slowdown does drag the pace of the match and is unpleasant to look at. This doesn’t seem to affect everyone however, and I am sure Namco will patch it soon.

This problem seems to be nonexistent on PC, which in my opinion is the superior platform for TCT. Not only does the game run smoother and look better, it is also much easier to select your options using the mouse. The game is played from a web browser as well, so there is no need to install the game or its updates like on mobile devices.

TCT is cross-platform, so it is possible to play on numerous devices with the same account. My suggestion would be to play the game on PC when you have access to one and only play on mobile devices when you don’t. This will save you a lot of battery life and costs on 4G when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi.

Conclusion

Tekken Card Tournament is an overall fun game that anybody can really enjoy and actually play for free. The gameplay is fast, simple, strategic and rewarding. Though there is no real way around the random nature of the game, the game has enough strategy to ensure the best players win most of the time. It is difficult to take this game seriously as a competitive game due the luck factor and pay-to-win strategy the game promotes, but it is easy to enjoy casually and you can definitely play it without spending any real money. The game is free to play, so you can always simply try it yourself.

Score: 3/5