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Tekken 3D Prime Edition Review

With entries ranging from Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Dead or Alive 3D and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, the fighting genre is certainly well represented on the 3DS. Hoping to perpetuate the trend of portable pugnaciousness, Namco-Bandai’s recent release of Tekken 3D Prime Edition does an admirable job of bringing its famous franchise onto the stereoscopic screen. Elevated by a painstakingly polished game engine and a substantial roster of familiar combatants, even a handful of niggling issues won’t prohibit series aficionados from enjoying the game’s eclectic collection of offerings.

Discarding series tradition, Tekken 3D forgoes the obligatory story mode. While some players might be disappointed by the lack of any post- King of Iron Fist tournament cinematics, the title’s undiluted succession of ten opponents in Quick Battle is ideal for portable owners seeking a commute-sized challenge. Additionally, the elimination of a treacherous, juggle-happy final boss should reduce the chances for an embarrassing rage-quit tantrum on public transportation. Special Survivor allows players to select the number of opponents they must vanquish using a single health bar, giving bonus vitality based on the performance of each match.

Often, 3DS screenshot quality doesn’t accurately reflect the visual quality viewed by players. With Tekken 3D Prime Edition this schism is particularly conspicuous. Unlike the pixelated, inspiring pictures accompanying this review, the title is an impressive visual powerhouse. Each of the game’s forty-one fighters are sufficiently sized, spectacularly animated and adorned with nicely textured muscle and convincingly flowing fabric. Most remarkable is the title’s refresh rate, which is locked onto a sixty frames per second delivery, even when the 3D slider is cranked to capacity. To achieve this level of precision, a few sacrifices had to be made. Gratifyingly, these are limited to the amount of detail articulated by the game’s backdrops, which eliminate some of the animations found in the game’s well-known locales.

To maintain the game’s rock-solid framerate in online and local multiplayer, Tekken 3D is forced to eliminate three-dimensional output. Essentially, the trade-off is prudent, as it allows for the type of fluidity favored by fighting game enthusiasts. Local matches proved to the lag free, but online competitions were a different story, with specific games sullied by chronic slowdown. Without the assistance of any kind meter to gauge connection quality, it’s difficult to pinpoint to the source of the problem.  Those considering the purchase of Tekken 3D Prime Edition primarily for online play may want to hold tight, as see if the situation improves.

Beyond tense battles, the title also has a number of extras to maintain the interest of players. Success in single player matches rewards gamers with dividends culled a compendium of 765 different cards. With each collectible exhibiting a fragment of Tekken lore, there’s the possibility for Pokémon-esque obsession, as players strive to achieve a complete collection. Fortunately, the title’s StreetPass functionality means that gamers won’t have to earn every card themselves. Players choose three collectables to share with their Tekken 3D-owning compatriots. Ideally, players would have the ability to wager or trade cards with the online rivals.  The cartridge’s other trimming is the inclusion of the CGI film, Tekken: Blood Vengeance. Although artifacting was visible during some of the dark scenes, it’s quite an impressive achievement to fit a 92 minute, 3D movie alongside a full-fledged Tekken game.

Tekken’s 3D’s other drawback doesn’t stem from software, but rather the limitations of Nintendo’s hardware. Executing dialogs with the portable’s direction pad can be tricky. While the circle pad is a bit more precise, the longer throw of the analog controller reduces the speed of issuing commands. To compensate for this setback, players are given four assignable hotkeys which are mapped to the touchscreen. Those worried about exploitation during competitive matches can rest easy- veteran Tekken devotees will be able to devastate players who depend on a quartet of commands.

For series enthusiasts who can overlook the 3DS’s control methods, Tekken 3D Prime Edition will make a welcome addition to their library. Not only does the game’s look stunning on the portable screen, but this version retains all of the responsiveness and character command sets of its console brethren. If Namco-Bandai can remedy its issues with the online servers, the cartridge could easily stand alongside Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition as the system’s most recommended fighting game.


About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. Man, those graphics look bad. Probably what Tekken would look like on a GBA.

  2. One time N-B announced that Tag Challenges were going to be in the game but no review has mentioned any of these. Are they still in there? How come you didn’t talk about them?

    • They left out that along with character customization. Between those two things, I think think T6 for the PSP is better game.

      I wonder how much more they could have fit into this if they didn’t include that movie on the cartridge. I mean they could have offered a download code or something instead of wasting space.

  3. Have you ever thought you were just a noob when it comes to fighting games? I had no problem pulling off any move in SSFIV3D, dude. Don’t blame the 3DS for your lack of skills.

  4. I read the IGN review the other day and they didn’t even mention any online mutiplayer. Strange.

    So how is the movie? To me, its a nice perk, but not a deal maker/breaker. If they sold this for $30 isn’t of $40, then maybe I’d pick it up.

  5. It’s cool and all you guys are writing 3DS reviews, but I’m curious why you have no Vita reviews. The system and software are available and I’m really thinking about getting one but want a few opinions from independent sites.

  6. I picked it up, but here’s my problem: no one else seemed to. Maybe it’s my beginner rank, but I can barely find anyone online to play with. So far some games are laggy (like you said) but I have more that are fine.

    Controls can be a little off, but it helps that the DS has four buttons, which is perfect for Tekken.

  7. I just noticed from the “You may like” thing that you guys talk about Tekken a lot.

    One thing I’d rather have than a movie is a mini-game like Tekken Bowl or Tekken Ball. Even Tekken Force.

  8. So which Tekken game is the fighting most like? You might have wanted to put that in the review. I’ve read two other reviews and none have them have got into the fighting.

  9. I wonder if the 3DS didn’t do well at first because of the big difference between the screenshots and the actual look of games. Now people people now, but at first they probably didn’t.

  10. I just found out there’s only two costume for each character. That’s a little disappointing. I’ll probably wait until this hits the $20 mark now.

  11. R.I.P Daisuke Gōri, the only Heihachi I’ll ever recognize. This young one looks like Borat.

    • This.

      The late Daisuke Gori was also the voice actor for Dead Or Alive’s Bass Armstrong and the Japanese version of Star Fox 64’s Andross, Pigma, and General Pepper. No one, *NO ONE*, could shout “TIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!” quite like he could. Miss you, Daisuke!

  12. Thanks for the review. Just saw DOA at Target for $20 which I had to grab. Otherwise I would have gotten this.