People are into gaming for different reasons. It could be for the fancy psychological feeling of empowerment and becoming someone outside the confines of your day-to-day life.
Or (more likely) it could be that the idea of pressing buttons while massive explosions melt your eyes, and your headset rattles with your mates screaming how awesome that was plays a pretty big part. It's no surprise that the biggest successes in gaming are the ones that combine huge explosions and multiplayer - the Halos, the Gears of Wars, the Call of Dutys of this world.
Tekken 6 is the latest member in that exclusive club. It might not have the meaty crunch of a shotgun-meets-skull moment, or the air-punching satisfaction of nailing someone with a perfectly aimed grenade, but it delivers its gaming hit of adrenalin in a different way. Tekken 6 is crammed with fast, frantic and flipping sexy fighting.
The idea is simple enough. Two people stand in an enclosed arena, someone shouts "fight!", then both players hit each other until one of them can't get back up again.
We've seen it already on Xbox 360 but Tekken 6 does it in a way that isn't too demanding (sorry Virtua Fighter 5), has extensive online modes (that means you, Soulcalibur IV) and is extremely polished (no offence, MK vs DC). What's more, it's arguably the most arcade stick-resistant fighting game out there, having been designed for a pad since the very beginning.
Tekken 6 is more combo heavy than any fighting game you'll be used to. Players can be slammed into the ground before being kicked back into the air, hit against walls where their slumping body takes more abuse, and even hit through the stage where combos can continue if the other player is alert to what's happening.
It's a game where you can kick out high damage without too much effort, which makes it satisfying for newcomers and offers an incentive for veterans to improve and find nastier combo setups.
This combined with online play does risk opening the door to a familiar horde of those moaning about how everything is cheap. That character is cheap. Throwing is cheap. Winning is cheap. Fortunately, Tekken 6's system isn't open to abuse like some fighting games are.
Throws are incredibly easy to break, which shifts the emphasis towards starting and finishing combos, while the balance is tight enough that no character dominates. The likes of Lars and Steve might overshadow the likes of Zafina and Wang, but there's not a huge gap between the top and bottom tiers of the cast. Even the final boss has nothing on that demon-whiskered git from Tekken 5, Jinpachi.
Tekken on console has always been about much more than two characters battering the snot out of each other. Tekken 6 keeps that tradition going.
The Scenario mode is a Streets Of Rage-inspired scrolling brawler, where two of you team-up to smash your way through generic identikit enemies and a boss, plucked from the Tekken 6 roster. The controls are clumsy, the levels are unimaginative and yet it's strangely enjoyable.
Tekken shouldn't even be trying this kind of stuff, let alone having the cheek to be as nonchalant about it as Namco has been. Floating chickens for health? Smashable power-up crates in the middle of your path for no reason? Mini-guns? Someone's clearly had a lot of fun making this and it rubs off when playing through.
The main plotline is also threaded through Scenario mode and it's the only way to unlock characters to take to the arena, in turn unlocking their full endings.