Still the king?
Tekken 7 was announced at E3 2014. It seems like it’s been forever since the announcement of this game. There was Tekken 7 Fated Retribution that was an updated arcade version of the game that released in Japanese arcades. It was announced that Tekken would be released in early 2017 but then it was postponed to June 2nd. So with the three-year wait and the postponed is Tekken 7 the fighting game we’ve been waiting for? Let’s find out, shall we?
The last Tekken game we got was Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which was released back in 2012 and it got a mixed reaction due to the fact that some people believed Tekken Tag Tournament 2 didn’t go far enough in differentiating itself from Tekken 6. Mercifully Tekken 7 manages this.
Under the hood, a lot has changed. Gone is the custom Namco Tekken engine – replaced by the ever ubiquitous Unreal Engine. It’s a shift that has minimal impact on the games core mechanics but does change a few minor details. Most notably, loading times are well up on previous outings in the series – something that Xbox One users, in particular, may gripe about. But at its core, Tekken 7 remains loyal to four button 3D fighting roots – so veterans of the series should feel right at home.
The game takes this chance to throw in a few new features while getting rid of others. The Bound System is now replaced with the Screw Attack. The Screw Attack spins your opponent in the air and once they hit the ground you can add more damage but this feature is useless against the wall. Another feature removed is the rage system it’s replaced by two mechanics one being Rage Art. The Rage Art gives characters a super move when their health bar is flashing red. It’s almost like a comeback mechanic. Each character’s Rage Art mainly hits the mid section but some can be a sweep like a newcomer Lucky Chloe. Rage Art’s can turn the matches around so players will have to be cautious when their opponent’s health flashes red because one wrong move and the Rage Art will cost you dearly. Players don’t have to use their Rage Art and can be sacrificed with Rage Drive which is an empowered regular move. Some can do big damage while some can leave your opponent on the ground to add more damage. Power crush is another new feature that has players absorb attacks while performing their move but can still lose health. Note this only works on high or mid attacks.
The addition of a full-on story mode for Tekken 7 had to be one of the most hyped things coming into this game with all the trailers but the fact that it concludes the Mishima Saga. One thing that really confused me is that the story is told by a reporter whose name was never mentioned not only that but he’s tone was really boring and had no energy. The story continues after Tekken 6 but the story really mainly focuses on Kazuya and Heihachi Mishima. You find out more about their past and how the two became enemies. You also find out about Heihachi’s love life with new character Kazumi. Street Fighter’s Akuma makes an appearance in Tekken as a third party character and plays an important role in the story which is really cool. Players will fight soldiers of the Mishima Zaibatsu and it can sometimes look awkward when you see the knockout soldiers on the floor moving around. The final battle in story mode is pretty difficult and can be very frustrating. I understand that you want to give gamers a challenge but it’s kind of going over the top. Now there are character stories that
Players will fight soldiers of the Mishima Zaibatsu and it can sometimes look awkward when you see the knock out soldiers on the floor moving around. The final battle in story mode is pretty difficult and can be very frustrating. I understand that you want to give gamers a challenge but it’s kind of going over the top. Now there are character stories that players fight soldiers of the Mishima Zaibatsu and it can sometimes look awkward when you see the fallen soldiers on the floor moving around. The final battles in story mode are also pretty difficult and can be very frustrating. It also kind of sucks if one of your favourite characters doesn’t make the cut in the Story Mode – as there are no custom options. Arcade Mode remains, but it’s nowhere near as prominent or exciting as previous games. It’s a shame as the core focus on the Mishima drama leaves little room for other characters to shine.
But the character roster is pretty decent in Tekken 7. Granted, it’s not large like in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 but its still good. Veteran fighters return such as Kazuya, Jin, Eddy and my own favourite Lili. They do play a bit different in this game. A good amount of new characters are introduced. Street Fighter’s Akuma makes a Tekken debut and he plays like he does in Street Fighter but with some Tekken swag. Akuma has super moves and has a meter just like in any other Street Fighter game. I believe having the Rage Art might be a response to having Akuma in the game. I like new character Lucky Chloe who kind of reminds me of Eddy due to her dance moves.
The online in Tekken has its ups and downs. You still have your ranked and player matches but in the settings, players can set their search engines to find an opponent near their skill level. It can take some time to find an opponent though, sometimes the search feature bugs out and leaves you facing a long list of disconnects. There’s also tournament mode which is pretty cool, if slightly underutilized. I suspect this will get a lot more love from the pro players,
One interesting note is that custom character designs can be carried into the Ranked playlist. This wouldn’t be a problem is some of those customizations weren’t ranged weapons or items that change the abilities of their fighter. For some, this may ruin the mode entirely. I didn’t mind it so much (Largely because the issue online is the threat of move spammers) but it is something to note if you plan to spend a lot of your Tekken 7 time playing online.
Offline itself is a mixed bag. Arcade Mode remains but only has about four battles. There’s Treasure Battle where players can fight endless amounts of enemies and acquire money and items that you can put on your character. Customization returns with a lot more items to make your character look cool or goofy. You can also unlock movies from past Tekken games whether it’s an intro or character ending but what’s really cool is the jukebox system that players get if they bought the Collector’s Edition. It features all the music from each Tekken game and edit to which music you want to play on a stage. It goes down a trip through memory lane.
In the end, Tekken 7 is a fun game but it seems like stuff is missing. The presentation has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. The story mode is okay but it would be nice to see other characters that weren’t in the main story shine as well. It still hasn’t beaten Tekken 5’s story mode with the intro cutscenes and better endings. Important characters like Lei, Anna, Julia are missing now they might come in as DLC but important characters like them shouldn’t be DLC. I do like the gameplay and that the bound system is gone. Battles are dynamic especially when the camera closes in for the final hit from both fighters. The music might be one of the best in the series and adding the jukebox makes it even better. There isn’t a tutorial mode but I’m kind of not surprised due to the fact that this game is so far into the series I’m sure the developers were only paying attention to the veterans that play this game. There’s a lot to like – but some stuff I wish the developers would have expanded.