Review: Tekken 7 (Computer)
- Release Date (NA): June 2, 2017
- Release Date (EU): June 2, 2017
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
- Genres: Fighting
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
- Also For: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
The Best Fights Are Personal
I was first introduced to the Tekken franchise with Tekken 3 on the Playstation. It had amazing graphics, simple enough controls for beginners that could be combined to give more technical combos, a wide variety of character choices, each with a different fighting style and hey! one guy was well-versed in Tae Kwon Do, the martial arts I was practicing! Since then, Tekken has been my go-to fighting game. But the game remained mostly the same since, just better graphics, additional characters and fancy cutscenes. Heck, fighting games in general seemed to stagnate. Which one could bring something new to the table and rekindle the interest I had with Tekken 3? It has been something very personal for me and fighting through... err... fighting games after fighting games searching in vain for that magic, I looked forwarded to see if at Tekken 7 would do the trick...
The main story of Tekken has always centered around the Mishima family. Even most of the other characters are one way or the other entangled in their messy affairs. And messy and blurry it has been! But Tekken 7 finally sheds some light behind some of the most pressing questions while leaving room for more to be answered in an eventual Tekken 8.
If you need a refresher or are a newcomer to the series, Bandai Namco has got you covered with those two handy videos summarizing the plot:
All caught up? Pretty stellar, Oscar-worthy plot line, right? No? Okay, let's face it, story telling in fighting games have been forgiving at best and stale at worst: fight rounds, get cutscenes, finish the big boss, get a longer cutscene. They have been mostly placeholders to get players to relate to the characters.
This opus takes a more cinematic approach with its Main Story mode. The latter is partly narrated by a mysterious journalist who has been researching on the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation after his family fell victim in one of their attacks, partly cutscenes and partly active battle. Yes, Tekken 7 does an unexpected job at masterfully blending an interactive story mode in a fighting game. You'll get to seamlessly jump right into fights with various characters on each side of the conflict at different locations all over the globe. It's the same method used in Injustice 2 and it works marvelously with recounting Tekken's family issues.
If you are thinking that progressing in such a way in the story mode might require knowing each characters inside-out, then worry not as the Story Mode has a Story Assist feature which, when activated, allows powerful combos to be performed more easily.
I mourn the fact that the Character Episodes (those with the less important characters and my favorite character) did not get the same treatment. But there's still later (I'm looking at you Tekken 8)! These are also rather short, just one fight really, with a pre-fight story text and an after-fight cutscene. The main story itself is quite short at about 3 hours but it's off to a good start and I commend Bandai Namco for boldly embracing this new story telling approach.
This innovative approach to the story mode does not mean that the Tekken Project Team have forsaken what Tekken is first and foremost: a fighting game.
The appeal for Tekken to me has always been its ease to get started. The directional buttons/control stick allow you to move toward or away from your opponent and side-step inside or outside of the frame and there are two buttons for kicks and two buttons for punches. While short and middle range attacks will yield better hits in this title, the way to play is up to you and the easy controls can be combined for more technical and deadly combos. Easy to pick up, hard to master.
Indeed, even after more than two decades, Tekken still manages to introduce new mechanics in its fighting games. Two new additions are the Rage Arts and Rage Drives which become available once your Health drops to about 25%. While decidedly risky, leaving you open with that sliver of life, they deal much more damage if successfully executed. Will you take the risk?
Another addition is the Power Crush. This mechanic works by absorbing damage from mids and highs, allowing you to power through those attacks.
Veterans of series might still need to wrap their
minds fingers around these new additions to perfect their skills with the new Tekken, especially for competitive matches since these mew mechanics can be real game-changers, keeping you pumped till the very end.
And if you're wondering of the fighting styles, they are well diverse; masters of Asian martial arts, boxers, kick-boxers, wrestlers and even a Japanese idol have joined the 7th King of Iron Fist Tournament. Yes, you read that right! Lucky Chloe is one of Tekken 7's newcomers and works for the G Corporation. She fights with, err... kicks and punches; Freestyle Dance actually, somewhat similar to Eddy Gordo if you wish. Eddy's and Chloe's story arcs are actually tied in Tekken 7, albeit in a silly one.
Speaking of characters, the game features a roster of 38, 10 of which are new to the series and the guest of honor is Street Fighter's Akuma. He even came with his EX meter!
Make the Fight Yours
While the solo play options are limited to the quick story mode, Arcade Battle (to level up your rank), Treasure Battle (to get customization perks) and Practice, they prove to be enough to help you hone your skills with your fave character.
And if you want to challenge players online, the Online mode is here for that and features Ranked Match, casual Player Match or competitive Tournament. There have been several reports of people having issues with the online match making but I did not experience any and my online matches ran seamlessly, without any lag. It probably boils down to the connection. Nevertheless, Bandai Namco has been listening to the feedbacks and promises an update soonTM for all platforms.
It should be noted that Tekken 7 is the first ever Tekken to brace PCs and it plays flawlessly. It didn't hurt my eyes to bump the settings to Ultra with my GTX 1070 either.
To spice things up, Tekken 7 leveled up its customization game. Other than the whole catalog of wearable each character has, you can further tune your features like attack effects, aura color, Player Info Panel, Title Plate and Health Gauge to your liking with the customization perks you unlock in Treasure Battle or purchase with Fight Money. Tekken 7 might just have set a new high for customization in fighting games and it's something one can spend hours having fun with. Get creative!
Easy to pick up, hard to put down. Fight after fights become sort of addictive with this title. It rekindled the magic that I sought for long in fighting games. It might not have the same effect on everyone who plays it but you'll surely get to appreciate it as a fighting game. Tekken 7 is the best in the series and a damn fine one in the genre.
+ Innovative interactive story-telling
+ Variety of characters with different fighting styles
+ Ease of play
+ New fighting mechanics
+ Highly customizable
- Story modes are rather short
- Issues with online play for some
Tekken 7 looks good and plays great.
Its simplicity is one of its forte; newcomers won't feel left out while competitive players will need skill to master their characters and the new mechanics.
This is a game in which you can easily pour hours into without feeling it. Whether for casual play or honing your skills for a tournament or even customizing your characters, it'll get you hooked each time you boot the game.
out of 10
(not an average)
An amazing fighting game. Period.