Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Tekken was my first fighting game experience. Playing the original game and Tekken 2 on the original PlayStation brings back good memories and the game has evolved since then to become one of the best fighting games around. There will always be some people who prefer Street Fighter or Mortal Combat or any other host of fighting games but I will always come back to Tekken. It’s the familiarity that is welcoming about the game, I can always come back to the game, train up and get a real sense of satisfaction from beating up other player. But something in this latest game something feels different and not necessarily for the better.
Accessible, Yet Strategic
My admiration for Tekken 7 stems from the hugely accessible game play. You do not need to be a master at the game to put up a fight. In fact, with most characters you could string together a couple of 2 or 3 hit combs from trial and error. This means that any players of any skill level can get a feel of certain characters very quickly and build from there. Despite numerous iterations of the Tekken series, this has never changed and is still present in Tekken 7.
The real difficulty is mastering the different elements that make up Tekken 7 and this year, Bandai have added some new features to help shake things up. Firstly, is the addition of Rage which becomes available to players when their health depletes past a certain point. Once Rage is activated you have the opportunity to unleash a strong attack that deals a ton a damage. The idea behind this move is to level the playing field again and create more instances where victories are won by thin margins and create a better spectator experience. Although this is a nice idea, I’m not quite on board with this new feature as it can make the final stages of some battles a little predictable. The strategy is now completely different when Rage has been activated and I find my experience with this resulted in over cautious play styles that ruined the flow of the game. That said, when it works in your favour it is incredibly satisfying so I guess this would be the marmite ingredient of the game.
Another addition to the game are power crush attacks. These are moves which essentially allow your player to continue attacking despite being hit with mid or high moves by your opponent. There are only a few moves per character so this has not become a game changer, in my opinion, but it definitely adds a new dynamic to the fighting. Where before you would be strategically waiting for your next attack with some clever blocking, this technique allows for a more gung-ho attack style. If you can master some of these moves then you can definitely gain an advantage.
When you combine these changes with the natural strategy in the Tekken series, such as caging your opponent against a wall to deal maximum damage or sidestepping attacks to gain an advantage, then you experience a truly satisfying fighting game rivalled by none other this year!
Lacklustre Single Player
Tekken 7 comes with all of the usual single player game modes including Arcade Battles, Practice and Treasure Battle which is effectively a survival mode with a new label. However, this year a new story mode has been included which aims to tell an immersive story around the infamous Mishima family but fails miserably. Each fight you experience in the story comes with a specific set of moves for you to complete as you fight off grunts or other characters from the game but this soon becomes monotonous. I understand the Story Mode was designed as a way of teaching you the game and improving along the way but in actual fact, this story feels like a glorified and extremely long tutorial that does not really serve a purpose in the game.
Whilst the other single player game modes are staples in the game, they are what you come to expect from Tekken and we should not be handing out brownie points for a game continuing to do the bare minimum. That said, the additional customisation options in the game is a nice touch. Whilst it may not be the reason I continue playing for hours to unlock a new hat or accessory for my character, I will definitely take enjoyment from trying to make my characters look as ridiculous as possible and then playing online to lure other players into a false sense of security as they believe the player with a pizza on their back is a complete moron!
Tekken 7’s story mode is not the most heinous thing to come out the game. Imagine my disdain when I realised some character were missing from the game. Now imagine how mad I will be if they try to add characters who would be considered ‘main’ character through paid methods such as DLC. Why have Lei Wulong, Ganryu and Armour King 2 not been included in the game? These have been staples in previous games but appear to have been overlooked for Tekken 7. Whilst these may be added at a later stage, it will be will be with great discomfort if I have to buy DLC’s to access these characters.
Tekken 7 does so many things right with new fighting mechanics that make this game feel somewhat evolved from its predecessors but where the game has made mistakes, they have been real blunders. Some of the blunders may be forgivable for hardcore fans of Tekken as they are probably playing online more often than single player and using many of the other characters that have come to be defined throughout Tekken’s history such as Law and King but in all honesty, the downsides have left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. Maybe the satisfaction of mastering the new fighting mechanics will help cure my disappointment and after a long enough time I will forget about the player omissions. I guess I just need to roll with the punches. Thank god they are such satisfying and enjoyable punches!