Tekken 7 Review – Quite Tekken with it

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You know what they say; “you wait for ages for a decent fighting game and then a ton arrive at the same time.”

Well, they don’t, but if they did they could point to the number of fighting games currently being tossed into the market to back up that statement. Players are pretty spoilt for choice at the moment – so much so that you have to wonder how well these titles will fare given how crowded the field is.

Injustice 2 dropped late last month, Tekken 7 shot out of the gate shortly after that and Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers just landed on the Nintendo Switch. Incidentally, Switch owners can also snap up Arms this month, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is available too, and Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite is still in the pipeline.

That’s quite of lot of releases in a genre whose appeal has been superseded by RPGs and shooters over the years.

So how does Tekken 7 stack up against its competition?

Tekken 7 Review – Tekken Heads

Well, if you’re a Tekken fan, you can stop reading now and go and pick up a copy of this game. It will not disappoint you and hell, you’re probably one of the only people who can keep up with this series’ convoluted lore.

The story in Tekken 7 is utterly bonkers, running the gamut from hand-wringing drama to campy schlock. As an outsider, it’s hard to invest too much in; one can only imagine that fans will get a kick out of it since they’ve been made to wait for five years.

Like every arcade fighter vying for players’ wallets, Tekken 7 makes some attempts to attract new players (which we’ll get to in a minute), but for the most part the developers don’t mess with the franchise’s formula too much.

Each button is matched to a limb and players are able to sidestep and strafe in a 3D space, circling their opponent and looking for an opening – that latter feature has defined Tekken since the get-go.

On top of that, returning players will be happy to know that Tekken 7 doesn’t skimp on the move depth of previous iterations. Sure you can enjoy this game as a hit-and-giggle if you’re a casual player, but if you want to master the move set of any number of characters, you have a lot of work to put in, especially because the tutorial is bare bones to say the least.

Tekken 7 Review – Rage & Power

The new additions to the core mechanics are the Rage Art/Drive and Power Crush features. The former essentially allows players to launch a powerful counter attack if their health is lower than 25%. On the upside, the more damage you’ve taken, the more damaging the attack is. On the downside, they’re easy to block, so it’s best to look for an opening and chain them with another set of attacks.

Power Crushers allows players to soak up mid and high attacks and then break through them for a counter attack. This feels a little like a concession to hard core players who are fed up of losing to button-bashers and would like more of an edge.

The reason for this is that, unless new players have a look at some text in the menus, they won’t even know that Power Crushers or Rage features are even possible. It’s almost like Tekken 7 is encouraging button mashing.

Players who really want to improve are advised to test their skills in Treasure Battle mode, which pits them against an endless list of AI-controlled opponents who grow in difficulty the further they progress. Or you could hop online and learn the hard way, but that can be frustrating as a lot of Tekken Heads can smash you quite easily.

Tekken 7 Review – Hey, good lookin’

There are a couple of new faces in among the series regulars in this iteration; out of all of them, perhaps the most interesting are kickboxer Josie Rizal, cosplayer Lucky Chloe and Claudio Serafino who used a combination of fisticuffs and sorcery to get the job done. Akuma from Street Fighter is also a new face here, although his fireball attacks are easier to dodge thanks to the strafe mechanic.

All of the characters look wonderfully rendered – although the visuals aren’t on a par with the quality shown in Injustice 2 – and naturally, players can dress them up in various costumes if they plough through the Treasure Battle mode and earn themselves some unlocks.

It’s worth earning some of these baubles if you’re going to tackle the online mode, mainly because it helps differentiate your fighter from your opponent’s.

Tekken 7 Review – Verdict

While it might sound like faint praise, Tekken 7 is ‘solid’. It’ll likely bring fans like moths to a floodlight and noobs will likely find it very button bashing fun. It’s doesn’t innovate much, but then, after a five year wait, this is unlikely to bother anyone. It’s pretty, deep and damn fun to play. What more do you want?

  • Tekken 7 was reviewed on an Xbox One. A retail copy was provided by the publisher.