I’m going to start this one with a shameful confession. I never seriously played the original Tekken games. I played a match or 2 at friends but never owned a single one of them, or dove in deep enough to understand the game. The first Tekken game I played seriously was Tekken 6 and to be honest I didn’t even like it that much. The first time I truly enjoyed playing a Tekken game was when Tekken Tag Tournament 2 released. I played it for 72 hours straight and absolutely loved it. Using this amazingly powerful Tag Team consisting of Marshall and Forrest Law – chosen because their moves were also amazingly easy to remember. The game’s first hours where highly enjoyable. Eventually I put down my controller and returned to playing Street Fighter IV.
I have always been more of a Street Fighter fan than a Tekken player, despite my friends loving Tekken more. I grew up playing Street Fighter II on the SEGA Mega Drive. It was the first fighting game I owned and remained my favorite for many years. Over the years I might have played almost every fighting game I can possibly imagine, but Street Fighter always remained my favorite and go-to fighting game. That is why I was absolutely disappointed when Street Fighter V released. The game was okay to play and I even gave it a more than decent score in my review but the game never stuck with me after its initial hype phase. I was bored quickly and on the lookout for a new go-to fighting game. Tekken 7 is now my go-to fighting game.
Ever since Tekken 7’s first trailer it found a way to catch my interest. The trailer showed me a gorgeous game and at that time I actually recognized some of the fighters, knew a few background stories, and had a strong dislike or, love for certain characters. Unfortunately, the game was only available in Arcades and there is no Arcade close to where I live that offers a Tekken 7 cabinet. I watched a lot of Youtube videos and envied all the people who could actually play the game. I was intrigued by the high-level players and the hype around the game. Every match looked 10 times more interesting as the average fighting game and Street Fighter V.
Once the game finally released for home consoles I was thrilled beyond believe. I bought the game’s Collector’s Edition and displayed the amazingly awesome statue included in the edition in my cabinet, played the story mode, crushed friends in versus mode, earned ridiculous accessories in Treasure Battle, played some online matches, unlocked the game’s Platinum Trophy and moved on to the next game in my possession. It has been a while since the game’s release and I still love to revisit the game every now and then to play a few matches against friends, online randos, play some Tekken Bowling, and unlock even more silly accessories.
One of the reasons why I moved on so quickly was the online matchmaking system. In the beginning this was absolutely horrible. I remember waiting almost an hour to finally find a match, only to find out it came with a bad connection, turning the match in a laggy shit fest. This ruined the whole online aspect of the game for me and it took me a while to get back into it to be honest. That being said, after a week or two Bandai Namco fixed the game’s online matchmaking system and it now works as a charm. Player matches, Ranked Matches and Tournament Mode all work perfectly and belong among the genre’s best and most stable modes. Just make sure to only accept fights with a good connection and you will be ready for the next battle.
Tekken 7 offers the best gameplay mechanics in any fighting game currently released. The core mechanics haven’t changed from the previous entries in the series, you still press the exact same buttons, which link to the same actions performed, and the majority of the combo’s are performed in the same string. I didn’t need much practice time with Marshall to perform some cool combo’s and signature moves. However, the game finds a way to feels fresh and player movement is definitely less sluggish. The already top-notch mechanics are further enhanced by the addition of Rage Arts, Rage Drive, Power Crush, and slow-motion finishers. Especially the Rage Arts mechanic, which allows you to turn the tide of the battle with an awesome looking combo, is one of the most interesting new additions, as well as the slow-motion finishing blows, which are super hype and nerve wrecking. These new additions and small improvements on the already established gameplay mechanics turn Tekken 7 into the most brutal – without being gory – and in your face fighting game to watch and play competitively. Okay. I won’t lie. Dragon Ball FighterZ is also freaking amazing.
As always, Tekken 7 features a massive roster of diverse characters. Offering returning fans a chance to play with their favorite character as well as giving us completely new characters to fall in love with. What I like most about Bandai Namco’s roster approach is the ever expanding addition of characters from different regions and religions, with several characters speaking in their native languages. Tekken 7 welcomes Saudi Arabian fighter Shaheen, Filipina fighter Josie Rizal, Italian fighter Claudio Serafino and a few other new fighters. Among these newcomers are also 3 awesome guest characters that are fully playable, Akuma from the Street Fighter series, Geese Howard from SNK’s Fatal Fury, and the yet to be released Noctis Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV. These guest characters are amazing and play just like you would expect them to play, yet still remaining true to the Tekken spirit.
Tekken 7’s cinematic story mode, ‘Mishima Saga’ is too short. It can be finished in roughly 2-3 hours depending on skill level and offers no replay value. The story itself is rather enjoyable though. It puts an end to the long running family feud between the Mishima’s and somehow finds a way to include Street Fighter’s Akuma. The game’s story is told from the perspective of a reporter whose wife and son are killed in the crossfire, leading him to begin writing an exposé on the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation.
The core game is massively lacking single-player content, even if you include the short story mode and the enjoyable Ultimate Tekken Bowl DLC – which is funny and hilarious and has no right being as enjoyable as it is. The only other mode worth mentioning is Treasure Battle, which allows you to earn Treasure Boxes to unlock silly gear for your characters. There’s a multitude of items to unlock and the in game currency earned by playing Treasure Battle can also be used to unlock different artworks and videos from the Tekken vault in the gallery.
Tekken 7 is fast paced, brutal, and in your face. It’s the best fighting game out there, even months after its console release. Offering a grounded fighting game experience that’s easy to pick up and hard to master. The gameplay is amazingly well balanced and due to the game’s Rage Arts and slow-motion finishing blows the most exciting fighting game to play and watch.