The King Is Back!
After 5 and a half years of waiting, Tekken 7 has finally released for consoles and PC! It has been a most grueling wait for all us Tekken fanatics, seeing the arcade version came out more than two years ago in Japan arcades. Thankfully, we got some additional stuff to make up for the wait! Has Tekken 7 come out like a glistening champion amidst the long wait, and transition from arcade cabinets to our very own homes? Well, that’s what we’re here for! On to the review!
Seriously, though, Tekken 7’s Story Mode is fantastic! It takes the player through several scripted scenes which make excellent use of Unreal Engine 4. You then get to use whoever drives the plot forward in the cinematic which transitions nicely to the actual fight. Difficulty varies wildly depending on how well you know the moves of whichever character gets chosen for you. So, pretty easy if you know the character, and hellfire and brimstone if you know absolutely nothing of your character’s moves. Granted, my first playthrough was completed with the 5-star difficulty. I’m quite certain that the unlockable 10-star difficulty would be hell on earth.
Finishing the Story Mode once will unlock a most Special Chapter (this one I’ll let you guys experience for yourself,) and several Character Episodes. The Character Episodes are just one match, with two rounds each, and gives you a simple background of the character you choose. Finishing it will also show you the more traditional, and quirky endings Tekken is famous for. Unfortunately, the 1 match format, then ending is quite boring. I wish they just put these endings for when you finish the Arcade Mode.
The graphics in Tekken 7 are good, but it could’ve been better. While Tekken 7 uses Unreal Engine 4, it still looks like a two-year-old game. Granted, the cutscenes look phenomenal, but the in-game graphics don’t look anywhere near as polished. I was sort of expecting that with the two-year wait, we would’ve gotten some upgrades. Of course, I’m playing using a PS4 copy of the game, so the PC version would look more polished. Injustice 2, though, it’s not. Even Mortal Kombat X that came out a few years prior still has prettier graphics than Tekken 7.
Having said that, some of the stages in Tekken 7 are the prettiest I’ve seen in a fighting game. The character animations are very fluid, and the lighting effects that come after each strike is done beautifully. In my opinion, Akuma has never looked better. Every time he throws a fireball, or a Dragon Punch, the lighting effects are a marvel to behold. If there’s one thing that pulls down the score even lower, it’s the faces. It’s not that big of a deal during most of the game, but during character intros, it’s glaring. Tekken 7 ladies can take a page out of Team Ninja’s Dead Or Alive.
Music & Sound: 9/10
Tekken 7’s music honestly isn’t that great or memorable. Unlike Tekken 3’s music, in that each character had his/her own signature (and instantly recognizable) music, Tekken 7 just uses a lot of dubstep, and I mean a lot. Some of it is nice and creates tension after each round because the tempo changes. Most of it though, is just flat-out noise. I’ve had to lower the volume several times due to some of the more obnoxious tracks.
Thankfully, Tekken 7 has a Jukebox Mode. Jukebox Mode lets you choose specifically which tracks from whichever Tekken title you prefer. I say Tekken 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 still has the best tracks. If you’re adventurous (like me) though, go all-out and just choose “All” then “Shuffle.” Fighting game music eargasm abound.
Tekken 7’s sound effects are as crisp as ever. With each slap, stomp, suplex, laser attack, and Jack-7’s mechanized sounds, you can definitely feel it all the way across the room. If you happen to have PlayStation 4’s excellent Platinum Wireless Headset, load up the “Bass Boost” preset, sit back, and prepare for audiogasm. No complaints in the sound department.
Now we get to what makes Tekken 7 the true King of all fighting games; the gameplay. Whether you’re a huge fan of the Tekken franchise, or you’re trying to get into it, Tekken 7 is THE Tekken you want to play. For the Tekken veterans out there, I am pleased to say that the Arcade Mode we all love and miss is present with just some minor changes. It may be shorter, but those looking to do a few bouts with the AI will be pleased with Tekken 7’s Arcade Mode. A fighting game without an Arcade Mode will always be lazy, and incomplete in my eyes (*cough* SFV *cough*.) All your favorite tech moves, sidesteps, quick get-up, forward rolling body charge, lying face-up kick, foreground and background roll are still here. Air juggles, wall punishes, bounce combos, are also all still here.
What’s noticeably absent, though, is the back roll. It may not always be the best option when knocked down, but I miss it. Countless times I used that to confuse my opponents where I’m going or whether I’m going to do a back roll body charge. Backroll, may you rest in peace in developer heaven.
So What’s New?
A lot. Aside from the lack of the back roll, a few changed air juggles, less effective ground bounce combos etc., we have three totally new gameplay mechanics. Power Crushers, Rage Arts, and Rage Drivers. Let’s break them down.
- Power Crushers: These moves are uninterruptable against high and mid attacks, but are susceptible to low attacks, and throws. It is usually your character’s powerful classic attack, such as Paul’s (D, DF, F + 2) or Nina’s (F + 1+2.) It can be quite the tide changer, but not so much as the Rage Arts, and Rage Drivers as these attacks are usually slow, and easy to block. Take note that even though it is uninterruptible, you still get the damage you would normally take.
- Rage Drivers: Now these can do some serious damage when done correctly. Rage Drivers can only be used during “Rage Mode.” Rage Drivers are basically powered-up versions of existing moves or a series of consecutive attacks. The player gets a blue aura during the attack and you will hear a distinctive sound when done correctly. Just how effective can this be in changing the tide of a match? Check this out:
- Rage Arts: Rage Arts may be my favorite addition to Tekken 7. It makes every match exciting because getting caught with one of these is usually devastating. Rage Arts also make players extra cautious when going for the kill upon seeing that tiny sliver of blinking red health. Plus, it is quite awesome to just look at and admire, even if you are the one on the receiving end. Special Match Heihachi’s Rage Art is particularly devastating as it can beat you by itself, 100%.
Fun Factor: 9/10
Tekken 7, thankfully, while making some changes, still managed to retain what made all the other Tekken games great. Nothing beats a night in with some friends, pizza, and some brewskies while battling it out over several hundred rounds of offline Tekken goodness. While the online mode had some nasty hiccups at first, Bandai Namco was fairly quick in addressing it. Ranked Matches before were nigh-impossible to get, and netcode issues resulted in some very laggy matches. Post-patch though, online play is now as smooth as butter.
If you prefer it by your lonesome though, Tekken 7’s Treasure Battle might just be the mode for you. Treasure Battle has players going against wave after wave after wave of AI enemies. It gets increasingly difficult as you progress your rank (from 9th Kyu to 100th Dan!!!!) Aside from bragging rights the ranks afford you, you get some sweet loot after each and every fight. With credits and customization items up for grabs. That in itself is quite addicting. Thankfully, Special Matches and various rules appear randomly to break the monotony of Treasure Battle. I just try and beat my streak every time (178 and counting.) Tekken 7 has a game mode for everyone.
Bonus Category – VR: 7/10
However, the character customization VR mode has its highlights. Looking at your characters in VR while dressing them up may be lame on paper, but it gives an additional layer of immersion. Of course, some people might get some ideas, but it’s as family-friendly as it can be. So sorry, VR “enthusiasts,” look elsewhere. Perhaps some other Bandai Namco VR title?
Tekken 7 made me wait five and a half years. After countless hours with the PlayStation 3’s stellar Tekken Tag Tournament 2, I was counting don the days before Tekken 7’s release. Now that it has arrived, and I have spent a few hundred hours on it, I only have one thing to say. The King is back, and rightfully on his throne.
Just the amount of content itself gives these tired eyes a single, glistening tear. The nostalgia it gives from its Jukebox Mode, to its even more nostalgia-inducing mode, the Gallery mode. It is Tekken heaven. All the content from all the other Tekken games in one package. Tekken 7 is the ultimate Tekken experience, hands-down.
The sheer number of playable characters, with a lot of those being fresh new faces, gives replayability an extra fresh new gas tank. With a host of DLC characters and an additional game mode coming soon, there is more for us Tekken fanatics to enjoy and look forward to. The gameplay is as solid as ever, the characters are as colorful as ever, and the community is as bustling as ever. Tekken 7 is the fighting game of 2017 and years to come.
GET READY FOR THE NEXT BATTLE.
PS: Was tempted to knock .5 off of my overall score because Lei is still missing. Harada, give us back our boi, Lei. #BringBackLeiWulong