Tekken 7 Review

Years of patient waiting for the next King of Iron Fist Tournament are over, but were they worth it?  Find out in my Tekken 7 review.

Tekken 7 is pure Tekken, and that’s a wonderful thing.

The fighting

Being a fighting game it only feels right to tackle the combat first. Tekken has always done it’s own thing and 7 carries on this tradition, but layers on some fun new systems.

In Tekken basically you have two kick and punch buttons. You use these in different combinations with directional inputs to make attacks, attack strings and throws. Once you get down low your health bar flashes red showing that Rage is active. In this new title not only can you do extra damage now you can trade in Rage to perform Super-like Rage arts or powered up Rage drive moves.

Rage drives, a series of attacks or a single attack with a higher amount of damage, seem a little harder to use but are darn potent. However Rage Arts are a little easier to get your head around. Think Supers from Street Fighter. With the correct input or a press of the R1 or Rb button you unleash a cinematic attack to get you back in the fight.

Other new additions are Power crushers that add armour to attacks, which is a nice bit of added nuance. Finally there is a little dash of Slow-mo at the end of a round. Boy does that little touch of slowdown add so much joyful drama.

Even with these additions 7 retains that incredible easy to pick up and hard to master playstyle that has been retained throughout the whole series. Low level you can still grab your favourite characters and go at each other. With plenty of fun to be had that way, plus easy to use Rage Arts and slow-mo add to this. Though if you go deeper finding your quick pokes, launches, most potent strings, get working on mixups and so forth there is an amazing amount of depth. With all the new features playing into this in a very natural way.

The fighting is crisp, satisfying and the new additions only serve to enhance the combat. This may be the best fighting the series has ever produced in my opinion.

Story mode

The story mode is an ambitious affair that focuses on the central Mishima storyline. Naturally it is overblown, melodramatic and full of larger than life action. Therefore it could turn some off due to this, but series fans will love it.

The story only really features a good handful of the games roster. Certainly it is a shame that more weren’t included but due to this chiefly being a vehicle for Heihachi and Kazuya squaring off on a global scale it is understandable.

They certainly do as well. The duo cause the Mishima Zaibatsu and G-Corp to embroil the whole world into war. Though as you would expect it is merely to get at each other.

Elsewhere Heihachi‘s late wife proves to be an important factor plus Akuma shows up as well.  In the background we have Lars, Lee and Alisa.

A journalist is your viewpoint on the tale. His life is turned upside down so he kicks into action to uncover the truth. It’s not a bad way to frame the story, though voice work on his narration is a little lacklustre.

Ultimately the tale is more of an entertaining popcorn flick than anything else. Serving as a satisfying resolution to the Mishima saga. On the downside the action jumps around a lot plus occasionally skirts away from truly tantalising points with poor justification. However, to make up for this there is a whole lot of spectacle and fan service. If you enjoy epic showdowns and battles as well as really getting into the main story of the series then you will have a blast.

Modes – the negatives

Let’s have a rundown of the modes in the game. There are Story, character episodes, online ranked and unranked, online tournaments, arcade, treasure battle, VS, practice, customisation and gallery modes available.

The omission of team battle mode is a real shame. It always served as a great multiplayer mode as well as being a pleasant way to try out different characters.

The lack of any real training mode to improve players is also poor. Blazblue and Skullgirls both provide perfect examples of fantastic tutorial modes but even something simple like Street Fighter style trials would have been enough. Instead all you get is a movelist, with no frame data, plus the ability to watch the computer perform the moves. There really should be more to help players learn in game and not force them to look outside. The fact is once you start getting good and digging deeper the game is very complex so a little help would have gone a long way.

Character endings are also dealt with a little too swiftly in character episodes. No longer do you beat the arcade mode for a cgi ending. Now you play a one off fight after a little text backstory then get an in-engine cutscene. Sure some are intriguing and it is nice seeing different characters interact with each other but it is certainly a step down from the established trend. It’s understandable time and effort focused more on the story mode but these endings feel distinctly cheap.

Modes – the positives

Customisation is very welcome in this age of expensive dlc costumes. Though many items seem to be straight from Tag 2 the new pieces range from neat to funny.  Treasure battle is a satisfying way to earn items for this customisation mode, serving as a sufficient replacement for survival and time attack modes.
Lili
Lili and Asuka still have a score to settle
The online seems solid. At this point I have only played a few games online but they have all felt smooth, even those played against people overseas. The addition of Tournament mode to the online is fantastic. Whether it be against friends or those online it is such a simple yet effective new feature. That goal of focusing on something a little bigger than one or two matches is pretty potent.
It’s silly but personally I love the inclusion of the gallery mode. The joyous nostalgia of looking back on all the great, and not so great, cinematics of the series is a real treat.

New characters

Tekken 7 brought in ten new characters.That really is a lot of fresh blood so it deserves mentioning. Katarina, Claudio, Shaheen, Gigas, Kazumi, Akuma and Lucky Chloe are brand new whereas Jack-7, Master Raven and Josie are replacements.

Kazumi
Kazumi and her grrrrreat fighting companion

Katarina and Shaheen are great additions due to appealing beginners. Kazumi is my pick of the bunch personally. She has an intriguing past explained through the story mode plus can literally throw tigers. Claudio seems like he could play a crucial role in the future of the story and has a very eye catching moveset.

Akuma
Akuma vs Kazuya

Now onto Akuma. Yep it is that Akuma. It really is pleasantly surprising how much he feels like Street Fighter 4 Akuma. He has hadoukens, dragon punches, focus attacks and more. If you are familiar with his other incarnations you will be right at home here. A promising look at what could be in store if Tekken X Street Fighter ever comes to be.

Final Word

Simply put Tekken 7 is fantastic, though that doesn’t mean there aren’t negatives. The team battle is sadly missed, there could be a tad more new content for customising, the lifeless narration and occasional missed opportunities in the story do drag it down. As you may notice the flaws are minor and that’s because by and large Tekken 7 is a great game.
Panda and Kuma
Bear damage!
You may also have noticed those negatives focus on points outside the core action.  Simply this is because the fighting is sublime. It’s fast paced, as crisp as ever plus the new features only enhance gameplay. It cannot be said enough that 7’s combat plays beautifully and is arguably the best fighting the series has ever produced. Outside of that there is a sufficient amount of content to satisfy any fan of the series.

This Tekken 7 review was based on the PC version.

Gaming as long as I can remember. Started with the OG Gameboy and Super Nintendo. Ever since powering up that grey beast games have become an important part of my life. Tekken, Mario, Zelda, Metal Gear Solid and Bayonetta all live in my heart.