Tekken 7 is another solid entry to the long-running franchise. It delivers a unique fighting system with deep and fun mechanics, a good enough amount of game modes and a cast of colorful and diverse fighters.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (tested)
Developers: Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bandai Namco Holdings, Bandai Namco Studios
Tekken 7 finishes The Mishima Saga. Only for console and PC versions of the game, the story is way better than I expected. It explores the not so warm relationships within the Mishima clan. Heihachi, his son Kazuya, and his grandson Jin all oversee huge corporations, but their main objective is to take each other out. The story itself seems to side with one specific character and goes out of its way to try to explain his motivations, but it will remain unknown for the rest of this review. The story is only 3 hours long so any kind of spoiler would be a disservice.
One thing fair to note, is that the story is not friendly for newcomers. Names like King, Jack, Marduk, Yoshimitsu, Leo and any other character will mean little to nothing to those unaware of the story, and while you can unlock many extras with in game currency to get a little bit of background, by the time you can unlock them you will be way over with the campaign.
The story mode also seems to be focused on the lore and little else. There isn’t any kind of tutorial for advanced techniques or the mechanics of the game other than basic tips. If you get stuck, you can make use of the Story Assist, a little mechanic which will do pre-selected special moves for you and make fights easier. None of this will help you for when you go online, so you will need to do some practice mode before even attempting to climb in the online ladder. To make things a little worse, the campaign takes an approach similar to the story mode in Injustice 2, changing points of view between key characters, so you will never fully learn any character. What’s worse, fights will be increasingly difficult while also forcing you to use new characters with whom you might not be familiar.
On the other side, practice mode is incredible helpful and comes packed with an array of really good features. You can set up the battle in any way you like: not only pick a specific stage, an enemy, see the moves list and tweak your controls, or see a history of your moves, but also set predefined moves for the AI to react against your own attacks, like trying to parry, defend or move in a predefined way. You can even record actions for them to repeat over and over for when you want to learn how to counter specific attacks, calculate the damage specific combos do, you name it. You can even simulate the delay you would expect at various connection strengths in online matches. I would have a really hard time trying to think about something you can’t do in practice mode – that is how good it is.
When you are done with the story and some practice mode, you will have a blast in any of the multiplayer modes. Tekken 7 is extremely fun for any kind of player: those who like to simply smash buttons and those ready to practice and learn every type of move and technique. It sticks to the three-dimensional stages which allow you to move to your opponent’s sides as well as forward and back. Most characters are inspired by martial arts, so most of the strikes are closed range with very little projectiles. But don’t be fooled, being inspired in martial arts doesn’t mean lack of moves. In fact, each of the characters have so many moves that is overwhelming at first. And you need to add special moves only available when on rage, or transformed. Each strike has also a specific place, so carelessly jumping or dashing will be heavily punished by experienced players. And while longer combos now do reduced damage, they are still a must to learn, as perfectly executing them and punishing your opponents’ mistakes is still a key mechanic.
Another good thing in Tekken 7 is the amount of customization for both characters and players. There is an endless list of possible combinations, and cosmetics are modifiable in so many ways it is ridiculous. There are thousands of individual fashion pieces to include attack effects, colorful auras, portraits and tile backgrounds, and multiple alternate costumes whose top and bottom pieces can be mixed and matched. Hats, shirts, accessories, costumes, alternate artwork, you name it you have it. You are even allowed to choose from hundreds of options for the frame art around your health bar, something simple and yet rarely seen. You can unlock all this extra content without paying any real-life currency. Just play the game, earn the needed points and unlock what you want. And then keep playing, and play some more – while the amount of credits you get for winning is generous, trying to unlock everything there is will take you a fair amount of time. Thanks to this, you will rarely see two identical looking characters online.
Should you play it? Absolutely. Tekken 7 is the best the series has ever been. With deep and polished mechanics, it is still fun for both newcomers and hardcore fighters fan alike. And while the Story Mode is definitely forgettable, the online battles are as fluid as ever and unlocking the ridiculous number of extras is just one of the many incentives to keep coming back.