For over 20 years, the Tekken series has been a fighting game that united fighting enthusiasts and casuals. Its control scheme that is easy to feel skilled with, but with space for depth for the more skilled players has appealed to the whole landscape, as well as its striking 3D models, as the series moved to a 3D world. The game has grown up with us, and now it is back in its glory with Tekken 7 to finish out the Mishima story.
The most notable change to the game is its Story mode, which has tried to do something truly unique over its predecessors. The story follows a reporter investigating the situation unfolding as the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corps war intensifies, as well as delving deeper into the story of Heihachi, his return, and his past. Through this we learn more about how the devil gene made it into Kazuya’s veins, meet his mother who previously summoned Akuma, who is a crossover from Street Fighter, a demon to kill Heihachi and Kazuya. The story is slightly more cohesive than some previous titles, and puts a well-rounded bow to the end of the saga we have known for so long.
It’s not the story itself that is so interesting but how it is delivered. It uses extensive cut scenes, from beautiful CGI scenes telling the Heihachi portions, and generally still art with voiceover for the reporter scenes. This results in a significant portion of the few hour-long Story mode being these cut scenes, with fights dotted in between. Fights don’t involve every character, and are also limited in the fighting style you can use, which doesn’t make it the best Tekken mode, but makes it an interesting mode worthy of being commended, even if it doesn’t always work, culminating in some boring moments. Beating the Story mode then opens characters’ stories, which are short, starting with backstory, followed by a fight, then the cut scene. This allows us to get the classic Tekken style of each character having a cut scene, but keeping the main story untouched.
Then you have the classic vs battles to fight anyone you want, in whatever arena you want, but the shining star outside of the story for offline fighting is Treasure Battle. Tekken 7 has a huge customisation system with an extraordinary number of options, these are unlocked randomly during treasure battle. Treasure Battle fights have you ranking up and fighting greater foes, where after each win you get at least one treasure chest which opens to give you a random item for a random character, from tacky hats, to Law’s classic costume. As repeatedly fighting characters in Tekken 7 is satisfying, this mode wins on its own, slightly boosted by satisfying prizes throughout. Fortunately, these customisation option are only skin deep and doesn’t touch the fundamental game mechanics, so you can customise to your hearts content, or not at all.
Then there is the change to fundamental mechanic known as Rage Art which is new to the series. When your character’s health gets low enough your health bar lights up and you can do a Rage Art with R1. The Rage Art is a super move that shifts the camera angle to give more effect, usually resulting in many hits, and a significant chunk of damage being dealt. This move can be blocked, but not easily, so if you are about to be struck when you start it, you can still be beaten before the Rage Art starts, so timing is key to using, and stopping the move.
Another couple of things worthy of mention are the depth of Practice mode and the Gallery. The Practice mode allows you to set everything from Rage bar on, to how your opponent will react, to even recording your opponent’s movements so they will do what you need to try something out. This is a great way to test stopping Rage Arts for example. The Gallery is awesome as for the in-game currency, which you will get plenty of, easily, and you can watch all the cut scenes/endings from the previous titles, which is a fun walk down memory lane, adding some surprising value to the package.
Then there is Online mode, which consists of Quick Matches, Ranked Matches, and Tournament. The Quick and Ranked Matches are self-explanatory, taking me a few seconds at most to find a game, which always worked well. Tournaments on the other hand are both frustrating and amazing. It puts together a quick Tournament from the people signed up, which is easily done through matchmaking, and then you fight your way through a knockout comp. This is only frustrating because of where we are geographically, so it was common to be kicked out due to high lag when a lobby was full of people in Europe, but that was a minor annoyance at best.
The game has some VR modes added in which are either looking at your custom characters in the VR space, or practice mode in a 3D void. Neither of these are reasons to buy the game, and aren’t overly great, but as a free pack in, it’s worth a dabble for PSVR owners.
Tekken 7 is an outstanding culmination of the series, and its story line from the last six entries. Between its extras such as the gallery of cut scenes, the extra VR mode, its unique Story mode, Online or Treasure Battle, you can easily get your money’s worth without touching half of these. Tekken 7 is both the best throwback to the series, and the best entry in the series to date.
Released: June 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Genre: Fighting, Action
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco