Tekken 7

Tekken 7 is the ninth game in Bandai Namco Entertainment’s fighting game series. Set shortly after the events of Tekken 6, the game once again focuses on the Mishima family infighting between Heihachi and Kazuya. The reasons for why Heichachi tried to kill Kazuya as a child are revealed as well as what happened to his mother Kazumi. Supposedly this game is supposed to tie up the Mishima storyline but that is considered debatable among fans of the game.

Gameplay wise there are new mechanics introduced in the form of the Rage Art, Rage Drive and Power Crush. Rage arts are similar to Ultra/Critical Arts in Street Fighter. They allow the player to execute a special attack once their health bar reaches a critical level. (20% health remaining) 

The Rage Art moves while very cool, are not exactly the most practical to use as a stand alone attack and are best served as a combo ender since they are generally pretty slow to startup and can be easily blocked if you know where the first strike is going to hit you. Rage Drive can also be activated when the health bar is at critical level. It is a souped up version of normal attacks that can either be used as combo starters or enders depending on the properties of the move. Once you use this you cannot use your Rage Art. It is pretty much you use one or the other when it comes to using the rage meter.

The Power Crush is an armoured move that absorbs high and mid attacks before making contact with the opponent. Other changes include the removal of the bound system. It has been replaced by the screw attack. Screw attacks cause the opponent to spin sideways after an airborne attack allowing for extra hits after they hit the ground. Unlike bounds, screw attacks cannot be used in wall combos.

Of course a fighting game cannot be released without the addition a few new characters to the existing core roster. For this edition of the Tekken Series there are eight debuting fighters, a new form of Jack and guest characters from other fighting game franchises.

  • Akuma (from Street Fighter)
  • Claudio Serafino
  • Gigas
  • Jack-7
  • Josie Rizal (basically Bruce as a small Filipino woman)
  • Katarina Alves
  • Kazumi Mishima/Devil Kazumi
  • Lucky Chloe
  • Master Raven
  • Shaheen
  • Geese Howard (from Fatal Fury)

So after many, many, many moons Tekken 7 finally gets released for home consoles (PS4, XBOX ONE) and Windows based PC’s. For some fighting game fans it was much anticipated release. 

The roster of selectable characters is fairly large from the start and includes many staple characters that Tekken fans have grown to love (or loathe) as the series has evolved. Not everyone will be happy about who made the cut but the fact that the starting roster is pretty deep should satisfy people who like playing with multiple characters or have an affinity for a certain type of play style represented best by a certain character. For those who may be upset that some people are missing from the roster, hopefully whatever DLC is made available over the lifespan of this game will make up for that.

The second noticeable  feature of this game is that there is an arcade mode for those who enjoy the single player life.  It’s not exactly the most challenging or lengthy but it is something for those who enjoy solitude against bots. Treasure mode is the other single player mode that unlocks a bunch of customization items and fight money. This is the same mode carried over from the previous iterations of the Tekken series where you fight a bunch of A.I. opponents based on “ghosts” of human player data. 

The Mishima Saga takes you through the story for Tekken 7. It us 10chapters (and one bonus chapter) long and can be played at various difficulties. Most will probably just stick to the simpler difficulty just so they can power through the story. The narration of the lead character leaves a lot to be desired. His monotone storytelling does not exactly make what is supposed to be a family drama very dramatic at all. 

Also  found in this mode are the individual character stories. They all vary in length depending on who you select and some don’t really make a lot of sense unless the character has a well developed backstory in the series. If you take these on you will at least get an okay idea of how each member of the roster plays and perhaps you can pick up someone you never would have thought of playing before.

Of course you would not go into battle without first learning your characters moves right? Training mode in this game is kind of hit and miss. On one hand you have a plethora of options to go through to help you become a master of opening a can of whoop ass. On the other hand, there is no tutorial to teach you any of the basic game mechanics so you can make use of these options in the most optimal manner. You are kind of just dumped into training with the assumption that you have an idea of what you should be doing.

That is great if you have played a Tekken game before, but for newcomers or those who have not played the series in a while it can be somewhat frustrating to get a good feel for the game without having to go to an external source to help explain the simpler concepts for you to build your fighting foundation on.  However, once you get past that small hurdle then training mode is much like any other game where you can freely go at perfecting your technique until you are comfortable with whatever character(s) you choose to play with.

Besides the lack of a true tutorial there is one issue I personally found a bit annoying with training mode. Perhaps its because I’m accustomed to Street Fighter V, but it would be nice to be able to search for opponents while you are in this mode. The current method of waiting in the lobby with a motionless training dummy doesn’t really do a lot to help one stay warmed up while waiting for someone to be matched up with. I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but I just find it more productive to be actually doing something useful while waiting for my next opponent.

Speaking of online. The meat of this game lies in that mode. You have the option of ranked, casual (called player match) and tournament to choose from. Early after the release of this game there were issues with getting any type of matchup regardless of what mode you selected. That was fixed rather quickly with a patch and the game does have a higher success rate of finding you someone to play with now. This is still not perfect as the disconnect messages are still quite present as of this writing, but it’s not as terrible as it was after release day.

The online mode that seems to be the least reliable is tournament. There is an issue where the tournament organizer can kill the entire bracket by quitting the session if they lose. This quirk does not really sit with players based on what I have been seeing online. I myself have not tried tournament mode. I don’t have the time to really sit and wait for the brackets to populate. But those who play this mode online are not pleased that his particular type of rage quitting has not been addressed as of yet.

No matter what online mode you choose to play be prepared to get your ass handed to you many times over. Playing against humans is a very different experience from playing against a CPU opponent and whatever successful game plan you use to defeat bots may not work out in your favour when it comes to dealing with a sentient being. It is best to play this game to learn rather than to just flat out win. You will save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress playing online if you go in with that mentality. That might be harder for highly competitive people to comprehend. Especially if the inevitable streak of laying down for other players is encountered.

If you are coming from a strictly 2D universe playing this game will have higher learning curve. Movement is a key skill to have in any fighting game, especially with Tekken where you are given more room to navigate the playing field with sidestepping, side walking and other similar mechanics. That might take some getting used to for players who are used to the linear style that 2D fighters offer.

The other thing to be aware of when moving to Tekken is where to block. While it is not true for all situations, in general you want to block high more than you do low. Most strikes that are punishments will end up coming at you as a high or mid level move. Again, it’s not true for all situations, but it is safe to say that you may want to practice blocking high to prevent yourself from getting caught by a launching type of attack.  Also, blocks are free in this game (meaning no chip damage) so don’t worry if you are caught playing defence avoiding long strings of attacks. It will not affect your health unless you end up getting popped because you don’t know where the string ends.

Overall this entry in the Tekken series is a solid one with a few annoying flaws that will hopefully be rectified by patches as this game evolves. Unlike another highly hyped fighting game that came out earlier this year, this one somewhat lives up to its billing and should only get better over time. If you want to get your fight on Tekken 7 isn’t a bad place to let off some steam. Unless you are one who gets mad at losing, then maybe you might want to consider something more more peaceful like meditation or yoga.