The Tekken series is legendary and held in such high regard amongst fighting game enthusiasts. First gracing our consoles back in 1994 on the original PlayStation, it disregarded projectile attacks in favour of three-dimensional combat based on real-life fighting styles. Since then, we’ve had an array of new faces and developed a growing, intricate plot based on the Mishima/Kazama bloodline and the devil gene that lies within it. We’re now up to Tekken 7, which is the tenth major title in the series. With it comes an intriguing and ambitious story mode, a few new faces, updated old ones and new abilities that revolutionise the age-old fighting mechanics that we have grown accustomed to over the years.
Ever since Heihachi Mishima dropped his son, Kazuya, off a cliff, which awakened the devil gene inside him, two organisations representing both characters have been locked in a never-ending war. The Mishima Zaibatsu, led by deadly femme-fatale Nina Williams, continues to butt heads with Kazuya’s G Corporation as they search for Jin Kazama, Heihachi’s grandson. The story is outlandish but highly entertaining as we are introduced for the first time to (and with the ability to play as) Kazumi Mishima, the wife of Heihachi and mother of Kazuya. An extremely special guest also debuts in the Tekken franchise who turns out to be a pinnacle inclusion in the whole Mishima saga. It is none other than Akuma from the Street Fighter series. The story is extremely action-packed as you’d expect and thankfully never drags out as you’re forced to complete battles among the many cutscenes, some of which really test your skill. You can lower the difficulty which allows you to simply button mash your way to victory, but where’s the fun in that?
The fighting mechanics are razor sharp in Tekken 7 with new moves joining alongside old ones. The new Rage Arts moves are the most striking new additions. Once you or your opponent’s health drops below a third, your character will begin to glow red, which gives you access to a couple of new abilities to help turn the tide of battle, acting as a second wind. The first attack, Rage Drive, is a powered up version of a specific attack that cuts away more health than it normally would at the sacrifice of your Rage Mode. The aforementioned Rage Arts moves are similar to Street Fighter’s Ultra Combos or Critical Arts. Activating these moves takes a whopping 30% of your opponent’s health but leaves you open if you miss. They are super stylish and extremely satisfying to pull off, mostly consisting of a special flurry of hits topped off by a big finish.
Long-time fans will be pleased to know that popular series veterans return in Tekken 7. Bruce Lee-inspired Marshal Law, wacky-haired biker Paul Phoenix, cyber ninja Yoshimitsu (now looking like a weird octopus), the two novelty-yet-adorable animal fighters Kuma and Panda, and unorthodox speedster Lee Chaolan all make a return. Newbies to the series, such as Shaheen, a Saudi Arabian military type who has some strong yet quick combos and the weirdly wonderful pop star Lucky Chloe with her cute fighting techniques, make their respective debuts. The cast is diverse and vast with tonnes of variety covering all kinds of fighting styles and mixing them among otherworldly abilities. Then there is the special guest, Akuma. He plays differently from the rest of the roster. He carries over his Super meter from his home property to use his powered-up special moves and super combos. Thankfully, he plays exactly like he does in Street Fighter with his Hadoken and Shoryuken abilities, as well as that annoying teleport.
There are a wealth of modes in Tekken 7 to keep players occupied. Alongside the standard versus modes and training, Treasure Mode allows you to fight a string of opponents to unlock items and garments for characters to customise them with. It’s a nice incentive and ideal if you miss a character’s older costume, such as Marshal Law’s yellow tracksuit or Nina Williams’ purple assassin uniform. You can also get a bit silly by giving Kuma a large fish. You can literally go wild, and it’s a great way to continue playing. Online modes have the industry standard ranked battles, unranked battles and tournaments to test your skill against real-life opponents. Finding a skilled opponent isn’t easy as most just resort to button mashing and move spamming; they should really ban Eddy Gordo from online matches.
Winning matches earns you fight money, which acts similar to Street Fighter V’s by using it to unlock the impressive number of videos, music and artwork spanning the entire series, as well as customisation items. There is a lot to keep you busy here.
Tekken 7 remains the king of fighters with its tight, fast and accessible fighting mechanics, a wealth of modes, a farfetched but entertaining story and loads of content. The new Rage Arts and Power Breaker moves alter the balance to give players a last push for victory and are seriously stylish to boot.
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 2nd June 2017