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Tekken 7 Review

After over 2 years of waiting  Tekken 7  is finally in my hands.  Although I had the chance to play the game at multiple events and while traveling abroad in Japan and Korea, that is still no comparison to having the full game all to myself.  Has Tekken 7 lived up to it’s 2 year hype?  Continue reading to find out!

Get ready for the next battle!

Core Gameplay:

Building off of it’s rich legacy, spanning over 20 years and 6 previous installments,  Tekken 7 continues to be the definitive example of what a 3D fighting game should be.  Tekken 7’s gameplay, while very easy to enjoy on a casual level, is also endlessly deep on a competitive one.  The more time you dedicate to learning about the games various system mechanics the more likely you are to continue enjoying the game in the future.  With that said there are a number new game-play mechanics introduced in Tekken 7 that I will detail below.

Rage Art and Rage Drive:

In Tekken 6 Rage was introduced as a comeback mechanic that was activated when your character was reduced to very low health.  This mechanic was indicated by your character’s flashing red health bar and huge increase in damage output.  Now, in while in Rage players have access to 2 brand new commands.

Rage Arts: These are basically Tekken’s version of a traditional Street Fighter style Super Moves.  When your character connects with a Rage Art you are treated to a small cinematic scene and rewarded with huge damage.  Rage Arts absorb all incoming attacks proceeding contact with your opponent, provided you have enough life to absorb them.  You are only allowed one Rage Art per round.  Rage Arts are flashy, fun, and incite huge amounts of hype for spectators.

Rage Drive: These attacks act as an alternative to Rage Arts.  They do not have a cinematic but can be used in various other situations.  For example: King can use his Rage Drive to cause a massive stun on block that grants him a big enough advantage to pressure his opponent with a 50/50 mix up.  While this option does not guarantee any damage it is a much safer one.

After using either your Rage Art or Rage Drive your character will revert back to their previous state.  Utilizing your rage state strategically can lead to huge comebacks.

In addition to Rage Art and Rage Drive Tekken 7 also introduces Power Crush moves and Screw Attacks:

Power Crush: These attacks will, as the name implies, crush any on coming mid or high attacks. A power crush will lose to low attacks and throws.  Like Rage Arts, Power Crush moves also take the damage that you would receive from a forthcoming attack in exchange for crushing it.  Although, I really enjoy this mechanic I feel like some character’s have significantly better Power Crushes than others. *Cough, cough, Hwoarang, cough*  Also it should be noted some characters even have more than one Power Crush.  Regardless, I feel Power Crush is welcome addition to Tekken 7’s gameplay.

Screw Attacks: These attacks serve as replacements for Tekken 6’s bound moves.  Instead of bouncing your opponents off the floor with a bound you can send them flying through the air with with a screw attack.  These moves act as combo extenders in aerial juggles.  Get creative and maximize your combo damage with screw attacks!

Once you have you have a basic understanding of the new mechanics listed above you will be ready to hop online and start cracking some skulls! DOORRYAAA!

 

Clean as steel!

Graphics and Aesthetics:
In my opinion, Tekken 7 is hands down the most visually impressive 3D fighting game out right now.  I expect it to keep this title for at least a few years.  The attention to detail to this games character’s and backgrounds is mind boggling.  No matter how much I play the game the stage design just continues to blow my mind.  There is so much going on in each stage it’s almost distracting (in a good way.)  A great example of this is the Mishima Building stage. The first 2 rounds are played on a elevator being lifted by huge robotic arms.  The arms are all moving frantically pulling the elevator up slowly in an almost hypnotic fashion.  The final round transitions to the rooftop where can see a moonlit sky and high rising architecture. I could go on and on about how great this game looks it truly is a spectacle to behold.  My only complaint about this games aesthetic is that the character facial expressions and models look like they are shared.  What I mean is they all seem like they were worked from a singular facial mold and slightly altered to be different.

Music and Sound Effects:
The music in the Tekken series has always been phenomenal and Tekken 7 continues the trend.  Each stage has 2 tracks, 1 track for the first rounds and another for the final conclusive round.  The tracks played in The Mishima Building and Devil’s Pit are among my favorites in the series.  There is quite a bit of variance in the music as well. Each stage sounds totally different, while also taking care to accurately portray the cultural surroundings.  What I also really like about Tekken is it’s sound design.  When you get hit in Tekken you really feel it!   You don’t have to know that Paul’s Death Fist does alot of damage, you feel that shit moment he screams “RAAAAGGHH” followed by a loud POW!  The sound effects in Tekken keep you alert and engaged.  In addition to great sound design Tekken’s character’s are fully voiced in their native tongues. Some of the English voice acting is pretty cheesey but that’s how it’s always been.  Tekken 7’s music and sound effects are a pleasure to the ears.

 

How will the Mishima Saga end?

Casual Modes:

Story Mode:
This was the first mode I played when I received my copy of the game.  The producer’s of game stated that this would be the end of the Mishima saga.  Anxious to reveal the secrets of the Mishima Zaibatsu I dove in and completed the story mode in just one sitting.  Although I enjoyed the story very much in the end felt it was a bit underwhelming.  I don’t want to spoil anything but the whole experience felt very brief and raised more questions than answers. Despite the weak narrative the fight scenes were awesome and transitioned into actual gameplay seamlessly.  The story mode can last roughly 1 or 2 hours depending on your skill level.  There is also a story assist feature that allows you to make the games execution of special moves significantly easier.  Despite my nitpicking, I am grateful that we received a finished story mode on launch as some games fail do that these days.

Arcade Mode:
In this mode you face a series of opponents ending in a final boss battle.  This is mode is identical to its arcade counter part.  You can use this mode to test your skills vs the CPU while also farming small amounts of Gold for customization items.

Treasure Battle:
In treasure battle mode you will fight a string of endless opponents to receive gold and customization items.  This mode sometimes adds modifiers like Turbo Mode making your character extremely fast allowing for insane combos. In some cases you will have to fight special boss characters like Devil Kazumi and Akuma winning these fights will grant you greater rewards.  This mode is a fun way to earn gold and unlock various character customization items.

Customization:
Each character in Tekken 7 is fully customizable from top to bottom.  With 100’s of customization items available to unlock, your favorite character’s will be looking sharp in no time.  Most of these items can be unlocked in the previously mentioned Treasure battle mode. In addition to character customization players can also customize there online player cards.  You can purchase new banners, health bar graphics, and titles to make your name stand out from the crowd.

Gallery and Jukebox:
Tekken 7’s gallery mode allows you to purchase and collect every single Tekken cinematic from all 9 installments. That’s right every single cut scene, from every single Tekken game, has been compiled in one place for your viewing pleasure.  You also have the option to buy art work for each game as well.  As a long time fan I absolutely love this feature.  Whenever I need to explain Tekken’s story, I can now just refer to this mode and show friends the ending movies as reference.  This mode is fan service at it’s best!  Thank you Namco!

In addition to the Gallery mode the PS4 version of the game also has a Jukebox mode. This mode allows you listen to all the of the music tracks from every previous Tekken (With the exception of few arranged tracks).  You can also assign this music to play as your default in-game music.  This is another awesome Fan Service for the long time fans. It’s little things like this that keep me coming back to Tekken.

Online Modes:

Admittedly I did not have much time to play online but I did try out each mode multiple times.

Ranked: This is your standard ranked mode. Square off against multiple online opponents to raise your rank. Tekken 7 adds a match list feature that allows you to search for and select different opponents. While this allows you to avoid consistently laggy players it also allows you to avoid everyone else as well.  Rank Boosters are going to have field day with this option.  I like this option for the purposes of doing Ranked Death Matches with friends but I also feel bad for anyone that sits in ranked for a hours only to have half of their requests rejected because other players are afraid of losing to them.  I’m not sure how they can fix this but I feel it should be addressed at some point.

Player Match: This is your typical player match.  This allows you to connect with your friends or random players with out the stress of Rank demotion.  You can create rooms of for up to 6 players for your friends or randoms.

Online Tournaments: This is a new feature added to Tekken 7.  Now you are able to have 8 man single or double elimination online tournaments.  You can create your own tournaments or simply jump into a quick random tournament.  I love this feature and I hope it will see updates in the future.  16 man tournaments maybe?

On the lack of tutorial mode:
It was brought to my attention that there is no tutorial mode for beginning players.  Tekken Tag 2 had the fight lab that taught you the basics of Tekken.  I’m honestly surprised they didn’t incorporate a new fight lab option seeing as Lee is already in the game.  I understand this is a feature brand new players would be able to utilize but I also feel that the excellent practice mode more than makes up for it.  Also, story mode does show you in it’s beginning chapters what button’s to press, how to side step/side walk, and how to use your Rage Art.  It’s all pretty easy to figure out but I understand how this lack of instruction would frustrate some newbs.

 

The Competitive Review:

Time to put up or shut up!

Should you play this game competitively?
Yes, without a doubt! Tekken has been a staple fighting gaming at almost every major fighting game tournament for years. Just recently The Tekken World Tour has been announced.  This tournament series will have an INSANE $200,000 prize pool spread out between regional events and ending in World Wide Finale later this year.  If you think you are good at Tekken now is the best time to prove it!  With continued support from it’s producer’s I’m confident that the competitive scene for this game is sure to grow and thrive for many years to come.  Are you ready for the next battle?  I am! UF+4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4

Pad or Stick?
Either is fine.  I personally prefer playing Tekken with a Pad but I can also use Stick when there is no other option.  I choose pad because it’s how I played the game originally on the PlayStation 1.  Tekken only has 4 attack buttons so it generally pretty easy to play with the PlayStation Controller .  You can even bind your buttons to make simultaneous button inputs easier.  Tekken is a very technically demanding game at higher levels. I would recommend using whatever controller you feel comfortable with and sticking with it.

Practice Mode:
Tekken 7’s practice mode is perfect. It has everything a competitive player could possibly want or need to get better at the game.  It has a record function, a mimic feature, position change options, quick access to changing your character and stages, and so much more.  You can practice just about any situation in Tekken 7’s practice mode and for those situations you cannot you can have another player join you locally for assistance.  It’s time to git gud!

Overall:

If you consider yourself a fan of fighting games you need to buys this game.   Just go do it… NOW!  Keep in mind the product we are receiving now is the result of 2+ of years of testing, patching, and updates.  Thank’s to the Arcade versions lengthy development cycle,  Tekken 7’s fighting engine has developed into what I believe to be one of the greatest ever conceived.  Alluring new players with it’s clean aesthetic, pulse pounding soundtrack, and colorful cast of characters; and at the same time catering to the hard core players with excellent character balance and a phenomenal practice mode, Tekken 7 is a fighting game for everyone.  I’ve waited for this game for so long and I’m very happy say that it has lived up to hype.

I am very happy to award Tekken 7…

5 Crunch Tacos out of 5!

 

It’s finally here guys.  Happy Early 2017!

I’ll be streaming Tekken 7 in the near future soon!  I hope to play you all soon!

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Juan Valei

Buffalo-based gamer, artist, and adventurer. Blogging about life, games, art, entertainment, health, and everything else in the universe.

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