Tekken 7 – Review

Tekken 7 Review

Initial NA Release Date: June 2, 2017
Review Date: May 29, 2018
Reviewed on: PC
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

The 3-D fighting game space for generations has always been viewed as a niche sub-group within the grand scheme of the traditional fighting game model, and while many have come and gone, it was the Tekken franchise that truly managed to cement itself within the fighting game community (FGC).

Bandai Namco’s latest iteration to the long-lasting Tekken franchise—Tekken 7 is seemingly a culmination of almost everything a Tekken fan wanted and a little more. However, perhaps the most impressive feat is that Tekken 7 managed to modernize itself, whilst still keeping true to its original roots.


Tekken 7 Review WP 01
Devil Jin entering the fight in his alternate story costume.

Presentation – From a sheer graphical fidelity standpoint, it is without a doubt that Tekken 7 looks as good as Tekken ever has, it could even be argued that the game is possibly the best looking fighting game out to date. Whether in motion or standing still, visually, the game is certainly impressive.

Animations in general have received a much-improved visual upgrade, with new clear counter hit, clashing hit, and armor move visual cues, making discerning certain situations much easier on the eye, in what is already a fast-paced fighting game.

Though somewhat improved as to how they are transitioned depending on circumstance, the stages in Tekken 7 still lack a bit of creativity with regards to color, as many stages adopt similar lighting and hue, hurting the diversity to what is already a somewhat small selection pool.


Tekken 7 Review WP 02
Eliza (left) vs Lucky Chloe (right).

Character models and animation all look superb, everything from how certain lighting and shadows affects a character’s image, to hair movement and positioning with regards to spatial environments, and even special wardrobe animations like Nina Williams’ wedding veil coming off, or Jin Kazama’s hood coming down upon getting hit.

Rage Art and Rage Drive animations are also well fitted to most of the cast, and albeit a tiny glimpse, they tend to show a little more of what the cast is about and a hint of their personality.

From an audible standpoint, Tekken 7 did right by bringing back those classic sounds that indicate certain moves, like the electric vibration that is uttered during the infamous Electric Wind God Fist, as well as retaining the classic voices of the returning cast, as well as appropriate casting for the newcomers.


Tekken 7 Review WP 03
Lili (left) vs Kazumi (right).

However, it is safe to say that while it may not be its worst attempt at an original soundtrack, the game’s track list is a bit polarizing as there are a few tunes that hit their mark and some others that are questionable to say the least.

Overall the sleeker design to both the characters and stages, does help modernize the franchise quite a bit, however the loss of certain facial animations and reactions mid-motion, as well as the retention of dirt and debris collected during rounds we were accustomed to in previous Tekken games, while not greatly impactful, are still noticeably absent.


Tekken 7 Review WP 04
Lars (right) breaking Geese Howard’s (left) throw attempt.

Gameplay – Simplified, but not dumbed down. That is the big takeaway that veterans of the long-lasting series will be left with upon playing Tekken 7 for the first time, and that same theme is echoed throughout many of the changes made to the game compared to its predecessors.

To go along with a simpler throw break system, and more defensive knockdown options, perhaps the most noticeable change with accordance to the theme mentioned is the implementation of more contemporary fighting game mechanics like Rage Art and Rage Drive, which are akin to a Super Attack and EX or meter enhanced moves in games like Street Fighter. However, maintaining the property of the traditional Rage mechanic, which only comes into effect when health is low, aids in balancing the new Rage system.


Tekken 7 Review WP 07.pngAs the tradition in the Tekken series, the roster is not lacking in interesting characters to pick from, and as it consists of more than 30 fighters, Tekken 7’s character select screen is diverse in both its approach to popularity and difficulty.

The more technically demanding legacy characters like the Mishima Karate practitioners, Nina Williams, Lee Chaolan, and others are still there for Tekken veterans, all whilst the new-coming characters to the series like Katarina and Gigas, perhaps being a more suitable option for players looking to get their feet wet.

Tekken 7 Review WP 06
Kazumi (left) vs Noctis (right).

The other aspect that really separates Tekken 7 from any other previous Tekken game, is the inclusion of its guest characters who all pose fighting styles somewhat foreign to traditional Tekken. Examples of this are shown by Noctis’ neutral range, the use of invincible reversals from Akuma, and even specific commands used by Geese Howard.

Despite the actual core gameplay of Tekken 7 perhaps being the best in the series’ history. It’s one noticeable shortcoming is its input delay, and while it has improved some, the delay is still significant enough to impact gameplay.


Tekken 7 Review WP 05
Heihachi (left) hitting Kuma (right) with an Electric Wind God Fist.

As it pertains to everything that is not the actual gameplay, it would be fair to say that Tekken 7’s offline single-player modes are somewhat underwhelming. The Mishima-centered story mode runs about 90 minutes long, with odd fight sequences, and even stranger pacing, and while the finale is well delivered, the overall journey is not.

In addition to its story mode, the other offline modes; treasure battle, arcade battle, and the individual story chapters for each character are also somewhat lacking as they all share the same rushed feeling with no real creativity behind them.


Tekken 7 Review WP 08
Kazuya using his Rage Drive in training mode.

On a brighter note, the training mode in the game is still helpful with multiple stage positioning, recording, and attribute options. The only downside for newcomers is that training mode does not include a proper tutorial, but, rather is a sandbox with tools that encourages a ‘Do It Yourself’ type style of learning.

Lastly, the customization in Tekken 7, while not as expansive compared to the series’ past, is still somewhat solid with multiple combinations of attire, character cards, etc. Giving players a fairly wide selection to choose from.


Tekken 7 Review WP 09
Story Mode sequence between Akuma (left) and Heihachi (right).

Final Impression – It would be remiss to omit that the final product that is Tekken 7 could possibly be argued as perhaps being the best 3-D fighting game to date, however, arguments aside, ultimately, when the Tekken franchise looks back at its finest accomplishments, Tekken 7 is sure to be one of them.

Despite coming up short on a few aspects such as story, innovative single-player modes, and perhaps its biggest fault—its severe input delay, Tekken 7 got the most important aspect right, and though it doesn’t excuse it’s faults, at its core, Tekken 7’s gameplay is superb as it simply speaks for itself when it comes to a fighting game franchise  preserving its identity yet, becoming much more adaptable to newcomers all whilst challenging its veterans.

PROS

+ Superb gameplay

+ Varied and wide cast

+ Sleek character design

CONS

– Input delay

– Subpar story

Final Score – 9.2/10 Excellent

Notes
I decided not to include Tekken 7‘s offline bowling mode into the review despite it being a part of the DLC which includes the guest characters. I attempted to maintain the review solely subjective to the fighting aspects of the game.

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