Tekken 7 Review – Best Tekken Yet

Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platforms: Arcade, PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Tekken Has Improved

Tekken has been pretty standard in terms of what it offers. With each instalment, you know exactly know what you’re getting out of it. With Tekken 7, Bandai have freshened up the game either by adding improvements or new features like the Rage Art/Drive system. It’s what has made the game much more enjoyable compared to previous titles, as I was worried it was going to be the same old combat that we’re used to.

Its combat is the smoothest and best it has been, with more opportunities to counter your opponent and slightly faster gameplay, it not only makes it more interesting to watch, but also to play. Rage Art and Rage Drive are new moves to turn the tide of the battle, especially if you’re getting a beat down. This is where you need to be more careful as Rage Art and Rage Drive both do a lot of damage, so it’s essential you don’t get hit by either. This is so battles aren’t too one-sided and are more interesting as a result. No one likes a complete stomp (except some of those doing the stomping).

Tekken 7 - Josie Rage Art
Tekken 7 – Josie’s Rage Art

The customisation in the game has also improved. With better items and less ‘silly’ stuff to equip yourself with. Sure there’s still the bear shield, a shower on your head and a pizza to put on yourself, but there’s a mix. With a hooded skeleton mask, weapons to equip and other stuff! The best part of it is that you’re able to change the colours of many clothing items. So if there’s a top you like but isn’t the right colour, you’ll be able to change it to whatever you like.

Customisation doesn’t stop at characters. You can change your profile badge to to have many different styles and pins to show off to other players. The health bars can also be changed from a selection of styles. Some of these, including character customisation items, can be bought outright with in-game currency, but the rest have to either be found in Treasure Boxes, getting to a specific rank (offline) or by playing online. While it isn’t what you’d buy the game for, it gives you something other than gaining ranks, to work towards.

Story Mode Isn’t So Good

Story mode isn’t very enjoyable until the last 3 or so chapters. Everything until that point is essentially fluff to add length to this mode. Everything you want to know happens at the end (which was pretty good) and that’s what makes it a snore fest. On top of this, Story Assist seems to always remain active, so you aren’t completely free to do any move you want as it does it for you. This makes certain fights infinitely more frustrating than they should be.

Tekken 7 - Story Mode
Tekken 7 – Story Mode

[Potential spoiler] Akuma being an important character feels out of place, and I’m not talking about his move set. What’s strange is bringing in a guest character to be one of the central figures in the story. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like it.

The one thing that is fairly off-putting, is how characters speak to each other in cutscenes. You have Nina talking to Heihachi in English and Heihachi replying in Japanese. Then there’s Heihachi being able to respond to Claudio’s French, in Japanese. Unless they have some kind of translator in their brains, all logic seems to have gone out the window.

Treasure Battle Is A Good Alternative

If you aren’t a fan of online play, you have Arcade and Treasure Battle. Arcade is your standard mode that’s in every Tekken game with a series of stages and a boss battle at the end. The sad part about Arcade in Tekken 7 is that there are no character cutscenes at the end. This was one of my favourite things about Tekken. Seeing what everyone got up to at the end. Well at least Story mode offers a short chapter for each character, with less impressive cut scenes.

Treasure Box mode on the other hand, is great. This is where you’ll be hanging out if you’re not doing online battles or Story mode. Unlike Arcade, you’ll get Treasure Boxes that randomly give you a customisation item when you win a battle and winning many battles without losing will reward you with up to 3 boxes per win. A random chance may not be entirely fun, but it keeps the incentive there and not every box has the same value. As I said before, you can buy some items anyway, so not everything is gained from a box. Can you imagine if they added the ability to buy Treasure Boxes for real money?

Tekken 7 Treasure Battle
Tekken 7 – Treasure Battle reward

Obviously, you’ll be able to rank up and gain fight money, but another difference between Arcade and Treasure Battle is the Special Match and the Boost Matches. These are great as they add some variety to game. Going at it for several stages using the same formula would get a little dull. So these keep Treasure Battle fresh. Special Match puts you up against one of four boss characters, Heihachi, Akuma, Devil Kazuya and Kazumi, all of who are more dangerous than normal. Don’t underestimate them!

There are Turbo and Damage Boost matches that basically just either speed up the game or grant both characters double damage. They’re nice additions and as I said, helps keep Treasure Battle fresh.

Solid Character Roster

As usual, the character line-up is great, boasting 34 playable characters, including Eliza if you pre-ordered. This is what I love about Tekken. It has solid diversity in each character’s play style with a character to suit any need. There’s bound to be a character for you. A lot of it is all about knowing the character, their frame, strengths and weaknesses. Once you know this, you’ll see that you’ve improved.

Tekken 7 Roster
Tekken 7 – Roster

A disappointing part about the roster however, is the exclusion of both Roger Jr and Lei Wulong, two classic characters. I’m not sure why Lei isn’t included in Tekken 7, but his style was certainly unique and offered some great gameplay. With Roger Jr, it was the whole guy punching a Kangaroo video that lead to cutting the character, which I think is stupid. But it is what it is!

Online Had Issues, But It’s Good Now

Tekken 7 had a horrible launch for online play, with people not being able to get into a game until the patch a couple of days ago. Launch issues happen and it’s taken roughly a week to fix it. So it’s seems to all sorted now. While it is bad, it’s also a good thing, as you’ve been able to get some practice in, get used to some of the changes and choose a character you’d like to main.

Online play can be daunting for new players as Tekken has always had a high skill ceiling, with varying skill floors. What I mean by this, is that it takes a lot of effort and skill to master the game (skill ceiling) and different characters have different skill floors, meaning some are easier to pick up and play than others. It’s best to stick to the offline modes first, including Practice Mode to brush up on your skills.

Is Tekken 7 Worth It?

Absolutely! Despite some of the issues I’ve brought to light, it’s still the best Tekken game to date. A lot of the issues are within Story Mode, but luckily Tekken isn’t exactly played for the Story. This is a no brainer for Tekken fans and if you’re looking to get into the franchise, this is a great time to start, as there are more players when a game is released, so you’ll be able to get into online matches quickly. If you aren’t a fan of the idea of ‘juggling’ your opponent, you’ll have to stay clear of this game. But it is the smoothest and one of the deepest fighting games out there.

What are your thoughts on Tekken 7 so far? Let me know in the comments below!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Smooth and faster paced gameplay
  • Rage Art and Rage Drive are good additions, giving players a chance to get back in the game
  • Terrific character roster
  • Rewards effort and dedication, especially with successful combos and juggles
  • DLC is actually a bonus because it’ll add longevity to the game. The base roster is huge as it is and I’m sure they won’t add overpowered characters you have to buy
  • Customisation is better for sure

Cons

  • Story mode is a bore until the last two chapters
  • Nina speaking to Heihachi in English and him to her in Japanese. Do they have some kind of translator in their brains?
  • Online isn’t friendly to newcomers or beginners at Tekken and requires a lot of practice, otherwise you will be frustrated
  • Special chapter is overly difficult for no reason, far more than the final story chapter
  • Roger Jr and Lei cut from the game

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