Tekken is one of the first fighters I ever experienced growing up. It brought fights to a 3D plane and had such a diverse roster of characters that anyone new to the series was bound to find a favorite. After getting a look at the new features – it being years since I last went a few rounds in Namco Bandai’s franchise, Tekken 7 moves past its arcade roots and implements customization, story, and engaging fighting mechanics, creating an experience for me as an old fan and raises the bar for modern fighting games.
Every Hit Counts
At first glance Tekken 7 is everything that you would expect when turning it on. The roster consists of 36 characters, each one with a different fighting style. The three dimensional stages gives fighters the chance to sidestep and evade opponents while also throwing in super moves. If you were hoping to projectile spam fighters online, you’re going to be out of luck. As always Tekken holds that same level of precision where taking a step in the wrong direction or carelessly jumping can cost you big damage. Like true fighting, every step, every block, every hit counts.
There are also some new tweaks in this new addition to Namco’s fighter. Whether you’re playing online or offline the same promotion demotion experience is present with every fight. Doing well in fights with each character will gain you in-game promotions providing a satisfying devotion to master each of the 36 characters available. New gameplay mechanics such as slower sidestepping and improved forward and back-stepping gives even pro players of this long running franchise a run for their money.
But Tekken 7’s biggest game changer is the Rage Mode. Acting like a special move, players can get one last ditch effort towards victory as their health draws close to death. By hitting the correct prompts and landing the initial hit, you will land a quick barrage of attacks that can very well shift the tide in any fight. It’s a great addition for players that may not be as keen on the plethora of combos possible in Tekken 7. Rage mode gives me hope that even if I’m being massacred, one good combo and a successful Rage mode hit can give me victory.
Modes For All Seasons
Offline you can partake in the Arcade mode consisting of the staple climb the ladder with occasional cutscenes showing off Tekken’s eccentric nature. In Versus you and another friend can duke it out over and over again to be the true victor. But the two main modes that are going to take the majority of your time are Treasure Battle and Story mode. In Treasure Battle players can continually fight to earn fight money and special treasure loot that can be used to customize your fighters.
The mode is a personal highlight. With the addition of customization to the game, playing it guarantees an endless ladder of fights. If successful, players are rewarded with money and unlockable items for fighters. With the staple mode Arcade only taking six fights to finish, Treasure Battle is the perfect place to log in hours of fighting with various characters.
The newest edition to the Tekken series is the introduction of The Mishima Saga, a fully realized and fleshed out story mode. It dives deeper into the main characters, their motivations and their connections. Some of which include throwing relatives into volcanoes. While the addition of a story focusing on character development is a great touch for the franchise, the three hour duration makes it difficult to come up with any true emotions for those involved with the Mishima clan.
While not being super keen on the Tekken lore I still found enjoyable moments. There are undoubtedly a lot of references, winks, and nods for those deep into the series’ mythology, but in terms of a standalone experience for a newcomer it may come off as a disappointment.
That doesn’t mean story mode should be avoided overall. There are some beautiful cutscenes and amazing moments to play through involving some of your favorite characters from the franchise. While not all are present, The Mishima Saga still presents a unique spin on the general mechanics of Tekken games.
So Many Items
Mishima Saga aside, the true content of Tekken 7 lies within its fights and what better way to expand than by adding customization options. Each character holds ridiculous amounts of customization, whether it’s arming Street Fighter’s Akuma with a cowboy hat or mounting a swordfish to the back of Heihachi. Each piece of customization is fully in-depth including attack effects, color auras, and full color pallets. In addition to fighter customization there are portraits and tile backgrounds to allow each player to express themselves in the loading screens however they see fit.
With Injustice 2 implementing its gear system it’s clear cosmetic customization is the direction fighting games are headed. Whether it’s for player choice that dictates how you will fight via stats or purely for looks like in Tekken 7, it creates the drive to continue playing never knowing what amazing piece of gear will be around the corner. It’s very easy to get lost playing treasure battle just in hopes that you’ll be able to arm Lucky Chloe with a pizza to her back. With an incredulous amount of content for each character, you can guarantee that any Tekken fan will get lost in countless fights and using their hard earned fight money to continue unlocking crazier gear.
Tekken 7 still remains one of the most technical fighting games to date. With an emphasis on hand to hand combat that truly makes every step, kick and punch matter, it’s no wonder that after several titles in the franchise Tekken can remain relevant. As the 7th title has released, even being a novice to the series I remain awestruck with the amount of detail that’s gone into every facet of the game.
Whether it’s including a gallery of art from every game in the franchise or fully customizable playlists including music across all titles, Tekken 7 is an addictive collection of fisticuffs that make for a fun time deserving attention of any fan of fighting games. With so much to offer for a game that comes from an arcade cabinet, you can guarantee hundreds of hours being poured into its offline and online modes. Tekken 7 even holding a lack of a great story has been a great experience that I continually look forward to playing.
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