Written by Jon Scarr
I’ve been a long time fan of the Tekken series, stretching all the way back to the original PlayStation. While I haven’t nearly been as into the series as I would have like to have been in the past several years, I’ve had my eye on Tekken 7 ever since it hit the Japanese arcades in early 2015.
This is the ninth game in the series and the first to use the mighty Unreal Engine 4. Last July, Namco released an updated arcade version, Tekken 7: Fated Retribution with more content, which was released to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
With the likes of Injustice 2, Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat XL—can Tekken 7 grab the interest of fans around the world once again?
One of the newest additions to Tekken 7 is a full-fledged story mode, it’s used to help better flesh out the characters that fans like you and I have grown to love over the years. Tekken 7 is a direct sequel to Tekken 6 and thus takes place shortly after the death of Azazel who was destroyed by Jin Kazama.
The war between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation is still raging and Tekken 7’s story is told from the perspective of a reporter, whose wife and son are killed in the crossfire. While I’m not going to spoil the story for you, I can say that many questions of the 20-year-long Mishima feud are finally answered.
The story is fairly entertaining, but fans new to the franchise might get a little lost in what is going on. After all, I really wouldn’t say that Tekken 7’s story mode would be a reason to specifically pickup the game—its just something nice to have for long time fans.
I found it a tad odd that certain characters only spoke Japanese, while others only spoke English regardless of who they were talking to. This is a direct contrast to Tekken 4, where characters spoke to others in different languages. For example, Jin would speak with Hwoarang in English but in Japanese to Kazuya, it just made more sense.
Though I did enjoy Tekken 7’s story mode, I couldn’t help but feeling like this was a tutorial of sorts. As you make you way through the story, gameplay consisted of using shortcut buttons to easily perform special moves. While you can pull off the moves with the traditional button presses and controller movements, there is really no incentive to do so.
The Tekken franchise is well known for having a huge diverse roster of characters featuring fighters from all over the globe and even from the animal kingdom. Tekken 7 ships with 36 characters including favourites such as Bob, Yoshimitsu, King, Nina Williams, and even Akuma as a guest character.
Namco has done an excellent job of offering a diverse range of characters throughout the history of the Tekken, and Tekken 7 does not disappoint. Arguably the best roster yet in the series, Tekken 7 comes with quite possibly the most diverse and fulfilling rosters yet.
In terms of diversity, the character roster in Tekken 7 ranges from Eddy Gordo, a Brazilian who is the master of the Capoeira style to Jack, a combat robot who is programmed with marital arts. Fan favourites such as Kazuya Mishima, one of the central characters in the series, are here as well. However, my favourite new character is Katarina, a Savate fighter from Central America with the skills to kick her opponent’s butts.
Tekken 7 focuses on 1-on-1 battles and incorporates new gameplay elements to the series. When your character’s health bar is critical, Rage Art will allow you to pull off critical attacks that deal out damage to your opponent. As long as you have enough health to absorb any incoming attacks, rage arts will cut through your enemy’s offensive, dealing more damage the less health that you have. Naturally, these properties make them a fantastic comeback tool, but if your opponent sees one coming, then it can easily be blocked and punished.
Another new addition is called Power Crush. This lets you continue your attacks even when you are being hit by your enemy. Though you will still get damage by your enemy’s attacks, you can use this mechanic to absorb high or mid attacks.
Tekken fans will be interested to know that the bound system has been replaced with screw attacks, which makes your enemy spin sideways when they are hit airborne, allowing you to deal out additional damage after they reach the ground. Although, unlike bound, you can’t use the Screw Attack to do wall combos. Compared to the bound mechanic, the concept of screw attacks is a lot easier to grasp if you’re new to Tekken.
Furthermore, Eliza and Akuma have a EX/Super metre that acts as a limiter for special attacks. And, the new Rage Drive allow you to empower certain attacks by sacrificing the Rage Mode.
For those that don’t want to jump right online, Tekken 7 has two other modes of play in addition to its story mode. Arcade mode is just as you would expect; you fight against a series of opponents to win. It’s really straight forward, but there are only five opponents that you must beat in order to “beat the game”. It’s really strange, as previous games certainly had more than five opponents.
The next mode is one of my personal favourites, its called Treasure Battle. If you have played previous Tekken games, you’ll see that it shares some similarities with ghost battle as you fight a never ending supply of enemies. Though there are some key differences here; after each win, you’re get a treasure chest that houses a random piece of cosmetic equipment.
You can use this equipment to customize your character. The best thing is that there is quite a bit of stuff to unlock and personalize your fighter with.
Outside of the traditional offline modes, PlayStation 4 owners have an exclusive Jukebox mode. The Jukebox mode allows you to create playlists composed of songs from previous games in the series and listen to them while playing the game. While this doesn’t change Tekken 7’s gameplay at all, it’s a nice feature to have and brought back fond memories of earlier Tekken games.
Tekken 7’s online offering is rock solid. Namco has included ranked matches, casual matches, and online tournaments. Setting up lobbies is easy, and if you’re just looking for a quick match, the game will inform you of potential opponents while you train.
The opposing player’s connection strength and ranking are displayed on the screen, so if their connection strength isn’t up to par you can decline the connection.
Online tournaments are a great addition to the Tekken franchise and allow you to organize tournaments for up to eight players. If you win, you get huge in-game cash prizes and treasure chests used to buy in game items.
Running Unreal Engine 4, Tekken 7 looks spectacular for the most part. Across the PlayStation 4/Pro and Xbox One, Tekken 7 runs at 60fps. However, there were some sacrifices in resolution that Namco used to achieve a steady 60fps. The PlayStation 4 runs Tekken 7 at 864p, a 4% drop from 900p and the Xbox One runs at just 720p. Looking at the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions side by side, you can see a clear difference in visual quality.
For comparison, the PlayStation 4 Pro runs Tekken 7 at 1080p even on a 4K TV. It produces better particle effects and a sharper picture than both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help give you fighting chance against your opponents:
As a whole, Tekken 7 is arguably the best game in the franchise. Its overhauled rage system gives gameplay a whole new dynamic, and helps to level the playing field for more casual players. While Tekken 7’s story mode is nice for long time fans, it’s not a reason to pickup this game.
Treasure battle is insanely addictive and the game’s online components are fantastic. Although the Xbox One version runs at 720p, gameplay is not affected at all and is still an enjoyable experience.
Hardcore Tekken fans will instantly fall in love with Tekken 7 and newcomers will love the games unique fighting system. I highly recommend picking up Tekken 7.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.