Let’s get directly into it: Tekken 7 does a whole lot right. The core fighting system is really as rewarding to understand as ever and new mechanics benefit the overall game in useful ways. But it’s what Tekken 7 doesn’t do this drags the entire package down.

Tekken 7 retains the weighty and punchy feel the 3D fighting game series has benefited from over time with a fighting system that’s simple to grab but hard to understand. Just four buttons are used: one for every single limb. It’s a straightforward, elegant design which makes immediate sense to newcomers and facilitates plenty of depth.

Like all Tekken games, you may get a respectable amount out of Tekken 7 by button mashing. (Eddy Gordo fans will see his kicks reassuringly effective once more.) But, like all Tekken games, Tekken 7 is really as complex as you want to buy to be. Dig in to the command list for just about any of the 38 playable characters (criminally, Lei Wulong is nowhere found) and you will unearth near 100 moves and combos, each with their own properties, speed and damage. Tekken 7 is a lab fiend’s dream, and, as always, practice makes perfect.

In a fight, Tekken 7 is mainly about prodding your opponent with attacks made to start their defence, perhaps blocking an attack you understand you can punish with an attack of your, or landing a counter-hit on your own opponent (hitting them before their attack hits you), that may bring about a high-damage combo.

I have over time played Tekken just like a firefly, darting in and from the 3D arenas with flicks of my fighting stick. But Tekken 7 has made sidestepping – among the series’ trademark movement options – less useful by slowing it down, so it is harder to dodge attacks for easy punishes. And damage output on long juggle combos has been reduced (heavy damage scaling) in order that it’s often easier to get a super powerful four-hit combo than this is a seven hit juggle that carries your opponent to the corner of the arena.

But as has been the case with Tekken for a long time, arena walls are hugely important. You get yourself a damage bonus for slamming your opponent in to the wall. So, do you get a short but high damage combo, or an extended but low damage combo that carriers your opponent to the wall? That is among the many layers of strategy those that put work into Tekken 7 will see fascinating to hire in a match.

The Rage Arts lend Tekken 7 a dramatic comeback potential. They’re a slightly awkward fit for the overall game, though.
New for Tekken 7 may be the Rage system. Whenever your health bar nears its end, your character flashes red and Rage is active. This increases your damage, enables you to perform a particular Rage move in addition to a high damage Rage Art. The Rage Art, which burns out your Rage status, is somewhat like Street Fighter’s super attacks. If you land one, the camera shifts about as your character performs a more elaborate attack. A number of the Rage Arts are pretty cool, but the majority are simply a flurry of punches and kicks. Tekken, making some try to recreate true to life martial arts in an authentic fashion, is definitely a far more grounded game than a few of its more fantastical fighting game rivals, so that it follows that Rage Arts are grounded the truth is, too.

The theory behind the Rage Arts is they’re a dramatic comeback trigger, almost such as a revenge attack. Clearly, Bandai wished to make Tekken 7 more exciting to play watching than previous entries in the series, and Rage Arts are a fairly easy and fun solution. Purists may baulk at the “cheapness” of the high damage attacks, nevertheless, you their misuse could be countered pretty easily by high-damage punish combos. And the heavy damage scaling ensures the Rage Art isn’t a press a button to win situation.

Also not used to Tekken 7 may be the Power Crush, that i find more drastically changes just how Tekken plays compared to the Rage system. Each character includes a few moves that contain the energy Crush property, therefore you can continue your attack even while you’re being hit by a mid or high attack from your own opponent. Essentially, you absorb enemy attacks – taking damage along the way – before smashing your opponent. Having Power Crush within my disposal makes me a lot more aggressive. I’d play earlier versions of Tekken within an almost standoffish way, darting in this manner and that as I jostled for position and an possibility to punish. With Power Crush I could get stuck in rather than worry too much about any of it.

Tekken 7 does not teach players its new mechanics. Most will miss references to new types of attacks buried within the menus.
Worthy of note may be the new Screw Attack mechanic, which replaces the bound system from previous games. Screw Attacks make enemies spin sideways when they’re hit airborne, and enable you to land additional attacks if they hit the bottom. Unlike the bound attack, Screw attacks can’t be used to increase a wall combo, which counters their potency. However they are possible after wall, balcony and floor breaks. The theory, clearly, is to help make the combo extender look cooler (the Screw Attack animation is way better compared to the bound animation), but reduce their potency somewhat. I get the impression this, combined with damage scaling, can be an try to level the playing field, giving those that can’t do long, complex combos a fighting chance at doing decent damage.

Rage Arts, Power Crush and Screw Attacks incorporate to provide Tekken 7 a far more dramatic feel than earlier versions. The combat is really satisfying, with an extraordinary weight and punchiness. I really like what sort of game decreases during trades and close calls, and how Power Crush attacks fill the screen with particle effects. Tekken 7 could very well be the most exciting Tekken ever from a visual standpoint. The graphics won’t blow anyone away, but they’re best for Tekken, which is sufficient for me.

So, it’s safe to state Tekken 7 is fantastic fun in terms of the competitive side, but it’s not a substantial step of progress for the series (there are a good amount of combos that worked in Tekken 3 that work accurately the same in this game). Casual Tekken fans – even anyone who has spent a respectable amount of time with the franchise – will be hard-pressed to note much different about just how Tekken 7 works weighed against Tekken 6. In a nutshell, I don’t believe Tekken 7 is suddenly going to spawn a fresh Tekken fanbase. It appears made to appeal to those that already like Tekken, or simply those that played it years back and fancy giving it a go on the current generation console.

Unfortunately, in terms of the single-player side, Tekken 7 falters in comparison to its fighting game rivals.

Tekken 7’s story, which revolves around the troubled Mishima family, commences with you playing as kid Kazuya. Eventually you should chuck him off a cliff.
Tekken 7 carries a story mode that’s as infuriating since it is throwaway and it has one big problem: the bits where you truly fight are awful. Every time you fight you should defeat an opponent, or some opponents (grunts or plenty of Jacks) during the period of a few rounds, but in the event that you lose one round you have to get started on the chapter over. If you are big into Tekken 7, playing on the standard difficulty will not be a problem, but if you are a newcomer, a everyday fan or perhaps a lapsed fan, story mode could be a frustrating experience.

So, drop the story difficulty right down to easy, right? Allowing you perform special moves and combos by mashing an individual button, which pays to and can get you through the entire thing, but it isn’t a great way to play Tekken 7, and, crucially, will not help teach the player how exactly to play. All it can is help you to get better at mashing a button during story mode. It’s mindless and not that interesting.

The disappointing story mode is indicative of Tekken 7’s single-player, which I am sorry to state is a disappointed. Once you’re finished with the story mode, all that’s left to accomplish is play arcade mode, the pointless VR modes assuming you have a PSVR, or Treasure Battle and grind Fight Money to unlock customisation items. Treasure Battle is, essentially, an endless fight various computer opponents. You can rank up as you play, earning blind loot boxes that include new bits for the characters, such as for example sunglasses, T-shirts not to mention hats, or buy stuff together with your in-game currency.

Yep, blind loot boxes. 2017!
I actually had a respectable amount of fun with the type customisation side of Tekken 7, and enjoyed dressing my Ling Xiaoyu out in increasingly bonkers clothes and accessories. There’s a large amount to customise over the board. You can unlock from new health bars to new items you wear on your own back (I picked a pizza because you will want to?). At least, customisation offers you something to aim for on the single-player side, but for me the true benefit is adding variety to online play. There’s so much to unlock, you’re unlikely to start to see the same look twice online, and there’s lots of scope to made your player card stick out.

Treasure Battle, however, doesn’t really cut it. In a post-Injustice 2 world Tekken 7 feels archaic. Sometimes I was ready to forgive Tekken 7 its failings because it’s such a great fighting game. For someone like me who targets the multiplayer side of the genre, it’s a complete beast. But it must go down as a comparatively small step of progress for the series – and a fairly underwhelming package. NetherRealm has displayed what you can do to help make the genre appeal to those that don’t fancy getting torn to shreds online. Unfortunately the developers at Bandai Namco’s Tekken team seemingly didn’t notice.