Thanks Bandai Namco for providing us with a review code for the Playstation 4 version of Tekken 7!
Another New Fighter Joins the Fray!
Fighting games to the left of me, another to the right. There is one staring at me from the bushes in front. Everywhere I look these days there seems to be a brand new fighting title coming out. Don’t confuse this observation or assume that I mean it as a negative. Far from it in fact, especially considering the quality of them are top notch! Tekken 7 is the latest title to join the rumble, and it is hurling some hard kicks and punches. This game has been long awaited, having been released in Japanese arcades a number of years ago. Only now, as Tekken 7: Fated Retribution, does it finally graces home consoles and PCs!
Your Thumbs Will Be Sore.
This game is one of the most content-rich fighters currently on the market. Packed to the brim with a variety of modes, both offline and online, make Tekken 7 easily worth the price of admission. Let’s take a gander and what all you get, right out of the package, shall we?
For the character roster, you will get have access to 36 fighters (37 if you preordered) to find your main from. A mix of old characters, peppered with some new round it out, with the big inclusion being Akuma of rival fighting game, Street Fighter, taking a prominent role in the games marketing and story.
Returning players may be sad to see some old main characters missing from the roster though, but in today’s age of downloadable characters, hopefully we will see some of them return one day.
The RAGE system from the previous title returns, much to the dismay (or joy, depending on who you ask) of fans. New to this game though, are the Rage Drive and Rage Arts, both of which can only be used when your life is low and you are in RAGE mode. Rage Arts are basically this game’s version of devasting super moves, while Drives are an enhanced version of a character’s existing move, just with new properties.
Once used, however, your RAGE mode will be over and you will lose all the enhancements from being it. It is a nice balance, even if I don’t necessarily feel that Tekken needed these additions. Now let’s talk about the modes!
- Story: The Mishima Saga
- Take part in the complex ongoings of the main family of the Tekken series. Throughout the 14 chapters, prologue, epilogue, and special chapter, you’ll take control of various characters as you relive classic moments of the series, some that were previously only CG cutscenes! Have you always wanted to see what it would be like playing as Kazuya as a child? Well, now you can! (Only in the tutorial though 🙁 )
- Story: Character Episodes:
- 18 characters have their own special episode stories to play through and check out
- Arcade Battle:
- Your typical arcade mode experience. Fight through a number of opponents leading up to the overly cheap and broken character at the end! Pretty standard fare, I mean, all fighting games these days have an arcade mode. Right?
- Treasure Battle:
- Tekken 7 lets you customize your characters with hundreds of different clothing, hair, and accessory options. In Treasure Battle, you keep fighting until you lose, each victory gets you prize money and customization option unlock. You’ll be spending a lot of your time in this if you want to deck out your dudes and dudettes!
- VS Battle:
- You and a friend can battle for bragging rights in this 1v1 classic
- The best place to learn combos, and try out new characters! It is a bit of a bummer though that there isn’t a trial mode that other fighting games currently have, that will take you through progressively more challenging and complex combos.
- Ranked Match:
- Battle the most hardcore of fighting game foes in order to see how you stack up on a world leaderboard.
- Player Match
- Same style of 1v1 gameplay as Ranked, but will not affect your rank standing. Also where you can create lobbies for you and friends to play online, or against random people from around the world. Though for lag sake, sticking with people from your same country is a bit of a safer bet.
- This mode has made my friends and I so giddy with joy, it borders on ridiculous. If you have at least 4 people wanting to play, you can start a tournament (that you can name), and play for actual Tekken 7 in-game prize money that you can use for customization or gallery unlocks! The more people you have to join, the higher the prize pool. It has been a blast to hold our own mini EVO Grand Finals with this mode. I even came out of the loser’s bracket to take the Mud-butt Grand Finals! Don’t judge our tournament names…
In terms of online matchmaking and stability, I can happily report that outside of issues connecting to people the first few days of release, the connection has been amazing and I have encountered very few matches of slow down or lag!
So that is a breakdown of all the game modes, but the content keeps flowing! If you own a Playstation VR, you also get VR Mode. Unfortunately, I can’t speak at all to this mode, as I do not have one.
As a nice nod to long-time fans of the series on the Playstation, the PS4 version comes with a Jukebox that lets you choose from all the previous Tekken titles OST play during the game, create your own playlists of your favorites, or shuffle through the history of Tekken. As a huge fan of Tekken 5, being able to once again hear those tracks during fights has been a great bit of nostalgia.
Another feature added, this time NOT exclusive to the PS4 version, is the Gallery. In here, you are able to unlock cinematics and artwork from all the Tekken titles. Having the ability to look back at the glory that was Tekken 1 CG cinematics and comparing them to Tekken 7’s will really hit home just how much the technology in video games has improved in the 22 years since the first game was released in arcades!
Beautiful People Beating the Crap Out of Each Other.
Visually speaking, the game is quite easy on the eyes with flash hit effects and smooth 60fps animations. Characters’ clothing ripples in the wind, while shadows dance around torches in the stages. If you have played Tekken 6 or Tekken Tag 2, the appearance will look higher quality and more refined, but you know what you are in store for.
The soundtrack is once again packed with a mix of orchestra and synth-techno pieces that you can fight to, helping to add to the tension and excitement of any close match.
Punches and kicks sound and feel as though there is a true weight behind them. The animators of the Tekken series are certainly masters of the craft and it is on proudly on display here. Connecting blows are accented with bright flashes and effects that you can change out, adding to the already intense feeling of impacts, while the audio cues are equally as impactful.
One of my biggest gripes with the past few Tekken titles were the abhorrent load times. Luckily, they are nowhere near as horrendous this time around. Perhaps this is due to better optimizations and horsepower of today’s consoles or maybe the install. Though even with the install, I remember the load times between matches still being far too long in Tekken 6 and Tag 2. How rematches are still handled strangely though, with it going back to the character face offscreen before starting. Very odd. Very annoying.
A Champion Among The Masses
Fighting games currently fill many of the “Latest Releases” spaces in stores. Each with a high caliber of quality. Tekken 7 can proudly take its place among them at the top. Disregarding the franchise’s long and historic legacy in the fighter genre, Tekken 7 expertly crafts a complex and rich experience that is addictive and exciting to play. The sheer amount of modes and collectibles will keep players coming back over and over with that “just one more match” feeling.
There is a character for everyone, new players will just have to play around and experiment with different ones until they find that one that just clicks. The game itself is a blast even when you are just button-mashing and seeing what badass looking moves you can pull off. Once you really start learning a character and achieve his/her’s 10-Hit combo for the first time, you will be filled with pride and joy as you rush to try it out on your friends.
Tekken 7 will remain safely installed on my PS4 for the foreseeable future, as it will be a long time yet before another fighting game can match its quality.
- Tons of content for your money.
- Smooth play both online and offline
- Jukebox (for PS4 players) and the extensive gallery are great nods to longtime fans of the Tekken series
- Story is a fun romp, lasts just long enough and doesn't overstay it's welcome.
- When it comes to the customization accessories you can unlock for your characters, they range from badass to stupid and ridiculous.
- Missing out on some classic Tekken mainstays like Lei and Baek.
- The addition of Rage Arts and Drives seems unnecessary, and more like they just wanted to include something other fighters have had.