I got into Tekken way too late. I was more of a Street Fighter and Soul Calibur kind of a guy. The first time I got into Tekken was when 5 released. The mechanics, animation, fighting styles, characters, and levels were amazing. But the later releases I had an issue with, especially with the mechanics. The juggle combo system was just too much, and there weren’t many positive changes in terms of mechanics or characters.
I don’t know if I got a better handle on the mechanics this time around or that it’s better fleshed out in Tekken 7. It feels that the visual cues and indicators to how the system works are way better. The mechanics are more balanced and there isn’t as much ridiculous juggling as previous games. Even the characters, or at least the ones I invested time into, feel more fleshed out and balanced; most of the combos have their own uses and almost none are variant for the sake of being a variant. The only issue I had with the mechanics, which is actually not part of the mechanics, is the lack of a tutorial. Even the combos could have benefited from something like Street Fighter’s Trials mode where they would show you how certain combos can be pulled off. Instead the game relies on its usual system.
The “Rage Art” and “Rage Drive” which are basically the Supers felt a bit cheap at first. The way they work is that you can execute them once your life gauge reaches below 75% or so. But as I continued playing, they made the matches more exciting by giving the losing player an edge for a comeback. Another mechanic that makes things even more exciting is the ending blow; if both player’s life is almost depleted the game would go into slow-mo keeping the players on edge.
When it comes to game modes Tekken 7 may lack when compared to previous games in the series. But still, it had enough to keep me engaged with the story mode, arcade, online, practice, treasure battle, and character customization. And again yes, it has a Story mode and an Arcade mode from the get-go. Looking at you Street Fighter 5.
Stories in most games are awful, and in fighting games, though they can start good, it’s really hard to write and keep up good stories. First, because you have to incorporate many characters in one narrative. Secondly, the more sequels you make the harder it gets to keep it going.
The story in Tekken 7, though it still has its video-gamy elements, was actually surprisingly good. The developers ditched the old-school style where you play each character to get part of the story, for the better and less complicated style which they borrowed from the latest Mortal Kombat games. You play as a couple of characters that are involved in the main narrative. Yes, it’s sad that you won’t be playing as your main character, but this style is more solid for storytelling, and less expensive.
Tekken 7‘s story is told mostly through a non-playable character; an investigative reporter whose life was affected by the Mishima war. He follows the Mishima’s seeking a reason for why his family was killed. The story is told through still images coupled with voice over of the reporter as he uncovers the story bit by bit. It felt a bit artsy-fartsy for my taste. But the Story mode is also told through cut-scenes and within matches. In some parts, you will play a normal match, but with certain blows, one of the characters would say something and drive the narrative.
What’s great in Tekken 7 is that it rounds up the story for new players, and to some level, gives fans of the series a conclusion to a long ongoing part. And of course, it opens a new door for the next sequel.
The worst part of the story is how many characters are left out and given literally one match that starts with a text the sets up the short, awful story. For instance, Bryan’s story is that in the midst of war he encountered Bob. And being the psycho he is he fought him, and then brought down a plane by throwing an H-beam at it. That’s it.
For a game that was released two years ago on arcade, it looks pretty awesome. The characters are awesomely detailed, the effects are better than ever and the levels look and feel great. Still, with all of that, the levels fail to stand next to the levels from Tekken 5. In Tekken 5 each level had its own color palette, and the colors had more of a pop to them.
By far the worst aspect of the game is the soundtrack. It fails epically, especially when compared to previous games. All the tracks fail to inject the battle with any level of excitement or even bring the level itself to any sort of life. If you take Moonlit Wilderness for example from Tekken 5, it has all the elements a fighting game needs. The right music, colors, and aesthetics.
In terms of gameplay, Tekken 7 stands as the most sound game in the series. The only shortcomings in the game are just cosmetics. Online play works fine, the story mode was solid and the character roster will keep you invested for a long time. So, if you’re looking for a deep satisfying fighting game, that can also be played casually, look no further.