Fans have had to wait for far too long for the next main entry in the long running Tekken franchise, but Tekken 7 is now finally out for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It features a couple of new gameplay additions, an exciting new story mode and years of refinement; but the core of the game is largely the same.
For those completely new to the series, Tekken 7 is a 3D fighting game with emphasis on low, mid and high attacks while maintaining large strings of combos. New gameplay features include a Rage Art mechanic which allows you to unleash a super move when your health is low, letting you go for one final push or to finish off opponents who are also low on health. Rage Drive, which gives you access to special combos, can be used in this state as well. Even more game-changing is the new Power Crush move, which lets you endure mid and high attacks, before hitting opponents with a powerful strike. Unfortunately there is no tutorial in the game to introduce new players to these gameplay features or to the general flow of battle in a Tekken game.
The main story of Tekken 7 primarily focuses on the relationship between Heihachi and Kazuya. There are over a dozen chapters, but they consist of either a single fight or a series of throwaway enemies. As a result, the main story of Tekken 7 feels extremely short. A reporter narrates the beginning of every chapter but he serves no purpose and sounds bored for the entire duration due to the lack of any sort of emotion in his voice.
Thankfully, the rest of the mode is extremely well made. The story is told either via big budget action-packed cutscenes or through beautiful still images. The fights themselves have added cinematic flair and they are over the top in the best way possible. They will sometimes cut to flashbacks and videos from previous Tekken games, while you’re fighting, reminding you of the importance of this event. During one particular sequence, every time I would perform a combo, memories of key life events would flash in the background. This makes the circumstances all the more emotional and it really does feel like everything these characters have done in their lives was all leading up to this single fight. It’s these little things that make the story mode of Tekken 7 stand-out. In addition to the main plot, all characters have their own individual chapters that give closure to their story. But the way Tekken 7 handles character endings is not satisfactory as they all consist of a single fight and the ending cutscene usually falls flat, irrespective of whether it’s trying to keep you engaged or make you laugh. We rarely take away anything meaningful from the character endings.
After you’re finished with the main story, a huge chunk of your time will be spent online or in Treasure Battle. The latter consists of a series of fights with several tiers of rewards such as treasure chests or fight money. This can then be used to purchase customisation items for your characters. The game comes with a standard arcade mode as well but it’s only worth going through once with whichever characters you prefer.
Tekken 7 will undoubtedly please long-time fans, but it does little to bring in new players. The story mode is a delight, even though it falls short in several areas. While it does not have the seemingly endless content of Injustice 2, the top notch fighting mechanics and the online community will make Tekken 7 your default fighting game for years to come.