Tekken 7 — Review

I’ve never been a fighting game player, but in the last few months, I decided to try and search out a 1v1 game. I felt like the best option would be a fighting game. The options are sort of limited, as fighting games are not as popular as many other types of games. It seemed the most followed fighting games are Smash, Street Fighter, and then a pretty big gap.

As luck would have it as I was looking for a new game, Tekken 7 saw its release. Based on strong reviews I decided to give it a go and see what would happen.

Tekken always struck me as weird in the past. I don’t know exactly what about it always gave me a negative connotation of it. I think it always looked kind of cheesy and always heard that it was quite a difficult game. Seems lots of people didn’t like Tekken Tag either. To compound things, Tekken 7 first came out in arcades two years before it has hit pc or consoles.

When I’ve played a fighting game in the past it has typically been Street Fighter. It’s funny I have purchased Street Fighter 4 at least twice, once for the PlayStation and once for the PC. I’ve also purchased Street Fighter V for the PC but have put not much time into it. The game for some reason never really grabbed me despite its dominance in the niche. I think part of this is just that Street Fighter V has some long standing issues that need to be solved, but this isn’t the place to discuss them.

Tekken 7 has been out for a little bit now and has received a few patches. It was a little rougher around the edges on release, including having not good working network play on PS4. It seems most of the critical issues have been fixed. It’s based on the arcade version of Tekken 7 Fated Revolution.

Story Mode

Tekken 7 has a rather interesting story mode. It revolves around the Mishimas and there are lots of people that get thrown off cliffs, so it’s kind of cool. It doesn’t seem to take itself very seriously but I thought it was fun having never played Tekken before.

The mode takes about 3 hours to play and will introduce you to a bunch of the Tekken characters. It does, however, omit many characters. The rest of the cast do have their own short story modules. I have not viewed many of these as I don’t play Tekken for the story. I have seen a number of angry posts from other players that they are not good, so you’re probably not missing out on anything.

Story mode will also take you through the bare bones of Tekken game play. It doesn’t really teach you much about the game. There are lots of special character moves in this mode that are not in the other modes. There is also an easy mode where you just have to push a button here and there to do things, it’s so easy anyone can get through the story mode.

Graphics

Tekken 7 runs on Unreal Engine 4. Character models are top notch and have decent boob physics. The stages look amazing! It has a much darker tone than Street Fighter. The game runs at a locked 60 FPS.

Graphically speaking I don’t have anything bad to say.

Modes

There are 4 offline modes:

  1. Arcade Battle. A time attack arcade mode vs the CPU.

  2. Treasure Battle. This mode allows you to continuously battle the CPU to gain treasure chests that contain cosmetic items, or fight money, which is used to buy cosmetic items in game.

  3. VS Battle. You vs another local opponent.

  4. Practice. A general practice area, with lots of options.

There are also 3 online modes:

  1. Ranked Match.

  2. Player Match. Which means unranked matchmaking. You can also create and search lobbies in this mode, or have it automatically match you with other players.

  3. Tournament. Which allows people to host basically small tournaments and the winners get fight money from it.

Cosmetics

One of the more odd things about Tekken vs most other fighting games is the amount of customization is borderline absurd. You can change different parts of your characters outfit such as their hat, hair, top, bottom, weapons, as well as the colors of these items. It really allows you to give your characters your own flair.

You unlock cosmetic items by:

  • Buying them with fight money, which you earn from playing matches.

  • Getting them from chests in Treasure Battle.

  • Playing at least 2000 matches online or offline will unlock everything except paid content.

I love and hate the cosmetic stuff.

I love it because it’s a really cool feature. You can give your characters lots of different looks, and honestly, I’ve spent more time doing character customization that I would like to admit. There is a good range of options to choose from.

I hate it however because it’s not as well-done as it could be and I feel it breaks the game a bit. First off some cosmetics drastically change the way a character looks to the point that if you aren’t familiar with the game you wouldn’t know it’s said character unless you looked up in the corner to see their avatar. Secondly, some cosmetics are seriously annoying. You can have weird things like a ghost floating around you, a small remote tank on the ground, or shower on your head.

The color picker is also a joke. Makes me wonder if anyone looked it over before release.

There are also weapons. You can equip a variety of guns, swords, and pizzas… They have quite a bit of start up time but do solid damage if you can land them. Excellent for trolling in a match! Even though weapons are not tournament legal you can use them in ranked which I find very odd.

Cosmetics are an important revenue stream for many games, but I think if you do them wrong they can hurt more than they help.

Practice Mode

One really bright spot is the Practice Mode. This is what really got me into Tekken because it’s done well enough that it allows you to get started learning the game. It’s not perfect by any stretch but I feel like it’s better than Street Fighter V.

You can pull up your move list and anchor a move to the top of your screen so that you can see the inputs and practice doing it. Optionally you can also play a recording of the move that shows you exactly how to do the move. These two small things make a world of difference to a new player. It has always been an annoyance in Street Fighter that I could only bring up my move list momentarily and would have to bounce back and forth and you didn’t understand if you were doing a move correctly. It’s a small thing that goes a very long way.

Also in this mode, you can set up all different kinds of conditions. Want the CPU to block after the first hit? No problem. Want the CPU to start on the ground and then get up? No problem. Now I wouldn’t say everything is 100% clear in this mode, but I think it’s easy enough to figure most everything and get down to actually practicing.

The community does a good job of also compiling frame data for the game. Although it seems like a missed opportunity to not actually put the frame data in practice mode. Luckily someone in the community has created a tool called Tekken Bot that can put an overlay right in the game and see your frame data as you play.

Online Play

I’ve only played the PC version of the game mind you but I’ve had very few issues with online play. When the game was first released the PS4 version had significant problems, but have since been taken care of. I still see the occasional post about someone having issues but I would tend to attribute this to their router or internet than anything.

Recent patches have also removed most of the details from online matches. You can only see the username of the player you have matched with. You use to be able to see their character, number of wins on that character, and rank. That data was removed because too many people were dodging matchups. In my opinion, this was the best thing for the game, I found that even in unranked play if I had a few hundred wins on a character even though I’m not good, people would constantly dodge. It was very frustrating as a new player.

A recent patch also gave the ability of unlimited rematching in ranked play. Unranked has always had this feature.

Currently, the PC version can hit a peak of ~5000 players every day. I find it easy to find matches. It not known how many players are on PS4, but from my understanding, there are probably more than PC.

Online has a few sore spots though.

Tournament mode is a mess. People can run them, then leave and the entire tournament stops. Whomever runs the tournament can kick people as well. So you really have no idea if it’s really worth your time. Neat idea, but terrible execution.

Sadly there is no replay feature like in Street Fighter V. A bit annoying, but you can set up some kind of screen recording to capture your session. I would love to be able to see my inputs during a replay though.

Balance

Most people seem to agree that Tekken 7 is a rather balanced game. Everything has a counter. No characters seem that much stronger than anyone else, and everyone seems like they are viable.

There are of course tier lists like any other fighting game. They don’t really mean much of anything though. Example, Jack 7 is considered low tier on many of these lists, yet Saint one of the best players in the world mains him in tournament play and wins.

It’s funny because the way Tekken is, all characters share the same base, but are all different enough be played very differently.

Tekken 7 also introduced some new mechanics like Rage Art and Rage Drive. When you hit ~30% in health you gain access to these special moves. A Rage Art is what you could consider and ultimate style move. It requires good timing and super unsafe on block, usually resulting in your defeat if blocked, but it does a lot of damage when it hits. Rage Drive moves are typically fast, require good timing, safe on block, but require more execution to get something out of them. At high-level play, you will see Rage Drive more than Rage Arts, and the inverse in low-level play.

The Future of Tekken

The future of the game looks bright. There is new content on the way. New costumes coming soon as well as Tekken Bowling mode. A new character Geese Howard (yes from Fatal Fury) was announced at EVO, who looks dope!

Speaking of EVO, this year had the largest group of Tekken players with ~1500 players, vs ~500 last year. The game was only released a short time before the big event so it’s very impressive. I’m super excited to see what the turn out is like next year. I’ve had a ton of fun watching the Tekken World Tour events as well.

Final Thoughts

Tekken is a solid game. It looks great and plays great. There is a strong growing and helpful community. It’s a lot of fun and has good new content on the way. It has a well-balanced roster of characters whom you can also customize in many ways to make them yours.

It is a little rough around the edges and has a sizable learning curve. No replays. There is more input lag on the console version. Character story modes are regarded as crap. I feel as long as you don’t approach it as expecting it to be perfect then you will be fine.

I’ve had so much fun playing this game I really do hope you try it out. The positives are much greater than the negatives. Fighting games are not that popular for some reason, but Tekken 7 is a great first fighting game.

The pen name of the illustrious editor of this fine site. Randomly generated for a D&D game called Baldurs Gate. A chaotic good, male, dwarf, dual class fighter/thief.
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