The Tekken franchise has always been able to stand toe-to-toe with Street Fighter because they offer vastly different experiences. Where Street Fighter requires almost academic-level of studying frames and chaining proper combos, Tekken is always about fluidity and reactionary gameplay. You don’t go charging in when playing Tekken; you wait, counter-attack, string the right juggles and then back away. Tekken 7 brings all of this back to the table but it hardly adds anything else and that’s the core issue.
“Other than the new characters and new mechanics the gameplay is still very reminiscent of the past few Tekken games, especially if you’ve played Tekken 3, either of the Tekken Tag Tournament games and Tekken 6”
Let’s tackle what’s new and that primarily includes a bunch of new fighters. You get the Filipina fighter Josie Rizal, the Italian Claudio Serafino who is leading a battle against the Devil Gene and Kazumi Mishima, Heihachi’s wife. There are nine new characters total and there’s the new guest character: Akuma from the Street Fighter franchise.
Another addition is the Rage Mode. When the fighter’s life is low they can access two Rage techniques known as Rage Drive and Rage Art. The former grants a big boost to offensive power while the latter is a single-use attack that deals a ton of damage. Players can also utilize the new Power Crush mechanic which lets the fighter continue their combo even while they are getting hit but will still receive damage.
“The only time the story actually shows a glimmer of brilliance is towards the end but by then you’ll likely no longer care about what’s going on”
Other than the new characters and new mechanics the gameplay is still very reminiscent of the past few Tekken games, especially if you’ve played Tekken 3, either of the Tekken Tag Tournament games and Tekken 6. It’s a shame that there’s so little improvement and casual players might not even see the differences between this and the older installments.
However, the recent Tekken games are already so polished so it comes as no surprise that Namco Bandai played it safe here instead of greatly shaking the formula.
“The dialogue, however, is beyond cringe-inducing”
Tekken 7 does introduce one new element although this is where the game severely falters. A more involved story campaign has been added and it is told primarily through the perspective of a reporter. It’s a lot more involved than how the Street Fighter games tell their story but it is so awkwardly executed.
You can go through multiple fights before getting a new story cutscene. These fights often have little relation to the ongoing plot and some of the fighters’ excuses for fighting the player can be outlandishly ridiculous, to say the least.
“I still have to give props to Tekken 7 because it is a much better product during its launch compared to what Street Fighter V offered”
Pacing and writing are key elements in telling a story and Tekken 7 fails in both areas. The dialogue is beyond cringe-inducing. Let’s not even begin talking about the quality of the voice-acting, which is mostly hit or miss. The only time the story actually shows a glimmer of brilliance is towards the end but by then you’ll likely no longer care about what’s going on.
This is really disappointing particularly since NetherRealms already showed that a fighting game can have a great story campaign. The 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot title still has one of the finest narratives in fighting game history.
I still have to give props to Tekken 7 because it is a much better product during its launch compared to what Street Fighter V offered. Nowadays, Street Fighter V is a really good game with a lot of content but when it launched it barely had anything to justify its expensive price tag. At least Tekken 7 is a complete package and is confirmed to get even more content with its announced DLC.
Tekken 7 is a great game and it does add a few new tricks to justify its spot as one of the best fighting games today. However, fans of the franchise will find it disappointing that the additions are so few to truly distinguish it from previous titles and the story mode feels rushed and poorly executed.
It is available on PC via Steam and on both the PS4 and Xbox One.