Tekken is my personal favourite fighting game franchise of all time. Tekken 3 round a friends was always a ton of fun back in the day. Later down the line, I went on to own my first ever Tekken, which was Tekken Tag Tournament on the PS2. Watching that intro is still great now. Tekken 4 came around and took the whole Tekken lore further and had an actual story mode. It also had addictive modes such as Tekken force, which was Tekken’s version of streets of rage. It was awesome. Now decades later, the latest instalment is here, Tekken 7. Is this an aging franchise? Or is the king of iron fist still a huge hitter?
Tekken 7 retains the core gameplay formula that has made Tekken so loved by many. It’s accessible for anyone to play, but has thick layers of depth surrounding it. Tekken has always perfected the balance of accessibility for casual players, and huge depth to the core for the competitive and dedicated players. There genuinely isn’t another fighter out there that strikes the balance as well as Tekken does. Tekken 7 is no different. With more characters and more detailed move sets, it adds to the foundation that Tekken has created for so long.
Tekken 7’s gameplay is fantastic, and in my opinion the best fighter out there in terms of gameplay. Every single character has an exciting learning curve to them. Every fight feels responsive, intense and to simply put it, fun. It’s not perfect however, Eddy seems to be nerfed as he was overpowered in previous games and easy to use. Many people regarded him as a cheap character to use. Well with every Tekken game, there comes a character that still leaves that distaste. Lucky Chloe seems to be the new Eddy. I also don’t really like the rage art moves. Aka the special attacks. Although it’s fun, it kind of takes away a bit of depth the gameplay has. Simply press R1 and the character can pull off a special attack. Yes they can be blocked and countered, but there are situations where you just couldn’t do anything about it, and that can be frustrating and feel cheap.
Regardless of the tiny gripes I have, the gameplay is outstanding. It’s a modern, gorgeous, up to date Tekken to the common man, but it’s a new Tekken with new sheets of layers for the hardcore. Something Tekken gets so right is how unique every character is, and how differently you can play against so many different people, as everyone has their own personal preference. Kazuya and Jin are definitely characters that are hard to master, but once you do master them, they are a real force. But then we have all of the other characters. I’m really not a fan of Yoshimitsu, never have been, but I know people that love him and are beasts with him. Jack is a monster, and is good for someone who may play defensive and is great for counter attacks. All it takes is a few hits when they’re off guard and he has done some serious damage. Get it wrong with Jack however, and he is awful. Brian is my personal favourite character to use But King and Law are other characters I turn to. All of the characters feel like viable options, provided they fit your playstyle. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
Tekken 7 currently is one of my favourite games to play against friends, it’s a real laugh, and as I said before, tons of fun. In my trip to Japan, playing it in the arcade was a surreal experience, and I learnt the hard way how good some players can be. The huge skill gap is definitely there, despite the game being accessible. Again further evidence on how they got that balance nailed.
The characters are all distinctive, but on top of that, the characters are iconic and memorable. The Tekken universe is awesome, and I’ve always loved it. Tekken has always had a story around these characters.
Here is where I have a problem with Tekken 7. The story that’s set for these characters actually has a ton of potential. The lore Tekken has around these characters is enthralling. But yet the actual story mode in Tekken 7 is a mess.
The pacing of the story is awful. Most of the story hardly makes sense at all because every sequence is so rushed. The story just feels completely hollow. There are moments where you think, ah this could be going somewhere, and some of the fight sequences are epic thanks to the visuals and once again, good music. But then the fight just kinda… doesn’t go anywhere? It ends abruptly and then it’s onto the next scene. It feels rushed, cheesy at times and just lazy if I’m honest.
The extra story content known as character episodes are downright insulting, why did they even bother? They’re basically just one off fight scenarios of each character where a really short cutscene will play, you win the fight and then a pointless cutscene plays after. They’re pretty much just skits, but they don’t feel meaningful at all, it’s a waste of time.
How can Tekken have such great lore around the characters but yet fail so hard with the story? It’s really poor. If you’re going to do a story mode, do it properly, or don’t bother at all. There’s so much potential for Tekken to have a great story, but lousy writing yet again makes it a pointless experience.
Don’t even get me started on how frustrating some of the actual story mission fights are either. It’s incredibly cheap, and it leads to you just spamming the same move and exploiting the CPU because of their cheap stupid moves and handicaps.
There’s no denying that Tekken 7’s gameplay is fantastic, but it doesn’t offer anything more than that. The story mode is short, and not up to par. As for the other areas, there are hardly any modes. Arcade mode is incredibly short. Treasure battle is basically just a series of random battles against the CPU where you rank up and earn coins to use for cosmetic items. It’s nice, but it’s really nothing special, and won’t keep you playing for much longer. Where’s the Tekken force mode? Where’s survival mode?
Why can’t Tekken have some sort of career mode like a sports game has but in the Tekken universe? Imagine a king of iron fist tournament career mode structured like the WWE games or the fight night games? Imagine a mode with a progression system where you have to work your way up from the rookie rank right to the big leagues, with big championships to compete for? Instead what we have is a mode where you fight the CPU, and you simply get promoted to a higher rank where the CPU gets tougher. It’s very basic stuff.
Online is good fun and surprisingly very smooth. I didn’t experience much input delay at all in most of my games. However, even the online mode becomes a bit stale as it’s merely just standard fights against players. There’s nothing to really work for other than higher ranks to fight better players. Yes you could argue the attraction of online is to be the best player possible against real world players. That’s great, but that’s all it can offer. The online just doesn’t have any depth or progression system to keep you coming back for more like other online games do in other genres.
The gameplay is deep, there’s no denying that. But outside of the gameplay, the game is rather shallow. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like Tekken 7, it’s a good game. The gameplay is fantastic, and playing against friends, is genuinely one of the most fun games to play in my opinion. Outside of that though, there isn’t really that much to sink your teeth into. If you’re interested in just the gameplay, and want to be the best at this game, Tekken 7 delivers. However, if you want a more rounded experience, it’s hard to recommend this game for full price.
Overall It’s still a good game to have in my library of games, but I got it pre owned for cheaper. I couldn’t justify spending £50 on this. Tekken 7 is a good game, but not worth the full price.