The Tekken video game franchise has long been a popular title in the fighting game genre, from its initial release in 1994, as an arcade game, through to its latest installment, Tekken 7, which recently released for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Tekken 7 is set shortly after the events of its predecessor, Tekken 6, and is heavily focussed on the fights between martial artist Heihachi Mishima and his son, Kazuya. Throughout the main story mode of the game, the plot slowly unfolds with a revelation on why Heihachi tried to kill Kazuya when he was only a child.
The game is based on 1-on-1 battles with traditional story, arcade and online multiplayer modes. The arcade mode of the game is much like that of other fighting games, in which the player progresses through each level by defeating opponents one by one. Next to the story mode, which allows players to delve deeper into the character history of the main characters, the arcade mode was one of my favourite modes to play.
A number of new additions and updates were made to this latest iteration of the franchise, such as a new display system which allows players to choose which side of the screen they wish to play on. This, personally, wasn’t too much of a big deal however, competitively I can see the advantage of being able to choose which side to begin fighting on.
Other updates to gameplay include two new mechanisms, Rage Art and Power Crush, which essentially allows players to deal more damage to their opponent. I won’t delve too much into this as I, personally, did not utilise these as much as I probably should. I’m still fairly new to actually knowing what I’m doing in fighting games. My old style of playing was to just simply button-mash my way through a fight.
For someone used to the old Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter games, which were fairly easy to pick up, I actually found Tekken 7 a bit more challenging in terms of remembering combos and trying to remember to use the side-stepping ability to dodge attacks.
Unlike Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter though, I did thoroughly enjoy the plot of Tekken 7, which actually felt more realistic compared to some of the other fighting game narratives I’ve seen. Even the controls felt a lot smoother, despite the combo complexity, something that I definitely wasn’t used to. The fluidity of gameplay and combat mechanisms certainly caught my attention as soon as I began playing the game and I found myself being thrown off slightly as I expected more mechanical movements. Perhaps that just comes with not playing newer and more recent fighting games.
Visually the game was filled with special effects. Each ability that was performed and damage dealt would unleash an array of bright, coloured effects that demanded attention. Almost every second of the game, where a cutscene wasn’t present, was filled with glorious effects that I must admit to getting headaches from time to time while playing.
Compared to Street Fighter, I found myself actually feeling more kinship with the Tekken 7 characters as I found them to be more Interesting and with a dark past. The father-son dynamic at the centre of the plot made for a very intriguing narrative and therefore an interesting game.
All in all, Tekken 7 was a welcome addition to the popular fighting game franchise and is an excellent game for gamers of all levels and experience. With an interesting story mode and more fluid combat, newbies to fighting games will be in for a treat.