When it comes to the fighter genre, there are numerous titles which reside at the forefront. Whether it be the crowd favourites Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, or the hidden gem/sleeper hits like Power Stone or Saturday Night Slam Masters. Basically, there’s something out there for everyone. Yes, it doesn’t matter if it’s style or strategy, fighting games offer a variety of colorful characters and unique settings to choose from. Speaking of which, one series that does characters and setting quite well is the Tekken franchise.
Now, this may come across as a bit biased, but I absolutely love Tekken. (Only a bit biased, right?) I remember going straight to the arcade in the local theatre and spending hours trying to get through the final fight. It’s a franchise that really introduced me to the world of gaming, as I’m sure it has many others. That being said though, Tekken has come a long way from its days as an arcade fighter, having now released its seventh entry into the main series. So with rose-tinted glasses aside, just how good is Tekken 7?
Well in regards to balance and controls, players could do a lot worse than Tekken 7. Unfortunately, that also means that they could do a lot better. Most in-game fighters have averaged-out abilities that provide an entertaining mixture of enjoyable combos with well-structured move-sets. Fighters like King and Heihachi, on the other hand, bring a rather one-sided style to matches. I found that more often than not, fights that featured either of them ended fairly swift. Not to say ‘the game is broken’, but a couple of nerf patches wouldn’t have gone amiss to help make ranked matches less of a struggle.
The online gameplay in Tekken 7 is about what one would expect for a fighting title. I didn’t find any issues with lag or screen-tearing, so that’s always a plus. Most fights were pretty close with the odd exception here and there, but that’s to be expected. Overall, the online is definitely something worth picking up the game for, if the single player/story doesn’t cut it.
On that note, Tekken 7’s story is quite enjoyable, establishing a far more focused narrative than is common for the series. Actually, the thing I appreciated most was the tone switch from its predecessor, which seemed to go for a goofier style rather than serious. Instead, Tekken 7 goes for a darker, more family driven plotline that, sure, may have funny moments, but all in all at least knows what it’s going for in a somber story. It’s another nice addition to an already well crafted character game, not letting anything go to waste in terms of arcs or plots.
Where the negatives start to build up, however, is in the lack of modes. This isn’t a huge let down, but as we get further along in sports titles, multiplayer only, and fighting games, modes are going to be what helps sell the product. Take the ‘Tower Mode’ in Mortal Kombatfor example, it was a nice move by the developers that was able to garner newer interest in an older franchise. Tekken, however, includes very basic modes and little else worth mentioning.
Graphical/processing capability is solid enough, it’s nice to see how the characters and settings have grown as the console generations grow. Although, it feels like a grander scale could have been used. The Injustice series has a feature that allows maps to be used to their full potential by extending them out to the edges in order to pull off difficult moves. I feel that Tekken could’ve utilized the same method as well, hopefully also done with the same amount of care.
With all that in mind, the exception being a lack of modes, some level structure issues, and character balancing, Tekken 7 is a solid entry into the series. Where it let’s down in specs, it makes up for in drive. If anything, it’s a game that I believe tries to go for gold, while only ‘tekken’ home the silver.