Over the years I have indulged in numerous fighting games including Street Fighters, Mortal Kombat, and the Naruto storm series just to name a few, but I am in no way an expert on this particular genre. It’s a genre I play casually without much interest in competing with other human players. My experience with these types of games usually involves me playing their campaign, and arcade modes to completion then bidding them adieu as I return to the warm embrace of some JRPG that’s waiting patiently on me, and though Tekken 7 is an amazing addition to it respective franchise, It has not broken this trend.
The team at Bandai Namco have done a relatively good job bringing this illustrious franchise to the current generation of consoles, and for the most part it looks and plays well. Again remember I am not an expert on these types of games, so don’t expect me to mention anything about combo counts, advanced juggling or any other thing that an avid fans of fighting games would understand. I basically learn a few moves and combos, then spam them till get to the next cut-scene. This is especially fun when you have a lot of characters to interact with like Tekken 7 has. The game features 37 playable characters, including a lot of classic characters who all seem to play like I remember, with only minor variations to some of their animations. Paul still has his (back, back, punch) health bar super draining move, Eddie still stands on his hands and spams those unpredictable capoeira kicks. In essence, characters have a very familiar feel to them, so fans should feel right at home.
As for the new characters they were also pretty easy to master, especially Akuma, who makes a cameo from the Street Fighter series, even going so far as to play a prominent role in the game’s main campaign. His attacks and combos were so well implemented in the game to the extent that if you are able to play him well in street fighter, you’ll dominate the Tekken characters. This is due to his ability to control a match with his long range fireballs, ability to glide across the screen, and his iconic raging demon attack, which I must say is very easy to execute in this game (X, X, forward, A, Y or square, square, forward, X, triangle) got it down like a science. ? Though I may not be an expert at fighting games, I was able to spam my way to a couple perfects with him. Other characters like devil Kazuya are also able to dominate a match at range, but even he pales in comparison to Akuma. A character who is even more imposing to face than the game’s primary antagonist. Some may consider him a cheat character that has no right being in the game, but I consider him a reviewer’s best friend. The game also has an easy mode that assists the player by allowing them to perform basic combos with just the use of single button inputs, example: “X, X, X, X”. This makes the game even more accessible to those who are more interested in plot than gameplay.
Disclaimer: Before beginning to talk about the game’s visuals, it should be noted that I completed this review using an Xbox One copy of the game. My reason for mention this her is because I “assume” that the game looks even better on the other two home platforms it is available for based on my experience with other multi-platform titles.
I felt the need to leave a disclaimer, because I don’t find that the game looks as good on the XBOX ONE as it looks in trailers. Character models look lower-res than their pre-rendered counterparts due to some jagged edges, and lower-res textures. The game also has a habit of having the ground below the character’s feet crack up, and the broken pieces sometimes tend to clip into the characters in a disconcerting manner that takes away from the game’s visual appeal. Now mind you, this is me being nitpicky about the game. For the most part I am very contented with what is on offer in Tekken 7, but as a reviewer I know that some individuals put a lot of emphasis on the visual appeal of these types of games, and I wanted to address those concern.
That being said visuals are not the most important part for games like this, performance is. The game runs at a steady frame-rate when in battle, but strangely enough it does suffer from what I can only imagine to be hardware limitations with stuttering during some cut-scenes, and some relatively long loading times. Again, this could just be some limitations of the XBOX ONE’s hardware, and maybe the other versions of the game run without any of these minor annoyances that I’ve mentioned.
All of that aside, the game is pretty solid in it’s offerings for the single player crowd. It has your standard arcade mode, practice mode, VS mode, campaign mode, and a treasure battle mode. This last mode allows the player to compete against different Ai controlled characters in an effort to unlock new outfits and gear for characters. This was probably the mode I spent the most time with, because I like the feeling of getting something new after each fight. The possibility of instant gratification compelled me to play the modes that offered the most rewards, and this is the mode that I found to be the most rewarding. Second to that would have to be the campaign. The plot was relatively easy to follow, and in a way I view it as more of a prequel sort of plot that tries to answer some questions about the Mishima family, which it does, but it also leaves a few unanswered questions to tease fans. My understanding of the previous Tekken games plots was quite limited before playing this entry, but with the inclusion of cut-scenes from all the previous games in the gallery mode, and the way the campaign develops, it was easy enough to understand without playing the previous entries in the franchise. In my opinion this makes Tekken 7 the most accessible Tekken game for newcomers who may want to give this franchise a try, but may be evidently put off by the number 7 preceding the name. After completing the main plot you are able to tackle other single battle sub-plots for each character, but don’t expect any grandiose attention to story telling in these. They were primarily unsatisfying filler content that left me wanting more.
Tekken 7 also offers a greatly customizable experience to players, with the inclusion of a character customization mode that allows you to change your character’s look in a lot of interesting ways. Gone are the days of just having two to three preordained character skins. Now we get to make our own versions of each character. Don’t like the hair on a character, then change it. All of the customizations are unlockable in game, and purchasable with in game currency that the game is very generous with. Players are also able to customize their HUD and online profile to make their experience with the game a unique one.
It should be noted that I did not partake in the online mode during my time with the game due to my network operating a lot slower than usual. Full disclosure I’m not saddened by this outcome, due in part to my disinterest in being abused online by folks that can dominate a match like it ain’t anyone’s business.
I had a good time playing this game without needing to know much about it’s predecessors, or playing the online modes, and thanks to an easy to follow campaign, gallery mode, and other single player aspects of the game, I was able to get plenty of enjoyment out of it. It is relatively solid in the graphics, and performance department where it matters most, making for some solid gameplay. Those that may want more out of their experience with the game should be able to find that in the other modes, and those that want a casual experience can have their cake and eat it too. It’s a game that serves two masters, and it does that well. If you’re familiar with the Tekken series then you should feel at home with this one. If you’re new to it, then your experience is likely to be fairly similar to mine.
The copy of Tekken 7 used for this review was provided to us by the game’s publisher, Bandai Namco.