The Culmination of Derivative Bliss
Some things are always true about a new Tekken release. Tekken 7 has satisfying combat like its predecessors. The controls are responsive; strikes hit hard and realistically; the game plays fast; many of the characters are easy to pick up but challenging to master; and presentation of the graphics and sound are cutting edge. While some characters are swinging around twenty year old combo strings at noobs, a lot of the new characters, along with some new play mechanics, make this 3D fighter fresh again. You have to look deep to find faults in Tekken 7, but they are there.
Tekken 7 | The Quest For More Physics
Street Fighter‘s Akuma is offered a large role in the story mode of Tekken 7. Great care was taken implementing an Akuma that plays very close to the Capcom fighting game iterations that we are familiar with. You can jump in with a kick, follow up with a one-two punch and cancel it into a hurricane kick and finish with a 3-hit Dragon Punch just like in Street Fighter. You can even lengthen the combo by canceling the Dragon Punch with his Street Fighter 4 Focus Attack. At this point, Tekken vets are thinking, “I can jump in to start a combo?” Physics for each character is different. Varying styles of characters have different effects. Apparently, in Capoeira, when you kick someone in the shin, they pop up 15 feet, and in kickboxing the same type of hit makes someone stumble backwards possibly long enough to land a follow-up hit. Crazy physics is just something you have to embrace if you are going to excel in Tekken 7. Some characters can fly, hover, teleport, and many of them can dribble you like a basketball if you get knocked down.
Tekken | Now With Rage Attacks and Armor
When your health bar gets low, you enable a few new attacks. The first is the Rage Attack. It has built-in armor qualities, meaning you can take a hit once it has been activated and still complete the move. While they are easy to block, they are best used as counterattacks. If you take a hit that lowers your life to zero, you will get KO’d before your attack can complete. Each character has a few attacks with armored qualities. When your life bar is low, you will also have access to the Rage Drive moves. These work differently for each character. The biggest complaint with Rage Attacks is that they fail to activate sometimes, and you get crushed.
There are a few modes to play in this game, but they are all basically a 1-versus-1 combat mode. Tournament Mode lets you participate in an automated online tournament that is well executed and results in a lot of in-game currency. Treasure mode is an endless gauntlet of one-on-one matches versus the cpu that unlock in-game currency and fashion accessories for characters. The story mode that ships with Tekken 7 is the biggest let down of this game. While the story is visually well done and the sounds are great, the weak narration and snail’s pacing kills it. In the first weak of its release, the online modes were almost impossible to connect with, but a recent patch has made online matchmaking better.
There are a few other things that can be dug into for added value to the game including the capability to play the soundtrack from any Tekken during battles, but then the value starts to run low after that. While adding weapons to your character through customization will lead to an additional fighting move, most of the customizable options are only cosmetic. In our 100 battle Treasure Mode spree, the only additional types of matches that came up were the occasional ‘both characters do double damage’ and ‘both characters move at turbo speed’.
If all you want is more Tekken the way only Tekken can deliver it, then yes, this is the next step. Prepare for your Tekken 6 drop kick physics, your unpredictable random losses due to your Rage Attack not activating, and the ending of your excitement after you’ve collected more that half your gear from an hour in Treasure Mode. Fortunately, this is a fighting game–and that type of action is definitely where Namco shines.