Within my first thirty seconds of booting up Tekken 7, I was already convinced that I was going to enjoy what the game had in store. The pumping music and familiar yet refined and outgoing presentation welcomed me back into the series with open arms. It’s been some years since I’ve played Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, but upon entering Tekken 7 I was reminded of those nights endlessly going head to head against friends and losing hours to intense, fun competition. Tekken 7 succeeds in being a solid entry into the series. Through presentation, updates to the fight mechanics, and a deluge of content for fans to enjoy, Tekken 7 punches through the competition and reminds us why Tekken is one of the best fighting game franchises of all time.
The packaging around Tekken 7 is beautiful. The menus are slick. The music in the main menu immediately asks for your attention; but if for some reason you don’t find the music that engaging, it’s okay because Tekken 7 also has the soundtracks to every other Tekken game including Tekken Revolution. The over the top presentation of the game adds charm as it capitalizes off of Tekken’s history as a retro game franchise. The announcers, the particle effects, and the overall vibe of the game feels very rooted in an updated 90s fighting game style and the presentation portrays this before even entering a fight. Once you are in a fight, slight touches like the contextual camera zoom and slow motion on impact take the feel and intensity of the fight to the next level. Tekken 7 is a much more cinematic game than its predecessors.
Fighting in Tekken is mostly the same as it has always been with a couple of minor tweaks that have a major impact. The most notable addition is the change to the Rage system. In previous Tekken games, once your health dropped below a certain percentage, Rage mode would activate. Once Rage mode is active, your character would obtain an increase in damage given. In Tekken 7, instead of the increase in damage, Rage mode now allows the player access to Rage Arts. Rage Arts are a single attack that do considerable damage. When executed, they are carried out through an animation sequence which is very new to Tekken yet fits right at home. The inclusion of Rage Arts may be controversial for hardcore players seeing as how these techniques open the door for the tables to be turned easily during a match if hit. Rage Arts can allow for large deficits to be closed which can be both a good and bad thing. For casual and newer players, Rage Arts will likely be a welcomed addition. As someone who is less of a hardcore Tekken player but still a fan of the series, I personally appreciate the extra dimension to the fighting that Rage Arts bring.
Outside of the fighting, Tekken 7 has a great amount of content for fans to enjoy. The story mode takes a page from Netherrealm’s book and goes for a cinematic cut-scene filled focused story that will take a few hours to get through. The story focuses heavily on the Mishima family and their plights. It features a very well utilized cameo and adds some small tweaks here and there to make for an enjoyable overall experience. When you’re done with the base story, there are also short vignettes available to play through for the rest of Tekken’s cast; but if that’s not enough to satisfy you then don’t worry, there is a classic arcade mode along with a new treasure mode if you want to play specifically to collect items which you can use for things such as character customization which is back. Character customization returns with more options and a lot more opportunities for sick outfits, unique touches, and hilarious combinations. If somehow everything I just mentioned still is not everything you want from Tekken 7, well Tekken 7 has story endings you can unlock from all the Tekken games. There is not much more fan service to ask for than the nostalgia trip of watching Eddy’s ending from Tekken Tag Tournament.
There is a lot to keep you busy in Tekken 7 outside of the fighting; but even with that being the case the game still excels with solid fighting mechanics that are fun for beginners to learn but challenging for fans to master. The new mechanics added succeed in shaking things up and keeping things interesting while the single player content keeps the game engaging while giving the player reasons to keep coming back. Tekken 7 is successful in being a solid next entry into this seasoned franchise.