For nearly 20 years TEKKEN has dominated the fighting game arena, and with its latest instalment, TEKKEN 7, things aren’t looking to be any different. There’s no denying that we’ve all played at least one fighting game before and TEKKEN would most likely be in a lot of gamer’s top 10 lists. For me, TEKKEN has always been a staple and somewhat of a landmark game in my gaming life, so it’s definitely one of my favourites.
In TEKKEN 7 the Mishima family are at it again, in a feud that has spanned over twenty years and would put the Skywalkers to shame. This family feud has been the main premise for the TEKKEN franchise, a constant struggle for power via the King of Iron Fist Tournament.
The story for TEKKEN 7 sees things becoming a little bit more involved and urgent, I guess you could say. The world is a war zone after the events of TEKKEN 6 and honestly you’d need a degree in K-drama and a few hours spare to understand all the backstory involved.
For those following the TEKKEN backstory, Jin is now MIA, leaving the Mishima Zaibatsu in the hands of Nina Williams. Heihachi Mishima, using many of his 9 cat lives, has returned from the dead and is back to retake control of the Mishima Zaibatsu! Planing to use the Zaibatsu to take down his devil gene wielding son, Kazuya Mishima, who is currently controlling G Corporation from the shadows. That’s if Akuma, who’s taking a short holiday from the world of Street Fighter (and honestly who could blame him when TEKKEN is is clearly the better game) doesn’t kill them both first!
The new story mode is a slight diversion from the original format. In TEKKEN 7, the story mode is split up into 14 chapters which see you play through the main story as specific characters for each chapter. Also available is some character specific side stories which need to be selected separately from the story mode menu. The story is tied together with seamless CG and cut scene transitions and feels rather well polished, although the voice over narration tends to come off a little 1950’s B-grade detective at times. The story isn’t going to blow you out of the water here or hit the heights of Injustice 2, but it doesn’t need to and it’s not trying to. This is TEKKEN and honestly it does more than enough by staying true to itself.
With a new game comes new features, the biggest news for players in this regard comes in the form of a feature called ‘RageArt’. This is a massive large scale attack which can only be performed when your health bar reaches critical levels. For players who remember Soul Calibur V it’s a bit like the move Critical Edge. Whilst in Soul Calibur the move felt a bit hit or miss, in TEKKEN 7 Rage Art is a complete hit (if you manage to use it correctly). It will take you a few attempts to figure out how best to use RageArt (ideally in a combo as they can be blocked fairly easily and you’re generally in a panic the first time you attempt one), but once mastered they quickly become a very useful tool.
“Sadly this feature of individual character endings on offer has been removed from TEKKEN 7.”
The Arcade Mode is as you’d expect, there’s very little change happening here despite the change in line up. Pick a character and fight your way through to that particular character’s boss. In previous TEKKEN games this was my go to mode. It was not only a fun and great way to learn all the characters, but would allow you to see each character’s ending. Sadly, the feature of individual character endings has been removed from TEKKEN 7. This is rather disappointing to me and has seen me hardly touch the Arcade Mode, especially when you think that all the characters used to be played because of this feature.
One of the best things about TEKKEN has to be the insane depth of customisation on offer. From the various levels of character customisation to profile customisation options, there’s no shortage of things to unlock. And what better way to do that than with my new favourite game mode outside of the core story, Treasure Battle! Treasure Battle is essentially a never ending horde mode but for fighting games and it’s actually a real delight to play. In Treasure Battle you will fight your way through waves of different fighters to unlock glorious, glorious treasure. With each win you will unlock bonuses such as experience, money, and objects used for customisation.
Other game modes include an online mode, which offers you the ability to play casual and ranked. This is always nice for those of us not wanting to be so competitive. However, sadly missing from the line up this time around is Team Battle which I’m personally sad to see left off the game select menu. The same goes for Survival mode, which some might argue is replaced quite well by Treasure Battle.
Prepare for Battle!
In my mind TEKKEN has still got to be one of the best fighting game franchises to date and TEKKEN 7 isn’t pulling any punches. Its game mechanics combined with story telling ability have been flawless since inception. This is the first of the series to run on the Unreal engine and wow does it look nice! The game runs incredibly smoothly and the colours are vibrant, there’s certainly no shortage of particle effects to be found here. TEKKEN 7 was an absolute blast to play through and there’s most definitely room on my gaming shelf amidst the fighters for this fan favourite gem.