Tekken is finally back on consoles after a long hiatus. It is one of the most popular fighting game franchise sharing this honor with Street Fighter. While the latest outing of Street Fighter turned out to be a major disappointment, Bandai Namco appears to have taken note of the issues with Street Fighter V and focused on improving these aspects for Tekken 7 resulting in a game that is content rich at launch.
Tekken 7 was originally released in 2015 on Arcades in Japan and took its sweet time in getting released for consoles. The reason for the delay was most likely the lack of content since the Arcade version launched with fewer characters than the current release. The character roster at launch is fairly diverse with characters that fit any play style. There are a grand total of 38 charactes along with potentially more to be added in DLC after launch, and these are honestly more than enough for casual and hardcore fans. Bandai Namco has also added Akuma to the character roster and this addition is simply not limited to Akuma being playable in the game, they have even integrated him into the story and lore, which ended up being a nice surprise.
The game also features a short story mode called ‘The Mishima Saga’ that is full of cutscenes explaining the backstory and rivalry of Kazuya and Heihachi. The story told in this mode is narrated by a journalist who has suffered by the war between the Mishima family members. The narrative goes through the start of Tekken story with Heihachi throwing the young Kazuya from cliff, to the end of the battle between Kazuya and Heihachi. It should be a treat for fans as the story mode attempts to tackle some of the story events featured in past Tekken games giving the player a chance to experience them again. The story mode is not that long and shouldn’t take more than 2 hours. There is a choice of selecting different difficulty setting but considering how I was having trouble at some story battles even in Normal difficulty, I wouldn’t recommended starting with the higher difficulty unless you are an expert at Tekken. The story mode also tries to simplifies some of the fighting moves by giving the player the choice of story assists, which are activated with the press of a single button. These assists are usually shortcuts for powerful moves or combos, however even these won’t help much in some of the more tougher battles.
While I enjoyed the presentation and the way the developers integrated cutscenes into gameplay, which is all seamless, I also hated how some of the battles against goons felt repetitive. They felt like battles that were added just to extend the length of the story campaign. The cutscenes are gorgeous though and the game makes use of pre-rendered cutscenes to the fullest to deliver non-stop, adrenaline pumping action. The unfortunate thing is just that it feels too short and even if the story is batshit crazy at times, it all ends rather abruptly. I would have enjoyed if the ending gave answers to some of the plot threads but they are left hanging.
The other disappointment that I had with the game was with character stories. Instead of going through the story of each character in Arcade mode, the characters are now simply given a very short intro and an ending that is rushed and doesn’t offer any conclusion. There is no arcade mode that offers story and instead it is replaced by these character battles for the whole roster. These stories are unlocked once you beat the main story mode. They will take a few minutes per character since most of them are just single battles. They feel rather lackluster compared to the past Tekken games but I guess this was the price to pay for a dedicated story mode.
In term of the extra content, you will be able to play Arcade Mode, VS Mode or try your luck at Treasure Battle which rewards with fight money. Fight money is used to unlock new customization for each character and you can also spend your fight money to purchase movies from pretty much every Tekken game in the Gallery. This was a surprise addition to me because the developers have made sure to include almost every pre-rendered video from Tekken franchise even going so far to add the movies from the Tekken Pachislot machines. You can purchase any character ending in the gallery from the past Tekken games. You can also watch the opening or ending for these games. It is a treasure trove of memories for the fans.
The online mode offers Ranked Match, Player Match and Tournament mode. They are all self explanatory for the most part. The online multiplayer is unfortunately suffering from some issues on the PS4 so I wasn’t able to test it out much. Bandai Namco has assured that they are working for a fix for it. While matchmaking was fine for me, it was during the start of the match when the game abruptly ended with an error that the connection wasn’t established. It appears to be a bug for now so hopefully Bandai Namco can fix it soon. The good news is that the Net Code is solid and the few times I was able to play an online match, it was a smooth experience for me.
Tekken 7 is the first Tekken game on consoles that is developed on Unreal Engine 4 and the result is spectacular. The game’s visuals are highly polished with post process and particle effects utilized to the maximum to showcase flashy combat moves. To top it, the performance of the game is solid with 60 FPS and that is not an easy feat. Overall the visuals that are on offer here are gorgeous with attention to detail given to each character model and stages. The battles, especially in story mode, are full of spectacle and offer plenty of eye candy. The game shows that sticking with Unreal Engine 4 was the right choice made by the developers.
Tekken 7 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Tekken 7 is a fighting game developed and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game is the ninth installment in the Tekken series, and the first to make use of the Unreal Engine.
Tekken 7 is mechanically perfect with stylish gameplay and combos that are a joy to execute, however the game lacks in character story content and gameplay modes instead opting to offer a short but highly detailed story mode that focuses on the rivalry between Heihachi and his son Kazuya.