There’s no way I can start this review other than by saying the following: Tekken 7 is the best fighting game of this generation, and arguably the best fighting game of the last ten or fifteen years.
Bandai Namco’s new magnum opus shines by focusing on a few essential aspects: accessible gameplay, content and multiplayer mayhem.
While not offering a full-fledged tutorial mode, Tekken 7 was incredibly easy for me to re-learn how to play it (haven’t played one in more than a decade) through the game’s story mode’s initial chapters (more on that later), which taught me the essentials, and the good old practice mode. Tekken 7 still maintains the same old functional gameplay: one button for each limb, simple to learn yet super technical and complex to master….or you can just just pick good old Eddy and spam the heck out of the kick button until you’re done with the fight. Everything is incredibly responsive so you’ll never complain about not landing a punch because the game refused to acknowledge it. Using the Rage Arts attacks – every character’s ultimate move, which can only be accessed after losing a large chunk of your health – was also incredibly easy, with just one button needed to activate it.
I have just one gameplay complaint: Akuma’s Street Fighter-based combos and special moves feel completely out of place in this game.
When it comes to its multiplayer, Tekken 7 did a fine job. Its local multiplayer was as fun as a pure arcade experience could possibly be, the same flawless experience ever since Tekken first came out.
Its online play was also very enjoyable. Even during this pre-launch period, it took me little to no effort to find matches near me with a simple yet effective lobby system that allows you to watch others fight, set up your next fights, chat, and all the other things we’ve come to expect from online gaming. Granted, the farther I got from my net region, the less decent was my connection, but I had to be really naive to think my connection would be able to go head-to-head against a player from Asia with a much faster internet than I. Overall it worked much better than most fighting games from this gen in their early stages.
And now we reach the part where I talk about the amount of content Tekken 7 has. Oh my goodness, does it shine in this department!
The core game comes with many single player modes, including the always present Arcade mode, a console and PC exclusive story mode -which, despite being interesting plot-wise and full of beautiful cutscenes, doesn’t feature many characters, leaving most of them sidelined on extra missions – and a new mode called Treasure Battle. In this mode, which also acts as a sort of Survival mode, you get loot with every victory, coming in the forms of both cash and new outfits you can use on the Character Customization mode, one of the best new inclusions in Tekken 7.
Character Customization lets you create new outfits for your characters with an immense variety of costumes, haircuts and accessories. Those costumes vary from normal things as just a new plain t-shirt (though it’s still hilarious to put Akuma on a t-shirt with a necktie pattern) to a complete hammerhead shark costume (see the picture in this article). I’ve done things such as dressing Paul as Johnny Bravo, turning King into a winged pigeon fighter in a suit, dressed Heihachi as a hipster (complete with glasses and fedora!) and so much more. You can also add weaponry to your character, such as blades and (weirdly enough) even an assault rifle you can use during any battle. I will be completely honest and say I haven’t seen the point in giving a rifle to those characters who can break anyone’s spine with their pinky fingers so I haven’t bought those….yet.
Besides this, I have to point out Tekken 7‘s magnificent inclusion of MANY elements from every other Tekken game ever released. Tekken 7 includes the soundtrack from ALL previous Tekken games, and not only can you hear them at any point, but you can choose the unaltered soundtrack of your favorite game on the series and have it play during the Arcade and Treasure Battle modes.
And that’s not all! You can also unlock and watch every FMV from every single previous Tekken game as well! Seeing Tiger’s ending cinematic from Tekken 3 was one heck of a nostalgia bomb, I gotta tell you that! Bandai Namco deserves major props for including so much nostalgic content for long-time fans of the series, as well as showing newcomers everything the series offered back in the day.
If I had to point out something in this game that wasn’t as magnificent as the rest of it, I’d have to say that the visuals, while good (especially the arenas), could have been better. The characters are fairly well-detailed, but they won’t wow you that much. And the same applies to the somewhat ugly skyboxes. Then again, if that’s what it takes for the game to maintain its constantly high framerate, who am I to complain?
I was expecting Tekken 7 to be good, but I surely wasn’t expecting it to be one of the best fighting games I have ever played in my life. Its myriad of modes and unlockables in general were a delight to see in an era in which games are so devoid of content, and its customization mode is one of the most addictive things I’ve seen in recent years of gaming.
What a time to be a fighting game fan, don’t you think?
Also available on: PC, Xbox One.