Game Review: Tekken 7 (PS4)

It has been ten years since Tekken 6 was released onto the PS3 and Xbox 360 and now the story resumes within Tekken 7; but how will this story play out and more importantly does Tekken 7 improve the fighting game formula? Well let’s find out!

  Title: Tekken 7
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: NAMCO
Platform: PS4
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Audio: Multiple
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1 – 2
Online Players: 2 – 8
Install: YES (44.2GB)

Over View:

Tekken 7 is the greatest fighting game ever-released since Tekken 3… period. I could just end the review here but I feel like I am obligated to provide some context to this bold statement; but in reality I just found the game incredibly fun to play and difficult to put down.

Developed by Namco, and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Tekken 7 is the seventh mainline entry into the Tekken franchise that originally started life as an Arcade game before being ported to the PlayStation in 1995. It goes without saying that Tekken has since become an integral part of the fighting game scene so it comes with great excitement to see Bandai Namco release Tekken 7 onto multiple platforms; especially when you consider that the previous installment, Tekken 6, was released ten years ago onto the last generation of consoles.

So with such a big gap what has changed? Well for starters Tekken 7 has been developed with the Unreal Engine 4 in mind, which as a result produces greater detailed character models and stages with more life-like-realism when compared to previous games of the franchise. That’s not all as several new characters have also been added to the line-up, such as Lucky Chloe, Master Raven and Kazumi – with all characters now speaking their own native language rather than just English or Japanese – while the introduction of a new ‘Rage’ and ‘Slow Motion’ system means that players can preform deadly attacks at key points in a match.

It goes without saying that this is only a small sample of what Tekken 7 has in store for the player; but ‘Rage Art’ and ‘Rage Drive’ are two new attack variations that can only be activated once your characters health has reached around 20%. Once activated the Rage Art and/or Rage Drive can deliver either a deadly combo to your opponent or a single powerful strike; both of which can turn the tide of a match. Slow motion on the other hand will only appear when two attacks are about to connect with one another at the same; the result is a slow motion effect that will demonstrate which attack will connect first. This is more of a visual flair than anything else but it certainly pleasing to watch and provides some context to those ‘close call’ hits.

Gameplay wise Tekken 7 remains relatively the same as its predecessors, but then again why change something that’s not broke; so character inputs, move sets and combos will be relatively the same (if not exactly the same) as previous entries. Although character move sets have not changed their appearance has and as such characters in Tekken 7 have different outfits and appearances to those seen in previous games; thus showing that time does move forward within the Tekken universe. Although those not liking their characters appearance can change them within the customization mode with new outfits, hairstyles and accessories being unlocked during selective gameplay modes; namely Treasure Battle which is a never-ending-battle mode that will award players with new items and money when a match is won.

With so little being changed, other than from a visual perspective at least, what does Tekken 7 offer that previous games do not? Well for one thing an intensely detailed Story Mode that fully explores the Mishima Storyline and individual character stories that bridge certain gaps within the main story. The Mishima storyline has plagued the entire Tekken franchise, but more so in recent years, and in this four-hour-story mode that spans fifteen chapters players are treated to a cinematic experience that blends High Quality CGI animation with actual gameplay combat. Remember the Akuma Introduction trailer several years prior? It was a trailer which saw a CGI cut-scene blend into real-time-gameplay; Well that’s exactly what happens in the games story mode with damage dealt during the CGI cut-scene inflicted on the characters when the match starts.

Of course this type of presentation method only happens at crucial points in the story as majority of the time it is a cinematic cut-scene that leads to the location of the next fight, a style which has previously been used in games such as Mortal Kombat and Injustice. Interestingly though some design ideas seem to have been taken from Bandai Namco’s other published title, i.e CyberConnect2’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, as during selective boss fights the player will have to overcome Quick-Time-Event styled sections before being taken to the fight while in other instances dealing damage to the opponent will trigger flashback screenshots on screen.

Each presentation method delivers impact; but more importantly it delivers the story of the Mishima clan. A story that explains why Heihachi did the things he did and the turmoil that it brought along with it. I won’t spoil the details here but it would have made a great film – even more so than the previous Tekken CGI film. Basically anyone who has had any ‘hint’ of interest in this feud between Jin, Kazuya and Heihachi will highly enjoy the story that is being told in this cinematic fashion… well that is until you reach the crucial boss fights.

It’s here where my biggest gripe with the story mode (and in turn Arcade mode) begin to show, as even on Easy Difficulty some of the boss fights can be notoriously difficult. Even the newly introduced ‘Story Assist’ option, which provides an easier way of using combos and powerful attacks on your opponents, does very little in the way of stopping your opponent from blocking, dodging or preforming their own chain of attacks on you. Of course difficulty is always going to be an issue – the same can be said with the games Arcade mode (which bizarrely is only five fights long as opposed to the usual eight) as by the time you reach the final fight everything becomes a bit unfair. But alas this is how Tekken, and in turn arcade fighting games, have been – an easy start but a difficult finish.

That’s not all though; as during the fights that I had difficulty with you are forced to watch a short cut-scene (usually only 30 seconds or so) but as the cut-scene is unskippable you will find yourself watching it repeatedly until you manage to defeat your opponent. Obviously for those who are good at the game this won’t present itself as an issue but for those who are mediocre or are unfamiliar with the moves then it can be quite a tedious experience that soon becomes frustrating. One final issue I had with Tekken 7, specifically the story mode, is that during certain chapters you are required to fight opponents one after another; however their is no indication on screen of how many opponents are left before the mission is completed. This ‘mystery in numbers’ could be a design choice but once again if you find your health getting low and new enemies appearing it does become a little bit stressful.

These personal complaints aside Tekken 7 remains true to form with every aspect of the game being improved upon from a visual perspective to refined gameplay experience; but alas that’s not everything that is on offer.

Those wishing to not partake in offline or online battles, which now includes a new tournament feature so that players can create their own online tournaments with anyone across the world, will find a customization mode, a gallery mode and a PlayStation VR option (PS4 Only). As you can imagine the customization mode allows players to customize the appearance of your character by using outfits, clothes, hairstyles and accessories earned through Treasure Battle or purchased with money earned from Treasure Battle and Multiplayer. The choices at the beginning may be limited but the more time you put in to the game the wider selection of items will become available (as an example someone has already created the character from NiER: Automata).

Gallery meanwhile offers a selection of videos and artwork; each of which has to be purchased with money earned from fights in offline and online gameplay modes. The surprise here however is that videos from every single ‘console’ Tekekn game (including Tekken Tag Tournament and Tekken Revolution but excluding Tekken 3D Prime Edition) are here. Bizarrely, and most likely due to restrictions, only a selection of videos and artwork from early Tekken games are available while newer games, such as Tekken 5 and Tekken 6, have pretty much everyone’s opening and ending video available for selection. The biggest surprise in the Gallery however is the addition of videos from the Japanese exclusive Tekken Pachinko machines as well as artwork related to them.

It’s an interesting addition to have but it also highlights the possibility of Tekken 7 being the final game (although the ending would suggest otherwise) in the franchise. The only thing that would make this collection complete would be to include Arcade variations of each game in to Tekken 7; a feature which was incorporated into Tekken 5 – but alas that is wishful thinking on my part. As mentioned PlayStation VR support is also included in this PS4 release and it includes a character viewer and VR battle mode; both of which offer a different type of experience to the norm and give this game something unique to offer for PSVR owners.

Generally I was expecting Tekken 7 to just be the next-gen entry into the Tekken franchise but in reality it has provided me one of the most entertaining fighting experiences I have ever had with a cinematic story, an expansive customization option and lots of content to explore with its seemingly never ending selection of unlockable content. All fights may be personal; but whether you are a newcomer or a fan Tekken 7 is one experience you do not want to miss out on. This is simply the greatest fighting game ever released…period.

Score: review-stars-5

Tekken 7 is now available within the UK, Europe and America for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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