Fighting games have enjoyed some shine in the current console generation. From Mortal Kombat X to Street Fighter V and Injustice 2, there seems to be a more acute focus on making fighting games genuinely fun again. Bandai Namco’s response to the resurgence of the fighting genre was a game that had already been out for a couple of years in Japan: Tekken 7. To that I say, it’s about time!
Story & Gameplay
Tekken 7 picks up where Tekken 6 left off, and seemingly ends the Mishima storyline. I use the word “ends” here very loosely as it gives as much of a resolution as Inception. Nonetheless, the Mishima Saga standalone story mode on display here packs a few neat surprises, going as far as somehow including guest character Akuma from Street Fighter into the equation and still building a more or less coherent narrative. Even though it’s beatable in just under 2 hours, the story is a welcomed addition to the series and tightens up the typical ending mini-clip stories.
Gameplay has been refined and tweaked quite a bit for Tekken 7. Those familiar with the series, be it veterans or casual players, will feel right at home with their favorite characters here (granted they’re still in the base game). However, the controls feel much smoother and more intricate than its predecessors, so it’s absolutely vital to readjust yourself to the overall feel and flow of the gameplay mechanics – but even that’s a relatively easy thing to do. It’s thanks to this accessibility in game design that makes Tekken 7 the most welcoming game in the entire series for literally everyone. Though they don’t seem to have de-spammed Eddy Gordo much, but instead included a new character with almost identical button mash supreme moves with Lucky Chloe. Good on ya, Bandai Namco…
As far as new characters go, Tekken 7 delivers the finest line-up, with standouts being Heihachi’s very abusive and over-powered wife, Kazumi, and Claudio, where it’s pretty clear Bandai Namco binged the anime Bleach to draw influence from Uryuu Ishida.
Graphics & Sound
As expected for a current-gen fighting game, Tekken 7 looks drop dead gorgeous (no pun intended). The visual style of the game takes directly from the more arcade aspects of Tekken, from the overblown saturation levels to the motion blur. It actually adds a bit of old-school flare to Tekken again, almost lost around the time Tekken 4 nearly desecrated the entire series. Tekken 7 continues to deliver a standout soundtrack with battle music quite fitting for an ass-kicking, nothing more and nothing less, though we do wish more classic tracks were included. I miss the yodel song.
Tekken 7 is an impressive effort from Bandai Namco in bringing the series full circle, both from a narrative and gameplay standpoint. The story may not turn many heads until its inevitable extended DLC which will hopefully be better – and more conclusive than the Mishima Saga we got – than what Capcom delivered with Street Fighter V (shivers), but the gameplay is a surprisingly balanced flow of momentum that invites new players while remaining true to the core of the Tekken series. It’s a heap of quality entertainment that will keep you locked in long after the story mode ends. Trust me, treasure battles are probably more addictive than actual drugs.