There was a time when the fighting genre wasn't considered as commercially viable as it used to be, but now it seems that fans of the genre are spoiled by choice. There's a sudden surge in fighting games hitting the gaming industry all at once, seemingly representing almost every combat style and franchise. In recent weeks we've had Injustice 2, Ultra Street Fighter II, and Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 and then we have forthcoming titles like Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite and ARMS on the Nintendo Switch. And now, we have Tekken 7 looking to prove that it's still the king of the 3D fighting world.
Ever since Street Fighter IV led the renaissance of fighting games almost a decade ago, fans expected the Tekken series to do the same for 3D fighting games. Although there have been some successful Tekken games released since SFIV, the latest entries in the Tekken series didn't quite make the same impact. Unfortunately, the fighting genre in general struggles to come up with distinctive differences with every sequel and even Street Fighter V stuck to the same basic but successful formula.
Tekken 7 is a bit of a mixed bag, so here's 7 reasons why it still has some of the same magic that fans of series will know and love, and 8 glaring issues holding it back from being as great as it should have been.
15 Worst: Completely Pointless VR Mode
When it was first announced that Tekken 7 would be receiving a VR mode for the PlayStation, fans of Sony's virtual reality headset welcomed the news. If executed correctly, the fighting genre would be a good fit for the VR even if you're just limited to using your fists and head movement. However, Tekken 7's implementation of VR is nothing of the sort, in fact, it's a literal waste of space and the game's resources.
The game's VR mode is nothing more than a theater viewer offering a different perspective in the game's practice mode until boredom sets in. If boredom doesn't set in first, then the feeling of stomach-turning nausea will instead. VR mode in Tekken 7 really is a huge waste of potential, made all the more frustrating by the positive preview's citing Namco's near perfect utilization of VR in the upcoming Ace Combat 7.
14 Best: Backstory To The Mishima feud
The Tekken series quite possibly has the longest running singular storyline in all of gaming, and only some of the most hardcore fans will truly know what's going on in terms of the series' somewhat whacky narrative.
The story's focus here in centered around the Mishima's never-ending feuds which have always been at the heart of the Tekken franchise. The game's story mode helps cover the early beginnings of the Mishima Saga narratively told through the voice an investigative journalist. You'll get interesting moments like fighting Heihachi as a young Kazuya before he is thrown from a cliff. Or Heihachi taking advantage of Jin's absence to reclaim the helm of the Mishima legacy.
13 Worst: The Story Is Awful
Despite the game's story mode being a fun introduction to the characters and the game's battle system, it doesn't serve as much more than a glorified tutorial mode. It's quite possible we've been spoiled by NetherRealms efforts; both the Mortal Kombat series and the Injustice games story modes are excellent. Injustice 2 was only released a few weeks ago, and with its campaign still being fresh in our minds, comparatively Tekken 7's story really is quite bad and at just under three hours long it's very short too -- but still 100% better than what Street Fighter 5.
The issue with the story's focus on the central characters surrounding the Mishimas is that not all of the characters get their chance to shine, with only a select few characters getting their own endings. Additionally, longtime fans hoping for individual character endings in Arcade Mode will be sorely disappointed to find they'll get nothing but a credits roll after the final boss.
12 Best: Classic Accessible Gameplay
The Tekken series has always been a fantastically complex and technical three-dimensional fighter that's very easy to pick up and play, and Tekken 7 is no different. In fact, the developers have taken some steps to make the game more welcoming to newcomers by reducing the amount of total damage taken from combos and juggles, so they aren't so severely punished when throwing out the odd poke in the "feeling out" process.
These changes can help newcomers learn the dynamics of the game's technicalities without getting too disheartened by more experienced players, without sacrificing exactly what makes Tekken's gameplay so successful.
11 Worst: Limited Use Of The Arena's 3D Space
The art of sidestepping in the Tekken series not only allows gamers to strategically move around in the three-dimensional space but it added a certain fluidity the gameplay that some of the other franchises that used a 2D or 2.5D arena lacked. However, this movement has been reduced and slowed down considerably since its previous installments.
It's quite possible the reduction in the use of side stepping was to address the issue that the slower fighters may have been at too much of a disadvantage against the faster fighters. Alternatively, it could be to help Street Fighter's Akuma feel more at home in the Tekken universe.
Now sidestepping feels less important, and can even leave your character at a disadvantage if used incorrectly, almost forcing players to fight as if they were playing a 2D fighter.
10 Best: Huge Roster Of Characters
Tekken 7 boasts an impressive roster of 37 characters to choose from, featuring most of the series regulars and some new additions too. The more familiar faces in the series like Law, Kazuya, Jin, and Nina are complemented well by the newer characters such as the huge Gigas, Master Raven and the exorcist Claudio.
Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada has already promised the inclusion of new "special characters" via DLC, but it seems that it won't be any characters from past entries. We'll find out soon enough — it'll be exciting news, for sure.
9 Worst: It's Missing Important Characters
Despite having a huge roster of diverse characters to choose from, long time fans will definitely disappointed with some of their favorites being missing from the roster. Although it is understandable to a degree why some characters are missing to make room for the fresh faces, but it seems like a huge oversight that a unique character like Lei Wulong would be missing. Fans of Jackie Chan have always loved using this character and creating dream fights against Tekken's version of Bruce Lee with Marshall Law.
Other notable characters that are missing are the Changs (Julia and Michelle), who like Lei have unique and interesting move sets. The addition of Devil Jin as a separate character is a disappointment when he's in the place of more worthy characters that aren't clones with a few added special moves.
Finally, director Katsuhiro Harada has confirmed that none of the older characters will be returning in the form of paid DLC, so unless Bandai Namco are feeling generous by handing out DLC free characters, then some of our favorites will remain missing in action.
8 Best: Customization
The customization options in Tekken 7 will definitely please a lot of fans, because the options to cosmetically change your characters to almost unlimited proportions is a great idea. This will definitely please the more fussy players who aren't satisfied with their favorite characters newer looks in this current entry of the mainline series.
The game's Treasure Battle mode provides some extra single player longevity by providing extra unlockable items. These items allow players to modify their characters so much, that they could potentially have completely unique looking characters to take online. The extra content can be unlocked through online tournaments too, but the Treasure Battle mode is where most players will likely be earning their new costumes.
7 Worst: Treasure Battle Mode Is Too Grindy
The Treasure Battle mode in Tekken 7 is a great way for completionists to add more replay value in the game. It's probably the best way to unlock new items and costumes. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite have enough variety in the way of challenges especially if you're drawing comparisons to Injustice 2's Multiverse mode.
As a result, the lack of variety can make Treasure Mode feel very grindy, and —depending on what your stance— can make it feel a bit anti-climatic working through a difficult battle against Devil-Kazumi only to win a small tree to stick on Kazuya's head. Hopefully some more options will be added through patches/updates, or some form of DLC.
6 Best: Great Graphics
Bandai Namco has talked a lot about Tekken 7 using the Unreal Engine 4 for the first time, and it really has paid off. Although the facial animations can look a bit stiff at times, the big and colorful characters on the screen more than make up for it. The smaller details in the characters clothing really pops on the screen, and the muscle definition on characters like Law and Feng Wei looks absolutely fantastic.
The game boasts some great looking environments too, particularly the Arena and the Helipad stages, which feature weather transitions and a big bright and colorfully decorated King Of The Iron Fist octagon. It's clear that Tekken has come a long way and used the technological advances to push the series forward.
5 Worst: Doesn't Take Any Risks
Despite the welcome adjustments to combo chain damage and the Rage system playing a bigger part in this installment. It could be argued that most of the past titles have often introduced just enough new features in every installment to help shake up the dynamics a bit.
Tekken 3 was the first title to become fully 3D adding in the use of side stepping, Tekken 4 added Walls and a switching mechanic, Tekken 5 introduced the "Crush" system and finally, Tekken 6 featured the "Bound" system, and breakable environments. Tekken 7's supers don't quite innovate or add much to the formula, and similar systems have already been done in other fighting franchises.
Perhaps it's the lack of any direct competition in the 3D fighting genre, that's caused the Tekken series to rest on its laurels, rather than up its game with every entry, like when the Dead Or Alive series used to give it a run for its money.
4 Best: Akuma Is Implemented Well
Ever since the release of Street Fighter x Tekken, fans of the Tekken series were waiting for Bandai Namco's version with Tekken x Street Fighter. Unfortunately, we still haven't seen or heard anything about that potential title yet, but in Tekken 7 we do get Street Fighter's very own Akuma.
Thankfully, Akuma doesn't feel at all out of place in the Tekken's 3D universe and even features very prominently in the game's story mode. All of his trademark moves are correctly presented here — as is his Super Bar and his Focus Attack which works as a Crush Combo. Considering how well Akuma fits in mechanically, coupled with the director confirming "new special guest" characters in the form of DLC, many fans are speculating that the additional fighters will likely be more Street Fighter characters.
3 Worst: No Unlockable Characters
Make no mistake, Tekken 7 boasts a huge roster of great characters, but with incoming DLC characters and plenty of open spaces in the character select screen, there's definitely room for more.
Although Tekken 7 does a great job of tapping into a gamers nostalgia, one of the series most beloved features of the past game was the ability to unlock new characters as you made your way through the various game modes. Unfortunately, the only unlockable "character" in Tekken 7 is nothing more than a palette swap for Lee in the form of Violet, which is activated by pressing square or circle (X or B) in the character select screen. That is a very disappointing revelation, to say the least.
2 Best: Jukebox Mode
A great little addition, which will definitely send long-time fans of the series on a nice trip of pure nostalgic goodness, is the Jukebox mode. The Jukebox mode adds to an already impressive list of in-game music by including the option to select the soundtrack for every single Tekken (Tekken Tag Tournament included) ever released, allowing you to create your very own playlist.
Unfortunately for Xbox One players, the Jukebox mode is currently a PlayStation 4 exclusive feature, with no word on if this feature will get patched in on Microsoft's machine at some point in the future.
1 Worst: A Lack Of Content
Injustice 2's huge amount of content has changed the way we must look at AAA fighting games, and as a result has become the new benchmark in the genre. Unfortunately, despite Tekken 7 being a joy to play, there really isn't a lot to left to do once you've finished the extremely short story mode.
There are no extra modes have fun with, like Tekken Force which was a throwback to the sidescrolling beat-em-ups like Double Dragon or Streets of Rage. Tekken Bowling is also missing in action, but perhaps the biggest disappointment is the game's arcade mode — there are no more individual character endings, and there's nothing to unlock by playing it. When you consider the complete waste of space that is VR mode one can't help but wish they just included some more worthwhile content in its place.