The Tekken series seems to be the most secular fighting franchise, as it isn’t mentioned much alongside names like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat due to its different feel. It started out much stronger than it is today, leading long-time fans claiming Tekken peaked over a decade or so ago, and that open-world games have caused the series to lose quite a bit of its value.
In order to put that notion to the test, we’ve ranked every game in the series to see where the current entries stack up against the older ones. In this list, we’ve considered remasters and updated versions as the same game.
10 Tekken Hybrid (2011)
More of a promotional tool for the film contained with rather than being an actual game, Tekken Hybrid was basically a very small version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Released exclusively for the PlayStation 3, Tekken: Blood Vengeance was the main part of the deal you’d be getting.
As for gameplay, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue was on offer alongside the original game, but didn’t provide anything of substance. It was a carbon copy of the first Tag Tournament only with an extremely small roster to choose from. Although graphics were updated, they were still a long way from other games seen on the PlayStation 3 which looked far superior.
9 Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (2011)
Something big was needed from the Tekken series around the time of the release of this game to rejuvenate the franchise, but it wasn’t Tekken Tag Tournament 2 that we wanted. The game was basically a current-generation version of the original, with nothing original on show.
There was an attempt to inject life into it by adding a storyline, but since this was a non-canonical plot, it didn’t induce any interest. There were no revolutionary gameplay mechanics to make it feel as if this game was necessary in the first place, with pretty much a clustered roster sent our way to keep the players quiet over its shortcomings.
8 Tekken Tag Tournament (1999)
Upon release, Tekken Tag Tournament exploded onto the scene for giving a fresh take on the series never seen before. Featuring a cast that was immense for its time, the game mixed things up by adding in multiple characters at once within gameplay.
The problem, though, is that the game hasn’t aged well. Now, you don’t get the sense of awesome fun that was available back then. And while it might not seem very fair on Tekken Tag Tournament, it is the truth seeing that the remastered version didn’t evoke any real sense of value. The Tekken series just isn’t meant to be a tag-team venture.
7 Tekken 6 (2007)
It’s great if you want to spend your time playing against your buddies or people on the internet, otherwise, Tekken 6 is the weakest entry in the mainline series. Its shortcomings are chiefly attributed to its absolutely lackluster campaign mode.
The worst part of playing through the story is facing the awful antagonist in Azazel, fighting whom feels like completing court-mandated community service in that you feel as if you’ve been sentenced. The scenario mode is all kinds of terrible, feeling as if you’re playing a PS1 game; the individual stories are extremely shortened, to the point that they feel immaterial.
6 Tekken 7 (2015)
Namco must have figured packing in a lot of flash might mask Tekken 7’s failure to deliver on the hype, and we can’t say it achieved in satisfying the average gamer. While it bettered on the mistakes Tekken 6 made in terms of the story, it still wasn’t something to write home about.
Gameplay wasn’t all too bad, though, but the problem was that characters like Akuma, Heihachi, and Kazuya were so far stronger in terms of variety and power moves that it didn’t make sense choosing any other character. This took away quite a bit of replay value, although the huge roster did do well in extending the first playthrough a little bit.
5 Tekken (1994)
The only problem here is that the game feels naturally dated, but it’s still a better option than most of the recent entries in the series. Tekken still holds that cool factor when playing, something that none of the fighting games at that time could evoke.
It’s a shame the characters to choose from are so few in quantity, but that can be a plus in that you can use your favorite few characters and become a complete ace with them. This opens up the opportunity to become a master in gameplay, and that beats being a novice who doesn’t know any sorts of combos.
4 Tekken 2 (1995)
This game was when Tekken felt like it deserved being in the big leagues, as Tekken 2 took the world by storm by offering a much larger roster with immense depth. Characters like Lei Wulong and Devil Kazuya made the game a must-have, since they had that edge you didn’t see in fighting games.
Tekken 2 also made for a worthwhile story mode, as the Mishima saga truly kicked off here with the conflict between Heihachi and Kazuya. A lot of hours went by with players checking out every character and their unique fighting style, although its darker setting does slightly take away from its charm.
3 Tekken 4 (2001)
Here’s a Tekken game that has aged incredibly well, to the point that it’s now considered one of the absolute best entries in the series. Tekken 4 is the game to play if you want a story mode that is supremely rich in its plotlines, along with a gameplay feel that is totally realistic.
It was the first one in the franchise that had updated graphics of the sort that doesn’t feel like you’re playing an old game. Level design was such that you had to use your smarts in combos, as uneven terrain ensured no shortcuts could be used like spamming moves. Characters now had true personalities due to the addition of taunts and stylistic looks.
2 Tekken 3 (1997)
Considered as one of the greatest games of all time, Tekken 3 cemented the Tekken series as the apex fighting franchise out there. Its value was brought in by perfectly balancing the gameplay and story mode.
Moreover, it was the fact that the game appealed to a youthful fanbase that was its main draw, as superb introductions in Jin Kazama, Hwoarang, and Ling Xiaoyu brought a modern feel to the series. With the addition of a frightening villain in True Ogre, Tekken 3 was like a quest you were set upon, where using a mostly new roster made you feel as if you were injected with the spirit of a fighter seeking out the ultimate prize.
1 Tekken 5 (2004)
Even more so balanced than Tekken 3, Tekken 5 had the advantage of an awesome soundtrack, incredible graphics that still hold up, and a story mode that represented the peak of the series.
It had justification for each character to be there, with their variety being such that you sympathized with characters like Julia Chang, while getting your badass gear into overdrive by choosing fighters like Jin Kazama and Raven. The arcade mode was perfect for learning new and fresh methods of fighting, and the level designs were gorgeous to behold. For a complete fighting experience that doesn’t lack in any department, Tekken 5 is the game to go with, even almost fifteen years after its release.