The world of Tekken must be so wonderful. No matter what language a character speaks, they all understand them and they in turn are such linguistics themselves that it’s actually kind of beautiful.
Then you remember the demons and the “take over the world” shtick from every big personality and you’re swiftly brought back down to earth.
Ah well, it was nice for a moment at least.
The seventh instalment of the hit fighting franchise proves that even in a boom period for the genre, Tekken is still one of its shining lights.
All beat-em-up’s are measured by the strength of their cast and there’s no doubt that Tekken 7 has some of the best in the business. From a headless, chainsaw-armed robot lady in Alisa to literal bears in Kuma, there’s a variety that would rival the pick and mix at a cinema.
A nice blend of styles also come into play, with every single selection having their own feel. Want to throw kicks all the time while dancing? Pick Eddy Gordo. Want to be an alien squid with great speed and a sword? Pick Yoshimitsu. Want to be a British boxer that is practically fists only? Choose Steve Fox.
Add in guest character Akuma to the mix and there’s just so many toys to play with. I’m yet to find anyone completely useless or a joke character and while some seem a little overpowered, they also have solid counters that will stop them from dominating every opponent.
Their button-mashing style also returns, with many combos made from clicking buttons in time in a certain order. Added to the mix are Rage Arts and Rage Drives, which are powerful comeback moves when low on health that can tip the tide of battle when in a pinch.
That means even that friend that mashes his hand on the controller can come back from a savage beating if needed. It also adds a nice depth to the competitive side of things, similar to how Ultras worked in Street Fighter in the sense of mixing caution and desperation in those close encounters.
Graphically, it’s not quite maxing the PS4’s power but it’s not ugly by any means. The framerate and movements in these kinds of games are much more important and thankfully, they are perfectly crisp even if the sacrifice is that it doesn’t quite stand up to par with the prettiest games on the platform.
In terms of modes, the ‘campaign’ is a breezy two-hour affair that’s completely insane but fun to play through, along with multiple character chapters that add a little context to what everyone else was doing during the tournament. Adding in the classic tournament mode, a treasure battle to unlock extra skins and decals along with practice modes gives most fighting fans plenty to dig their punches into.
The story is silly, over-the-top and makes little sense but if you were gagging for a strong narrative in a fighting game you may also want to try finding love in a brothel. It’s nice when it happens but it’s so rare that you might as well join the rest of us in the real world.
While some of the customisation looks a little stupid, there are some great throwbacks and interesting extra skins, including a few from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Seriously, the alternate King attire inspired by Kazuchika Okada that allows you to perform his finisher, the Rainmaker, might be the coolest thing in existence.
Tekken sets out to do what Tekken wants to do, make a kick-ass, accessible fight game. It’s got a great cast, a solid style and can be button-mashed by literally anyone while still maintaining a strong learning curve for those who want to master it.
In an already great year for fighting games, with a few more on the horizon, the King of Iron Fist Tournament 7 might just pack the biggest punch of them all.