Hands-on Preview: Tekken 7
There once was a time where fighting games flooded the gaming landscape. Built on the strength of the booming arcaded era, every developer wanted to release the next Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Namco embraced both the fighting game genre and 3D graphics with their iconic Tekken in 1994, with the series having multiple installments across home consoles since. We’re four years into the current console cycle, and finally, Tekken 7 is almost upon us. It has its ups and downs, but it’s quickly shaping up to be a must-have game for fighting game fans.
First things first, Tekken 7 has been in arcades since March 2015, though that isn’t to say that consoles will be receiving a straight-up port of the arcade version. Since its release, the arcade version of the game has received a number of patches and tweaks, including the addition of new features such as Rage Arts. Tekken 7 on consoles will receive the full benefit of over 2 years of market research, thanks to Bandai Namco and their arcade fans. This will make for a refreshing change from other fighting games that were rushed to their release and didn’t even feel finished.
So it’s going to be polished, but how will the home version of Tekken 7 differ from its arcade counterpart? Aside from running at a breathtaking 4K resolution and 60FPS on PC, the home version will have a Story Mode for players to playthrough, as well as a local Versus Mode, Online Modes, character customisation, and a VR mode for the PlayStation VR.
We recently played Tekken 7 at Bandai Namco’s Australian office, and we were even fortunate enough to sit down with Katsuhiro Harada, Tekken‘s producer and Michael Murray, one of Tekken‘s designers. Our interview can be found on the site here, and here are our thoughts on Tekken 7‘s home version.
It’s immediately noticeable just how gorgeous the game is. Having made the leap to the Unreal engine since its last outing, Tekken has never looked so good. It’s not just the environments, either, but even the smaller details such as frayed denim on jackets and jeans, strands of hair blowing in front of characters’ faces and smaller particle effects such as dust, steam and sparks. The new slow-motion features allow players to really take in all the detail, even if one of the characters featured is about to receive an absolute pummeling.
Speaking of slow-motion features, Tekken 7 elevates the action of its fights by adding intense new slow-motion moments. These were inspired by slow-motion action replays from popular sports such as boxing, and feel right at home in Tekken.
As both a fan of Tekken and Street Fighter, I couldn’t wait to take Akuma for a spin. I was assured by Katushiro Harada himself that the character is integral to Tekken 7‘s story, so I chose him as soon as I could. EX meter intact, its a credit to Bandai Namco that Akuma works so well as a guest character, though I suspect that Tekken purists will have a “no Akuma” rule upon the game’s release, as he is still able to use his hadouken projectile attacks.
Story Mode allows players to fight as various characters through an overarching narrative. As with a lot of fighting games, the storyis absolutely insane. Heihachi deflects heatseeking missiles with roundhouse kicks, boots down a 30 foot high steel door with another kick, and throws his child off a cliff after declaring him a weakling – with the player actually pressing buttons to hurl Kazuya off said cliff.
If you just care about gameplay, Tekken 7 looks to be on par. Controls are tight and responsive, and the game just feels so much better than previous entries. Everything you’ve come to know and love about Tekken is there, with a few new features. Rage Arts are new moves that are able to be executed when a player’s health is low, feeling like a super finisher from Street Fighter or an X-ray move from Mortal Kombat X. Some of these are extremely simple to pull off, such as Lars’ Rage Art, which is initiated by pressing both punch buttons. Power crushes are moves that can’t be interrupted, despite the player taking damage if they are hit during them. There are times where some Rage Arts and Power Crushes feel overpowered, so I’m hoping that they are able to be turned off in various game modes if the player wants.
Tekken 7‘s home version can’t come quick enough. It looks and plays great on consoles, and is truly stunning in 4K resolution on PC. There are post-launch content plans in place, and the game benefits from over two years of updates from its arcade version. We can’t wait for its full release.
Tekken 7 release on June 2nd for Xbox One, PC and PS4.