Released: June 2, 2017 (Namco Entertainment)
The Tekken franchise has been through loops and bounds throughout the years; Tekken 4 was a mixed bag with glorious new features yet flat-lined graphics and delivery. Tekken 5, of course, smashed down those walls and re-created something a lot more innovative and highly-constructed; then Tekken 6 saw a more linear creation, only this time the graphics, stage developments and character diversity were a lot more thrilling and challenging. Of course, throwing in the additional Tekken Tag Tournament 2 would only blow all three titles out of the water with it’s dynamic structure and near-perfect game-play, but knowing that this review is more on the… well, how shall we say… story-line of the entire Tekken franchise; I guess I’ll leave that game release out (no matter, big props to Namco for KILLING it with a title like that!) Now, almost 10 years later, Tekken 7 has graced our shelves and, trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Yet another spectacular creation by Namco, and their first title to be created with the Unreal Engine 4, Tekken 7 is everything you would expected from countless and torturous teasers that have been leaking and thrown on the internet; the graphics have astonishingly grown from the original predecessor; the stages are well-developed; the old and new characters, of course, bloody kick ass, and most of all, it stays pretty true to the legacy of what Tekken is all about… KICKING ASS! The story, as pro-claimed by the company, is seen as the ending of the Mishima Saga, featuring the battling between protagonist Heihachi Mishima and his son, Kazuya Mishima. Along the way, there are various mid-point battles and unravelling of hidden mysteries and stories that certainly put me into perspective. While I thought it was a little overhauling, it’s a touching finish to the Mishima clan, especially with the ending (which I will NOT tell because… well, tears and tears.)
On to my favourite elements (well not really); the graphics! A lot of the stages, in compared to it’s predecessor titles, are a lot more dynamic and don’t particularly rest of realistic set-outs and styles, which I really enjoyed (the funky Geometric Plane and the ethereal Infinite Azure and some of the best stages to be created on the series, so check them the hell out!) It’s also the first Tekken game to showcase dynamic camera angles, including various slow-mo’s, close-up shots, and panning shots, which could easily be a thrill when it comes to those competitive multi-player modes where you and your friends basically sit and the end of your seat to see who gets the final jab! Of course, there are some areas and stages that are a lil’ bit uninspired or taking scrap notes from previous games, but all in all, they’re all glossy and well-designed. Tick, tick, tick Namco!
Now, the characters. The brand-spanking new characters and oldies have all come into play with this, seeing a return of classics such as Yoshimitsu, Nina Williams, Ling Xiaoyu, Eddy Gordo, to name a few. Unlike their previous trilogies, these characters in particular now follow a new-story line that has completely altered outside of their original start in the series. It’s a shame, considering that a lot of these staple characters have had such legacy to the game to just be abruptly moved into a completely new era, but hey, I guess it all makes up with their tremendous gameplay and controls, especially with the beast mode (a.k.a. their Rage Art), which shows some pretty wicked end results! Among the new characters are Katarina, Claudio Serafino, Gigas, Josie Rozal, Kazumi Mishima, Lucky Chloe, Master Raven, Shaheen, Eliza, and the legendary Street Fighter cross-over figure Akuma, all a bunch of versatile figures that can really fight. If anything, I would recommend using Akuma, Katarina, Lucky Chloe, and Claudio if you want a real battle (trust me, I mean a hefty, heart-racing battle). But the ultimate highlight of the game is the Vampire heiress herself, Eliza, who was originally introduced into Tekken Revolution.
Unfortunately, there a few missteps with Tekken 7 that was a lil’ bit underwhelming. Given the fact that it was released on the latest consoles—which now heavily rely on features such as online game-player and multiplayer modes—a lot of classic modes, such as team battles, time battles, etc. have been removed from the essentials, which is quite a shame because it loses the classic party-esque formula we once fell in-love with. Another is the absense of characters. Namco? Why the hell are there missing baes and boss-as-F leaders? Where is Anna Williams? Lei Wulong? Roger Jr.? Julia Chang? Uggghhhhh, some of these original beauties sure packed a punch in the past, and their absense on Tekken 7 is a little bit of a bother. Still, I have to say that I’ve been enjoying characters like Lili, Eliza, Lucky Chloe, Yoshimitsu, Kuma, etc. So I guess I could pass it alone… but still!
Despite the minimal flaws riddled throughout the game, Tekken 7 is in fact an impressive and stimulating title that brings forth a pretty interesting dynamic to a classic formula. I really enjoyed a lot of the 3D graphics and introduction of a variety of new characters, including their formats of rage arts and controls, which only makes it more thrilling and entertaining. But what makes it special is it’s celebration of such a phenomenal franchise in a modern take; the story is sleek, the graphics and polished, and the gameplay is pretty straightforward and practical. But as a Tekken fan from day dot, seeing the unravelled story on Tekken 7 was quite emotional, if I have to say (NOT SPOILERS). It just comes to show that, regardless of your flavour, Tekken 7 and it’s franchise is something not to undermine; it’s something to really engage into and have fun with. All in all, Tekken 7 is nothing but a a triumphant title.