I have always wanted to play and enjoy a Tekken game. From the first time I played Tekken Tag Tournament I just wanted to know how to play. These games have such a high learning curve that it always seems to get under my skin. Either I don’t know how the fighting system works or quite simply enough, I’m just not good at them. I’ve never learned Street Fighter and at this point in my life I have pretty much given up on the premise of ever learning to play that series. So how did I fair in Tekken 7? Did I rise to the challenge and what did I think of the game? Find out below!
I don’t know much about the story of Tekken. Personally I’ve never gotten to know the characters that well and in some ways that is a good thing and a lot of ways that’s bad. I don’t understand the nuances of characters like some, but I can also enjoy the story as an outsider. Overall I quite enjoyed the story mode of Tekken 7. It was fun and a little different. It wasn’t a story like Mortal Kombat or Injustice but it served a deeper service for fans of the series. I don’t know who these characters are in relation to each other, but I still enjoyed the drama unfolding.
A father who throws his son into a volcano always makes for an interesting plot point. The game’s story is varied as well throwing in multiple characters to the story line, but you never get super invested with any one character. This is only a tad-bit of the story of Tekken so as a newcomer I felt really lost, but as I’m sure most fans will agree with, they probably enjoyed it. That being said the Mishima Saga (Story Mode) was quite enjoyable for what it was, which is a short distraction from the only fighting modes.
(I know of some of the characters, but I really did get lost at certain points, newcomers beware)
One thing that I wasn’t crazy about is after you beat the story mode, which is a ridiculously short 3 hours’ campaign at most. If you skip the cut scenes, there’s only about 15-20 minutes of content. This means that it is very heavy on story which is positive, but I felt like some more varied fights would have gone a long way in this mode. After you beat the game you unlock individual character episodes which are about the biggest waste of time ever. You pick a character and you get to see their perspective or what they were doing during that part of the story.
It didn’t add any real gameplay to the experience. This simply adds some text explaining why, a short fight and then a cut scene. It felt underdeveloped and quite frankly a little embarrassing to be in the game. Overall the story manages to add some much-needed variety into the game, but it’s definitely not as well-defined or refined as other fighters that have recently released.
(The character episodes are really shallow and feel like a last-minute addition)
So now we get to the main event of Tekken 7 and what makes this game just an absolute blast to play, yes the gameplay. Now I can’t give you any great insight to what has changed from previous entries, but I can tell you it is a lot of fun. So first up how does the fighting feel? Quite honestly, quite strong and tight. Unlike the fighting system from Injustice 2, fighting in Tekken is all about every precise move. If you jump up and didn’t have a reason to, you are going to flying across the map because the enemy knows just how to counter everything. You ducked when you wanted to side-step, you’re getting kicked in the face. It may sound cruel but it’s all part of teaching you how to properly play Tekken 7.
In fact, in the 13 hours I put into Tekken 7 I learned quite a bit more about the combat system than I thought was possible. Learning how to string together combos with specific characters. Even pulling off 10 hit combos that would almost completely kill an enemy. The game wants you to learn every little facet of its combo system and not leave you to only applying cheap tricks. This means that when you go to fighting in the game you are actually learning even though you lose. There is no mode to teach you this, there is practice mode, but it only helps so much. So you do have to learn how on the fly.
(Rage arts are really cool, if you disagree Smokey the bear has a few words to say…)
This weakness is kind of irritating. The story mode tries to teach you a little bit, but it doesn’t even touch on grab reversals or the difference in middle, high or low attacks work. These lack of a teaching mode is definitely an irritating aspect of the game, but if you stick with it you will learn. This brings me to the next part of Tekken 7 which is the modes. Of course we have the aforementioned story mode which is pretty much a one run type of ordeal. There are the character episodes, but those will only last you another hour if you decide to run through them all.
The biggest problem is the lack of modes. There is arcade mode which is an okay time waster but it is only 5 rounds. The big mode to show off is the Treasure battle which is a never-ending wave of enemies that when you beat one after another you get aesthetic items after every fight. Getting perfects and other types of victories will unlock additional items or in-game money. It’s an absolute blast to play and helps you rank up individual fighters, but overall it’s a little shallow. There are special fights but they are really just boss fights that feel unfair at times. There are special win conditions like double damage fights or double speed, but they are few and far between.
(These special battles add flavor, but it’s way too rare of an occurrence)
The biggest thing Tekken 7 is really missing are the modes. Which these may come at a later time, but coming off of something like Injustice 2 it really feels empty. Which brings us to the Online mode. (Note…I’m not talking about the roster, I like it, but I don’t know enough about Tekken to give a fair shake on if the roster is good…so I won’t).
So normally this wouldn’t even be something I bother with and that is because I would rather play with friends. For the platinum I had to do some online mode though so let’s talk about that experience. This is by far the worst online fighting game experience I have ever had. It is an absolute joke how it works and even 2 weeks out from launch it was still broken. First off there are ranked and unranked modes so nothing to worry about there. If you want a ranked match you are given a list of fighters to pick from and you enter battle.
Well sort of. You see you pick a person and it sends them the challenge and they accept or they don’t. Then when you get in the fight you pick your fighter and all that jazz. Except for some reason everyone’s connection is complete garbage. I got in so many fights that it felt like I was attempting to play Tekken 7 on a dial-up modem. I would hit punch and then 2-4 seconds later my character would execute his ability. In a game all about stringing together combos and thinking on your toes this doesn’t work at all. Ranked matches started to feel like a big joke and anyone that was taking it seriously are probably super PO’d about now.
(The online match quality can be all over the place)
Ranked matches were pretty bad but unranked was atrocious. There are two modes for unranked, the player vs player fights, and then the tournaments. Winning tournaments gives really good money and there were trophies tied to it so of course I did tournament for about 2 ½ hours. In that time, I fought matches that were okay to absolutely scum of the earth internet speeds. These were not fun battles at all and unless you control the tournament anyone is allowed in. Meaning even if I picked someone with a good connection, I could get stuck in a tournament where all the players lag was terrible.
What do you know, that was my exact experience…I only had to win one fight and due to lag, constant disconnecting and just overall player douche-baggery it took me 2 hours to win a single fight…There is no honor amongst Tekken 7. Compare that to the 10 minutes and 3 matches it took me to win a ranked fight and irritation slowly led to madness…which slowly led to anger…which led to hate…which led to suffering. Star Wars fans here’s you sign. It’s an awful online mode and even though the tournament mode is unique players would rather turn off their Ps4 then finish a match fair and square…annoying.
The nice thing here is that the game does look quite good. It’s not the prettiest fighter, but it does have its moments where it feels quite impressive. First all of the character models look quite well done. Every character looks like they belong even when you take in King or the giant freaking bear. The presentation is even more impressive when you take in the fact that there is a vast amount of costumes each character can wear. You want a Panda wearing a scuba mask? Jin with angel wings and constantly changing hair color? How about Akuma in a kids float and scuba mask while wielding a knife.
It gets pretty weird. All of this to say that the entire idea of having all of this character customization must have been pretty hard to pull off and it looks wonderful, no matter who you are playing. The place where the presentation starts to fall apart though is I think the levels the themselves. I never really understood each arena. Sure they were different and looked different but they didn’t even feel like they were really interconnected. Some levels felt unique but they just felt like they were thrown there to be unique, not like they really mattered in any way.
(Level diversity is important, but sometimes this just feels off)
For example, you fight in a volcano, yes…. a volcano. While fighting there if you are in the Lava it hurts you, which makes total sense. Why not make it actually matter though because there was only one little spot that could actually hurt you? Why not make it matter where you stand? On the aesthetic side it looks beautiful, but it feels unrealistic. Why does this volcano have only one spot of lava? Why is there a giant column of rocks that lead down to a temple? It looks cool, but it just feels weird in the end.
Without there being any type of cohesion it just seems weird in the overall scheme. Sure I can fight you on top of a jungle bridge and kick you off of it, but it doesn’t really seem to match anything to do with the game. The levels directly from the story mode made sense but the rest just seems like you wanted to do something cool. There are weird fighting arenas that feel like I’m in a boxing match, but the game never introduces that concept. The game looks great, but the presentation just feels like it’s a little out-of-place at times.
(Seriously…like where does this level come from!?!?!?)
I never thought I would complain about this in a fighter, but here I am. This is by the far one of the weakest trophy lists for a fighting game ever. 13 hours to platinum this game, isn’t the whole point of having a trophy to make your game seem like you can play much longer? I digress let’s talk about the trophies and the struggles to get them…or lack thereof… First off you have to play through all of story mode, not that bad. You need to defeat the special chapter afterwards as well as 10 of the character episodes. Then you are going to want to play a crap ton of the Treasure battles.
After the treasure battles you should have unlocked most of everything. You have to hit rank 12 on one character, which should unlock during treasure fights, unlock 50 chests, hit 10,000,000 gold and you may even have unlocked trophies for defeating Akuma in a special match and some of the more specific fighting matches. The last things you need to do can all be unlocked in the practice mode and online. You will need to win one ranked match, one player match and win one tournament match (this will be your bane!!!). Then any remaining fight specific trophies can be unlocked in practice mode.
My main complaint here is the lack of innovation or real challenge in the trophy list themselves. Most of the trophies are grinding and just an overall bore. After 13 hours I was so done with the trophy list just because it wasn’t exciting to get. This will most likely be a really popular platinum due to its ease, but it really doesn’t do the game any favors.
As my first Tekken that I bought on Day 1 and really invested in I came out a little confused. I liked the fighting system but hated the lack of modes. I enjoyed the challenge the game brought, but it was lacking a lot modes and other game aspects to challenge me. With these types of omissions from the game it is really hard to suggest anyone to really buy it, unless you are a die-hard fan. Overall this game won’t speak to a non-Tekken crowd, but I still enjoyed most of my time with the game. It has an easily achievable platinum and it is a small distraction, but nothing compared to something like Injustice 2 or even ARMs. I give Tekken 7 my platinum rating of: