Tekken 7 Review – Stutter Stepping to Victory

By: Dan Oravasaari
 

Having been around for over 20 years, Bandai Namco’s massively popular Tekken series returns with a seventh entry in the main series. Does this entry deserve to be the King of the Iron Fist Tournament? 

Read on to find out.

When it comes to narrative in video games, there is always the question about why these characters are in the situation that they find themselves. What is it that pushes them forward? Yet, when it comes to games within the fighting game genre, we find that many develops try to glaze over driving forces in hopes that fans will simply latch onto the mechanics and character design behind the game. Thankfully, the Bandai Namco’s Tekken franchise has always made an effort to entwine a reason behind the King of the Iron Fist tournament, and their latest entry Tekken 7 looks to become more than just an end cap.

Tekken 7’s story revolves once again around the Mishima family and their never ending need to try and kill each other. As such, players will take the role of many fan favorites as they walk through the final bouts between a family at war. Sadly, while fans will enjoy the culmination of the story, the production behind the end product leaves quite a lot to desired. One of the most noteworthy issues that is nearly impossible to not notice is the atrocious voice work of the story’s narrator, whose deadpan performance is almost unbearable.

Besides that, the other issue that I found with Tekken 7’s production has to do with its inability to maintain a baseline for how it represents certain characters. This is in part due to its usage of classic footage, which ultimately reminds you of how dated the games have become, but it is more in that there are times when character model fidelity isn’t up to current standards. With the current generation of releases, high-end character models have become the standard, and Tekken 7 just seems to fall short of meeting those expectations. Whether it is characters who look like plastic or low-poly, there is just something left to be desired regarding Tekken 7’s production value.

While all of this may seem like Tekken 7 has far too many issues with it to be worth picking up that simply couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality behind game’s within the fighting genre is that all of these issues surround added content that is only layered on top of one of the most refined fighting engines I have seen from the franchise. One of the best aspects that, while seemingly minor, is just how well the Tekken 7’s hit detection works, as it is a fundamental aspect of what makes a quality fighting game.

This is best showcased during the final hits of a match, where just before a final hit connects, the match will slowdown and enter in a cinematic slow motion effect letting both players see how the move connected. Having played countless matches already, I have yet to see any instances where shots that should have connected didn’t, making this bold move pay off in spades.

Given that fighting games have their own set of standards, it is quite easy to bypass many of this minor issues, and with Tekken 7 this is especially true. The reason why is simply because this is one of the best entries for the franchise I have played in years. As a fighting game, Tekken 7 is bound to be a fan favorite with its excellent mechanics and performance. Adding to this, Tekken 7 now introduces a Rage Art mode which allows a player at low health to perform a massive attack, which could turn the tide of the fight.  As well as the Power Crush mechanic, which lets players continue a move even if damaged. At first glance these mechanics may seem like a grab to introduce a more cinematic feel into each bout, but the fact that no fight is predetermined, adds a great deal of intrigue into every round.

Overall, Tekken 7 is a great entry into the franchise and while it does stumble around as it steps outside of its base fighting platform, it provides enough content and depth that all fighting game fans should definitely take notice.  

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