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Tekken 7 review
By Dave Houghton 14 hours ago

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NEED TO KNOW

What is it: The latest iteration of the classic 3D fighting game, with a few new additions.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Reviewed on: Windows 10, Intel Core i7-6700, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1070
Expect To Pay: 40/$50
Multiplayer: 2 player versus, local and online.
Link: Official site

When it purely comes to fighting, Tekken 7 is glorious fun. Of course it should be, given that its
combat model is only a slight refinement of the expansive, immediate and free-flowing set-up
perfected some time around Tekken 3 on the PlayStation. But an improved version of a near-
perfect thing is nothing to be sniffed at.
For the uninitiated, Tekkens combat focuses on freedom, openness, and breadth of possibility
over strict, prescriptive hierarchies of attack and defence. Where other fighting games are
dominated by tightly defined rules of risk-and-reward, Tekkenwhile consummately,
thoughtfully precise and balancedprefers to give you a range of looser options in a more
emergent, intricately reactive fighting system. It wants you to try things, just for the hell of it. It
wants you to experiment wildly with its vast array of subtly different, malleable attacks, parries,
evades and counters.

Its an entirely more organic, sandbox-y fighter than the competitiona fluid, unpredictable and
constantly exciting game of incredibly accurate hitboxes and anything-can-happen cause and
effect. Its logical, fair and makes total sense, but it also wants you to know that a ludicrous,
woop-inducing turnaround can happen at any given moment. If you're willing to put everything
on the line, maybe it will. If Street Fighter is like fisticuffs chess, then Tekkens faster, more
explosive, more intimate and improvisational, laterally-focused game is like Geometry Wars with
roundhouse kicks. It's an instinct-driven feel-fighter where learning the basics of a character is
about exploration over academia.

Although largely familiar, Tekken 7 does introduce a cool new system by way of its Rage Arts
and Rage Drives. Available once your health bar gets low enough (there's no managing multiple
power gauges here, Tekken is much more straightforward than that), Rage will trigger, allowing
you to launch one of two powerfully augmented, potentially tide-turning attacks. Arts are big,
cinematic super-moves that will often finish your opponent, whereas Drives lean more towards
powered up combo-openers. The latter offer less guaranteed damage on hit unless you can follow
up, but are much safer from retaliation if blocked. Whichever you go for though, Rage means
that every Tekken 7 fight stays exciting right to the very last second.

Unfortunately, the game seems to assume that you already know the specifics of how Tekken
works, and it really couldnt care less about teaching you if you dont.

Unfortunately, the game seems to assume that you already know the specifics of how Tekken
works, and it really couldnt care less about teaching you if you dont. Modern polish asideand
in terms of both action and looks, Tekken 7 is absurdly polishedthe singleplayer package
wrapped around the jaw-cracking magic is threadbare and annoyingly out-of-touch.

While there is a training mode, it makes less effort to educate than a disinterested high school
teacher who sticks on a video and catches up on marking until the bell rings. Comprising only
the basics of a character-specific moves list and a training dummy that can be programmed with
desired behaviours, Tekken 7s training only really caters to players looking to hone the
execution of known strategies. Those wishing to learn the ins and outs of the games internal
logic and flow are on their own. That the moves-list simply dumps the whole lotaround 80 per
character, many of which are indistinguishable in purpose on first, uneducated glancewithout
any indication of power or functionality, suggesting a lack of overall care.
This would be acceptable if Tekken 7 didnt squander its most promising concession to modern
fighting games: the tragically inconsistent story mode. This was almost perfected when
NetherRealm introduced the idea in its 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, showing that a narrative
fighting game campaign can deliver a brilliantly creative, character-focused in-road to
understanding how to play.

PERFORMANCE

There is no mouse support and keyboard controls are terrible, though you'd expect that of a
fighting game. Look out for the 57GB install size. The game is locked to 60FPS and runs
flawlessly on our GTX970, though adds black bars to ultrawide resolutions. For a full overview
of our performance impressions, check out Ian's analysis.

Tekken 7, however, seems to understand the basics of this but not the purpose, delivering a short,
incoherent and newcomer-hostile tale with a brutally disproportionate ratio of cutscenes to
combat. Most maddening is that the final chapters, when it eventually zones in on a purposeful,
character-driven story thread and tells it through sustained, increasingly spectacular, multi-stage
battles, get it really right, showing off Tekken 7 as a whole with defiant class and flair. As
rivalries intensify, the action is seamlessly punctuated with narrative overlays upon decisive hits,
with electrifying slow-mo close-ups highlighting key clashes. The storys late stages feel like the
adrenaline-fuelled and cinematic Matrix game we never got.

To get there, though, youll have to grind through two hours of simplistic, bluntly repetitive
battles, as well as earnest yet meaningless chatter with who-the-hell-is-that-anyway characters.
On top of that, there's a faceless, morphine-overdose of a narrator apparently aiming for an
award-worthy parody of Bad Anime Acting. 30 separate, single-fight Character Episodes pad
things out with a great deal more, much-needed personality, but damn if that doesnt just flag
more wasted potential. Its unlikely youll even learn anything by accident, too. The story modes
bizarre decision to furnish one-button macros for key special moves more than sees to that.

When Tekken 7 comes alive, it does so with a furious zest and capability. With another invested
player in tow, it delivers a gratifying, hard-hitting time with the winsome giddiness of a party
game. And if youre willing to put in the work required to release that powerand have the
friends on-hand to helpthen I'd recommend it, no question. If your fight buddies are thin on the
ground, though, and the faceless world of online scrapping isnt for you, think carefully. Tekken
7 quickly ceases to exist for the solo player.