Tekken 7 Review

Richard Walker

No other fighting game does things quite like Tekken. Its ludicrous family saga spanning decades since the series first launched almost 25 years ago. Tekken 7 - making its break from the Japanese arcades - brings it all to a suitably overwrought and dramatic end, with a story mode that explains why Heihachi Mishima was such a terrible father. Chucking your firstborn son off a cliff will, regrettably, tar you with that brush.

Setting the story aside for a moment, Tekken 7 is still a cracking fighting game, despite not really moving things on in terms of the series' core fundamentals. Each face button is still assigned to an individual limb, and the majority of the moves you probably committed to memory back in the 90s are still present and correct today. I can still pull off Yoshimitsu's easy 10-hit combo in Tekken 7, which is brilliant.

Face-punchery. A common sight in Tekken 7.

But things have actually changed a bit for Tekken 7, the Rage Arts system enabling you to turn the tide of battle with a devastating combo, when your health is getting dangerously low. There's a fair number of new faces too, whether it's the likes of Josie, Katarina, Claudio, Shaheen and Lucky Chloe, or fresh takes on otherwise absent characters like Gigas filling in for Marduk or Master Raven filling in for, um, Raven, obviously.

Then there's Street Fighter guest star Akuma, who could have quite easily upset the balance with his ability to endlessly chuck fireballs or momentarily deflect damage. That he doesn't is testament to how well Tekken 7 is put together. You can easily counter Akuma with a quick sidestep to let his hadoukens sail on by, and open him up for a killer combo. It's a different scenario in the story, however, in which Akuma is hugely overpowered.

And the less said about the interminable final battle, the better. It's understandable that you'd want to protract the conclusion to such a long and convoluted tale, but after defeating the story's final boss more times than I'd have liked to, I just wanted it to be over. Still, despite overstaying its welcome somewhat, Tekken 7's cinematic 'Mishima Saga' yarn is actually pretty good, the cut-scenes seamlessly seguing into the action being a particularly nice touch.

Told from the perspective of a journo trying to get the bottom of the insane family feud, the story offers an interesting take on the relationship between Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin, with Akuma slotting neatly into the narrative as a hired assassin. Clearly, Tekken 7's story knows that it's a bit silly, and brilliantly, fully embraces that fact.

Next to the likes of NetherRealm's efforts in Mortal Kombat and Injustice, however, Tekken 7's story pales in comparison, its 2-3 hour series of cut-scenes punctuated by a bit of fisticuffs - some of it quite novel, like using a machine gun to stave off military goons - proving a little bit on the anaemic side. Each character has their own story chapter to play too, and if you're so inclined, you can revisit the story at higher difficulty levels, so there's that.

As far as other modes tailored to solo players go, there's not all that much else. You won't find anything like the wonderfully daft Tekken Bowl or scrolling beat 'em up Tekken Force mode here, unfortunately. Instead, you can partake in Treasure Battle mode, unlocking new customisation items like funny hair, silly hats, a pair of oversized glasses or a sardine. Because, why not? Who doesn't want to play as Yoshimitsu with a game of Jenga balanced on top of his head or Akuma with a giant pizza stuck to his back?

Aside from the staple Arcade and Practice modes too, that's about it for offline single-player content. There's local Versus battling to be had, and a robust online offering that covers everything from casual Player Matches to less casual Ranked Matches and Tournament play for the more hardened Tekken veterans out there. Online is not without its problems and tics, unfortunately.

Feng: still ripped.

Getting into a Ranked Match can be a challenge, as often you'll find yourself choosing an opponent from the match list only to blankly stare at the screen waiting for a response. You can keep refreshing the list and changing the parameters, but quite why you'd want to face someone with a poor connection is beyond me. Player Matches are a little easier to find, but the whole process can still be somewhat lengthy. Clearly, there's a bit of work to be done in this department, but for now, it does at least do its job to an extent. It's not broken, just annoying.

Mercifully, there are only a few achievements attached to the online part of Tekken 7, the rest attached to the story, Treasure Battle, and performing certain feats during fights. Accumulating fight money for customisation and unlocking material from the Tekken vault in the Gallery, meanwhile, will come easily over time. It's a good list with an excellent spread, and not too off-putting either.

Despite a few issues with the online portion at present, this is a blistering return for The King of Iron Fist Tournament. Tekken 7 represents the complete package for any self-respecting fight fan, especially those who've been with the series on PlayStation since day one. Even if you haven't, Tekken 7 is worth diving into, its fighting mechanics still among the best around.

Tekken 7

It's good to have Tekken back again. Tekken 7 successfully makes the jump from the arcades in Japan, with a cool customisation suite, a decent selection of modes and superb fight mechanics. You should probably go buy it now.

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The trademark electronic music that Tekken is known for can get a bit grating over time. It's still perfectly fine, as are the classic sound effects. The voice acting is not too bad either.


Tekken 7 looks great, especially for a two-year old arcade game. It's not without the odd graphical flaw, like a bit of clipping here and there, but it's a lovely-looking fighting game, regardless.


Anyone even remotely familiar with the series will feel right at home, while newcomers needn't be intimidated. Tekken 7 embraces fight fans of all types, as one of the most accessible, but incredibly deep, fighting games out there.


An all-round package that's just a little light on single-player content. All the bases are pretty well-covered online, although getting a match going can be a pain. The story is also an excellent, knowingly ridiculous addition.


Exactly the sort of achievement list you'd want from a game like this, with an excellent spread across all modes, and none that are too taxing. Not too much grind, this is still a list with a long tail.

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