Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

Whether it's a successful musical style, a culinary dish, a movie series, or a video game... if people have loved it for years, you don't completely change it... you build upon it. This has been the theory of TEKKEN since its inception. TEKKEN 7 continues the formula that built its foundation over 2 decades ago, but adds some major elements that highlight and exaggerate the best of what TEKKEN is.

It might be easy for some to forget TEKKEN 7 was a successful and innovative arcade fighting game before it hit consoles.
The arcade version of TEKKEN 7 innovated by being the first fighting game to host network battles between different arcade locations (including Japan Vs. Korea). The arcade version has also kept up to date with the console version post-release via online updates. In an arcade, players can choose their side (left or right) even if both players pick the same side, as the camera will adjust on the stage for the player's choice another first for fighting games. Arcade players can use their smartphones to view their records, purchase character customizations, and edit their characters. All of these innovations could only be enjoyed by players lucky enough to still frequent to arcades. TEKKEN is one of the only fighters left to still use the classic "arcade first, then console" development process from years past. And there are pros and cons to this old school game-design format, of course...

There are pros and cons to this old school format, of course.
Following tradition with every major installment of TEKKEN, Namco utilized their arcade launch to test, finalize, and fund the console version. This meant most fans overseas had to wait over 4 years to own a new TEKKEN game (since 2012's TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2). While the wait probably hurt TEKKEN 7 more than it helped, Bandai Namco's commitment to releasing a final, "fully-tested and balanced-by-pros" product before asking fans to purchase a console version is something admirable in this current generation of fighting games.

TEKKEN 7 brings the hype like no other 3D fighting game.

At its core, TEKKEN 7 introduces some great new ideas to fighting games... and to TEKKEN itself. Back in the day, when you put your quarters into a shiny new arcade fighting game, there were always those "ahh haa" moments when you saw something 100% original, whether it was something visual, or related to the gameplay. TEKKEN 7 keeps this arcade dream alive in several ways.

carries itself as a pinnacle of sorts. That's quite a statement... but nearly everything that put the series on the map has returned in a bigger way. Besides a few fan-favorite classic characters being on the M.I.A list, there's not much from older games to "miss" necessarily, but there are som
e major changes to shake up TEKKEN's traditional gameplay formula: Super moves (Critical Arts), Rage Drives, and Power Crush. These new mechanics can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. The good news is, it's not difficult (at all) to make these mechanics your new friends. TEKKEN 7's new gameplay systems are intuitive, fun to incorporate into your playstyle, and... best of all... the "spammer-types" who would try to abuse these mechanics are easily punishable by fighting game fundamentals. 

As a series,
TEKKEN has kept serious players coming back by never straying far from its roots, implementing "slight yet significant" innovations with each new installment. Keeping serious players in mind is a particularly important aspect for a game like TEKKEN. While T7's gameplay still feels like good old TEKKEN, it introduces some of the boldest changes to date. Rage Arts (AKA "super moves") have finally been implemented in TEKKEN, and are enabled only when a player's health is low (signified by a flashy new Rage meter activation effect). Rage Arts are by no means foolproof, but can absorb opponents' attacks and can catch an aggressive opponent off guard. Think of a Rage Art as a one-shot "(possibly) get out of jail free" card. This idea replaces the "Tag Crash" from TTT2, and when timed right, can enable a big comeback.

On the flipside of the coin, Rage Arts are also among the easiest moves to punish when blocked, providing beginners a basic example of how to defend and punish properly in TEKKEN. Smart and patient players can easily "bait out" a (spammy) opponent's random Rage Art (and finish them off with style). Rage Arts by themselves can create some amazing moments during gameplay - for example, the defending fighter being able to block the Rage Art, even if their attacks got absorbed (if the move has fast recovery frames). The slow motion and camera work during Rage Arts is also excellent, which only add to the potential epicness and unpredictability of a tense match.

Rage Arts are possibly most effective when used inside of a proper combo, tacking on big damage when connected. Even though the damage scaling of Rage Arts is pretty fair, I wouldn't mind if Rage Arts took off slightly less damage overall. Interestingly, unlike some other fighting games with "super moves", TEKKEN 7 Rage Arts aren't something you see every single round (or even every set). For a variety of reasons, Rage Arts aren't an imperative part of TEKKEN 7's gameplay... but merely that "get out of jail card" when needed.

provides another way to use the Rage meter besides Rage Arts... Rage Drives. Instead of a big super move, most characters can seamlessly initiate a speedy Rage Drive either during a combo to extend it, or to simply surprise an opponent with it. Rage Drives are character-specific and have unique effects... for example: some launch opponents high into the air, some send opponents flying backward fiercely into the wall, and some bound opponents on the ground creating time for an additional stomp or ground throw. Some Rage Drives are exclusive moves for certain characters, others are variations of attacks or previously impossible combinations, and several even have cancels for various mix-ups. I personally enjoy using Rage Drives more than Rage Arts... they're a lot of fun to experiment with.

Akuma offers a 2D play-style inside TEKKEN's 3D fighting engine.

Screw Attacks take the place of "Bound" moves. In past games, Bound moves were a great way to mix up the style and timing of your combos. Screw Attacks serve the same exact purpose, but send the opponent spiraling toward the ground (and in my opinion, look cooler than Bound). Each character has several moves that function as Screw Attacks, coming in the form of either single attacks or multi-hit combinations.

Lastly, Power Crush attacks enable an "armor" effect which allows the attack to continue even when hit - but the attacking fighter will still take damage from their opponent. While a seemingly powerful new ability, any player that tries to rely on Power Crush can become predictable and easily picked apart by smart fundamentals and punishes. Now it makes perfect sense why 2013's TEKKEN Revolution experimented with Invincible Moves. Thankfully, TEKKEN 7's Power Crush attacks are much more easily punishable than Invincible Moves - and feel more like a true TEKKEN mechanic.

is the first ever guest character to appear in a TEKKEN game. By adding the veteran, original OG, fan-favorite Street Fighter icon to the playable roster, Lord Harada and company gave every 2D fighting game player worth their salt a reason to try out TEKKEN 7... even if they're not adequately skilled in 3D fighters. That's why Akuma is the perfect introductory character to welcome new players to TEKKEN. Plus, Akuma is arguably the all-time most badass martial artist from Street Fighter, making him a perfect fit against TEKKEN's roster. They took it a step further by incorporating Akuma into the actual storyline, which is a gutsy unprecedented move and it worked pretty well in the end. 

The second guest character for TEKKEN 7, Geese Howard, is yet another unimaginably perfect fit. TEKKEN 7 is officially the first fighting game to venture into the "dream idea" of a Namco Vs. Capcom Vs. SNK title. As is, it's a dream come true for us old school players... and it getting my hopes up for a full-fledged crossover someday in the future. The fact that these icons have their classic 2D play-styles, projectiles, a super meter, and input-heavy combos... is not only an amazing achievement for TEKKEN 7, but also a preview of what we can expect out of a future "TEKKEN Vs. Street Fighter" project from Bamco. The raw 2D mechanics, unique jumping style, and combo style brought to the table by Akuma, Geese (and Eliza) provide new and fun ways to play TEKKEN. They're not just guest characters, they are new "game engines" for TEKKEN 7. When you look at the facts, these are the most innovative "guest" characters to appear in a fighting game in a very long time.

Capcom Vs. SNK... in TEKKEN 7.

In the mid/late 1990's, TEKKEN games grew to extreme popularity without pretty graphics as one of their main selling points. Times sure have changed... because TEKKEN 7 is easily one of the most visually appealing fighting games of this era. If you're not playing TEKKEN 7 on a PS4 Pro (and a 4k TV) or a high-end PC in 1080p or higher, you're missing out on the best-looking 3D fighting game to date. Sadly, the standard PS4 version looks a bit washed out and soft. Alas, to fully appreciate TEKKEN 7's visuals requires you to update that 2013 vanilla PS4 technology.

The PS4 Pro enhancements
are very significant on a 4K TV and mirror the stunning quality of the arcade version. (Upscales to 1080p, aliasing gets cleaned up, skin and clothing textures pop, and everything just looks insanely crisp.) Even better... the PC version running in 4K / Ultra Settings is a step towards graphical perfection, blasting crispier clothing & skin textures, clearer stage detail, better shadows, better bear fur, motion blur settings... (and throw in some beautifully gorgeous stage mods that dramatically change up the lighting and pop the details, while you're at it).   Coming in fat last place, the Xbox One version is the worst-looking of the three, running (and panting) at a lowly last-gen 720p. The good news is, all versions are solidly locked at 60fps with zero slowdown. One thing's for sure, TEKKEN still looks like TEKKEN... and absolutely should.

Notable visual effects that must be talked about? For starters, Namco finally delivered on showing "sweat" detail in-game (anyone remember that T6 Jin Kazama trailer)? The sweat that builds up on characters' bodies throughout the match is one of those finer details that you really notice on PS4 Pro/PC. Special move effects, impact effects, and rage effects all look spectacularly sharp, as well. I also love how stage / floor damage stays as it is for the entire round. Clothing physics have also taken a technical step forward... it's been a while since clothing animation caught my eye in a fighting game. TEKKEN 7's sexy / flowing new costume designs smartly highlight these clothing animations. The dynamic movement of King's cape, Kazuya's long coat, or the way Master Raven's springy dreads spring around are all great examples of these new physics. TEKKEN 7 might actually have the most realistic and most fun-to-watch clothing movement of any fighting game to date.

is THE spectator 3D fighting game.
The slow-mo camera, the smoothed-out combos, the super moves, the crispy graphics... TEKKEN 7 is the most visually engaging TEKKEN in ages. The ORGANIC HYPE created by TEKKEN 7's slow-mo camera is truly innovative to fighting games (and I won't be surprised if future developers "copy" this idea in the coming years). Slow-mo's and super moves visually inform even inexperienced viewers that "something cool is about to happen"... helping them follow the action. The results of a match in T7 can be so varied, that you never know what might happen near the end of a round or during a slow-mo. For the record, slow-mo activates when both fighters are low on health and "lock-in" their movements so a K.O. is possible. Fighters can even continue fighting after the slow-mo sequence occurs if no attacks end up connecting. (It looks badass. Nuff said.) Very few fighting games these days contain any kind of "special" element that doesn't happen very often. While other games' camera angles and cinematics force-feed the "idea" of epic in repetitive cinematics, TEKKEN 7's in-engine slow motion effect is something 100% innovative and new to fighting games. The basic slow-mo effect after K.O. is also satisfying and nicely upgrade TEKKEN's overall aesthetics. 

The new Unreal Engine 4 graphics engine is the perfect opportunity to introduce a new in-game storyline for TEKKEN. The Mishimas once again take center stage in an in-game story that blends cinematics seamlessly with gameplay. The battle between son and father, Kazuya and Heihachi, has always been an intriguing, emotional battle over the past six story sagas, and finally reaches its conclusion in T7. The main story features some other characters besides Mishima such as Lee, Nina, and Alisa. The various story battles were mostly well-chosen, and bring the kooky form of epic you'd expect from TEKKEN. My personal favorite moment is being able to play through the TEKKEN 5 Honmaru battle with Kazuya, Heihachi, and the Jack-4's. (Them Jack-4 ragdoll physics are hilariously great.) Story mode even has some entertaining "mini-games" along the way, so it's not only fighting (like some other fighting game story modes of recent times). Story mode doesn't hold your hand too much, but does feature "Story Assist" buttons that allow beginners to press buttons and do some cool moves. 

Kid Kazuya is playable in Story Mode. . . DREAMS DO COME TRUE!

The Mishima Saga story mode assumes you know something about the series... which is a smart direction. TEKKEN is a 23 year-old series; you should know something about it by now. While the "cinematics into gameplay" is smooth and very well-executed, there are some moments that fall flat. The beginning is sleepy and awkwardly narrated by some medicated-sounding gentlemen who sounds like he's never heard of TEKKEN until he got the job to narrate this game. It's also an odd (and unnecessary) choice to have the "narrator" play a major role in the storyline making him a character of his own. The voice actor's lack of energy and motivation sadly kills some of the nostalgic / good vibes story mode has to offer. Thankfully, the story starts to come together a few chapters in, and is an enjoyable playthrough.

As of late, I find myself disliking video game story modes that drag on and on with cliche after cliche. The Mishima Saga, at the very least, offers something different and not as predictable as a typical Joe-blow action movie. There are 4 difficulty levels in Story - which is nice, as the harder difficulties present a legit challenge even for experienced players. The AI is particularly fun on the Hard setting. I was grinning when CPU Nina was hitting chain throws on my Heihachi... I love a good CPU AI that can style on you. There's also a battle where you control Alisa against Nina. Now, I'm not an Alisa player... at all... but after the 18th retry against Nina on Hard, I had quite a few moves and combos with Alisa memorized. That's when I had an epiphany: This is a great and fun way to start learning a new character! Too bad Namco didn't have the funds or the time to create a cinematic experience for every character in the game. Now that would be a fun "Arcade Mode" experience I could get behind. 

Sadly, TEKKEN characters outside of the main story mode aren't represented with proper endings or side-stories like in past TEKKEN games. This is sure to displease the casual crowd. The "Character Episodes" are equivalent to the length and overall vibe of PacMan intermission scenes. These lazy cutscenes leave much to be desired, as they don't develop character storylines or personalities... certainly a major downgrade from past story elements in TEKKEN games. Once again, the production of the Mishima Saga makes me wish every TEKKEN character had cool cinematic fight scenes to experience, at least. Other TEKKEN characters besides Mishimas definitely deserve their time in the spotlight.

Movement in Tekken. . . Learn it!

As far as TEKKEN 7's newcomers go... Katarina, Lucky Chloe, Claudio, Shaheen, Gigas, and Kazumi Mishima all interestingly provide their own unique spin on how a TEKKEN character works. The purely new characters offer more streamlined / condensed movesets than most returning veterans, but their play-styles seem to "teach" various fundamental lessons of TEKKEN / 3D fighting games. Each of them is arguably "easier" to use than most veteran TEKKEN characters, another interesting design choice. For example, techniques like Katarina's spammy kicks and Claudio's ridiculously fast launcher will frustrate some players early on, but some simple defensive study should teach players how easy it is to punish even the most effective attacks or attack-strings. The newcomers' personalities don't quite live up to the icons (due to the lack of in-game story content)... but their animations, fighting styles, and onscreen presence should inspire many players to pick up someone new.

Beginning in TEKKEN 5, the series "set its own standard" for customization in fighting games (since most other fighting games don't even have a customization mode). Naturally, returning fans expect ALL of the features from the older games to return, but sadly that isn't the case in T7. First the good news... Namco's excellent Color Edit mode has returned, and returning costumes have more palette options. All characters (except Jack-7, for some odd reason) were given brand new costumes, and they're arguably the best in the series. Using Color Edit on these badass new costumes alone is hours of fun. Like they did with TapOut in 2009, Namco collaborated with New Japan Pro Wrestling and included (free) Kazuchika Okada and Bullet Club clothing items. There are plenty of new tops and bottoms to mix & match, as well. On the downside, there are reused items from TTT2. Some items are nice to have return, others not so much. Sadly, the emblem editing from TTT2 is gone, so certain options (for the die-hard creators) are more limited this time. Also, dumb items like deer heads, shower heads, and butterfly wings probably shouldn't exist.

Speaking of costumes, Namco brought back several iconic outfits from classic games (such as TEKKEN 2, TEKKEN 4, and T5:DR), which old school players will appreciate. It might not be popular opinion, but I personally love seeing classic costumes and clothing items revamped into a new graphics engine. TEKKEN 7's amazing visuals, new camera angles, new texture technology, and new animations allow you to appreciate these nostalgic costumes in a new light. (On that note, this philosophy has actually been a trademark of the series since the very beginning. It's always nice to see classic things that you appreciate from the earlier games recognized and updated.)

While TEKKEN 7's customization mode lacks a few features from prequels, it does bring some new ideas to the table. New customizable health bars, player panels, titles, and custom artwork panels, for example. Just like in TTT2, you can customize your Versus Screen panels with amazing 2D artwork from Jbstyle, Junny, Shunya Yamashita, and Tomio Fujisawa. Several other video game artists also did some pieces with their (sometimes comedic) takes on TEKKEN's charismatic fighters. In an era of fighting games where "art" is becoming a thing of the past, it's nice to see Bandai Namco actually put some care into preserving the 2D artwork of fighting games. And if you don't care about such things, you're part of the problem.

When you're not training in the dojo... TEKKEN Bowling!

So what's missing in TEKKEN 7? ...What could be better? For one, Online Mode needs some work. After spending years in the online modes of T5DR, T6, TTT2, and TR, one would hope for something more than just another basic online mode. Colorful online lobbies with 3D avatars (and mini-games) in Arc System Works fighting games might've spoiled me, but a little more excitement and more rewards in TEKKEN 7's online mode would be welcome. TEKKEN 7 is also missing "online events" or any kind of hub that rewards players for logging in daily or weekly. Even TEKKEN Revolution had these events, so I'm very surprised T7 went without this feature entirely. While dedicated players will fight online for free, weekly online events help a game feel "alive," and have become a staple in other recent games... TEKKEN 7 not having events could hinder its performance with less-driven players who remain on the fence.

Alongside the majority of serious players, I wanted to see an improvement in the PS4 version's input lag. Thankfully, Bandai Namco successfully delivered the input lag fix in December 2017, bypassing the Unreal Engine 4's added latency and dropping overall input lag by 2 frames. (That's a huge performance improvement, in case you don't know).   Thank you Harada! Game developers like these are the ones you want to support, folks. I find TEKKEN 7's netcode to be mostly decent, but weirdly unstable against certain players. Better punishment for rage quitters would be nice, too. Sadly, the Replay Save option is gone from past titles, which makes things slightly more difficult for content creators such as myself. Besides that, online is still solid enough to keep me coming back, and Bandai Namco does a lot of things right with online - which many gamers may take for granted. Ranked match is still done right, as players earn unique ranks for each character in the game, not just one overall rank. This makes learning multiple characters fun and rewarding, as you can track your progress with each individual character.

8-man Online Tournaments
are a cool idea, and something new for fighting game online modes... but it might be more trouble than it's worth. Online tournaments can be fun with friends, but there isn't much motivation to sit through a tourney and get "prize money" after you unlock everything in the game (which doesn't take long). On a related note, achievements / trophies in TEKKEN 7 are unbecomingly easy to unlock. It's not a good look for TEKKEN when all of the trophies can be earned with very little time and skill involved (which is ironically the opposite of what TEKKEN is all about). Trophies may not seem like a big deal... but potential " new students" to TEKKEN may think they have "beaten" TEKKEN 7 after earning these "kid-friendly" trophies. Sad to say, some gamers these days need more motivation to actually learn how to play a fighting game.

When it comes to improvements to TEKKEN 7's gameplay, there's not much I'd want changed... but I think alternate Rage Arts & Rage Drives would be a great addition in a future (major) update. A few characters' Rage Arts are visually unappealing and uninspiring... so more variety would be great. Some characters like Paul Phoenix have cancelable Rage Drives, resulting in combo mix-ups. More characters should have these types of variations!

In closing, TEKKEN 7 features some great extra modes, including Jukebox (PS4 exclusive), Gallery (PS4 exclusive), and Ultimate TEKKEN Bowl. While character endings are missing in T7, having immediate access to hours of classic endings, intro movies, and high quality artwork - from every TEKKEN game ever made... nearly makes up for it. TEKKEN 7's Gallery possibly has the most content I've ever seen in a fighting game Gallery mode. Like TEKKEN Tunes in TTT2, Jukebox lets players to listen to the entire soundtracks of every TEKKEN game, and use any track on any stage (including stage transitions). It's truly an excellent mode to showcase TEKKEN's high quality music over the years. TEKKEN 7 also features VR Mode exclusively for the PS4 VR headset, which basically allows you to watch a match play out in VR... nothing to write home about really. Last but not least, the DLC Ultimate TEKKEN Bowl is an unexpected throwback to the TTT1's classic bowling mode. Ultimate TEKKEN Bowl has surprisingly gorgeous visuals and bowling pin physics, and for a random mini-game, it's high quality stuff. (Too bad there's no online bowling though.)


Page Updated: March 13th, 2024
Developer(s): Bandai Namco
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco
Designer(s): Katsuhiro Harada  (Producer),  Yuichi Yonemori  (Director),
Motohiro Okubo 
Artwork By: Junny, Shunya Yamashita, Tomio Fujisawa, JBStyle
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date(s): July 5th, 2016                    Arcade - TEKKEN 7: FR update
June 2nd, 2017               PS4/XB1/Steam - as TEKKEN 7
Feb. 13th, 2019                 Arcade - TEKKEN 7: FR Round 2
Characters Kazuya Mishima, Heihachi Mishima, Asuka Kazama, Bryan Fury, Lili Rochefort, Leo Kliesen, Feng Wei, Steve Fox, Paul Phoenix, Marshall Law, King, Ling Xiaoyu, Hwoarang, Sergei Dragunov, Lars, Alisa, Claudio Serafino, Katarina Alves, Lucky Chloe, Shaheen, Jin Kazama, Devil Jin, Josie Rizal, Gigas, Yoshimitsu, Jack-7, Kazumi Mishima, Nina Williams, Bob, Master RavenLee Chaolan, Miguel, Kuma, Panda, Eddy Gordo, Eliza, Akuma, Geese Howard, Noctis, Lei Wulong, Anna Williams, Craig Marduk, Armor King, Julia Chang, Negan, Zafina, Leroy Smith, Ganryu, Fahkumram, Kunimitsu, Lidia
News Links Dec. 2022: TEKKEN 7 Update Adds Streaming Mode / New Features
Dec. 2022: TEKKEN 7 Sells Over 10 Million Copies

Featured Video:

Related Games: TEKKEN 8, TEKKEN 7, TEKKEN, TEKKEN 2, TEKKEN 3, TEKKEN 4, TEKKEN 5, TEKKEN 5: Dark Resurrection, TEKKEN: Dark Resurrection, TEKKEN 5: Dark Resurrection Online, TEKKEN 6, TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion, TEKKEN Tag Tournament, TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2, TEKKEN Advance, TEKKEN Hybrid, TEKKEN 3D: Prime Edition, TEKKEN Revolution, Street Fighter V, Soul Calibur 6, Dead or Alive 6

Gameplay Engine  9.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.5 / 10
Animation  9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.5 / 10
Innovation  8.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  9.0 / 10
Options / Extras  8.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  10 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.5 / 10
Characters  10 / 10


9.4 / 10

 Review based on PS4 Pro / PC version 


Final Words:

If you're not playing TEKKEN 7... you're missing out on one of the greatest and most rewarding fighting games of the decade. However, the game doesn't "hold your hand" and beg you to play it. There's not much extra fluff to draw you in. You either learn how good TEKKEN 7 is through playing it and improving, or you miss the bus again (and nobody's going to miss you). The proof is in the pudding... and the dedicated players know what's up. Play online on PC. The rollback netcode is great. (P.S. You have to be able to play high level TEKKEN to understand that.)

An honest game like TEKKEN 7 is the reason I still play fighting games after all these years. TEKKEN 7 gets the fundamentals right, very very right. What you see is what you get... a tried-and-true, deep 3D fighter that takes years to master. What you do with it is your choice. (I personally enjoy learning 10-15+ characters and uploading matches & video compilations, which keeps me busy for years. Also, there has never been a better time for entering tournaments and getting good at TEKKEN, since the competitive scene has never ever been better.)  In retrospect, I told you TEKKEN 7 was good in 2015... what I didn't predict is that Bamco had a "SF4 level" blockbuster on their hands that would redefine the competitive fighting game climate in eSports and the FGC. TEKKEN 7 is so huge that even pro Street Fighter players have come over to the TEKKEN side. Wow, how times have changed since 2009.

TEKKEN 7 truly is "back to basics" TEKKEN, without sacrificing much depth from the prequels. T7 offers a brilliant balance of new and returning mechanics, making for a fun, rewarding, and accessible fighting game. Relearning old mains and learning newcomers is intuitive and as fun as ever. The new mechanics are great tools to help new players enjoy TEKKEN (and give them a fighting chance against 20+ year veterans)... but as always, higher-skill strategies and fundamentals by smart players will prevail. With TEKKEN's high-skill ceiling, casual players having a "chance" for a comeback using a Rage Art, Rage Drive, or Power Crush should encourage all levels of players to enjoy TEKKEN 7 for many years to come. 

The science of what each character can do, and what each character can do in specific match-ups... presents limitless options. TEKKEN 7 is a sandbox of skill and possibilities. Other fighting games these days are not as much of a sandbox, forcing you into specific repetitions or gimmicks. Possibly my favorite aspect of TEKKEN was always the freedom of creativity the game gives you for not only each character, but the open-ended combo system. TEKKEN 7's combo system is as familiar as ever, but now there's an emphasis on "prettier / harder-hitting" moves. New and old moves have been cleverly retooled giving combos a fresh look and feel. This aesthetic design element is actually a very important enhancement for spectators, and at the same time, adds healthy variety and mix-up combo options for veteran players. 

Timing for advanced, longer combos is still as precise as ever, with some characters being very execution-heavy (Akuma and Geese, appropriately so). However, if you're not savvy enough to hit those longer combos... there are several powerhouses that can deal big damage with 2-hit, 3-hit, or 4-hit combos... just like the old days. Creatively throwing Rage Drives and Rage Arts into combos make for even more fun. (Perhaps not quite as much fun as TTT2 combo creation, but still very fun.)

Even though the console version of TEKKEN 7 isn't "overloaded with content" like the past few TEKKEN games (which didn't win those games any awards or high ratings from mainstream reviewers btw ), there are some very obvious reasons why TEKKEN 7 stands out above most others in recent times. There are also some harder-to-see reasons that players have to discover for themselves, by actually playing and learning the game.

If you bought TEKKEN 7 to play TEKKEN, you have your work cut out for you. There's so much to learn, and Bandai Namco's excellent Practice mode has all the training options you could ever want (and more). If you're a more casual fan who enjoys single-player modes, well... maybe you should invest your time into a 1-player game, not a fighting game. TEKKEN 7's story campaign is more than I'd ever expect from an arcade game, and while it leaves you wanting more, it's the most fun I've had with a fighting game story mode in quite some time.

The Mishima Saga was a fun play-through, and that's more than I can say about several other fighting game / video game story modes in recent times. If you grew up with fighting games like me, "story" was never a major part in enjoying the game. Story is a nice "bonus" for a fighting game... and can be an important tool in getting new players interested in said series. To state the obvious, story modes were never the reason us arcade kids popped 100's of dollars of quarters into arcade machines back in the 80's and 90's. We threw quarters in to get good at the game... so we could play longer and keep our spot. However, seeing Bandai Namco put such a high production value into TEKKEN is a step in the right direction, and at least they're being "competitive" in this new era of story modes. I think and hope we'll see bigger and better things in future TEKKEN story modes. 

Since I often comment on how other companies market their fighting games, I will make a few notes regarding T7. The PR and advertising leading up to TEKKEN 7's release was... questionable. For the entire time T7 was in development, it seemed like the high-ups at Bandai Namco were "too busy" with other big names like Smash Bros and POKKEN Tournament (and other anime games) to properly market their trademark fighting series. The game also took way too long to come out... and the communication / news updates leading up to the release left much to be desired, especially when compared to how other companies (overly) promote their games. I traveled to several tournaments to play TEKKEN 7 early, and appreciate Namco's support at major tournaments by bringing the game there, but the wait still felt like forever.

The good news is... Bandai Namco taking 3 or 4 years to develop a fighting game and not rush out a product, shows. Some other company might've released 2 or 3 versions of the game on console by now asking fans to buy it multiple times over, making only small adjustments along the way. But no. Good old Namco asks you to buy their game only once, and that's admirable these days. However, T7 is so damn good... I know many players who bought the game on multiple platforms. That's when you know a fighting game is good.

If you "require" more content than what TEKKEN 7 offers to enjoy a fighting game, you probably would've been bored with the 90% of fighting games back in the arcade days (and would've missed the entire point). Do you even play fighting games, bruh? TEKKEN 7 has more to do offline than most other current-gen fighting games (but you really should be putting most of your time into learning your characters, anyway). TEKKEN 7 is a fighting game built to last, a game meant to be studied and played. A company who created a fighting game to be "casually played for 3 months and put down"... is a company that did not make a real fighting game.

Most of the "greatest of the great" fighting games of all time didn't have a fourth of as much content as TEKKEN 7. Even though many casual TEKKEN fans would love (and deserve) more content and effort... one can't fault Namco for putting most effort into balancing, eSports presence, and actual gameplay longevity. Hey, it actually worked. With all the post-launch DLC characters, stages, and other content added to the game, Namco kept the game fresh for years.

While certain other competitors in the fighting game genre are "cashing in" on mainstream superheroes and simplified dumbed-down mechanics in 2017, it's nice to see some actual real fighting game characters and deep / dynamic 3D gameplay representing what the fighting genre is truly about! Not only that, but TEKKEN 7 stood the test of time competitively for 5+ years, while other (over-hyped) games became irrelevant! TEKKEN 7 sold an historic 2 million copies in under 3 months, later achieving a record-breaking 10 million worldwide (becoming the best-selling TEKKEN game of all time). I told you this game was good!

Tutorial modes seem to be another talking topic within the fighting game community these days. According to "Harada data," in-game tutorial modes are the least-played modes in past games. I can understand that, because even I don't use in-game tutorials... I use Youtube. (I think Bandai Namco should put a Tutorial tab on the main menu with a search bar... and it should just link to Youtube.) The passionate FGC / TEKKEN community puts so much work into fighting game tutorials. Why would Bandai Namco take all that time and effort to do an in-game tutorial when the community does it for them? That said, support small content creators and tutorial makers. They put out some great videos that WILL help you improve your game. However, I still wouldn't mind seeing a "fun" but effective in-game tutorial that assists players who might've missed the last few iterations and (for some reason) still have no clue about the deeper gameplay elements of TEKKEN. It definitely wouldn't hurt, but I still don't feel in-game tutorials are "necessary" in this day and age.

As I always like to say in my TEKKEN reviews... as a 20+ year dedicated player, I don't ever want TEKKEN to change "much". Baseball players like to play Baseball, Billiard players love Billiards just as they are, and TEKKEN players... you get the idea, we love our TEKKEN. I welcome the gameplay updates, and even though I occasionally feel "robbed" after getting hit with a Rage Art or Paul Phoenix Deathfist, I understand their purpose in the game (and I do love punishing players who try to rely on such things). TEKKEN is so much deeper than most casual players make it out to be. Rank up. 

The additional characters and stages of Seasons 2-4 were excellent choices, breathing new life into the game for years to come. Not many fighting games of the last decade came close to achieving this level of success (not even the overhyped ones that won silly awards on mainstream gaming shows). Thinking back... it's amazing that TEKKEN 7 was the first game in the series to: Introduce guest characters, be playable on PC (with amazing mods), and feature additional Seasons. That said, TEKKEN 7 was actually groundbreaking for all the right reasons, exceeding all expectations. As with every quality fighting game, you get out of TEKKEN 7 what you put into it... just like real life martial arts training.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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