Feature Article

Tekken 7 Review In Progress

What's Tekken so long?

Tekken is back, and if you've kept up with the series over the years, you will feel right at home in Tekken 7. While we haven't had the chance to test its performance online, and thus aren't ready to offer a comprehensive review covering everything the game has to offer, we can say that Tekken's latest outing is a great fighting game offline that falls in line with the series' favorable reputation. Familiar faces, combo strings, and storylines both serious and absurd work just as well today as they did in the past, adding up to an experience that feels quite different from the likes of Street Fighter V or Injustice 2.

A lot of this unique feel boils down to Tekken's button scheme, which assigns one button to each limb. It's an intuitive system that's easy to wrap your head around, but one look at a character's movelist is evidence of the depths that await intrepid competitors; most lists of attacks and combos are nearly 100 items long. New mechanics in Tekken 7 include Rage Arts, which allow you to issue a powerful attack when your health is running low, and Power Crush attacks, moves that complete their animation regardless of whether you're hit (by high and mid attacks specifically) before you strike your target.

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While Rage Arts are simple enough to execute given their single-button input, Power Crush is a property assigned to otherwise traditional attacks and combos. You can identify which attacks fall into this category by scrolling through a character's move list until you see the relevant icon. It sounds simple enough, but given that most fighting games are good about separating distinct moves into categories for easy reference, the process is slightly more arduous than it ought to be.

It's also fair to say that Tekken 7 doesn't adequately explain the rules surrounding these new mechanics or when you should use them. Save for the briefest of tutorials in the story mode and a teaching tool in training mode that shows you how a combo should look in action, you are left to pick apart the game's rules and mechanics on your own. A fighting game like Skullgirls is the ideal model to follow, with extensive training modes and scenarios for each character. But even when compared to previous Tekken games, Tekken 7 falls short. There's unfortunately nothing like the Tekken Tag Tournament 2's Combot here to ease you into the game's eccentricities.

However, thanks in part to Tekken 7's penchant for quirky distractions, there's more to do in the game than simply training to be the best. The story mode is the most obvious stop, and it contains both a grand tale surrounding the series' embattled Mishima family as well as a few dozen quick looks at the game's secondary characters. All told, these will keep you entertained for a handful of hours with unexpected bouts of comedy and melodrama. Aside from the lifeless narrator, Tekken 7's stories are a very welcome addition to the console version of a game that's primarily bred for player-vs-player competition.

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Barring a few too many instances of characters with uncannily clear and shiny complexions, Tekken 7 also looks great running in Unreal Engine, a shift that comes with the series debut on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. We've only had the chance to play the game on PlayStation 4 so far, and while it's not the best-looking fighting game we've seen, improved lighting and particle effects round out the improvements made to character models since Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag 2.

While we wait for more players to populate ranked and casual servers, we will continue to both practice our moves in combat and outfit characters with collectible gear--Tekken 7's other light-hearted pursuit. If you're playing this weekend, don't be surprised if you may spot a Marshall Law player donning a knight's helm, a massive pizza on his back, and a samurai sword to complement his shiny new leather jacket.

Check back shortly after launch for our full review of Tekken 7 across all platforms.

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doc-brown

Peter Brown

Peter is Managing Editor at GameSpot, and when he's not covering the latest games, he's desperately trying to recapture his youth by playing the classics that made him happy as a kid.
Tekken 7

Tekken 7

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