"Press X to throw your kid down a volcano" - Heihachi's Guide to Parenting
The last time I remember playing a Tekken game the characters in-game looked like Minecraft characters, so it's fair to say that quite some time has passed since my last Tekken experience. What you should get from this statement is that I am not the guy you turn to when it comes to reviewing Tekken games.
But I kinda liked this installation. Yeah, I admit it, I enjoyed my time with Tekken 7 more than I would have ever expected. I don't really like fighting games in general for an array of reasons, mainly cause I am a complete noob in most of them and no matter how hard I try, I would never git gud. While Tekken 7 is by far the most technical fighting game out there, it welcomes noobs like me with open arms.
I was able to just pick up the controller, mash buttons at random and the opponent's life just went down. And the more I played, the more I was enjoying it. Then I started going to the menu scrolling through the move list for the character I was playing and started to execute some of the most basic combos with ease. I also tried to perform some of the advanced ones, but yeah, they weren't really for me.
Tekken's fighting and movement have looked kinda silly borderline stupid to me when I was young since I thought no one would ever move or fight like that in real life. But as I've grown and been in some fight myself, that's how people who know how to fight, fight. There are no fireballs or kamehamehas in real life, it's all about that CQC and Tekken does an excellent job at portraying that. Sure Tekken 7 still plays like how I remember it from the PS1 era, but I don't mind it now, in fact, I quite like it.
As I've said, you can throw kicks and punches at random and still manage to win, but when you take the time to think you can do some serious damage. Every punch or kick that connects feels exactly how it should be. If I round-kick someone to the face, I expect them to fly two-tree meters away and they do that in Tekken 7. There are a ton of characters to choose from and that means a lot of unique fighting styles. You have characters with a Boxing fight style, Kickboxing, Karate, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Capoeira etc. and how the devs still manage to balance them out so no one character is overpowered is just outstanding.
The singleplayer story mode still follows the Mishima's family feud. It focuses on fathers trying to kill their sons and sons trying to kill their fathers. I guess true fans will really appreciate most of the stuff since, from what I've read online, it fill some plot holes from the previous games, but as in the gameplay side, it welcomes new fans with open arms. The game does a nice recap through cutscenes and gameplay of what has happened till now filling in the why along the way. Sure, it still ended with a cliffhanger, but I accept that as they can continue killing Heihachi over and over again and bringing him back to life over and over again and fans will still love Tekken.
After you complete the main story in around 4 hours where more than half are just cutscenes, you can play character-specific episodes. These are just one match against one other character and tell a teeny tiny story that mainly has nothing to do with the main story and this whole side felt very strange and stupid.
Yeah, I said because on one side you have this world war going on with innocent people dying every day and fathers and sons trying to kill each other in all seriousness on the other side you have these stupid silly stories with even stupider and sillier resolutions at the end that I just kinda loved. Japanese developers are the best at doing this, combining seriousness and silliness in the same perfect marriage that you just want to enjoy and not think about it. They even have an in-game German character joke about the "weird Japan" and that's so meta I f*cking love it.
F*ck it, I don't just like this game, I f*cking love it! And after you complete these two modes, you can go on and play online against better players that are going to straight up just whoop your ass. The connection is very stable, with no lag whatsoever. That's a must for especially online fighting games and Tekken 7 is as smooth online as it is offline. You can play in ranked matches or non-ranked ones. There are also Tournaments you can take part it and from what I experienced the community is healthy and you will always find players to play against in no time. Winning matches earns you Fight Money which you can spend to customize the characters.
Now usually in fighting games, you can customize the characters by just unlocking, sometimes with real money, different premade costumes or outfits. Tekken 7 just says "f*ck it" and lets you customize everything. There is a ton of stuff to unlock from stupid and silly rainbow, octopus or Jenga tower hats to silly outfits the characters can wear and show off. And the best thing is that you can use these custom character looks online.
Apart from being able to buy these customizations, you can unlock them in the Treasure Battle mode where you fight against ever improving A.I opponents with modifiers thrown in just to mix things up. It's a nice mode since at the same time you'll be unlocking crazy customization options but you'll also be practicing your moves, combos and find the perfect moment to unleash the Rage Art, a super move you can do by just typing a button once your health is low enough giving you a fighting chance against your opponent.
Tekken 7 is a fantastic technical and noob friendly fighting game. I really enjoyed my time playing it, punching bears in the face and suplexing anime babes. It has a lot of stuff to unlock, see and play through plus the online mode just works perfectly. Thanks for reading!