Tekken 7 proves that family grudges are just as hard to kill as the franchise’s resilient characters, who reappear Lazarus-like as soon as they’re needed. The struggles between Heihachi, Kazuya, Jin and everyone else still caught in their webs may start to feel a little tired, but the fighting bits are the best yet.
One of the best things about Tekken has always been its fluidity of movement and combos, and that’s not lost in Tekken 7. It still feels good to dance around opponents, poke into their space and find that perfect opening to build a combo on. This entry’s new fighters — anime pop star Lucky Chloe, demon-fueled Kazumi, tricky ninja Master Raven — slot nicely into that framework.
While it’s rewarding to master one or two characters, I was pushed to try many more, thanks to the game’s diverse, weird cast. Only a few characters really slide into the background.
Tekken’s mechanics are different from those of other fighting games. Instead of light or heavy attacks, each face button is mapped to a limb: left arm, right arm, left leg and right leg. Moves are built around a directional input and button press, instead of quarter- or half-circle motions. Most importantly, players can sidestep into the foreground and background, more fully utilizing the three-dimensional space.
Namco released Tekken 7 back in 2016, and since then, there's been a steady release of content. In that time, the range of DLC characters has brought us characters from the unexpected Negan to fan favorites like Zafina and Kunimitsu. The game has introduced a lot in the way of DLC and got down to even things like frame data.
With all of that said, given how long the game's been out and how much content we've gotten, even if the game continues for a while, Season 4 could be the final round and the end of an era for fans of the game.
Tekken 7 has gone the distance since its release to please fans old and new. The characters have basically been a mix of classic ones, guests and new ones, and fans have gotten the likes of Ganryu, Leroy and even Geese Howard. Players definitely had variety with the selection choices. The game now has 54 characters, and with Season 4's Lidia Sobieska could mark the end of new content outside of patches as the game could now cruise for a while until a new game on all the content it already has.
While Tekken 7 definitely brought lots of older characters back, it brought in a plethora of newcomers. Ending on a character like Lidia might seem odd, but it would honestly be fitting for the game given all that's happened during its run so far.
Tekken 7 left arcades in June 2017, hitting home consoles roughly five years ago. That's certainly not as long as some other games have been around, but Tekken 7 will probably last a while yet in the competitive side of things.
For those who play Tekken games for their ludicrous stories, the seventh entry may leave you wanting. It’s another chapter in the continuous power struggle of the Mishima clan, so naturally, Heihachi and Kazuya’s rivalry — and its casualties — take center stage. The Tekken series has always reveled in weirdness in its plot, but despite nearly two hours of cutscenes in Tekken 7, I didn’t find much of the campy fun I had hoped for.
The Mishima Saga takes an approach similar to the story mode in Injustice 2, changing points of view between Heihachi and his progeny, Tekken Force rebel Lars, and special guest Akuma - yes, that Akuma. I found this approach to the story slightly frustrating in Injustice 2, as being thrust suddenly into the boots of a new character meant I had to stop to learn them, and the same could be said of Tekken 7 and The Mishima Saga.
However, Tekken 7 does offer the ability to use simplified inputs while playing The Mishima Saga to perform a handful of pre-selected attacks, easing the transition into playing a character with whom you might not be familiar. Also, while there are multiple points of view, there is a manageable number, so I didn’t need to spend a huge amount of time learning moves in order to progress.
At the same time, The Mishima Saga’s short, three-hour duration and slimmer cast made the events of the story feel important only to the Mishima clan itself, rather than all the fighters in the King of Iron Fist Tournament. Other fighters are given a brief time in the spotlight with optional side missions contained within Mashima Saga mode.
While I found some of these, such as Yoshimitsu’s ill-fated excursion into the Mashima Dojo, entertaining, I was slightly disappointed to see so little focus on anyone other than Heihachi, Jin, and Kazuya and their struggle for power over the Mishima Zaibatsu and one another.