Tekken 7 Review (video)

Gamers will be fighting away with Bandai Namco’s Tekken 7 on consoles and PC but is the game worth it especially considering it wasn’t long ago we were singing the praises of Injustice 2. Take a look at our Tekken 7 review for more details.

Tekken 7 Review:

Today we’re taking a look at Bandai Namco’s Tekken 7 which released on consoles and for the first time PC. It has been a long time coming what with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 releasing in 2011. So let’s cut to the chase. Tekken 7 introduces a roster of 36 characters, many originals from the 1994 release still going strong such as Nina, Law and Paul alongside a couple of new faces (Lucky-Chloe, Josie and Katarina) and sadly some omissions. There’s plenty to choose from whether you like serious looking characters like Lars or Jin or more goofy ones such as Kuma the fighting bear or Alisa the robot. There’s something for everyone here but they don’t all play the same and underlying the looks there’s a vast difference in how they all play.

Beginners can get by with basic attacks across the game’s offline modes of play with relative success, even button mashing. To begin there’s a fully fledged story mode that will take a few hours to see it to its conclusion following the story of old favourites Kazuya, his father Heiachi and many extras to spice things up a little. It’s a neat inclusion and certainly well produced with seamless transitions through cutscenes into fights, but is not really something to replay over and over and to be honest is just a little unimaginative as a story. There are optional character specific fights you can also dive into for special ending sequences – all of which can be viewed in the game’s gallery section. Again, not something to linger on too much once everything here has been seen once.

The real meat of the single player experience is the return of the ghost battle mode which in this instance is called Treasure Battle. It’s here where players choose a fighter and combat ghost versions of human players. You can rise up the ranks to face-off against increasingly tougher opponents but the real test is seeing how many consecutive wins you can accumulate. What’s neat about this mode is the reward of fight money and items which can then be used to change the appearance only of the characters. The customization offers the chance to create a unique look for your favourites and obviously your winnings are spent here – so there’s always something to work towards or be rewarded which is a great hook to begin with.

As always, there’s practice modes, VS battle for two or more local players and a rather short Arcade mode which seems a bit basic but is a recreation of the arcade cabinet for those who want to experience that. So, no stone is unturned here aside from no Big Team Battle mode or slapped on extras like Tekken Force or Bowling.

Gamers can take the fight online and battle it out in the usual player and ranked matches, even set up tournaments. It has to be said getting into quick matches is fast and fun to mess around with but what is most notable is the very good netcode for smooth matches – although be warned this can be rather subjective depending on the opposition. What’s neat about jumping into quick matches is being able to practice combos and fire yourself up before a suitable challenger is located.

So, is Tekken 7 any good and worth picking up especially considering we’ve just had the rather excellent Injustice 2 which has raised the bar quite a bit in terms of a single player experience. In not so many words, yes Tekken 7 is a good fighting game that ticks all the right boxes but perhaps plays it a little safe offering an expected experience which doesn’t stray too far from Tekken Tag Tournament 2 by its design.

The fighting remains slick with easily learned set combos, air juggles alongside the option to spend hours experimenting with custom attacks. The gameplay offers enough depth for masters and ease of use for beginners to just have fun. Interestingly the formula has had a slight injection of subtle and not so subtle additions. The rage mode returns but this time at the touch of a single button a “super” rage move can be unleashed which in most cases can take up to 40% of the opponents health bar away. This is great for those who are getting a thrashing but in some ways can be considered a little cheap. Obviously it’s an optional attack which can be blocked but does feel like a deliberate way to even matches when one player is dominating.

In terms of visuals, Tekken 7 ups the ante especially on PC with a nice set of impact effects during fights and an increase in texture detail. However, it has to be said the looks of the characters change quite considerably depending on the lighting of the stage. Some stages are over-saturated with light and others much more dark which creates the illusion of more details being seen. There’s an overall definite upgrade compared to the previous game, but it’s not a massive one. Still, it’s nice to see clothing move in the wind, some minor real time damage and sweat. Not much can be said of the audio with its mix of English and Japanese voice overs and electronic or dub step beats sound track which thumps out during fights. Good stuff for getting the adrenaline thumping that’s for sure but not necessarily memorable stuff here unfortunately.

Performance wise the game runs very well and even when playing in 4K with top end GPUs the game maintains a steady 60 frames per second during fights which is great. There’s a neat selection of options on PC to tailor the experience to suit the hardware which is most welcome.

For long term play, how long is a piece of string. As with all fighting games there’s enough options here to take years of practice to get good at knowing your opponents attack moves and then being competent or great when using them. Whilst there’s some shared inputs, putting in the time via the practice mode is where you’ll hone skills and frankly this can take many hours per character. There could be more modes on offer here and some extra unlocks outside of the video gallery that spans the entire series that aren’t future DLC or platform exclusive (ahem VR mode for PSVR) but it’s obvious Namco want you to battle through the rather grinding treasure battle mode to get your kicks. Online and local means there’s always opposition if you tire of AI tactics, so in all a complete basic package for fighting game fans.

Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by Injustice 2 but it’s hard to ignore given how close the two games released. Tekken 7 has its own charms and of course such a grand history which can’t be beaten. However, aside from the core gameplay (which remains fun) the lack of single-player options and fights modes – aside from the treasure battle mash ups like double damage and double speed – makes it pale in comparison. Based on its own merits this is a solid game for fans looking for a competitive fighter. Casuals will also find much fun here too, but might tire more quickly of repeating the same bouts over the longer term just to unlock an obscure piece of customization clothing.

Score 8.5/10

Written by: Robert Cram

Robert Cram has hundreds of video game reviews and thousands of articles under his belt. He aims to remain objective and fair in his analysis. With years of experience, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement is entirely optional.