Here’s a fun fact: Tekken 7 is actually the ninth addition to the main Tekken series, not the seventh. And it’s hands down the best one thus far, which is saying something.
The Tekken franchise has been going strong for 23 years and counting. And Bandai has managed to improve its original highly-technical fighting game formula with each new iteration. Over the years, Tekken has evolved into one of the most sophisticated and complex one-on-one fighters to date.
If you like winning by skill and skill alone — without any of the button-mashing cheapness found in so many other games — Tekken 7 will feel like kung-fu perfection in your hands.
Taking the high road
Tekken 7 takes the fundamentals of its predecessors to the next level. While others fighters (like Mortal Kombat) have considerably overhauled their foundational elements to drive demand, Tekken 7 has taken the high road. It has not scrapped the basics in favor of fancy mid-fight cinematics. Instead, it has built on them to create a truly seamless and action-packed experience. It feels like the old arcade versions and yet still somehow completely new. It embodies everything that has made the series so successful and yet looks toward the future at the same time.
The game’s classic yet modern vibe is largely a product of Bandai pushing the game’s graphics to a new plateau with the Unreal Engine and adding what are arguably its coolest features — Rage Art and Power Crush. Unlike its older siblings, Tekken 7 includes a brand new set of special moves that enhance the player’s critical damage at low health and allows them to attack through the opponent’s punches and kicks. These two small but highly influential additions shake up the classic Tekken formula just enough to make the game feel even more exciting when a fight gets down to the wire.
When you win by an extremely narrow margin, you know it’s because you’ve bested than your opponent skill-wise, and it feels beyond rewarding. That’s the true joy of every one of the Tekken games, and with its lightning-fast pace and hyperactive controls, Tekken 7 delivers on that feeling of hard-earned victory on a higher level of intensity than many of the other mainstream fighters currently on the market.
In addition to the exciting gameplay, Tekken 7 features 36 playable characters, including all-time favorites like Law and Paul and debut fighters alike. This is a remarkable roster (dwarfed only by games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), especially when you consider that each character has a massive, complex moveset that is completely unique. There are so many moves and combos to master in the game that it’s mind-boggling and makes for countless hours of experimentation and competitive play. This is particularly awesome for fans of the series, because we’ve seen many of these characters grow over the years and we’re introduced to new ones, too.
While on the topic of characters, those who have been following the series will be excited to learn that it’s another continuation of the saga from the previous games. Without spoiling too much for those who haven’t been keeping up, it contains some interesting plot developments and twists, including the conclusion to a major arc. The cinematic endings for each character are funnier than they typically have been in the past. So, that’s a plus, too.
But at the end of the day, anyone who plays the Tekken games seriously knows that it’s not the story as much as the thrill of the fight that makes playing so worthwhile.
The competition has never been quite as heated as it is now with the rise of esports. Tekken 7 is a considerably popular title on the competitive level. It’s not the most popular by any means, but the following the franchise has attracted over the last two decades has resulted in a large and devoted audience. For both longtime fans of the series and newcomers, watching the best players compete at tournaments is amazing. Tekken is such a fast-paced technical fighting game that it’s like watching players pick each other’s minds apart, testing each other to feel out weaknesses before delivering devastating combos.
Though released in 2015, Tekken 7 continues to hold its own with more recent fighting games such as Injustice 2 and Street Fighter V. It’s a rock-solid fighting game that’s stayed true to its roots, while continuously evolving to become better and better. That’s why the series is likely to keep going for decades to come, even though Mishma’s story has sadly come to a close.