The best fights are personal, indeed. Especially those that include the likes of a grandmaster, a cryogenically frozen Assassin, a somewhat telepathic bear, a yearly-costume-changing ninja, and a robotic woman who’ll let heads roll… literally. I’m only talking about Tekken 7. Bandai Namco is ready to put to bed a battle that’s about 30 years in the making. For us viewers, sure – it is NEARLY that.
True to its’ tagline, Tekken 7 begins with Heihachi’s attempt to overthrow the headless Mishima Zaibatsu. Following the events of its’ last canon entry, Jin has disappeared into the Middle East after sending the world into a chaotic dance. Kazuya’s G-Corp waged war against Zaibatsu, and the two opposing forces have overthrown even the UN itself. Meanwhile, a former flame, from Heihachi’s past, becomes the debt collector to a certain Master of The Supreme Fist. This plea for payback eventually sics Street Fighter’s Akuma onto the unsuspecting and fatal father-and-son reunion.
Bandai Namco did their due diligence with Tekken 7. Gone are many of the motion blurs seen in Tag 2 and 6, yet the models are backed by a gorgeous Unreal 4. Everything is vibrant, including the endless stages. Devil’s Pit is one of the most impressive here. The music has usually been the highlight since Tekken 3 and 7 seems to deliver here, also. I’d hum Twilight Conflict whenever I could. Akuma is more akin to an SNK appearance with his button setup. Don’t expect SF x Tekken here, but its perhaps a preview of what’s to come. Aesthetically, I like the simplicity of the UI. Tekken has matured and it shows with the blue accents. There’s enough fighters to throw a stick at, with more on the way, according to Namco. Tekken 7 also sports the Namco fan treatment by throwing in older demos and intros from its’ detailed past.
Tekken does miss a few great blows, though. Tekken 7 lacks a story mode that may be as good as its’ 6th entry. Fights in this mode are usually one-on-one, opposed to the beat-em-up stylings of the yester-entry. While the perspective is usually centered around an investigation, carried out by a reporter, there were some holes left out that should have been addressed.
How did Akuma get here? Where’s Bruce Irving? Or Lei Oolong? Crap like that.
Tekken hasn’t dropped its’ cartoon approach to severe violence in this chapter, which usually begs the question of “who gets it” a lot. For instance, Nina escapes a grenade explosion thrown at point blank range. I questioned the whole thing. Sometimes, things happen off camera, which ruins the experience. As with Soul Calibur 5, the roster seems to be more attuned to who’s cool more times than what makes canonical sense. Even the difficulty shoots up at endgame. I did also find it hard to locate matches regardless of the connection. At one point, I even had a freezing issue.
Regardless of borrowing old and adding less new, Tekken 7 is a smooth fight to the finish regardless of the setbacks the game poses in its’ somewhat final stance against its’ 2D rivals.