Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
It had been a long eight years without the King of Iron Fist Tournament, but at long last, the“Tekken” franchise, one of the greatest fight game series of all time, returned to gaming consoles around the world this year in the long-awaited “Tekken 7”.
Granted, the franchise hasn’t technically been COMPLETELY AWOL during that period – we’ve had updates to the “Tekken” Tag Tournament offshoots and crossovers like the outstanding “Street Fighter X Tekken” that incorporated the characters from the latter in the world and gaming schematics of the former, though five years hence, we’re still waiting on the inverse with “Tekken X Street Fighter”. And “Tekken 7” itself began popping up in Japanese arcades in 2015, well-ahead of its console debut, but that only further illustrates just how much anticipation for the next proper chapter in the “Tekken” saga has been percolating in the interim.
Fortunately, one need only get two or three match ups in to see that “Tekken 7” has been well-worth the wait! The graphics are as crisp and fluid as ever, the 3D gameplay remains as exhilarating and challenging as the franchise’s best entry, “Tekken 5: Dark Retribution”. The story brings a sense of closure to the series’ ongoing saga of the Mishima bloodline and best of all of course, gamers are treated to an influx of new characters with dynamic fighting skills into the “Tekken” universe – including none other than the legendary “Street Fighter” antagonist Akuma. His role in the game will no doubt fuel endless speculation for what the future holds for both video game franchises!
In addition to the game’s story mode, titled “The Mishima Saga”, players can battle other gamers across the globe through the online mode. They can also engage in one-on-one matches with a friend or against the game’s A.I. in the Arcade and Versus Battle modes, along with the Treasure Battle Mode, in which players can win tools and items with which to customize their favourite characters.
The game is available both as a disc and download for Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, and Xbox One gaming consoles.
“Tekken” fans will walk away more than satisfied with the new installment’s gameplay and the abundance of characters new and old to the series. Naturally, this series lives and dies on the three warring men of the Mishima bloodline, Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima, and Jin Kazama, and each has kept up the standards fans have come to expect of them since the franchise’s latter-day titles. Of course, my personal litmus test for all things “Tekken” and no doubt that of Bruce Lee fans around the world, is naturally Marshall Law. He too is as strong a contender as ever since being truly solidified as the warrior we know today in “Tekken 5”, though absence of Lei Wu-long, the series’ Jackie Chan analogue, leaves something to be desired from its list of returning fighters.
However, as the “Tekken” series has always thrived on its ever-growing and evolving list of competitors, the newer characters is where “Tekken 7” really shines. With ten additions to its roster, Katarina Alves and Shaheen each make the largest and most memorable impression.
Katarina, no doubt destined to become a staple of female cosplayers at future Comic-Cons, brings the martial art of Savate into the King of Iron Fist Tournament, and her kicking combos put the skills of many a Taekwondo exponent to shame.
Shaheen, the series’ first Middle Eastern character, is a similarly talented face-punter, and while each wields a powerful arsenal of special moves and combination attacks, both are the most user-friendly of the newer characters for Tekken beginner gamers.
While not technically a “new” character, Akuma is also a welcome addition to the “Tekken” roster, offering gamers the greatest challenge in adapting his move-set to the environment of a new franchise. Conversely, playing against him under A.I. control presents players with as challenging a foe as they’ll ever face in this series – not bad for a first timer at the King of Iron Fist Tournament.
“Tekken 7” is all the rock ’em, sock ’em, supernatural kick ass fun fans have come to expect from the series and then some! The stages and graphics are as gorgeous as ever, the story mode brings new layers to the Mishima family blood feud and the curse of the Devil Gene. The new characters are consistently superb; each one bringing with them more, new, thunderous special moves and combo attacks than you can swing a dead cat at! And indeed, with any luck, Akuma’s very welcome appearance may be, to quote a certain villain from another well-known fighting game franchise, a taste of things to come!