Tekken is back, after nearly 10 years since the release of a numbered sequel and almost 6 years since Tekken Tag Tournament 2, the hype for a new Tekken game is at fever pitch. The seventh entry in the series promises a single player campaign that seamlessly transitions into a fight, new fighting systems and a handful of new characters. Does Tekken 7 land a 10-hit combo, or will it get KO’d in the first round?
Right off the bat, the game starts off with a long install. Once installed, the game can be launched, however it is still installing all of the features, and only Arcade and Practice modes are selectable; you will have to be patient, as it takes a while. Thankfully once this install is complete you will never have to go through it again. You’d expect the load times to be super quick, but these are potentially the slowest in the franchise’s history. The game looks great however, characters are superbly detailed and animate beautifully, you will even see them scream in pain when hit. Stages are also very detailed, some are open and others contain wall hazards and breakable floors and balconies.
The story mode is labelled “The Mishima Saga” and is narrated through the discoveries of a reporter who is looking into the history of Mishima. So you can expect to go back to the beginning and see why Heihachi throws his son into a volcano, and you even get to fight as young Kazuya against an adult Heihachi. Many plot points from previous Tekken games are touched upon here, and blanks are filled in as well as motives. The single player has truly been created for the Tekken fan, and I have been playing them since the first one, and this was hugely nostalgic.
The plot unfolds through 2D art with voice-over and fully rendered 3D cutscenes. You don’t select the character like you used to, the story dictates who you play as and when. Cutscenes blend straight into fights, albeit not as seamlessly as promised as there are definitely jump cuts and you can tell when it changes from CG to in-game assets. Unfortunately for Tekken, Injustice 2 is leaps ahead in this regard. The story runs over 14 chapters and lasts between 3 to 4 hours and gets very difficult towards the end, frustratingly so.
The title of the single player campaign quite clearly shows it focuses on the Mishima clan, and this is true for the most part, many of the new characters don’t even make an appearance in it, which is a real shame. Their back stories remain very vague. Seeing as though there are 9 new characters with expertly created move-sets, and a few that will take the tournament scene by storm. Look out for Shaheen; a private military man and Lucky Chloe; a pop sensation that uses a break dance technique in particular. In total the roster for this Tekken is as impressive as ever, with over 35 characters and boasting hundreds of moves each.
As you play through the single player mode, you will also unlock “Character Episodes”. These are single fights between the many paired rivals in the series. Each one is set up with some simple background text and after the fight is completed you are rewarded with a quirky CG movie, a staple in the series and something the fans love. There are only 28 of these and they can be completed in an hour or less.