TEKKEN 7 [Face-Off Review]: The ‘Rainmaking King’ of Fighters.
TRAVIS “Monsignor” MOODY: Quite obviously, my hype for Tekken 7 got real when Bandai Namco announced that it hit the “hot tag” with the gods of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Just look my t-shirt collection. So, coming from that angle of wrasslin’ mark-slash-Tekken-n00b (having only played the franchise’s earlier entries), it’s a joy to tell you that the latest edition of Tekken has me hooked beyond Bullet Club skins and King Rainmaker clotheslines. There’s a certain level of dexterity I can appreciate in the next-gen fighter’s best-of-3 lightning rounds. Unlike Injustice 2–which is, at press, my current overall GOTY–I can’t just sit back, chuck projectiles and dropkick you from the far upper point of the screen with multiple hit, button-mashed combos. Tekken 7 is going to take plenty of practice, and that’s fine by me.
ARTEZ “Aztec” BAYLEY: While that’s cool and all that Tekken 7 has added fan-service for all you wrasslin’ fanatics out there, Tekken has been the #1 true 3D fighter for over 20-yrs, unlike your Street Fighter‘s, Killer Instinct‘s and Mortal Kombat‘s. Tekken might actually be about button mashing; but in order to get the upper hand on your opponent you must learn your character’s fighting style — be it capoeira, kickboxing, wrestling, Mishima fighting style, kung fu, Wing Chun and drunken boxing. Learning to sidestep is also critical when it comes to a fight. Tekken 7 has added a Rage Art in case you’re at the brink of dying, allowing a gained advantage in a close fight. For new players to the Tekken series, the story mode teaches you how to play the game on different skill sets and the basics of different combos, but these combos take time and patience to learn, and to execute.
MOODY: Above all else, man, I’m def thankful for that Rage. While supermoves are definitely more extreme, more ellaborate in Injustice 2 — it’s much harder to get sick of T7‘s finishers, especially when they always seem to come at the most “Perfect” time and don’t feel so cinematic or far-fetched; the lack of supermove variety was one of my few complaints about DC’s fighter. And, again, I appreciate how important that patience is that you speak of (i.e. ducking, blocking, power crushing).
ARTEZ: The only true difference between Tekken and Injustice, is that while Injustice is pretty much a DC superhero-skin mirror image of Mortal Kombat, the only other series that is a mirror image of Tekken is Dead or Alive. As mentioned, what truly draws fans into the series is that it’s based off of true martial arts.
MOODY: I feel you on the actual battle/gameplay tip. But, then, why Injustice 2 over Tekken 7? It’s tough, but everyone knows me as a single play campaign narrative guy, and that’s where this game struggles. Sure, I’m not as grounded in the 23-year lore of Tekken like you, “Aztec”; even so, the journalist narrator comes off here as nothing more than a cheap plot device with a dry monotone inflection; I didn’t like how the story, despite its real touching ending between Heihachi and his demon kid, only included the handful of Mishima related characters in the game and “one-offs” of all the other 30. The little vignettes were cute, touching (see: Yoshimitsu’s), some even hilarious, but I do wish I got to know the new characters, like Chloe, better.
ARTEZ: Besides the fact that I know that the chief story is kind of cut-and-dry far as the Mishima family’s concerned–and, yeah, Moody, Bandai/Namco could have went in a little bit more with the new characters narrative wise. Definitely. That said, that’ll likely come in the form of DLC (you know the drill). At least those that are new to the series can unlock cutscenes and video endings from previous editions that further explain the story, where it began and where it’s going. As for this wily veteran of the Tekken game, 2017’s Tekken 7 is an evolved masterpiece from it’s 1994 PlayStation One iteraton. With crisp graphics, denser fighting styles, and acute storyline (you’d only get it if you get it, Moody), this year’s version should hold up high in my Top 5 GOTY all year long. Hell, as someone who has studied capoeira, kickboxing and kung-fu, grueling through this Iron Fist Tournament has given me the urge to train again. This is true martial arts. 4.5/5 Bibles.
MOODY: I can honor that. In addition to a kick-ass hypnotic soundtrack [although Xboxers don’t get the luxury of the Jukebox feature–boo-hoo!], Treasure Battles are a fuckin’ blast — especially if you love character creation and reskinning fighters as much as I do. Although I don’t see as much replay value in Tekken 7‘s single player modes as much as Injustice 2‘s Multiverse Mode, trying to learn even a dozen of each brawler’s 90-100 semod moves is going to be all the replay value you need. Though learning that technique with how annoyingly inconsistent the game’s difficult can make it all the more ridiculous. Can we get a more intuitive tutorial via patch? But look, man, it may have taken the likes of Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega to endorse Tekken to make me a fan. But I am now as much of a fan of Tekken for all its heartwarming charm and muscle-responsive gameplay as I am for its stylish #TooSweet sensibilities. 4.25/5 Bibles.