Tekken 7 Hands-On Preview

If you were to ask me what one of my favourite games on the PS One was, it would easily be Tekken 3. I share very fond memories of getting mad because I suck at the game (and I still do, really). These memories only became more prevalent when I dug up the old PS One and booted up the old girl. Obviously, the game had aged horribly, but that didnt stop me from loving every minute of it. As a result, most other fighting games just dont do it for me; Tekken will always be my number one. I was recently invited into the lovely offices of Bandai Namco to play a hands-on preview of the next instalment into the Tekken series, Tekken 7. Given that I have been itching for a new Tekken game, I would be a fool to pass on this opportunity.

Akuma matata

After making the commute to Bandai Namco, I was promptly seated in front of a sizeable TV display and a PS4 Pro. Tekken 7. Even the title screen got my adrenaline pumping. Obviously my lack of skills in Tekken 3 translated almost perfectly into Tekken 7 and (believe it or not) this pleased me greatly. But well delve into that a little later. The first thing I was given access to was Tekken 7s story mode, and while it felt kind of weird to be playing a story-driven campaign in a fighting game, I feel that it was done very well. For the sake of spoilers, Im going to remain fairly vague about the events that occurred during my time playing the single player story mode. The overarching plot promises to be the conclusion of the infamous Mishima saga, namely the intergenerational feud between Heihachi and Kazuya, and it’s set to be a sizzler for Tekken fans.

First thing I noticed was Tekken 7s solid approach to storytelling. The Tekken series has always been renowned as having quite an interesting lore and story (an often overlooked feature of a fighting game), and Tekken 7 seems to be building on this strength. Instead of it just being a regular campaign where the events normally unfold as you progress, the story is told by a third party, meaning someone who isnt one of the main characters is the one recounting and piecing the story together with you. True to Tekken style, the story mode is punctuated by beautiful pre-rendered cutscenes which fill you in on the action. Even though what I played was only a small part of the whole story, I could also tell there were various nuances in its narrative and I cannot wait to get my hands on the full game on June 6th. I really hope that the story stays as strong throughout the rest of the game as it is in the small section that I played.

Falcon Punch!

Now to move onto the multiplayer part. I played games against a couple of people and against the AI and I can safely say that Tekken is as fun as ever. The handful of moves that I knew back in Tekken 3 still worked and that familiarity definitely helped in playing the game. Old favourites like King and Yoshimtisu retained some of their abilities which made me feel ever so slightly less crappy at the game, but its clear therell be a substantial depth to the combat which is essential in this era of highly evolved fighting games. At a moderately quick glance, I could garner that there were 36 fighters to choose from Im assuming this is all of them as there were no empty tiles in the character select screen. For those that like the really cheesy and cheap characters, Eddys position is safe. Hes still incredibly obnoxious to fight, just like the good old days. For the most part, the characters were fairly balanced. Fighters that were quick and agile would have lighter hits but combos would occur more frequently. Slower characters hit harder and can have a harder time stringing combos together. Either way, skilled players and filthy casuals alike shouldnt have a hard time finding fighters that they enjoy using.

Some cool additions that have been made in Tekken 7 are Rage Arts and Power Crushes. Rage Arts are like mega moves that you can use when your fighters health is getting low. A red particle effect will emanate from your character as well as your health bar will begin to flash red once you are able to do a Rage Art, but be careful because it is possible to block these and you can only use them once a round. Power Crushes are moves that arent interrupted by a mid or high attack, instead some of the damage is mitigated and your attack proceeds as if nothing happened. These moves can be stopped by using low attacks or grabs, so theyre not incredibly broken. For the Souls fans, the easiest way to explain this is that Power Crushes are essentially what Hyper Armour is, except with damage mitigation. Rage Arts are also Power Crushes and it is very possible to be KOd when using them, so be wary.

My chaingun brings all the boys the yard

In terms of visuals and performance, Tekken 7 appears to absolutely nail it. I know I go on and on about framerates in general, but stable framerates are an incredibly important part to fighting games. Dips in frames can give unfair advantages, especially when competing in online tournaments. Thankfully, while playing at 1080p, Tekken 7 remains at a stable 60fps. The only times frame drops ever occurred were in the loading screens and lets be real, thats quite forgivable as youre not doing anything in those loading screens so theres no way it could detract from the experience. Unreal Engine 4 has definitely earned its money as Tekken 7 looks fantastic. Particle and regular visual effects that occur when connecting hits on your opponents look great and theres crystal-clear clarity. It should also be noted that Tekken 7 will be on PC and will run at 4K, so for those graphics whores out there, you know what to do.

Alongside all of this, Katsuhiro Harada had made his way down under and was at the Bandai Namco offices, so I was given the amazing opportunity to interview him in regards to Tekken 7. Now, I know what youre thinking: This is where he dictates the whole interview and it makes the article really long. Normally you’d be right, however this time we have something special in store for you. Stay tuned for it!

Overall, Tekken 7 appears to be in top condition and I cannot wait for its full retail release on June 6th. If youre a fan of fighters, Id definitely put this on your radar. Its also good to see that PC gamers arent left out, and peasants and mustard race alike will be able to find out who is the King of Iron Fist come June.

Jordan lives and breathes Dark Souls, even though his favourite game is Bloodborne. He takes pride in bashing his face on walls and praising the sun. Hailing from the land of tacos, he is the token minority for WellPlayed.