Tekken 7 Review

Greetings, all. I’m Cathy also known as Cat to some people. I’m going to review Tekken 7. If you’re unfamiliar with me, I’m a huge fan of Devil Jin and Jin Kazama. In fact, I mostly play these games for those characters. I do not play at a competitive level and mostly practice and fight the CPU in modes provided by the games. I will approach the game from this viewpoint, and a very large chunk of it will be about the story.

In fact, that’s where we’ll start. I am not going to shy from spoilers, so if you care about that, stop watching now. The story presented to us throughout the trailers over the years is Kazumi asking some figure, we later learn to be a guest character, Akuma from the Street Fighter fighting game series, to kill Heihachi if she can’t. He’s going to do all these terrible things, he being Heihachi, and the trailers build up this big final showdown between Heihachi and Kazuya with Jin not at all present. Kazumi aside, Tekken players have seen this story before, and it ended with Jin being a big factor-by that, I mean Tekken 4.

Well, in the case of Tekken 7, we got the story that was advertised. I’ll say that. And I had a lot of complaints about Tekken 6 not being that, because that was going to be some big showdown between Jin and Kazuya and instead, we got an entire mode dedicated to two crappy expansion characters. Of note, Alisa is one of my mains, but my head-canon of her is extremely different from Namcanon. I even change her name to Melissa to indicate she’s my version of Alisa.

I think the story mode was handled better in that I got to be some different characters as opposed to stuck with two expansion characters. Overall, I still prefer the Tekken 5 approach best. In that game, characters get prologue art, a cut scene or two I call interludes with other characters they meet at the tournament, of relevance to them, and then an ending.

The story itself is really bad. Let’s start with the voice-over telling us repeatedly throughout the story that fighting is about who’s left standing, nothing else. That’s it? Nothing about training? Nothing about learning through failure to be better? And while we’re at it, “left standing” and “still alive” can mean two different things, but the context of the climactic moment in this game is Kazuya kills Heihachi, which would mean that main theme of the story then is that in order to fight, you should kill the person so you are the only person left standing. I don’t think that’s a good message. And I think even if the message were that the game seems to confuse fighting with winning and to me, they’re not the same thing.

Another bad component of the story is the Jin hunt. There are a lot of characters who should be going after Jin in some capacity: Kazuya, Raven, Miguel, Hwoarang. Nina was having the Mishima Zaibatsu search for him, but when Heihachi showed up and took the Mishima Zaibatsu from her, his logic went that in order to expose Kazuya, he needs Jin and my initial reaction that was, “No, you don’t.” And then the story proceeds with them not getting Jin and exposing Kazuya anyway, so that pretty much confirmed exactly what I thought. And do not get me started on Lars. Oh, nope, it’s too late, we have to do this. If you don’t know me, Lars is my most hated character ever. He goes after Jin under the pretense of, “We have to put everything on Jin. Now my initial reaction was, “I don’t know what he means. What, like execute him, put him on trial? What?” And by the way, no, he doesn’t.

So let me see if I have this straight. This turd from the last game, last mainline story game, went and took over half of the Tekken Force, as part of some rebellion to the hostile world take-over and then after he gets exactly what he wants in Tekken 6, he still think she needs Jin, that Jin can solve the entire world’s problem because Jin was the entire world’s problem. Now I have always had a problem with the fact that Tekken 6 includes this “over half” line of the Tekken Force because I don’t actually believe some half-baked expansion character can do that and this now half-baked plot point only further convinces me. But anyway, Jin’s like, “yeah, the solution for everything is for me to kill Kazuya because I have the Devil’s blood.”

Now, they could have made this work better with instead of saying, “We need Jin for reasons that don’t make sense, actually, we don’t want Jin’s body in the wrong hands because the likes of Kazuya or the UN may not simply kill him but try experiment on him, and he’s dangerous because Devil.” Oh, and you do not save people from tyranny by killing one person.

I really wish I could be done talking about Lars, I hate him so much, but this story is so, so bad. I hated playing Scenario Campaign, and I especially hated the contrived drama of Alisa’s shutdown as some dramatic death and the ridiculous excuse for a friendship these two had and all of this awfulness is shown as, “yeah, we really did that, and we’re sticking by it.” Alisa could be so much more and better without him. But anyway, back to that annoying butt-head. The story also says that the only reason Heihachi fathered this turd was to prove that he did not have the devil gene. The story also says Heihachi dropped Kazuya off a cliff to prove it to him that Kazuya had the devil gene. Otherwise, the fall would kill Kazuya. So, based on the game’s own logic presented in its own story mode, Lars should be dead because Heihachi would have killed him in trying to prove he did not have the devil gene and yet…what a failure.

The narration is by a man who lost his family to the war, and one of the reviews I skimmed said the deadpan narration was comical though perhaps not intended to be so. I mainly found the opening funny because I wondered what story I walked into that started talking about a son’s love for his father. Anyway, I kept wondering if he’d be Gigas or something, but no, and overall, I don’t think I cared for it. The story mode focuses on the Mishima family so a lot of characters do not make the cut for having a presence here, yet nameless here does.

Can you believe that I’m still not done in telling you how bad this story is? So, as mentioned earlier, Kazumi asked Akuma to kill Heihachi and, we later find out, Kazuya too. Akuma, he’s in this story even though a lot of other Tekken characters aren’t, goes to do that, defeats Kazuya, and given that he was asked to kill him, said he was there to kill him, guess what he did not do? He did not check to see if Kazuya was dead, meaning he did not kill him. He just left!

I feel disappointed that Kazumi really was dead because that means we have five Mishima characters throughout the series (Heihachi, Kazuya, Jin, Jinpachi and now Kazumi), and the only woman among them is the one who is so definitively dead, her role in the story is actually a flashback even though she was the arcade boss.

I’m almost done on the story part. After you beat the story mode, you can get endings for other characters by playing their episodes. On the one hand, this made unlocking their endings really easy. On the other hand, most of these endings were not very good and even if they had good points, they were generally pretty short, presumably because of time and effort dedicated to the awfulness of the Mishima story. Devil Jin appears in his own and Hwoarang’s episodes. Jin appears in Miguel’s. I knew going into this game that I couldn’t think of any version of the story that would satisfy me after the debacle of Tekken 6 so my main bar was some good Jin and Devil Jin footage and there was so little of it, I’m overall disappointed.

Onward, to everything else.

Arcade Battle is only 5 matches and left me confused with the ending of Akuma flexing his power and then getting a Game Over screen, thought I’d done something wrong. I haven’t really looked back since playing the story mode. Treasure Battle is similar to past Ghost Battle modes, but you do not get to pick from three different opponents and you do have to deal with these gimmicks like turbo battle, double damage, aerial combo and Special Matches against certain characters. They are Kazumi, Heihachi, Devil Kazuya, Jin Kazama, and Akuma. After awhile, these gimmicks are mildly annoying and if I’m not in the mood, I will exit. Rare items are too rare. After awhile, you’re mostly earning money and just waiting around to hit the 2,000 battle mark to unlock everything at once. I mainly wanted Jin’s Tekken 6 coat and since I’m not very good at using him, I tried Katarina and Lucky Chloe some, that also took a long time.

The practice mode is great. It has the usual elements and maybe past games had this feature, and I didn’t notice but you can practice at specific points in the stages that have wall, balcony and/or floor breaks. I’ve done a lot of practicing. I think because I didn’t play Tag 2 much and my mind struggles a lot since November 9th of last year, it helps alleviate stress and maybe one day, I’ll be able to do those electrics every time or almost. I can say that I’ve been doing them more often and even got up to 3 at once.

New game-play mechanics include a Rage Art and Rage Drive. I love using Rage Arts. I usually don’t even try for a Rage Drive but if I keep practicing, maybe I’ll work them in. Devil Jin starts with a hellsweep, but the one or two times I focused on trying it in a Treasure Battle match, it didn’t go well and I guess I gave up on it. I saw this really powerful Rage Drive combo with a Katarina player on Twitter and tried to learn it. I never did, but I learned the first part, and she has since become one of my mains. Hopefully, I’ll remember to go back to trying it. My mains this time around include Devil Jin, Jin Kazama, Katarina, and Alisa. To a degree, you could include Lucky Chloe though I admit, it was mostly for manipulating the CPU. I picked up at least one combo. And you know, I wanted to add more mains, but when you start dedicating time to specific characters to learn more. well, it feels like there’s only so much room in my brain for them sometimes. I missed Xiaoyu and Lili so played them a little but when I do a rotation of my main characters in Treasure Battle, I don’t even think of trying them. Maybe I will, now that I’ve written this review.

That was quite a tangent but back to mechanics. Bound is gone, and now we have um, a tailspin move, and I don’t remember on Tekken Zaibatsu if the “s” stood for “spin” or for “screw,” and the game itself doesn’t seem to actually say, so, but it’s a spinning move. And the spin can be used in combos. There are also, some moves have new properties called Power Crush, like Jin and Devil Jin have had Corpse Thrust for at least since Tekken 5, no, even longer um, but that is now a Power Crush move. Um, and for someone like me, that was extremely helpful against the CPU in Treasure Battle. The game lacks other usual modes from past games like Survival and Team Battle. Um, I liked Team Battle so I miss it. Survival’s nice too, I mainly like miss Team Battle though.

Customizations are again not as good as what Tekken 6 offered. My Alisa customization in Tekken 6 wore a blue best over a long-sleeved black shirt, not an option. She wore shorts with her Battle Boots. You can get the Battle Boots this time but if you want to use them, they are with the bikini bottom. Again for all the tops like in Tag 2, you cannot pick say a specific pair of gloves you want with a shirt or jacket. Gloves either come with it or they don’t. The hair options regress even more because I can no longer get the bushy ponytail I used to be reminiscent of Leona from King of Fighters for Alisa. For me, that is a significant part of my vision for the customization I want so that was a loss. I’m thinking about making a video of how backwards customization has gone for another time.

Another thing that’s gone is replays. They’d be a few seconds to show what happened at the end of the match, and you could use that time to pick a button for a specific win pose if you wanted. You can still try to get a win pose you want, but the time frame is much tighter, and I miss the actual replays themselves as well.

The game has this cool feature that offers a jukebox where you can customize what music you listen to in the game. You can use tracks from past games, and that’s really great. I tend to turn the music off because I concentrate better with none at all in Practice, and then just don’t bother turn it back on a lot of time but when I do have it on, I don’t like some of the Tekken 7 tracks, so I’m glad I had this feature to set them to other ones.

Moving on, I really, really love that technology has come to a point where we can all so easily share things, especially on PS4. I can show off my customizations and clip some random funny thing that happened. I’ve even used it to analyze what I might be missing in practice through like a frame-by-frame replay.

Quick remark on customizations. Before Patch 1.03, you could get some really dark black colors on your people and then after the update, many of them turn to a lighter gray that I know myself and others did not like at all. That it was so hard, it was hard to see sometimes, like in actual matches, but I find it hard to believe that it couldn’t be better handled.

Anyway, back to sharing. I can see if my PS4 friends liked the things I shared on Twitter. Another perk of technology sharing is being able to watch so much top-level Tekken play so easily, thanks to YouTube and Twitch.

So, all in all, I found some things to enjoy this game, and I do intend to keep playing. Um, but I do kind of feel, that with the long wait, um, and even with my, what I felt, tempered expectations, of kind of saying, I didn’t like Tekken 6, I didn’t like these things, I know that these things can happen again, and trying to ready myself for what it could be, I’m still disappointed that so many things changed and not for the better. And I do hope that eventually, if this series continues, um, we can go back to a better place, similar to what we had before instead of feeling like the series is slowly stripping away some of the, a lot of the things that we took for granted um, in enjoying what Namco, not gave us, but you know, they put forth for us to buy. And so, you know, hopefully things will get better. Well, let me re-phrase that because I am not an optimistic or hopeful person when it comes to Tekken. Um, it’ll be nice if that ever happens. I’ll say that. I do not expect it to happen and it is, I do hope, that things do not keep getting worse. At the very least, I can say that.

So anyway, thanks for listening and/or watching my video. Bye-bye.

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