Tekken has had a long and tumultous past, dating back to the classic arcade fighter days. Tekken has always had to compete with the great fighters of its style such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, often being over shadowed and forgotten.
Tekken is probably the most underrated fighting game out there. It didn’t have the benefit of exploding on the competitive scene like Street Fighter has, nor does it have brutal and gruesome finishing moves to make it stand out from its peers. What it does have are some stunning visuals, reasonably strong plot cohesion (that doesnt rely on universe resets and everyone being cyborg ninja demon ghosts) and pretty grounded fighting styles.
Every gamer worth his or her salt has heard of Yoshimitsu yet the Tekken games spend a depressingly low amount of time in the spotlight, for no good reason. These games are fantastic fighters and require some serious skill in order to play. Any monkey can pick up a gamepad and mash buttons to inevitably beat his opponent so long as they’re either a dumb AI or employ the same tactics. It takes true skill to be able to execute the high level combos and intense counters.
We got invited to go along to Bandai Namco’s UK headquarters in order to test out the new Tekken 7. Being placed in front of a screen and handed a PSVR headset my first thought was “Well…how is this gunna work? Am I going to be seeing through the eyes of my dude or what?” No, of course not, that would be insane and mind breaking. Instead I got placed in a training environment and the VR headset completely immersing me in the situation. Looking around the arena I was surrounded by a breathtaking starscape. Then turning to face where the screen would be, the fighters came into view.
Simply practising to get a feel for the controls after what has been many, many years out, was a good way to get back into things. The controls were responsive and sharp, allowing you to manoeuvre and attack pretty crisply. As a training environment it was beautiful and isolating, giving you chance to focus on your actions. I’d love to say I spent 5 minutes in there and came out a well rounded and expert player, but I’m a dumb monkey when it comes to fighters and I learnt how to do little more than block and some basic combos.
After learning the basics it was time to pick up the main storyline and see what it had to offer. Again I’d love to give details but I simply don’t know enough about the series or the game to be anything other than overly vague. The VR headset was still supported but not in anywhere near an engrossing way. Simply it just brought the TV screen view up rather than sitting you in the middle of whatever immaculately well detailed environment you happened to find yourself fighting in. A shame but by no means a deal breaker.
The cutscenes were pretty astoundingly well rendered and more often than not flowed seamlessly into gameplay, so I guess by extension the whole game is kinda just one big cutscene in that regard. I dumb monkey smashed my way through a few dozen dudes until the “boss” of the stage appeared and attempted to beat my ass down. If it’s stupid but works, it aint stupid right?
Being a fighting game, you’re not playing it to be immersed in a deep and engaging storyline, but with that said, Tekken 7 did a good job of keeping me interested in who was doing what for which reasons. Even if I can’t name any of the parties involved, they knew what they were doing and why, which is always a solid start to telling any story.
I know I’ve neglected to mention anything about the soundtrack or effects but that’s for a very good reason. I can’t. My headphones weren’t working and I didn’t want to disturb the hardworking PR staff to get them working. Long day at the office for us all, I just wanted to whomp some dudes upside the head with an immaculate, if not unrealistic, spinning kick to the head as blue lightning fired out of the impact.
One thing that I did notice was the absence of Roger, the kangaroo. Whether that was because you had to unlock him later in the story I wasn’t sure of, until I got home and saw an article saying he’s been removed. To say that I’m upset would be understating it, Roger was my boy! Curse you PETA….
All in all, Tekken 7 delivers brilliantly on all fronts. Crisp and clean controls with amazing visuals, interesting storyline and from what I overheard of other peoples gameplay, a pretty great soundtrack too. From the little I played I would definitely recommend picking it up!
Tekken 7 releases on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One June 2, 2017.