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Tekken 7 – Can Akuma make Namco King Of The Hill?

by on June 4, 2017

First things first. I’m a Street Fighter player. Love Street Fighter. I have an Akuma tattoo on my back. So, when it got revealed that Akuma would be landing in Tekken 7 I was excited. I dabbled in Tekken over the years. Tekken 2 and 3 were my favorites. Tekken Tag was my ps2 launch game along with SF: EX 3. Over the years Tekken has grown a huge following in the tournament scene. Deservedly so in my opinion due to the complexity of the high mid low system and the juggling abilities. I  felt I needed to preface all this so you know where I’m coming from when I review this new installment. I’ll be looking at it from the perspective of a casual player and letting you know how this stacks up to the two current champions of fighting games. Street Fighter V and Injustice 2 have set the bar rather high. Does tekken 7 have the legs of its competitors or is it in a distant third place?

As usual in a Tekken game you are greeted to a gorgeous intro showing just how screwed up the Mishima family is this time. There’s murder, betrayal, returns, and as we are told in the opening cinematic demons are legit as well.  Billed as “the end of the Mishima Saga” from the outset of the game, it has a very conclusive feel. Don’t know who Jin’s mother is, or maybe you don’t even know who Jin is? Namco included every single cinematic ever in the entire Tekken Series as well as the Tag Tournaments and Revolutions for you to watch. It helps a lot, and you get so much fight money early on its well worth it to get Paul Phoenix’s history.  This is an area that Namco truly shines. The presentation is fantastic all around from the menus to the story mode.  Everything looks crisp and clean. The shining beacon of all these is the music. I loved Tekken 3’s music. Like had that CD spinning in my 91 Thunderbird rolling down 41 going to Livingstons to play it loved it. So, having that available to put into the game as a soundtrack is a pretty cool nostalgic feature.

Sadly, nostalgia and Tekken is a double-edged sword. While it’s great to go back and see these characters again, it is still THESE characters. Not that I don’t appreciate the lore of the game, but it feels like we’ve been here before story wise and, for me, gameplaywise. While I appreciate the little nuances I saw and some new mechanics of play, I don’t know how much more I’ll put into this game considering what else is out on the market right now. It’s fun to play through the story and I’m having fun unlocking stuff right now with it. I just don’t know how much longer I’ll stay in it.

This opening launch weekend has been plagued with online connectivity issues. Apparently, the PC version isn’t being hit with it but the PS4 has been useless for me. Every single time I’ve tried (Friday morning, Sat morning and night) I have not been able to get in a ranked match and sat for 30 minutes each time. I’m sure it will be fixed and will be fine soon but for as well as Street Fighter 5 (and yes, I know how bad SF5 was at launch) and Injustice 2 have been doing online lately it’s a big misstep to have this early when trying to build a fanbase.

That’s not to say this game isn’t good. It is. It’s fighting system is super complex and deep. It’s loud, boombastic (mister lover, lover)  music and it’s gorgeous to look at…but…you knew here comes the but… it’s not better than anything I am currently playing to make me drop a game. Not even the inclusion of Akuma is going to keep me interested because whenever I play as him I keep pressing buttons that aren’t there in Tekken’s world and button layout (Tekken uses 4, Street Fighter uses 6). So, for me it was kind of an odd little side quest to play him in Tekken’s world that’s been satisfied, and I’ll go back to Street Fighter 5 and Injustice 2. Obviously if you like Tekken over those two games then you’re going to buy it anyway, but if you are new to fighting games and are only going to give one game a shot then pick up Injustice 2. When this drops in price and after you’re done with Injustice 2 definitely consider this the second choice.