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TEKKEN 8 review: The king is back

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TEKKEN 7 was fine. In fact, it was better than fine, but the criticism it received upon its release was justified — the game was barebones, especially for offline players. Thankfully, Bandai Namco has learned from their mistakes, releasing a game with more modes, more fighters, and more, well, everything. It feels like a complete package, solidifying TEKKEN’s status as the king of fighting games.

If you’re a fan, you don’t need me to explain what makes TEKKEN so good, so I will be addressing this review to the undecided few. After all, there’ve been a lot of exciting games in the genre recently, and both Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 especially got their fair share of positive reviews. But if I were to choose just one to stick with, I’d choose TEKKEN 8 in a heartbeat. Why?

Tekken 8

The story of the series is fascinating — about as fascinating as the story of Jin Kazama, a tormented individual at the beginning of a new bombastic story mode. The story in TEKKEN 7 never felt good, but now it’s firing on all cylinders, as silly and overly dramatic as ever. It’s a good introduction for new players, although learning about the games’ prior events is recommended. Thankfully, Brian Cox got you covered there.

Other than that, the game has lots to offer. The arcade mode returns with more ways to learn the fighters. The game feels faster, louder, and more aggressive. It’s not a game for defensive players — TEKKEN wants you to attack again and again, using both new combos and the Heat system. The latter adds a lot, helping the players to use a new set of combos and reach the enemy from a distance while dealing chip damage. There’s just no way to play defensive and win, and that’s fine by me.

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Tekken 8

Just like any other modern fighting game, TEKKEN 8 tries to be welcoming to new players. For them, TEKKEN 8 has the Special Styles menu allowing you to pull off some impressive combos with the help of the bumper button. It will not make you a great player, but it’s a good starting point. Still, sooner or later, you will have to start memorizing combos; otherwise, the online mode will just leave you frustrated.

Visually, this is by far the most impressive-looking game in the genre. Utilizing the Unreal 5 engine, the game looks stunning, offering vivid colors, smooth animations, and gorgeous backgrounds. The stages and characters look both photorealistic and stylized, which is a perfect mix for the genre. What’s even more impressive is that the loading times are near-instantaneous — a massive improvement compared to TEKKEN 7.

I played the game locally, but I also gave online a go. TEKKEN 8 features rollback netcode, and most of the time, the experience is great. The new lobby is also a welcome addition, rivaling SF’s offering.

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Tekken 8

Overall, this is the sequel I’ve been waiting for. Almost every decision made was the right one, even though some defensive players are understandably unsure about the direction the series is going. It’s changing with the times, and the times when TEKKEN could be considered a defensive game are long behind us. It’s neither good or bad, it’s just how it is.

Read also: The Invincible review: These space boots are made for walkin’

Verdict

TEKKEN 8 is a stellar addition to the franchise and a game that will satisfy both fans and newcomers. As someone relatively neutral when it comes to the series, I have a newfound fondness for these silly characters and their epic struggles. I play it solo, I play it locally with my wife (who somehow kicks my ass without knowing any of the combos) and sometimes, I dare to play online. It’s always a good time.

Review ratings
Presentation (design, style, speed and usability of the UI)
9
Sound (original cast, music, mixing)
9
Graphics (in the context of the platform)
10
Optimization [Series X] (how does it run, bugs, crashes, use of system features)
9
Narrative Elements
8
Controls and Gameplay
9
TEKKEN 8 is a stellar addition to the franchise and a game that will satisfy both fans and newcomers. As someone relatively neutral when it comes to the series, I have a newfound fondness for these silly characters and their epic struggles. I play it solo, I play it locally with my wife (who somehow kicks my ass without knowing any of the combos) and sometimes, I dare to play online. It’s always a good time.
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TEKKEN 8 is a stellar addition to the franchise and a game that will satisfy both fans and newcomers. As someone relatively neutral when it comes to the series, I have a newfound fondness for these silly characters and their epic struggles. I play it solo, I play it locally with my wife (who somehow kicks my ass without knowing any of the combos) and sometimes, I dare to play online. It’s always a good time.TEKKEN 8 review: The king is back
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