'Tekken 7' review: A familiar fighter rife with customization

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Tekken 7 is the latest entry in a classic long-running fighting series. It's a fan favorite for several reasons: its entertaining combatants, weighty brawls and storyline that involves transformations into devils as well as the inclusion of vampires, giant bears and tentacle ninjas. So it's a little out there, but it's all the better for it. 

One of my personal favorite fighting games of all time is Tekken 3, and Tekken 7 is one of the first times I've sat back and truly enjoyed Tekken proper without wishing I were gnashing bones in Mortal Kombat X or button-mashing my way through FX Fighter as a youngster once more. In short, it's the Tekken that brought me back. Despite its flaws, it's an extremely enjoyable fighter with plenty to offer fans.

Tekken 7 review: Back to basics

Where other fighters are concerned mainly with flash (like Injustice 2), Tekken 7 is interested in providing a meaty fighting experience that's simple to pick up and enjoy but difficult to master without taking the time to read move lists and entering practice mode. You only need to memorize face buttons for each arm and leg, however, which makes it a much simpler candidate for establishing proficiency than other games of its ilk. 

Lucky Chloe is absolutely adorableSource: TechnoBuffalo
Lucky Chloe is absolutely adorable  TechnoBuffalo

You can flail around with Yoshimitsu and hope you land a few hits, or you can try out Eddy Gordo and string together some carefully planned out combos in his unique Capoeira style. Either way, you'll be in for an entertaining match, and if you want to put more effort into it than dancing all over your controller of choice to spawn moves at random, there's plenty for you to learn. Across the game's 30+ fighters, there are over 100 different combos to memorize. So if you familiarize yourself with one character and begin to grow bored, there are plenty of other choices at your disposal. 

Tekken 7 review: Rage as an art

The multifaceted Rage system is an interesting new addition to Tekken 7, which offers a quick and easy way to come back from what seems like a certain K.O. When your fighter's health bar dips below 25%, they'll flash red, and you'll enter Rage mode. From here, you can unleash Rage Arts and Rage Drives, which allows you to land souped-up ultimate attacks like Street Fighter's Supers. These moves allow for even inexperienced fighters to strike back when a loss is imminent, but they aren't insurmountable. 

The Rage Arts in practice in 'Tekken 7'Source: GameSkinny
The Rage Arts in practice in 'Tekken 7'  GameSkinny

Some might call them "cheap" because of the way they can turn the tides of battle, but seasoned players should be able to block them with the right kind of combos. Plus, landing and pulling off a Rage Art successfully isn't guaranteed because you were able to press a few buttons in quick succession. There's a lot more to it than that. 

There are additional new mechanics in Tekken 7 such as the Screw Attack, where you send your opponent spinning sideways when you land an airborne attack. There are also the new Power Crush abilities, which essentially let you soak up the damage from enemy attacks before raring back and delivering a powerful counter on your own. This trinity of mechanics makes for a satisfying mix of new and old. 

Tekken 7 review: Plenty of ways to play

You can play online with Tekken 7, of course, but the real draw (for me, anyway) was the story mode that lets you play through an interesting tale that includes some backstory on the Mishima family, the centerpiece of the Tekken games. Rather than simply fighting against one other combatant, you'll sometimes be tasked with knocking out several of the same characters or complete certain conditions. It's challenging, but still entertaining, and a great bookend to multiplayer and the various other modes included. You can opt for Arcade mode, VR mode (barebones, unfortunately) or the Treasure Battle mode, where you'll want to spend a lot of time to rank up with each character and earn loot boxes that contain one of several new items for your characters. 

Story mode has you taking up the role of little Kazuya at one point Source: Fighters Generation
Story mode has you taking up the role of little Kazuya at one point  Fighters Generation

Loot boxes were one of my favorite parts of Treasure Battles, where you fight against randomly generated computer opponents with hilarious names and different getups. I wanted to unlock items meant for customization of my characters, including floating pets, fireworks, rainbow hair, pizzas, swords and plenty of other weird and wacky items that make playing Tekken 7 a hilarious time when you've got your favorite fighter decked out the way you want. 

Tekken 7 review: Entertaining fighting for new and old fans

Nina Williams is as fierce as everSource: HDQWalls
Nina Williams is as fierce as ever  HDQWalls

If you're on the fence about Tekken 7, know that it hosts an exciting story mode, explosive online battles, plenty of ways to customize your characters and a robust set of combatants. It's another fantastic entry in the series, and if you're into fighters, you'll find plenty to love here. 


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