As I watched the Master Cup 8 stream taking notes on Tekken 7, I decided to do a post on my thoughts and impressions of the current build of the game. As a disclaimer, I’ve only played T7 once to date and that was this summer at EVO; the rest of my insights come from watching matches of Korean and Japanese tournament play. Here is what I think of Tekken 7 so far.
Presentation and Aesthetics:
-The added sparks on hit and block look pretty cool.
-The Rage Art moves (think super moves) are a welcomed addition. However some of the animations are recycled from other games and it feels kind of lazy.
-The slowdown mechanic is awesome and creates tons of hype. If both players are low on health and both attempt a killing blow at the same time, the game slows down for a dramatic effect. The crowd really made some noise whenever this happened during finals. It’s a great hype generator.
-Backgrounds look amazing. So far every stage in the game looks great and the multi-tiered stages are interesting. Some stages even have atmospheric changes in the last round of each fight.
-The music is good but it’s not my favorite Tekken soundtrack. The Volcano stage in particular has great music.
Gameplay and System changes:
Get ready to see this guy… everywhere.
-For the most part, the game seems balanced but Shaheen may be too good. Shaheen is one of the new characters added to Tekken 7. He is user friendly, has all the right tools, and does big damage. I picked him up within 10 minutes and managed to rack up a large win streak during casuals at EVO. I also spoke with JDCR about who he thought was the best character in the game and he quickly replied “Shaheen.” Also just about every team at Master Cup 8 had at least 1 Shaheen player.
-The movement feels just like Tekken Revolution. While not my favorite Tekken game, I did play a good deal of Tekken Revolution. In T7 movement is exactly the same with the exception of a nerfed side step. It is not as easy to SS in this game. I haven’t had enough time with the game to really formulate an opinion about the new SS though. Although I feel it could be a good change in the long run.
-The new universal throw breaks make throw breaking too easy. Adding to that, the throw break windows are massive now. I found myself breaking far more throws than usual. I also found it much harder to throw my opponents even with command grabs.
-The game overall seems to move at a much faster pace due to higher damage output.
-Performing combos in this game is significantly easier. I don’t mind this change at all. Tekken combos have never really been hard to me personally. If this change helps bring in new players then it is a good one.
-The Power Crush moves seem useless. Power Crush moves allow you to absorb an incoming attack to deal damage back to your opponent. In some cases, I felt the risk for doing a Power Crush move was not worth the reward. Maybe King’s Power Crush is just bad though. More testing is needed on this.
What I would change:
-Make throw breaks arm dependent again, but leave the throw break window the way it is now. Having a larger window will give new players a greater chance to guess a throw break and reward skilled players for learning to recognize character animations. As it is now, throw breaking is way too easy.
-Tone down the damage just a little. Higher damage makes for a faster paced game, but 1 launcher into a wall should not be the end of your tournament match.
-Make Power Crush moves worth the risk. King’s Power Crush for example is a shoulder ram that will absorb a number of hits while sustaining substantial damage only to be rewarded with 12 percent damage… Why would I want to ever use this if I’m going to take more damage than I put out? Perhaps I could use it to win a round, but other than that it feels kind of useless.
-Give every character a new costume. Jin, Yoshi, Kazuya, Lars all received new costume designs. The other characters all seem to be wearing the same clothes they had in Tekken 5… C’mon now Namco!
-Make the character models less shiny. The characters are shiny as hell and look like they are waxy and greasy. This is a minor gripe, but why does everybody in this game gotta be glistenin’ like Mr. Clean?
Let’s cut to the chase!
I will always play Tekken, but this game definitely feels like it was intended to appeal to a more casual crowd. Throw breaking has become brain-dead easy. Combos are simplistic and can be performed with minimal practice. The damage output is higher which leads to more comebacks. Sideways movement has been restricted. Most of the new characters have great tools and are very easy to use. I respect what Harada and Namco are trying to do with this game. They have made the game easier and more inviting to new players. Although I understand what the intent was, I still feel the game needs more tweaking. I also feel the game is probably going to receive a huge update by the time of the console release. I expect more characters, some character balancing (nerf Shaheen), and some aesthetic upgrades. However, the real question on every American’s mind is the console release date. When will we really get to play Tekken 7 in America? With a limited release at select Dave & Busters and stations being brought to major fighting game tournaments, we have been given just a small taste of the game. Japan and Korea have had full access for roughly 8 months now. It’s probably not coming soon, but I hope we get some sort of playable build by 2016. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the stateside release of this game, but until then it’s back to TTT2.
Hope you guys enjoyed the write up! In the meantime, check out my videos from EVO and my battle with series producer Katsuhiro Harada!