Suitable for everything from beginners to professional gamers
Top-notch controls, graphics and sound
Large and varied character gallery
Several classic fighters are missing
The story is more crazy than understandable
Most things were here before
With Tekken 8, Bandai Namco takes everything that was good about its predecessor and ups the ante on most things. While it’s not a revolutionary sequel, all the improvements make Tekken 8 a must-have for fighting fans – whether you play to be the best or just for fun.
The demanding Street Fighter II, the ultra-violent Mortal Kombat and the more accessible Tekken. Three fighting games all born in the first half of the 90s — and still thriving today. They are not alone in the genre, but few would argue that they are the biggest, best and most beautiful. Just last year, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat received acclaimed additions tailor-made for today’s consoles. Now Tekken is entering the fray.
Broad in more ways than one
Easy accessibility is something that has served the Tekken series well over the years. Especially since the series’ third installment, a wide and varied character gallery, flashy and easily controlled yet deep battles, and a mix of serious and frivolous game modes have made the series a winner.
Bandai Namco has simply found a successful concept, a concept that has grown even stronger in Tekken 8. There are 32 characters (including three brand new ones) to choose from from the start, as well as multiple game modes to fight alone, online or against another person on the same couch.
Single matches or longer tournaments, the choice is yours. And the acclaimed volleyball mode Tekken Bowl? Yes, indeed. Add to that excellent training features and loads of settings, and it’s hard to find anything to complain about when it comes to the game’s fundamentals.
Welcome to a new generation
Nor can you complain about the graphics — even though Tekken 7 has aged unexpectedly undignified on that particular front. Add to that the fact that Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1 recently raised the bar for what is expected of a fighting game.
Fortunately, Tekken 8 sweeps the rug with its predecessor, and stands strong against the competition when it comes to eye candy. This applies not least to the detail of the character models, which have received a major boost; the characters look more realistic and alive and also move more smoothly than before.
Even the environments are much more interesting to look at, without distracting from the actual fighting. On the other hand, it’s hard to take your eyes off the two fighters thanks to how dynamic and intense the fights are.
Heavy blows in fast-paced battles
Each character has an appropriate amount of weight and the blows feel as hard as they look, thanks in no small part to how well the camera zooms, moves, and freezes to show the blows at their most painful.
The new Heat system, which can be used once per match and gives access to extra powerful attacks, also adds an extra tactical level to the fights.
For those who can’t be bothered with complicated subtleties and attack combinations, a control option called Special Style has also been added, where even the more flashy strikes can be used with simple button presses instead of long combinations. Perfect for beginners and party players.
Lone child plays best?
What surprises most about Tekken 8, however, is how packed it is for single players. First up, of course, is the classic arcade mode, where a number of battles must be won in order for a short ending sequence for each character to appear. How sensible the game mode is can be discussed, but in my book no fighting game is complete without an arcade mode with an accompanying mini-story, however “meaningless” it may be.
In addition, there is a small side adventure called Arcade Quest. Here, the player, in the form of a customised avatar, must race around in arcades, defeat other players, move up in rank and unlock new clothes. Nothing mind-blowing, but a fun side activity that also does a good job of explaining controls and game mechanics.
Arcade Quest also leads to Super Ghost Battle, a game mode where computerized clones of both yourself and other players can be faced.
But it’s The Dark Awakens story mode that’s the star for lone Tekken 8 players. This is a single-player campaign that neatly weaves together gloriously exaggerated film sequences with fights between most of the fighters in the large character gallery. The fact that they actually managed to put together something halfway decent with this motley crew is impressive.
The fights aren’t always set up like the fights in the other game modes, either; here you’ll find matches that offer both changed rules and unique attacks — and sometimes a completely different game type.
The champion is back
When Tekken 8 climbs back into the ring, it’s with a vengeance. While much is familiar from its predecessor, Bandai Namco has built on everything that made seven great — and made it even better.
Whether you want to train combos and compete against tough human opponents, or just want to button mash and have fun, Tekken 8 has the game mechanics and modes to match. If you’re a fan of fighting games, Tekken 8 should definitely be in your game collection.
This article was translated from Swedish to English and originally appeared on m3.se.