By now, I feel like Tekken is a name that every gamer has heard. Across its 30-year history, the series has evolved the 3D fighting space, so much so that there aren’t really any contenders left in this genre. What’s more interesting is how its story has also evolved. For those not following along, each game is connected, and there’s quite a bit of family drama packed into each release. Given that this will be the first Tekken entry on next-gen platforms, I was looking forward to seeing how they’d present the tension and cinematics of this story on newer hardware.
During a preview event, I was able to play through the opening story chapters of Tekken 8. Upon jumping in, it didn’t take long before the action picked up as Jin confronts his father, Kazuya. The cinematics in these opening scenes felt movie-like. What’s more impressive is how the story scenes blend with the matches through a seamless transition. I know this has been done before, but the quality of these scenes and how the player is never removed from the action was a nice way to start the game.
Following the opening, things do calm down as Kazuya announces a new tournament for fighters from around the world. While some aim to compete for glory, Jin finds himself joining a group of other fighters who aim to stop Heihachi’s reign of chaos. There’s one small problem: Jin hasn’t completely mastered control over the Devil’s Blood, and he’s not really the fan favorite of those around him. I mean, if you asked me, I would have just sent Alisa because she’s arguably the best character, but we don’t have to get into all that right now.
More characters are introduced, some with ulterior motives and others just to get in your way, but I was hooked. I sadly didn’t feel to attached to the story elements of Street Fighter 6, mostly because it leaned into overly cringy dialogue that works for some, but I couldn’t get behind. Anyway, the story here appears to be crafted for high drama as it acts as a possible conclusion to this arc, and there are plenty of secrets that have yet to be revealed. It’s an exciting time for Tekken fans, but I feel like for those willing to get a crash course on the story, you can very well jump in here and have a good time.
Outside of the story, I found the Super Ghost Battles to be one of the more interesting aspects of the experience. While ghost battles have been around before, this updated version seems to learn and adjust its playstyle on the fly. Depending on how you play, these matches can be fairly difficult. However, I believe the option to upload and download these scary smart AI opponents will be a significant tool for the fighting community when training for events. Completing Ghost Battle challenges also unlocks new costumes for the characters. And I can confirm there are bathing suits.
In a conversation with the game director Kohei Ikeda, we were told that the team never had plans to do a reboot of the series or even a remaster of the previous entries. They seem to have this always-look-forward attitude that bleeds into the quality of these titles. One look at the life and success of Tekken 7 and it’s clear that they have the will to persevere in this space. However, there aren’t any competitors in this space, leaving the Tekken team to be self-motivated in delivering quality updates to players and evolving the genre on their own. When asked by Giant Bomb staff in the same interview about this, Ikeda-san mentioned that he wished there were other 3D Fighters if only to introduce new systems they may not have thought of and grow the community.
Sure, I’m not the biggest fighting fan on staff here at Noisy Pixel, but I’m looking forward to concluding this arc. The ending of Tekken 7 left us all on a cliffhanger, so it’s about time we see this story through. There’s a lot packed in this release and a depth of the combat system that I’m not the best person to explain to you. Regardless, I had fun; please look out for our review, which will be handled by someone far more knowledgeable about the intricacies of this series. I mean, I already said it, but I’m only here for Alisa.
Tekken 8 is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and PC on January 26, 2024.
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