Tekken hasn't been this good in a long time. In terms of pure gameplay depth and spectacle, Tekken 7 is right up there with the best fighting games on the market. It's satisfying, rewarding, and incredibly well balanced. That last point stems from the fact that it was available in Japanese and Korean arcades for ages before it finally made its way to PlayStation 4, but ultimately, the wait was more than worth it.
Tekken 7 is something of a return to the fundamentals. In many ways, it's the most accessible that Tekken has been since Tekken 3 – at least on a more casual level. Its tailspin mechanic is a much easier concept to grasp than the bound mechanic of previous instalments, and its reworked rage system is both easy to understand and simple to utilise. It's a title that manages to tread a fine line between being a pick-up-and-play fighter and a highly competitive beat-'em-up.
Of course, Tekken as a franchise has been following that line for years anyway, but there's a clarity to the seventh entry that makes it a great starting point. Whether it's the visual effects that accompany specific types of attacks or the crisp graphics provided by the move to Unreal Engine 4, even a complete novice can look at the screen and tell what's going on – and that's something that fighting games can get wrong surprisingly often.
All of this results in a brawler that's entertaining to watch. With the esports scene blowing up over the last few years and every multiplayer release wanting in on the action, Tekken 7 has done very, very well for itself in 2017. It's cracked record numbers on streaming sites like Twitch, and if you sit down to catch a few high level matches, it's not hard to see why. Tekken 7 is fast, furious, and it's packed with moments made of pure hype.
And a lot of those moments come from its newly introduced cinematic elements. It's such a simple concept, but adding slow motion to bouts when combatants are low on health is nothing short of genius. It potentially makes every late-game exchange a nail-biter – jaws hit the floor when it all comes down to one last hit and the game decides to slow and show every little detail as it happens.
Long story short, Tekken 7 is glorious. It's the rapturous return to form that PlayStation's most iconic fighting game franchise needed, and as long as Bandai Namco doubles down on what the latest instalment brings to the table, the series has a bright future ahead of it.
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