Tekken 8

Review: Tekken 8

The King of Ring returns

Launching nearly 30 years ago, Tekken has been a staple in the fighting game genre for some time. And because the series has existed for literal decades, beginning on the PlayStation before moving to a broader audience, the series hit a peak with Tekken 7 thanks to incredible mechanics despite some lingering issues. It only felt right that Tekken 8 would right those issues and deliver one of the best fighters in the world.

Everyone I knew played Tekken 7, and my friends lists showcased its popularity when it launched. As a series, Tekken has never felt more relevant or essential than now, and there is no denying that the new entry isn’t unique – because it is, and it has some of the best moments the series has ever had.

Some Good Ass Tekken

If you’re new to Tekken 8, the Arcade Quest mode is a great place to start. It’s a self-contained, single-player experience that offers a lot of customization rewards while also helping you master the mechanics. You can slowly ramp up enemy intelligence to match your skill and even provide a worthwhile challenge before heading online to take on real players worldwide.

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You’ll need to battle other CPU-controlled players in the arcades to level up, which will, in turn, unlock the arcade’s final encounter and a way to travel to another arcade, where you’ll learn something else about the game. The mode is an enjoyable experience and excels at holding your hand while you learn the ropes. However, unlike Street Fighter 6’s new World Tour mode, Arcade Quest puts you in control of a customizable avatar.

I spent the same amount of time in Arcade Quest as I did in Story Mode. A computer-controlled ghost character with AI learning that imitates your style, another player’s ghost, or CPU characters of different levels can all be faced in Super Ghost Battle. Practice is a clear choice for training combos on static dummy characters. You may train in PvP bouts without exposing yourself to the public eye by simulating them, which makes Tekken 8 a great place to start if you’re not comfortable enough to leap right into the PvP section.

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I understand the spirit of Tekken.

Tekken 8 boasts an excellent cinematic story mode that immerses players in a gripping narrative revolving around Kazuya, who seeks to dominate the world by waging a massive global war with the help of G Corporation. However, Jin Kazama and other fighters rise against him to stop his tyranny. After a fierce battle, Kazuya announces a new King of the Iron Fist Tournament, testing participants’ skills and nationalities. This engaging storyline and exciting gameplay make Tekken 8 a must-play for franchise fans.

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Across a dozen story chapters, players embark on a memorable journey as Jin Kazama. With the world’s fate hanging in the balance, players must push themselves to their limits to qualify for the tournament and confront the devil blood coursing through Jin’s veins. The story is expertly crafted, filled with pre-rendered and real-time sequences that offer a captivating blend of dramatic and comedic moments. Each character in the base roster appears although some are sidelined after a cutscene.

The fights are thrilling, featuring unique conditions and simple quick-time events that keep players on their toes even during cutscenes. For those who are not die-hard fans of the series, the game offers a series of stylized shorts that summarize previous entries, bringing players up to speed on the events leading up to the new King of the Iron Fist Tournament. Overall, this must-play game will leave players on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.

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A packed roster

The roster hits an all-time high with 32 playable characters. Usually, this would be a concerning number to focus on, but Bandai Namco’s done a great job making each character fit in. Even newcomers feel great to play as and situate themselves and stand out even in a roster of great characters. Victor Chevalier is a highlight, and I enjoyed putting him through training stages to get a feel for his abilities—even his story ties in without concern for overstepping existing threads.

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Once the story is wrapped up and the tutorials have shown you all there is to offer, there isn’t much left to do. It is a bit of a shame when Street Fighter 6’s World Tour exists and keeps you around for a while. Despite that, Tekken 8 is great, but it could use more to keep you invested.

When I first started playing Tekken, I had trouble using Jin. However, I found that the game has a mode called Special Style, designed to help new players ease into the game. It’s like having training wheels on a bike – it simplifies the game mechanics so that you can use single button presses to perform attacks and combos instead of having to time your button presses just right. This mode helped me get through some of the story chapters I was struggling with, but it can also be helpful for people who are new to the game. However, it limits the player to preassigned moves, making it easier for experienced players to counter.

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Also new to the series is the Heat System, which is a way to enhance your offensive capabilities, and you start matches with a full bar. Tekken 8 is meant to be played aggressively, so it makes sense that the mechanics want to focus on that aspect. A blue bar indicates your Heat gauge and, when activated, allows you to perform Heat Dashes and a Heat Smash. These skills last ten seconds and are meant to press enemies to deal severe damage.

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Verdict

Tekken 8 is one of the best entries in the series. The genre feels alive and well, with many franchises excelling in recent years, but few elevate the series to the same highs as Tekken has seen. There is a cohesive and engaging game between Story mode, the new characters, and excellent training tools. Whether you stick to online or offline, the moment-to-moment gameplay is the best the series has seen in almost a decade.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Tekken 8
Review: Tekken 8
Summary
Bandai Namco elevates the Tekken series to a new high with engaging and accessible gameplay paired with an expansive roster and entertaining modes.
Liked
A welcoming entry for newcomers and veterans alike
Stunning visuals and presentatioj
Great controls and fun story mode
Didn't Like
Basic game modes
Character Stories are a bit basic