“Fighting is all about who’s left standing. Nothing else.” – Kazuya Mishima. The King of Iron Fist Tournament is back with 32 playable characters that never looked better. Unreal Engine 5 powers TEKKEN 8, making it a visual treat. Bandai Namco introduces quite a few things for TEKKEN and brings back an old favorite game mode of mine. We’re going back to the beach for Tekken Ball! TEKKEN 8 wants to be a game for single-player gamers and those who love to battle it out online. We’ll go through it all in our review but Bandai Namco created so much content that this game will be one you’ll be playing for a long time! The community behind this fighting game is large. Started in 1995 the 7 previously released main Tekken games and the two Tekken Tag games are some of the most loved in the 3D fighting genre. Don’t let that frighten you as newcomers can watch the entire Tekken storyline in-game and there is a massive practise mode that learns you how to be a challenging fighter for your friends and online players.
Tekken is one of the games I grew up with. Paul Phoenix, Law and especially Yoshimitsu are my favorite characters. I used to love humiliating my nephew while playing as Yoshimitsu. Winning by stabbing myself and dealing the final blow to whatever character he was using. (Nina, most of the times) I can’t remember what Belgian TV-show it was but my love for the e-sport scene got huge when I saw elite players play Tekken. Seeing a player use King and doing massive damage with wrestling moves or even getting angry when someone was using Eddy Gordo. Tekken 8’s first DLC character by the way! Anyway long story short, Tekken has a place in my heart and I was thrilled when I received the review code. It is always a proud and memorable moment to review game franchises from your childhood.
Let the battle & review begin!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!
Things I liked!
- Story Mode | Important to know is that Story Mode is only a small part of the actual single-player experience. I would strongly suggest playing the 15 chapters of the story mode first before doing the character endings. TEKKEN 7 ended with the death of a popular character and the saga continues in this game. After seeing the epic conclusion between Kazuya and Jin Kazama in TEKKEN 8 you have 32 different character endings that expand on the main story. You know, the typical Tekken cutscenes with lots of silly humor! And that’s still not all because there is an Arcade Quest too, but more on that later. Let me first talk about the impressive TEKKEN 8 Story Mode. This is a seamless experience between cutscenes and gameplay. I want to compare it with the fightscene in Avengers: Age of Ultron between Hulk and Iron man’s Hulkbuster. The action moments are intens and visually beautiful. Not all of the Tekken characters have highlight moments as the focus stays on Jin Kazama and the ultimate bad guy Kazuya or in other words, a fight between the devils.There are many things I loved about the story mode. From the voice actors that speak French, German, English and Japanese and magically seem to understand each other, to the visually stunning action moments. Finished the story mode? You can now play as each character to see the unique character endings. Loyal Tekken players will be happy to know that typical rivalries make a return, for example Paul and Law. Often with a great sense of humor or silly life lessons.
- Arcade Quest and Super Ghost Battle | From photorealistic visuals we are dropped into an arcade world where characters are all charming avatars. This is a perfect start to learn how to play Tekken. Arcade quest is more or less a more fun tutorial but also a stand-alone story mode. Traveling from arcade to arcade you’ll start to improve your Dan rank and unlock treasures and customization options for your avatar and prefered fighter. When you finish Arcade quest you’ll unlock a fascinating new mode that uses AI learning from your own gameplay and of other online players. This mode is called Super Ghost Battle. It remains to be seen how this will turn out but I’m excited to see how big of a deal this becomes for having more challenge while playing Tekken 8.
- An important change in regular Tekken gameplay | Tekken has always been a fighting franchise that prefers defensive play. That tactical approach is a bit different now with two gameplay changes. One of them we’ve seen before in the Tekken Tag Tournament games. Did you know what happened with the second unused character while you were fighting in Tag Tournament? The answer: health recovered! In TEKKEN 8 you have two health bars now, your permanent health damage and grey damage that can be recovered by attacking the enemy. A significant change as being aggressive with an attacking tactic is rewarding now. Another new addition is the HEAT-system that activates in specific fight combos or simply by pressing the L1-button. HEAT is a temporary powerup and extremely useful for using as a last escape resort. There are more benefits though, some combo moves only work while in HEAT mode and if your attacks are blocked you’ll still do some (small) damage. While these changes have the biggest effect on competitive play it makes the gameplay more diverse for everyone.
- Big focus on online play | Tekken always had a strong online community and they are in for a treat with TEKKEN 8. They clearly listened to the feedback. Previously online play for Tekken was rather slow, now you are instantly back into the action when you do a rematch and loading screens are limited when you start to fight from scratch. That arcade feel from Arcade quest returns for the online play too. By having an avatar character that you can freely customize with clothes and emotes. This personally isn’t really important for me but I’m sure others are thrilled to express themselves.
- Fan-favorite characters return and some new interesting faces too! | Let me first start with the bad news, some popular characters are missing, five names that comes to mind are Roger, Mokujin ( he does have a cameo in the story), Heihachi, Christie Monteiro and Armor King. As written in the introduction Eddy isn’t a part of the playable roster too but he’s the first confirmed DLC character. Tekken has had such a large roster over the years that it is understandable that some are missing. Bandai Namco introduces new characters too and more importantly returning characters have all been improved with new moves, balancing and visual style. Three new faces can be spotted, Reina, Azucena and Victor Chevalier. More on them below! Returning characters are all reworked with new moves and visual style. You’ll notice that most characters have aged or gained more muscle. Going to UE5 character models are extremely detailed and surpass anything else in the genre. Here is a breakdown of the three new playable characters in TEKKEN 8:
- Reina | This new female character is my favorite from the three newcomers. She has a few moves that are similar to Heihachi but most of her technique comes from Taido. She’s a cute and fast fighting character that is extremely deadly in wall situations. One thing if for sure, she’s a key character for upcoming Tekken games.
- Victor Chevalier | Finally the leader of the UN forces is revealed in TEKKEN 8. Victor is specialised in counterattacks and can attack from a distance with his firearm and long-distance sword. He looks old but is surprisingly agile and a force to be reckoned with.
- Azucena | This beautiful and colorful Persian lady that loves coffee is an MMA champion. She plays differently than anyone else, her techniques allows her to go into a state where she can no longer block but automatically dodges attacks. I believe Azucena might become a very popular fighter with online players who can master her fighting skills
- TEKKEN 8 characters part two | I’m not done just yet with talking about the playable characters. It is remarkable that this game has 32 different characters that all play so entirely different. Other games with a large roster, Naruto x Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections is a good example, have characters with similar fighting moves but that is not the case with TEKKEN 8. None of them play the same and seeing the distinct difference between all of them is insane. Jack-8 has slow but powerful moves, Yoshimitsu’s sword dancing, King’s wrestling moves, the kicks from Hwoarang, lasershooting eyes from Devil Jin or Alisa Bosconovitch’s crazy moves where she removes her head. This also means that learning how to play as each character takes a very long time to master.
Neither good nor bad
- Special Style control scheme | Many fighting games are introducing an easier way to pull of combos with one-button controls with the four buttons. Street Fighter and Killer Instict to give you two examples. Tekken 8 has this feature with a new special style control scheme, I LOVE that they added this for accessibility but Tekken characters have such complicated moves that it simply doesn’t work that well. Part of the core gameplay of Tekken is ground-to-air fighting and that is extremely limited when you use this control scheme. However, this is a great feature to have if you have friends over that never played TEKKEN 8 before though! When you use special style a small box appears on the left side, showing you the moves that ahppen when you start to press a button. Important to note, this can also be used in the online modes but is perfectly balanced for those that play TEKKEN 8 with the normal control methods.. Someone who is using special style will never be able to win a match against a semi-skilled player.
Things I disliked!
- Tekken Ball returns | That means we have nothing bad to say about TEKKEN 8! In all seriousness, there is nothing bad to say about this awesome fighting game.
93/100 ⭐| TEKKEN 8 is a great fighting game, there is a lot of competition in this genre but for me this one stands out as the very best. Graphically it is incredibly beautiful, there are deep tutorials to learn each unique fighter, plenty of single player content. Online there is also plenty to enjoy making TEKKEN 8 definitely a game you can play for hours and hours. Oh yeah, did I mention Tekken Ball is back?
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