Tekken 8 Review: Pulling No Punches

Tekken returns to our monitors

Jessica Casey
25th February 2024
Image Source: Flickr, @REC
Bandai Namco has released the latest instalment in its hit fighting game series Tekken. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the series is renowned for its replay value and engaging mechanics, even being considered one of the genre’s most influential franchises. But does Tekken 8 live up to the reputation the series has earned?

I am a huge fan of fighting games – despite not being very good at them! I especially enjoy games with 3D arenas such as Tekken, so naturally I was eager to get my hands on the eighth instalment. I'm usually wary of buying games at launch, mainly due to some games feeling incomplete until updates and DLC start rolling in. Fortunately, I've gotten plenty of mileage from Tekken 8 so far; it currently has 16 stages, 32 characters – from newcomers to series veterans – and a wide variety of game modes.

Like its predecessors, Tekken 8 enhances its gameplay via new features. New to this game are the ‘Special Style’ and ‘Heat’ systems. The former allows players to perform combos using simplified button combinations, while the latter grants new combos and more powerful attacks for a limited time. Both lead to extremely intense yet fair battles; even at my skill level, I've yet to play a match where I felt like I never stood a chance.

In my opinion, the only downside is the game’s story mode. While there are some positives – such as seamless transitions between cutscenes and gameplay – it has the same pitfalls as many modern story-based games. It takes itself seriously to a near-comedic degree; for example, the opening cutscene shows a character dismounting a motorbike in mid-air and throwing it at a helicopter, causing it to crash. Additionally, the cutscene-to-gameplay ratio is so skewed towards cutscenes that it can feel like an interactive movie. However, given the number of other modes available, I don’t think it detracts from the overall experience.

Since its inception almost three decades ago, the ‘Tekken’ series has always found ways to innovate both itself and the wider fighting game genre; with each instalment, it brings something new to the table and implements it so well that it feels like it has always been part of the series. I'm pleased to say that Tekken 8 is no exception.

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