After 3 long days of waking up early to try to get the special Tekken 7 Banapassports, which I’ve successfully claimed 2 of, I can finally write a complete GENERAL review of the game in its current form. Please note that I haven’t watched anyone else’s initial impression videos or read any posts, nor did I listen to Harada explain Tekken 7. I was sitting 7 feet from the man and I couldn’t hear him, so this is all from the observations of myself and my friends.
After 2 glorious years of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, the general Tekken population worldwide is just finally understanding the more in depth mechanics and interactions of the game. Even if we’re just breaking the surface of Tag 2, it’s time Namco put out the next iteration in the Tekken franchise, based on the roughly 2 year pattern. I’ll start by clearly stating that my personal experience with the game is that there is no relation between Tekken Revolution and Tekken 7. Excluding of the vague similarity between the new Power Crush moves in 7 and the Invincible moves in Revolution, the games did not play the same, move the same, nor share similar combo mechanics.
With Tekken 7 to be released on the next generation of consoles, the graphics will of course be expected to match the capabilities of these machines. That said, the graphics were simply astounding. They were a true testament to what the next generation of consoles and arcade machines are capable of. The detail was significantly better than Tag 2, thanks to the Unreal 4 engine that Tekken 7 will be using. The sparks on every hit gave some extra… well… spark to Tekkens relatively bland appearance compared to other mainstream fighting games. The overly dramatic action slow motion frames added a bit of cinematic and action atmosphere to the game as well. That being said, as a very early build of Tekken 7, the frames were very choppy during intense interaction between the characters and environment. Sometimes it was difficult to tell what was a slow motion and what was the frames actually dropping. Some frame drops appeared to skip a couple of animation frames due to how low the frame rate was going or sometimes the game would actually come to a halt for a split second. Further proof of this is that the game has been seen to actually freeze, or the characters will while the environment continues moving as usual. The sparks are a great addition, but feel overdone. It seems like every hit in the game creates a sparkly explosion, even if it’s not very strong. If you get tired from visually intense sights, I may suggest you steer clear of this game. Based on my observations, slow motion frames occur any time 2 moves look like they’ll hit almost at the same time. Even if it’s not going to trade they like to focus on these tense moments. I had an exchange of FC d+4 slow motion. So exciting, right? There’s also certain moves that have a quick camera change to highlight how powerful or explosive a move was. Unlike between when it was only a few moves in the game, every character has 2-3 moves that’ll do this. I am definitely looking forward to seeing these amazing graphics after more or all of the bugs have been fixed in the next beta test or finished product; whichever comes next.
Along with the improved graphics, Namco has decided to implement an online play ability for the arcade release of Tekken 7. I don’t know how the lag will be if we connect our machines in America to Asia, but I can tell you about the connection between Osaka and Tokyo. Aside from the periodic lag spike and VERY generous throw break window, I honestly forgot that Osaka was half way across Japan from me or that I was even playing online. The idea of attempting to use any form of my previous online tactics never occurred to me and I took on every opponent with my offline tactics and movement. The net code plus amazing Japanese internet infrastructure made for a more or less seamless fight between the 2 arcades.
Having spoken about the superficial parts of the game, let’s of course not forget to talk about the actual game mechanics. As a general overview, the game feels largely derived from Tekken Tag 2 as all old solo combos work up to the point that you attempt to bound them. Punishment at a glance is the same as well, with the only new punishment I’ve noticed being Leo’s FC df+3 being launch punishable now. (Please don’t ask me the negative frames, I only saw it once.) This makes the transition to and from Tekken 7 very smooth and enjoyable, unlike my experience with Revolution that made me want to turn my PS3 into a shooting target. Evasion seems to be slightly worse in regards to sidewalking, but sidestepping seems to work as usual. Backdashing, I haven’t noticed a difference between Tag 2 and 7 and today everyone looked like they were moving like usual.
The new recovery system and animations from grounded all look like they came out of Zafina’s personal book of yoga and snake charming poses. From grounded, all forms of standing up appear to be invincible and have new animations. Rolling back you now get up and kind of stagger away from your opponent. Rolling back from face down you get up with your hands and get up to your feet in the retreating direction. This one sucked for me as Xiaoyu as my oki in Tag 2 and 7 rely on this situation. If you’re face up, feet away and tap up you magically stand up similar to zafina coming out of her crawling stance. Apparently standing up from face up feet towards stands up like normal. You can still tech roll as usual, contrary to my previous claims, but rolling on the ground is strange and enraging for the oki dependent. If someone is siderolling and you hit them, they will be pushed away. I haven’t seen anyone get refloated from standing up and my observation is it’s currently impossible. Moves like Xiaoyu’s df+2~1 still keep them in place, but I’ve noticed a lot of the ground oki is missing.
The new juggle system is derived from the Tag 2 juggle system, with the exception of bound being removed and being replaced by kirimori (キリモリ – tailspin) and some new interactions with slamming opponents. Kirimori can be seen as bounding upside down. The reason it’s called kirimori is because the moves that cause it send the person spinning towards the ground in a fashion similar to Alisa CH 4, Bob CH CD1, and Lars CH ff+1+2, which has their tail spinning. So clever, right? Much better than my name for it: bounce. General hit counts for combos are the same as Tag 2, and many characters can reuse their old solo combos after compensating for kirimori over bound. A new addition to the juggle system is that a large number of former bound moves now slam your opponent into the ground, causing them to bounce off the ground and land face down feet away a good distance from you. This may seem ridiculous at first, but if you do these moves at the wall they still land that way. I was enjoying Xiaoyu’s damage at the wall, even if the combos looked really crappy. Also good to note is that if you do this at the wall and continues to hit them on the ground immediately, it still counts on the current combo count. I experience an interesting moment after a full combo, floor break, wall combo, then df+2~1 where they flew quite a distance away. Also to note at the wall is that it looks like the wall combo count’s been reduced by 1 hit, but generally any 2 hit mid string works. I got Xiaoyu’s f+3,1,1+2 to hit at the wall, so it is more lenient in one sense and stricter in another. Aside from Hwoarang getting 60-75% off JF skyrocket with a wall, the new juggle system seems fair with people looking to average 30-35% without the wall and 50-60% with it. Scaled damage during combos has changed as well, with some hits being more damaging than before and others being reduced from their Tag 2 counterparts. I do not know the details on the scaling, as this is all based on observations and hands on experience.
The new Power Crush system was initially condemned as the reincarnation of Revolution’s invincible move systems. Unlike the invincible moves, not all Power Crush moves are launch punishable, with some even being safe. Also unlike invincible moves, you take the damage from the hits regardless of you pushing through and hitting your opponent. This makes Power Crush more akin to hyperarmor than invincibility. These moves will lose to lows and throws. For those wondering, if 2 Power Crush were to interact, the 2nd one to activate wins. Power Crush moves vary in what they do on hit, with King’s being his shoulder for knockdown and Xiaoyu’s being her NEW df+3 to push the opponent away. These moves appear fine in their current incarnation as they have their own tracking, or lack there of, properties and will not break the game in any way. Unlike Revolution’s invincible moves that always sent you flying away, Power Crush moves don’t always do so. I now understand why they’re called Power CRUSH moves.
The new feature that has the whole world riled up is the new Rage Arts system. Yes, it’s effectively a Street Fighter Super and yes it’s really gimmicky. No, it isn’t a complete game changer. Everyone is given a Rage Arts command that has no function until rage is activated. The commands are very simple and largely revolve around 1+2 and 3+4 with a directional arrow included sometimes. These moves are officially all over -15 on block, with me questioning Alisa’s as it’s a high chainsaw attack with pushback. Rage arts can be used in combos, but the damage will be scaled. The general Rage Arts damage is 40-50%, contrary to the 30% I said on Day 1. There are certain characters, who’ll SURELY be toned down later, that do 70-80%. I have seen Steve’s do 80%, which is just ludicrous, and Lars’ do 60-70%. Once the damage is fixed on the overpowered Rage Arts, this feature will definitely create a new dynamic in the game with giving the opponent a new comeback mechanic. In my opinion having a netsu infused tag partner will have a much more dramatic effect on the game than Rage Arts as you’ll effectively die by launch punish, assuming you have a smart opponent, on block. Much like Power Crush, Rage Arts has its own hyperarmor that you still receive damage from. As far as I know, Rage Arts can’t be countered, parried, or stopped by any move except another Rage Arts. For those wondering, if 2 Rage Arts interact, I’ve been told that the 2nd one to activate will win as Rage Arts seems to act like an interrupting move during trades. If you die from the hits that Rage Arts is pushing through, you will die and not land your combo. If an opponent whiffs and you use Rage Arts, it isn’t as instant as when it’s used to trade with attacks and have a slow start up.
My quick impressions of Claudio and K(C?)atarina are shallow and mixed. I see both as combinations of 3-4 characters, with Katarina being somewhere between Alisa, Miguel, Leo, and Lee after you throw in a Lars f+3 into the mix. Claudio looks like they put Alisa, Miguel, Lars, and Jinpachi together and created what looks like a Hispanic guy with a cursed arm. I have no idea why his arm ignites, but it seems like he has to hit you to ignite it and after certain moves it runs out. Maybe there’s a charge system in it? No clue. They spoke about making a Middle Eastern character, but with the name Claudio, you’re not fooling me!
Overall the game has a very in development feel to it, but aside from the recovery system and stand up animations, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and can’t wait for it to come out. Of course, Tag 2 is still an amazing game and I spent all of my time between turns playing Tag 2, but Tekken 7 is not something to be feared or condemned. It will definitely be an amazing game in its own right and I hope this blog has given you enough insight from hands on experience to show you that the game is something worth looking forward to.
-JTchinoy aka Chacha (茶茶）