Tekken 8 - Hands-on Impressions
The Next Battle is finally here!
Tekken 8 is the newest instalment in Bandai Namco’s very well-established series, and after spending some time with it, I can comfortably say it’s one of the best, if not the best, in the whole series.
The Dark Awakens…
I’m a sucker for the Tekken story modes; they’re so violently over-the-top and silly that I can’t help but love them, and Tekken 8’s is no different, yet it is a noticeable step up in quality. The story itself is incredibly well told, and all the different characters, especially Jin, Kazuya and the newcomer Reina, are incredibly well-established and written. On top of this, the cinematics and overall vibe felt like they were aiming to recreate the traditional Shounen anime style, and they did so flawlessly; characters have insane powerups and flashy battles across numerous scenic locations, which further emphasises this feeling. It’s absolutely my personal favourite Tekken story mode and is more than worth the time investment.
A Lone Warrior
On top of the story mode, Tekken 8 has a wealth of content for solo players. Arcade Quest, Super Ghost Battle, Character Episodes, and even the highly awaited return of Tekken Ball are all options for solo players. Arcade Quest is an interesting and unique take on an Arcade Mode, taking the name to a much more literal interpretation. The player takes control over an avatar, who tackles a series of arcade battles against a number of different players and slowly increases their rank to tackle more skilled players and tournaments. It’s a fun homage to classic arcade culture. Super Ghost Battle allows players to fight ghosts of themselves and other players. These ghosts are made using AI to learn players' strategies and fighting styles, and recreate them as a way to learn how to fight different characters and players at a multitude of skill levels. Character Episodes are each character's individual stories and are exactly what you’d expect: short sets of fights leading to a little cutscene at the end. It’s nothing new or exciting, but it’s nice to see they’re still here and are often quite entertaining.
The King of Iron Fist
The competitive nature of fighting games obviously extends to Tekken 8, which is incredibly good. On top of having a typical ranked mode, its options for training and growth are incredible. Online is mostly solid, aside from a couple of spotty connections here and there, but not even close to the issues Tekken 7 had on launch. Practice Mode, however, is incredibly well done, giving a wealth of options for practising, which I’ve barely managed to get deeper into, along with the new options in replay mode. Watching replays gives the player pop-up hints on how a certain situation should be handled or how they could have punished an opponent's mistakes. It’s information rarely seen in-game, and the fact it’s integrated so smoothly is impressive. You’re also able to directly take control over the replays whenever, allowing you to put these hints into effect yourself directly to see how they work and how you can adapt them.
Tekken 8 is a masterclass fighting game designed for both new and old players alike. The training options are fantastic, and the amount of content is more than worth it for anyone.