2017 managed to please us with two wonderful fighting games. I mean the recent superhero epic Injustice 2, as well as the highly unusual ARMS game from Nintendo. But veterans of the genre were waiting with bated breath for the release of Tekken 7, a game that was released for Japanese arcade machines back in 2015. Their wait was fully rewarded. The Tournament of Iron Fist returns to PS4 and Xbox One in all its glory, bringing a huge amount of new content to the arcade version, as well as a few unexpected surprises like PlayStation VR virtual reality headset support.
Let’s go back in time to the origins for a moment. The beginning of the 90s was a key moment for the fighting game genre, because it was then that the game Street Fighter II (1991) was born. She laid down the basic principles, techniques and systems that are actively used in most fighting games to this day. For example, combinations of buttons to perform special moves, chains of attacks, several characters with unique fighting styles. In the wake of the success of this game, the first fighting game of the Mortal Kombat series (1992) was born, which gave the world the Fatality finishing blows system, combos in the air (the so-called juggles), and also greatly raised the bar of cruelty in the gaming industry.
With the development of technology, developers have turned their eyes towards three-dimensional graphics. The first full-fledged 3D fighting game in history was the arcade game Virtua Fighter (1993), which was later ported to the Sega 32X, Sega Saturn and PC consoles. It was followed by the 3D game Battle Arena Toshinden (1994), which for the first time allowed characters to escape from the shackles of movement within the same plane and cut circles around arenas. In the same 1994, the first game of the Tekken series for arcade machines was born.
A year later, it was ported to the Sony PlayStation home game console. It was then that your obedient servant, while still a schoolboy, got acquainted with the “Iron Fist Tournament”. I sincerely fell in love with this series, not particularly fond of fighting games as such. There was something inexplicably attractive about Tekken. Something that other popular series at that time could not offer.
The seventh part of Tekken has come a long way before appearing on game consoles and personal computers. Initially, each game in the series is tested in Japanese arcades and at numerous championships, with the direct participation of honored veterans of the genre. It took the developers from Bandai Namco Entertainment a year just to release an update to the arcade version, subtitled Fated Retribution (2016). In the updated version of the game, a number of minor bugs were fixed.
the balance of the characters was almost perfectly adjusted, new combo attacks, additional visual effects, completely new arenas and bonus music tracks were added. It took another year to adapt the game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC home game consoles. It is possible that in the near future the developers will please fans of the series more than once with the release of DLC with additional content.
Initially, I really wanted to write a review specifically for the version of the game for the Sony PlayStation 4 console, because it contains support for the PlayStation VR virtual reality helmet. Last year, when I interviewed the “father” of the Tekken series Katsuhiro Harada at the Igromir 2016 exhibition, I specifically asked: what will the VR mode look like in his future game?
Harada-san scratched his beard thoughtfully and said that they originally planned to create a completely new first-person virtual reality battle experience. As a result, the idea had to be abandoned, since it is simply not possible to implement something similar with the current generation of hardware. As a result, developments in the field of VR formed the basis of the dating sim Summer Lesson, which will be released for PlayStation 4 in the West and Europe later this year.
In Tekken 7, however, virtual reality is also presented in the form of two different modes. The first one is called “VR Fight” and is a single duel between the characters of your choice in the virtual space. For the first time, you can take on someone in a VR fighting game, at least looking at the characters from the side.
At the same time, you can slow down time to enjoy the animations of the fighters, as well as zoom in or out of the game camera. The second VR mode allows you to look at the characters and their animations from all angles. A nice bonus for fans, nothing more. But the presence of such exclusive features in the PS4 version of Tekken 7 still makes me incredibly happy. An increasing number of developers are interested in creating content for virtual reality, and in the future this segment of the gaming industry will expand exponentially.
For the first time, the game offers fans a full-fledged story mode. Not just a set of endings for different characters, which are sometimes not so easy to link together, but a real storyline that leads the player through a long history of hostility within the Mishima family dynasty. I will not retell you the events of the previous games in the series. After all, especially for this occasion.
Tekken 7 contains absolutely all (!!!) story clips from previous games. You can get nostalgic as you revisit long-forgotten CG intros from Tekken, Tekken 2, Tekken 3 and your favorite games. But that’s not all! In the main menu, you can find the Jukebox item, where you can listen to the soundtracks of previous parts of the series, and even create your own playlist from the huge number of available musical compositions, and then replace it with the musical accompaniment of the seventh game.
The story mode is called “History of the Mishima Family” and tells about the key events of the series, now and then taking us to the past. The story is told from the point of view of an unnamed reporter, trying to understand the complex vicissitudes of the relationship between father and son from the Mishima clan. Fights between key characters alternate with animated comics inserts, pre-rendered videos on the game engine, as well as cutscenes calculated in real time. In addition to the main 15 story chapters, the game offers us 28 additional episodes from the lives of our favorite characters. Each of these small stories is interesting in its own way, although it lasts only a few minutes, not counting the duel.