Tekken 8 Full Review: A Fighting Game Revolution
Here's the full review of Tekken 8
After a lot of waiting, Tekken 8 has finally arrived, coinciding with the franchise's 30th anniversary. With the monumental success of its predecessor, Tekken 7, setting high benchmarks in both longevity and sales, Tekken 8 faced the challenging task of surpassing its achievements. Remarkably, Tekken 8 not only learned from Tekken 7's triumphs and missteps but also managed to emerge as one of the most formidable entries in the series.
Centred around "Full Power" and "Complete Destruction," Tekken 8 doesn't just offer mind-blowing combat but also addresses the criticisms levelled at Tekken 7, akin to what Street Fighter 6 did for SF5. It introduces more engaging single-player modes, enhances online functionalities, and provides a seamless onboarding experience, ensuring that every aspect has been meticulously refined. Unlike many sequels that struggle to justify abandoning previous content, Tekken 8 proves to be a compelling upgrade for any Tekken 7 enthusiast.
The journey begins with Tekken 8's story mode, "The Dark Awakens," serving as a direct sequel to Tekken 7's cinematic storyline. With seamless transitions between cutscenes and gameplay, impressive fight choreography, and a significant advancement in Tekken's narrative, the game bids farewell to the dull narrator and unresolved subplots that plagued its predecessor. Centred around protagonist Jin Kazama's odyssey through the latest King of Iron Fist tournament, this story mode stands out as one of Tekken's finest, albeit potentially overwhelming for newcomers.
Following the conclusion of "The Dark Awakens," players can deep dive into Character Episodes, a marked improvement over Tekken 7's equivalent. Presented as abbreviated arcade runs, Character Episodes feature Tekken's beloved pre-rendered arcade endings, blending plot progression with comedic interludes. Although the absence of character endings in the arcade mode may seem disappointing, the Arcade Quest compensates by offering a compelling narrative intertwined with an interactive tutorial.
However, it's the robust combat system that truly shines in Tekken 8. Building upon Tekken 7's foundation, the game introduces the Special Style controls and the Heat System, enhancing the fighting experience for casual players while maintaining the depth of strategy for veterans. Despite some drawbacks, such as the non-competitiveness of Special Style and unintentional button mashing due to Heat Engagers, Tekken 8's battles exude aggression, enriching the spectator experience without compromising core gameplay mechanics.
While the reduced character roster from Tekken 7 may disappoint some players, Tekken 8 compensates with visually striking returning characters and compelling newcomers like Azucena, Victor, and Reina. Moreover, the game's online experience receives a significant upgrade, boasting rollback net code and cross-platform play, though further customization options would have been appreciated.
The inclusion of Tekken Fight Lounge adds depth to the online experience, offering a 3D lobby akin to Street Fighter 6's Battle Hub. Beyond matchmaking, players can register friends and rivals, download replays, and even enjoy classic minigames like Tekken Ball online. Additionally, Tekken 8's cosmetic customization system rivals that of its sister series, Soul Calibur, elevating the game's visual appeal.
Powered by Unreal Engine 5, Tekken 8 delivers stunning visuals, with detailed character models, dynamic stage backgrounds, and immersive special effects. Despite minor performance issues, the game stands as one of the most visually impressive fighting games to date.
Tekken 8 emerges as a new force in the fighting game genre, surpassing expectations and solidifying its position as one of the series' finest entries. With a captivating narrative, diverse gameplay modes, refined combat mechanics, and breathtaking visuals, Tekken 8 sets a new standard for AAA fighting games, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its rivals in the genre.