Tekken 7 ReviewPrice:
PC, PS4, Xbox One
A girl in a cutesy cat outfit, replete with a tail and ears, has just been powerbombed by a shirtless man with the head of a leopard. Tekken 7 is a lot of things, but you could never accuse it of being boring.
That's one of the best things I can say about Tekken 7, a fighting game that at any other time would be hailed as a righteous return to form for the genre but which now, shuffling along as it does in the middle of this wave of solid gold fighters, has left me feeling cold.
It's a mechanically polished fighter, and you know you're playing Tekken immediately, as the control system of a face button corresponding with a limb remains: You might need to learn some moves, but if you want to kick someone in the shin with your right foot, tap the button corresponding to the right foot and aim down, and you'll probably get what you want.
The game retains the slightly clunky feeling that means each punch has some weight, and each of the fighters — there's 38 in all, although several fan favourites like Lei Wulong, Julia and Anna Williams don't make the cut — have their own sets of moves that mean every punch on every character feels subtly different. You won't notice it much in play at first, but as you gain an affinity for certain characters you'll find a certain type of fluidity in the way that they handle.
My favourite character is Hwoarang and has been since Tekken 3 when I was a teenager, and his variety of kick combos felt unique, with him spinning through kicks and punches in a way that feels instantly familiar to me as a fan of the character but also totally unique within the bounds of the game, which is impressive considering there are nearly 40 characters on the roster.
Most of these characters are grounded in reality in terms of move-sets, too. You might be brawling with a giant angry panda, but you can feel assured the panda will have fairly realistic moves. One exception to this is special guest Akuma, moonlighting from his regular role in Street Fighter and appearing with all of the moves you would expect: It's weird to see his iconic Hadoken firing across the screen in a Tekken game, but he fits into the system well, offering a unique character.
Tekken 7 hasn't iterated too much on its predecessors, although there are three big new systems that you should be aware of. The Screw Attacks knock your opponent sideways into the air to allow you to chain longer combos together. It's a replacement to the previous Tekken's Bound attack and is a more visually appealing system that seems to have more limitations, making it slightly less powerful.