Tekken 8 is set 6 months after the death of Heihachi Mishima where Jin Kazama, backed by the Yggdrasil Rebel Army, led by Lars Alexandersson and Lee Chaolan, as they try to ambush Kazuya Mishima in order to eliminate him. Unfortunately, Jin fails and Kazuya merges with the demon known as Azazel. He announces a new King of Iron Fist Tournament where the country of the winner will be showered with power whereas every losers’ region will be destroyed. Jin enrolls in the tournament in hopes of reaching Kazuya and end his reign of terror.
If you’re new to the series, Tekken 8 is a one on one fighting game. Unlike other fighters where your attack are either weak/low and strong/high attacks, the Tekken series offers a different type of controls where each face button corresponds to one of your characters’ four limb; the main exception being Steve Fox as he is a boxer. Two buttons let you punch whereas the other two let you dodge hits. There’s also two types of “overkill” attacks: Heat Burst and Rage Arts. The former is reliant on a meter below the health bar that is filled when a fight begins but can be refilled throughout the battle. The latter occurs when you’re low on health; your bar will turn red and allows you to pull off a stronger attack in order to turn the tide.
Additionally given that the game is 3D, you can also roll when on the ground or dodge by moving in the background or foreground. And as you’d expect you can easily block by pressing the back direction. One of the strong features of Tekken 8 is the roster. You can access to 32 fighters each with their own distinct fighting style. Some characters such as Raven as perfect for newcomers because they let players pull off somewhat decent combos without much experiences, but others such as Lars require a bit more of practice.
Another thing that Tekken 8 isn’t light on is content. Bandai Namco and Katsuhiro Harada went all out. There’s a bevy of content to be enjoyed solo or online. While there’s the typical online competition mode, for those who enjoy some solo fighting time will be thrilled. Aside from usual modes you’ll find in fighting games such as Arcade, Practice and single battle, you’ll also have a Story mode, Arcade Quest and Super Ghost Battles.
Story mode will put players, temporarily, in the shoes of different characters as you go through Jin’s story. Under Story mode, you also have an option to play through Special chapters for each character where you’ll fight five battles. Arcade Quest is a different type of story adventure. You’ll create an in-game avatar where you’ll find new arcades to find against other avatars to level up your rank and earn new pieces to customize both your in-game avatar, player information panel and stylize your favorite(s) fighter(s). You’ll also gain in-game currency which can be used to purchase new customization items.
Super Ghost Battles is where it gets interesting and quite challenging. Ghosts are characters created based on A.I. learning by playing online and Arcade Quest. There are three types of ghosts: your own Ghost, downloaded ghosts and CPU ghosts. That being said, the game is also very welcoming to newcomers with easier control mechanics so they can adapt and progressively switch to standard controls and hone their skills.
The game looks absolutely stunning. From the characters, which are a bit plastic-y, to the environments, settings and the cutscenes. Battle arenas are also quite diverse; whether it be highly colorful or a more darker, ominous color palette. Also highly detailed characters. My only gripes is the transition from cutscene to battle isn’t as seamless and smooth as Mortal Kombat 1. And the lack of blood, scars and bruises from these battles feels off. The soundtrack is full of banging rock and electronic tunes that will get you pumped for battle. The track during the final battle is a certified banger. Voiceover work is spot on with solid delivery.
There’s nothing majorly wrong with Tekken 8, but if you do want to niptick, there are a few minor nuisance. The first one being the Story mode having QTEs, Quick Time Events, sequences; sure you can count them on one hand, but this mechanic needs to go away forever. And also, unless you’re willing to test your skills online, don’t expect to get all Achievements (online cheevos… boo!). Also, the final battle, which drags across two chapters, goes on for way too long. And throughout the story, there were a few sequences that felt too Final Fantasy-ish. Also some plotholes aren’t addressed in the story; so either it’s going to be ruined with post-release DLC or we’ll have to wait a long time before Tekken 9.
2024 is off to a banging start with Tekken 8. The game is jampacked with content and with a deep roster of diverse characters to get you on your way. Both Story mode and Arcade Quest are too different types of campaign that can be enjoyed, Super Ghost Battle promises endless string of battles and it’s also welcoming to newcomers but can also be tailored for the Tekken veterans. The only thing I can say more here is that I’ve spent more time with Tekken 8 in about 3 days than I’ve spent with Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1 since their respective release in June and September 2023. Tekken 8 is a must play fighter for gamers of all skill levels.
- 32 characters out of the box
- Diverse cast of characters
- Jampacked with content
- Cutscene to battle transition isn’t so seamless
- Final battle drags on for too long