The end of the Mishima Blood Saga (a highly recommended read) is nigh, and Tekken 7 is the catalyst for its climactic conclusion. Akuma of Street Fighter fame joins the brawl this time around and apparently plays a pretty big role in the story to boot. Competitive theatricals come natural to this iteration of Tekken, providing an unapologetic fighting game experience drenched in intensity. Thanks to a theater presentation of the game at E3, I’m happy to say that it looks equally remarkable underneath the hood.

The impact of your moves can be so visually satisfying

Spearheaded by none other than Katsuhiro Harada, Tekken 7 introduces a seamless narrative structure that naturally transitions between cinematic story progression and the brutal battles that follow. The game’s in-depth story mode features a few precursory interactive scenes that, depending on button input, can alter the flow of the beginning of the fight while giving the battle some welcomed context. Between the smooth transitions of gameplay and the banter between characters during the fight, it can often be difficult to tell when the round actually begins. This is even more impressive considering the graphical quality of the game’s characters and interactive environments – Tekken 7 looks just as absolutely stunning during the fight as it does in its cutscenes.

Visual improvements aside, Tekken 7 boasts a slew of additional battle mechanics, moves, and characters that breathe life into an already lively series. The game’s roster offers over 30 playable characters as it introduces a number of new faces available for play, each acting as an inadvertent representative of their home country. Curious to know how bad ass these newcomers are? Look below.

Each character, new or classic, has their own distinct sets of deadly techniques and combos. Witnessing the presentation of a live 1v1 fight at E3 showed an escalation of intensity within mere moments of the fight, each character utilizing their own unique animations and style of gameplay to outplay the other. Tekken 7 incorporates a very noticeable yet native comeback mechanic to allow players the ability to slingshot themselves to victory if they pull the right punches. As with any game of the genre, the ability to time your attacks while simultaneously reading your opponent will be paramount, and it could not be more fun to watch in action.

Thanks to the Rage Arts, Rage Attack, and Power Crush mechanics, Tekken 7 feels incredibly more fluid and visually striking than its predecessors. Rage Arts plays the role of a fighting game’s Super Meter, allowing characters to charge power over the course of the fight to inevitably perform an absurdly powerful attack that can turn the tide of battle (or cement an already powerful tide of favor). Rage Attacks can be performed by a character-specific input, adding a playable and visual distinction that further adds to their identity. These attacks will adhere to the character’s fighting style and personality while they affect your opponent accordingly, and it looks fucking gorgeous when it happens.

Akuma’s core move set will stay true to his original playstyle

Power Crush is a mechanic that incorporates armor into specific moves. Combos that utilize Power Crush will absorb mid and high attacks as it continues through with the animation, however, low attacks seem to be its Achilles heel. With the proper set up, these moves can be unstoppable. Akuma has his own unique characteristics and mechanics in order to help emulate his playstyle from the Street Fighter series while acclimating to the new three-dimensional territory, so Akuma fans should feel a comfortable familiarity when playing him in Tekken 7.

More competitive players should take notice. Tekken 7 plans to focus on tournaments more than previous iterations of the series, and 2016 is already off to an impressive start with The King of the Iron Fist tournament. Click here to see what all they’ve got planned so far, it’s pretty exciting.

Some of these attacks are downright inhuman

Whether you’re in it for the intricate and intriguing story, tournaments, well-designed characters with unique move sets, satisfying gameplay mechanics – even just to play Akuma, Tekken 7 has it all. I am not your everyday fan of fighting games, but this game has a gravity to it that eliminated any preconceived notions I had about the series.

If there’s a game to ever get you into the fighting genre, it’ll be this.

Tekken 7 is developed and published by Bandai Namco. Look for it to release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2017.

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Tags : Bandai NamcoE3 2016Tekken 7
Zachery Bennett

The author Zachery Bennett

Zach’s eternal preoccupation with video games became cemented at an early age. His first memorable journey away from reality began with a text-based Football game on a dirty Apple II; he’s chased fantasy ever since. Having took English classes as electives in college, Zach decided to pull the trigger on a merger between the two obsessions.