I haven’t really played a Tekken game with any seriousness since around Tekken 3. A tiny bit of Tag 2, a tiny bit of 6, but I always watch the big matches at EVO to see what’s going on. I’ve never been very good at the mechanics and fundamentals that come with a 3D fighter, so I stick to what I’m at least competent at: 2D fighters. However, Tekken has never been more accessible to the 2D audience than it is right now. Tekken can feel very complicated, and some people might just say “Hurr, all they do is just mash four buttons”, and I’d say, “Sure! If by ‘they’ you mean your buddies on pizza night.” But professional Tekken? That’s an insane amount of hard work and technical talent. It’s far more than I have. So I asked AI|Lolitabot about her thoughts on Tekken 7. She regularly plays Tekken 7 on her livestream, which you can find here, as well as her thoughts on the FGC and her own cosplay over here. So, many thanks to Lolitabot for taking the time:
“Accessibility for new players – T7 simplified various mechanics just enough to make it slightly less intimidating and difficult for a new player to pick up while still keeping most of the franchise’s competitive depth. Throw-breaking was made easier. Damage scaling is harsher, so longer combos don’t really do much more damage (which I suppose lets newer players have shorter, easier combos that still do near the same amount of damage as the long, complex, flashy ones). Korean Back-Dashing aka Backdash Cancelling isn’t as important to learn for defensive purposes as you won’t get hit out of back-dasing now (KBD is a technique in which you execute a series of backdashes that are cancelled by crouching in order to backdash and create space quickly and safely, but it’s time-consuming to master and often intimidating to new players to try to learn). Getting up from being knocked down is no longer a world of oki-induced pain and frustration. The momentum of the game has slowed slightly, gaining a little more “neutral” play than the sheer steam-rolling pressure game of previous iterations.
Akuma gives SF players a character to pick up to be able to immediately jump into the game, as Akuma basically plays like a SF character in a 3D plane. Netplay has had some issues that the developers are working on fixing, but it’s mostly consoles that have been affected. Steam netplay has been great in terms of connection and finding matches (of course if your opponent just has a bad connection/slow internet then it’s going to be bad no matter what). Even played some overseas players with a playable connection via Steam.”
She’s right, you know. My first thought when I heard Tekken 7 was coming, was “Meh, another Tekken. Another game I’m not mechanically sound enough to play.” then I saw him. The Supreme Master of the Fist. Akuma/Gouki, one of my favorite Street Fighter characters of all time. My skepticism lowered just a bit. Would they do him justice? Or would it feel like SFxT [which I still think is horrific and awful]? They did him justice in the best way. Akuma in Tekken 7 plays to me like Ultra Street Fighter 4 Akuma, and that’s where I spent a lot of time playing him. He can do all the wacky shenanigans he used to! Light Tatsu into DP, dive kick shenanigans, keep-away with Fireball, Aerial Fireball, the multi-hitting Red Fireball. And he can do even more! Practically all of his specials can hit an enemy on the ground so he can chain moves together pretty easily. He’s also the only character with a Special Meter. Everyone else has a Rage Art [which he does too, the Raging Demon], Rage Drives [A series of hits/single attack, highlighted by a blue aura, which does more damage and creates more combo options, can be cancelled out by a Rage Art], and Power Crushes [Hard-hitting attack, absorbs a mid/high hit, leaves them vuln. to low attacks and throws, which will go through that hit as if it had armor]. So I started with Akuma, going online just with what knowledge I had in Street Fighter, and going from there. You know what happened? It worked! And it made me want to learn a few other characters, like Bryan Fury, Yoshimitsu, Heihachi, a few others. This
You know what happened? It worked! And it made me want to learn a few other characters, like Bryan Fury, Yoshimitsu, Heihachi, a few others. This was the perfect gateway for someone like me. It gives me hope that I can learn this game, that I can play it competently one day. This was a huge move for Bandai Namco, and I’m not so sure that Capcom realizes this. It’s going to bolster sales for Tekken 7, and while sure, it’s good for the FGC as a whole, it’s better for Tekken. Most people that don’t play Tekken have always told me they don’t because it’s too hard, or it feels too cheap. It’s too fast. Matches can be over in an instant. But the pace has slowed down considerably. Can you pull one combo and probably juggle someone across the screen to win, pinning them in a corner? Of course, you can. The most important thing to me are these things: 1: It’s exciting to watch. It’s going to be crazy hype at EVO and other tournaments. 2: It’s accessible. I feel like I can actually get into this game, learn it, get better. 3: I don’t feel as salty on a loss as I do in Street Fighter. Though I haven’t rightly lost too many times yet, thanks to Street Fighter.
Do or Do Not: 4/5
I love this iteration of Tekken. I’ve never said that before. It feels mechanically sound. The look and feel of the stage changes are fantastic. The cast is strong right out of the gate. I haven’t been told, “Yeah, we’ll add more characters you can spend real money on later, but here are six characters to start with!” And there’s another really fun thing about this: The customization of characters. You can make them look like virtually anything. There’s a great crossover for us wrestling fans. New Japan Pro Wrestling did a tie-in, and you can unlock Bullet Club shirts, a sick jacket in the likeness of “The Rainmaker” Kazuichka Okada for guys like King, and more! NJWP has worldwide branding now, and all corners of the world are keeping up with the antics of the Bullet Club. This is a great move as far as publicity goes, and I hope they keep doing just that. I do wish I didn’t have to repurchase the same shirt for every character, but they make it very easy to get Fight Money in Treasure Battle. The only other real mark against it I have right now is Ranked in Tekken 7. People can pick, choose, dodge matches to figure out who they want to battle against, who they don’t, etc. You can see the character your opponent is playing in advance, with the icon on the screen. That’s going to change, as well as some other big changes that they’ve already discussed. Bandai Namco, they’re listening. No date has been set, but they are working on it. There are so many combo options, ways to string moves into juggling across the screen, it feels more dynamic, more fluid than ever before. The King of the Iron Fist tournament has never been more accessible to new players and has enough to keep old hands interested. It’s going to be a very good year for Tekken fans.