Tekken 8 Review
Tekken 8 is the ultimate fighting experience that delivers a satisfying conclusion to the Mishima saga, stunning graphics, and a ton of content, my full review.
My journey with the Tekken franchise reaches all the way back to 1995 on the original PlayStation. It pioneered 3D fighting in a space dominated by 2D brawlers, and instantly had me hooked. Fast-forward to the release of Tekken 8 and it’s captured some of that same magic of seeing the original game on the PSX back in ’95. Tekken 8 is the culmination of a story that spans three decades, a technical benchmark with incredible visuals, and the best the series has to offer in one content-packed offering.
"Fast-forward to the release of Tekken 8 and it’s captured some of that same magic of seeing the original game on the PSX back in ’95."
It’s a fitting end to the epic saga of the Mishima family, a cursed bloodline that has been plagued by the Devil gene for generations. It’s also a celebration of everything that makes Tekken great: a diverse roster of characters, a fluid and dynamic combat system, and a plethora of modes and features that offer plenty of replay value. Tekken 8 is the best the series has ever been, and one of the best fighting games ever made. In this review, I will explore how this game achieves this level of excellence in a “golden era of fighters.”
Tekken 8 Details
Platform(s): Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Windows PC
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Publisher: Bandai Namco Studios
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Tekken 8: A Story Decades in the Making
Tekken 8’s storyline, titled “The Dark Awakens,” takes place six months after the events of Tekken 7, where Kazuya Mishima finally defeated his father, Heihachi Mishima, and took control of G Corporation, a powerful conglomerate that rivals the Mishima Zaibatsu. Now, Kazuya is determined to conquer the world and destroy anyone who stands in his way. But he is not the only one who harbors the Devil gene. His son, Jin Kazama, is ready to face his father in a final showdown that will decide the fate of the world. The story mode is fantastical anime style romp that seamlessly transitioning from cinematics to fights. In fact, the in-game graphics look so good they standout over the cutscenes looking sharper. The story offers some surprises, very over the top moments and twists along the way that I really enjoyed.
Tekken 8’s gameplay evolution
Whether you are a seasoned pro or a new combatant (or fall in between like I do) Tekken 8’s gameplay strikes a fantastic balance between tradition and innovation. I found it very easy to pick-up and play as it offers plenty of training tools and new more dynamic ways to play. The game retains the core mechanics that have made Tekken one of the most popular fighting games and evolved the formula in many exciting ways. Tekken 8 introduces new features that add more depth and variety to the combat, like the heat and special style systems, recoverable health, integrated replay system and more. Here’s how each of them functions and adds to the gameplay experience:
Recoverable Health pushes offensive strategy
For the first time in Tekken history (excluding Tekken Tag Tournament), recoverable health plays a significant role. Blocking big attacks, absorbing chip damage with a power crush, or getting hit after being knocked airborne results in partial gray damage. To regain this health, you must attack your opponent. This is great because it adds strategy and risk-reward dynamics to fights. In the past Tekken has be all about defence but this significantly opens up the combat.
Integrated replay system: A one-of-a-kind mechanic
The integrated replay system is a very cool feature that helps you improve your skills and learn from your mistakes. If you’re fighting in a match, you can watch where you went wrong and jump-in and continue the fight during the replay. You can also save and share your replays online, and watch other players’ replays to get some tips. The replay system is an incredibly useful tool and one that I didn’t even realize is technically possible. It reminds me of the Forza Drivatar mechanic, which builds a profile of your driving so even when you are offline your virtual likeness is still racing, this is Tekken’s version for fighting and it’s even better. The best part is it lets you analyze your performance and refine your technique in very specific instances.
Special style & Heat system
The special style system is a simplified control method that lets you easily perform certain special moves and combos with every character, by pressing a button or two. This is a feature that makes the game more accessible for newcomers, as they can enjoy the game without having to memorize complex combos. It’s also a feature that can be useful for veterans, as they can toggle it on and off at any point during a match and use it as a strategic option or a backup plan. The special style system is a smart way to make the game more appealing and fun for everyone, without compromising the depth and balance of the game.
The heat system enhances offence. You can enter heat through staple moves or a button press, starting each round with a full heat bar. The heat system enhances offence. You can enter heat through staple moves or a button press, starting each round with a full heat bar. With heat activated, you deal increased chip damage, recover more health, unlock new moves or properties for characters, and use meter for powerful combo extenders or finishers.
Tekken 8 Graphics and Performance
Tekken 8 is a stunning game that showcases the power of Unreal Engine 5 and the next-gen consoles. The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, with no noticeable slowdowns or glitches. The graphics are crisp and detailed, with realistic lighting and shadows, and impressive particle effects. The character models are lifelike and expressive, with realistic skin and hair, and dynamic clothing and accessories. The stages are varied and immersive, with destructible environments, interactive objects, and changing weather and time. The game also supports ray tracing and 4K resolution, for those who have the hardware to enjoy them. Tekken 8 is a visual feast that will make your eyes pop and your jaw drop.
Tekken 8 is absolutely brimming with modes and content
Tekken 8 is packed with content that kept me entertained for hours and I can’t wait to hop back in for more. Apart from the story mode, which you can spend dozens of hours with alone, the game offers seven different modes, with plenty of replayability. Let’s look at what modes are included at launch and my thoughts with each:
One of my favourite modes that lets you fight your way through a series of opponents, in classic arcade setting. Think Pokémon-style avatars walking around virtual arcades to play and become the best earning rewards along the way. You can also customize your character’s appearance and skills and unlock new items and costumes. It’s such a fun, unexpected addition I had plenty of fun with.
Ghost battle & Versus
In this mode you can fight against AI opponents that mimic the playstyle and rank of other players online. You can also upload your own ghost data and challenge other players’ ghosts. This is a welcome addition but I found myself gravitating more toward the story-based modes.
Versus lets you fight with your choice of settings against others locally or against the CPU, with 32 characters and 16 stages to choose from.
Here you can improve your technique with the help of a wide variety of settings and training challenges. You can also access the frame data and the move list of each character and get tips and tutorials from the game. It’s incredible the range of tools you have at your disposable, sinking more time here could have you amongst Tekken’s elite.
One of my favourite modes is back! The quirky and fun mode was first featured in Tekken 3, and returns with CPU play as well as offline and online multiplayer options. You can play a game of volleyball with your fists and feet and try to knock out your opponent with the ball.
Here you can dive in and experience each character’s story separate from the main campaign. Here I was able to learn more about each fighter’s background, motivations, and relationships, and see some unique interactions and endings.
A mode where you can hang out in the Tekken fight lounge, compete in ranked or player matches, and view leaderboards and statistics. You can also join tournaments and events, and chat with other players.
Final thoughts on Tekken 8
Tekken 8 is a fighting masterpiece that still stands out during this golden age of the genre. It’s a game that delivers on every aspect, from the gameplay to graphics and an abundance of content to fight your way through. It’s a game that respects its fans and welcomes newcomers, with a terrific balance of accessibility and depth. It’s a game that honors its legacy while evolving the formula with a satisfying conclusion to the Mishima saga, and a promising future for the Tekken franchise. It’s a game that you should not miss, whether you’re a fan of fighting games, or just a fan of good action games.
Tekken 8 PROS
+Entertaining, over the top story mode that wraps up the Mishima saga
+A deep and diverse roster of characters, each with their own unique playstyle
+ Fluid and dynamic combat system, new mechanics that add more strategy
+ A visually stunning game that showcases the power of Unreal Engine 5
Tekken 8 CONS
-Story mode requires a lot of previous knowledge
-Classic fighters are missing
-Arcade mode can be grindy
Overall Assessment of Tekken 8
Overall Rating: 36/40 (90%)
A copy of the game was provided by Bandai Namco for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on multiple social platforms with the handle @dapper_tux via "X", Instagram, Threads, TikTok and join in on the fun!
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