At some point, when a series has run for so long, numbered entries can become quite daunting. Tekken has scared me away for quite some time. I’ve always been particular about fighting games, and jumping into something established so firmly is daunting. However, broadening my horizons is what this project was all about, and Smash definitely has its way of motivating. So, as a complete newcomer, I’m really asking two questions here. Is Tekken 7 good? Is Tekken 7 good at catching newbies up to speed?

A war between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation has thrown the world into complete chaos. In the absence of his usurper, Heihachi Mishima, the king of the iron fist, has returned to rule his clan. His son, and current head of the G Corporation, Kazuya has made his life’s mission to destroy his father. It is finally time for their final clash, but not before an other-worldly invader sets his sights upon them both.

Tekken 7’s campaign is told through the eyes of a journalist researching the Mishima bloodline. It masterfully catches the player up on every event they need to know without feeling forced and bloated. The story captured me from its first cutscene to final super-boss all in one sitting. I’m the first person to head to a wiki, but Tekken 7 left no questions unanswered.

Tekken is quite a bit different than I’d been imagining. While I’ve always thought it looked like Street Fighter in an extra dimension, I couldn’t have been more wrong. You have four buttons and an entire ring to fight in. There is next to no aerial combat in Tekken. I’ve never been able to get into 3D fighters, and this is no different, but I never got fed up with controls. While the game is solid, it’s just not for me.

There’s a lot of depth here. Almost too much for a first-timer. There are fifty-one fighters with dozens of moves, combos, special attacks, and quirks! There’s a lot more to the average Tekken string than there is to your Street Fighters and Fatal Fury’s too. Fortunately, for the casual and handicapped, there are a few shortcuts to perform and combos without so much hassle! This seems to be a divisive mechanic in the FGC, but I think it’s necessary for casuals enjoying a game for its campaign and single-player content. I’m thankful because I didn’t have the intention of diving deep into the bowls of every character I tried out.

Tekken 7’s presentation shows its age. While the music is amazing, and the visuals far from bad, it definitely doesn’t hold up to par with more stylized fighting games of the past. Tekken goes for a realistic style, and as it always does, realism got better as tech improved. I share this complaint with a lot of games, but fighting games benefit even more from a unique and exaggerated look. That’s not to say the giant lion-man and actual bears aren’t ridiculous, they’re just not ridiculous enough.

Normally the final paragraph is the easiest for me to write out. I never have to go into specifics or justify a statement. I’ve already done that above. This one’s a bit of a different story. Tekken 7 hosts what is now my favorite fighting game campaign of all time and an absolutely solid experience. The game is far from accessible. After you’ve purchased the base game there are four other season passes of characters to grab. Then you have to learn how to actually fight, against or as, each and every one of them. Tekken is not for me, but I’ll probably pick up future entries on discounts just to check in on the Mishima clan’s antics.

Super Smash Bros. has always taken great lengths to honor a franchise’s roots. Sometimes that means passing on “impossible” ideas. Fortunately, with time, the impossible becomes possible. Minecraft’s building wasn’t possible in the limited 3DS but neither was Tekken’s four-button control scheme. Fortunately, the team found a way around these limitations. Bringing us Kazuya! (Editors note: Kazuya does not mine or craft) Kazuya carries with him dozens of his hallmark moves and Mishima-characteristic combos! Tekken, as a 3D fighter, is one of the hardest to learn. Kazuya shares this trait with his home franchise. I’m just not a fan of playing Tekken within a 2D space. Even with no interest in his playstyle, he might be my favorite of the DLC so far. With thirty-nine tracks, a stage straight from Tekken 5, and a full spirit board to his own, you can tell Sakurai himself’s a fan and Namco is proud of their baby.

Get it here on Amazon!