Tekken 7’s Story Mode Isn’t The Best, But It Has Interesting Gimmicks

One thing leading to the launch of Tekken 7 on consoles and PC was that Bandai Namco wanted to tell a story. Or rather, to conclude the long-running feud of the Mishimas- mainly between father Heihachi and devil-blooded son Kazuya. After six whole games the rivalry between the two should be over. Hence, the whole story mode is called the Mishima Saga mode.

After Injustice 2 set up the bar high on cinematic story modes for fighting games, Tekken 7 ended up just a bit short. There are interesting ideas with their approach to a story mode, but there are also a lot of rough edges holding it back from being a very satisfying ride.

Not only is this ‘iconic’ scene perfectly recreated, the button prompt to throw poor kid Kazuya is an actual command for a throw.

The story mode is broken into 13 chapters, with each chapter varying in length. Some only has one fight with a long cutscene, others can span multiple kinds of fights. Between all the chapters, you are guided by a faceless journalist that acts as a narrator. From his viewpoint he recaps the history of the Mishimas as well as witnessing the rivalry reaching its conclusion. The idea of having a focal point for the story is sound- it keeps things grounded as each chapter you are playing as different characters. However, it feels off. Either it’s the lax delivery of the lines or the jarring need to return to this narrator’s viewpoint even if it disrupt the story flow, it doesn’t feel like it was executed well.

What was executed well however are the gimmick fights. Some chapters require you to fight an onslaught of mooks, taking them one by one as you try to progress.One of these kinds of sequences actually recreated the intro to Tekken 5 where we see the two Mishimas fighting together which is pretty neat. Interestingly, the bodies of your defeated foes do not disappear and have ragdoll which makes the arena even more cooler looking as the fight progresses. Another highlight of this gimmick fights is the sequence with Lars- he has access to a gun. It’s one unique gimmick only seen in that chapter and certainly caught attention.

bringing a gun to a fistfight? Sure!

Aside from that, there are the usual fights, sort of. Instead of the basic first to two rounds (or first to three if you enable tournament rules), the fights have their own gimmicks. There are fights where your opponent activates rage and fills up a second health bar once you depleted the first one. Some fights annoyingly will have the opponent activate a Rage Art (super move) that in some cases, if you fail to block or avoid it, you lose. Some fights require you to lose at the end.

To make matters worse is that your opponents may even not play by the game’s standard rules, with some of their moves having invincibility. Just mashing buttons, even on easy mode, won’t get you far. While it may seem smart to force you to learn the opponent and not mash away, I can foresee people having some issues with winning the fights even on easy. The counter point to this is that there are story assists- easy access to a character’s special move with just a combination of L1 (or LT) and any face buttons. For example, pulling off the Mishimas’ Electric Wind God Fist move is just two buttons away rather than doing the motion plus a button. On easy mode, tapping three of the same buttons for punch will get you an auto-combo.

Endings for the character episodes can still be wacky at some moments- like Leo expressing disdain on Yoshimitsu’s tentacles, but most are underwhelming.

But still, even with the assists, the story mode felt a bit underwhelming but enjoyable at times. It’s a shame not many of the 36 character strong roster are involved directly in the Mishima Saga- of all the new characters for instance, Claudio is the only one integrated into the main thread. There are character episodes which involves one normal fight- but you only get a text intro and a short CGI ending. Most of episodes are a pairing of two characters, with slight variations to the ending depending on who you pick. But these endings unfortunately replaces the character endings in Arcade Mode which is now feels more meaningless.

Is the story mode any good then? It’s okay, but could be better. It’s a solid attempt nevertheless. If you are planning to get Tekken 7, it’s worth having playing through it.

Stay tuned as we are preparing a full review of Tekken 7 soon.

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