Tekken 7 could’ve sparked something of a revival of devotion I used to have for the game like no other. Instead, I quickly traded it in. This is my Tekken story and why I spurned the latest installment in the acclaimed beat-em-up series:
I used to idolize Tekken 3, even when I didn’t have a popular games console of my own, spending plenty of time on it with a friend even in its demo form. Then, when Tekken 4 came out I played on that masses, even getting quite deep, probably more immersed than the average player, into the music. I also gave each of Tekken Advance and the PSP game Tekken: Dark Resurrection a fair go around, if memory serves. So, given I used to be a fan-and-a-half despite my less-than-average skills at the game and relative lack of play time compared, I am sure, to some fanatics, why did I recently dislike Tekken 7 so much?
Firstly, the price of new video games has soared since the days when a new release on PS2 would set you back for less than half of the price of a PS4 game, making it harder for games to be worth their price tag, even despite better graphics and, hopefully, a bigger field of inspiration for production teams to harvest. Despite this expanse of potential inspiration, both because there are more games available (at least if you include older games) and because the games industry has grown, it seems little significant has changed since Tekken 3, really.
Having now a much more skilled approach to games, I now do relatively well in sports games that have arguably quite complex controls, such as PES 2017. In comparison to such a game, the Tekken series, with its focus on only the square, circle, triangle and X buttons, miss a great opportunity to broaden their horizons in terms of combos and other commands, and playing Tekken 7 I often found myself attempting a pretty complex button-mashing exercise (although nothing too insane) only to find that no move was assigned to such a combo. How disappointing.
Furthermore, as well as being harder to please due to a greater understanding of things like economics, and more skill and knowledge related to gaming, I also found the game limited not only in terms of combos but also lacking various ‘dimensions’ to it, in addition to an apparent meaninglessness. This works on two levels. On the one hand my disinterest in Tekken in these ways was partly down to a mere apparent lack of characters from Tekken 4 and the sense that there was no significant difference in game modes or enough variety between characters’ moves. Nothing too deep, then.
But on another level Tekken seems lacking in any major goal other than pure escapism and mindless violence, things that my more deep-thinking side influences me, whether I consciously agree always or not, to find less appealing than I used to. Yes, I agree with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme that “escapism is… devalued” (though not necessarily agree that it is “really devalued” as he said), and sometimes enjoy first person shooters, wrestling games and the like.
But Tekken does not have much calculation, strategy or importance in rewards. And, on the other side of the scale, unlike the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or the rapid-fire sports game Lethal League, it does not even have such recklessness and speed in its gameplay that one barely has to think and gets a kind of rush from that. After years of doing the same darn thing with Tekken, it just got boring, even if the chance of promoting a character and the game’s bright and sharp graphics (though the visuals were still a bit unimpressive) made Tekken 7 irrationally compelling for a little while.
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