Published on January 24th, 2024 | by Andrew Paul
Tekken 8 Review (PlayStation 5, PS5)
Summary: Tekken 8 is a super fun fighter on the PlayStation that adds next-gen mechanics and graphics to bring the King of Iron Fist Tournament to new heights!
Tekken is BACK!
Move over Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter because there’s a new fighter back in town – that’s right, Tekken is back in its highly anticipated 8th installment and is available on the PS5 (reviewed), XSX and PC that is built with the Unreal 5 Engine to deliver a thoroughly immersive, enjoyable and challenging fighter (depending on your difficultly setting). Interestingly Tekken 7 was released in the arcades in 2015 and consoles 2017 but this time the latest Tekken game is going straight to home consoles. While prior knowledge of the Tekken games does help, the developers provide a recap from the previous games that is a nice refresher for fans and for what it’s worth, newcomers… and remember it’s about the fighting mechanics and yes, Tekken 8 delivers on that level.
In times of story, Tekken 8 is set 6-months after the devastating events of Tekken 7 that just like the epic battles between the gods of Greek mythology, we see a similar one between a father (Kazuya Mishima) and his son (Jin Kazama) with Jin wanting to end his father’s hellish reign as the battle between the two devils begins as all the players from the King of Iron Fist Tournament are drawn to war. Compete and your country will hold a better standing in Kazuya Mishima’s new world order, however not everyone is willing to accept this new status quo. With the help of allies and enemies, Jin Kazama must unlock a deeper family secret as he vows to take down the devil. From a story perspective, Tekken 8’s story is easily the most outrageous narrative to date but somehow all this craziness and over the top scenes, including voice acting suits this title perfectly.
Once Tekken is loaded and ready, you the gamer as quite spoiled for choice – besides the Story: The Dark Awaken, there are Character Episodes, the Tekken Fight Lounge (online), Arcade Quest, Character Customisation and Tekken Ball. As it’s been quite some time since I’ve played Tekken, the story is a great place to “train” and fine-tune your skills. Hopefully the developers will continue to expand the story with DLC because while it ends with a satisfying conclusion, a new villain emerges. However as mentioned, it’s all about the fighting mechanics and the gameplay is perfect on the PS5.
Sure it can feel like a button masher to newcomers, however there is an art behind Tekken 8 as you channel your inner martial artist and then watch it unfold like a blockbuster Kung Fu movie with powerful kicks, punches, grabs and spectacular special movies with all the flare and glitz that can only be found in this fighting series. Controls are well mapped on the DualSense Controller and more importantly, they are super responsive, particularly when they land on your opponent. Arcade or Fight sticks can also be used with Tekken 8 such as the excellent Nacon Daija Arcade Stick…
… which does deliver that arcade atmosphere.
Tekken 8 boasts a very diverse cast of 32 characters that includes fighters such as Alisa, Asuka, Jin, King, Law, Rave and Zafina to the mysterious newcomer Reina. Best of all, each character plays differently and as a result, the replay value of Tekken 8 is fantastic as there is a lot to learn – including lots of fun and each with their own character story. They also feature slightly different takedowns and special moves. While the game will display the move list for each character, you can tweak the difficulty level and newbies will appreciate the option of simplifying the controls via the left trigger which makes the game considerably more accessible to friends and family. Further, I like the strategy involved in the game that allows you to recover some of your health if you perform well enough to a powerful heat system that allows you to boost your offensive attacks, including dealing out chip damage if your player is blocking.
For fun, Tekken Ball returns which is basically using martial arts to knock the ball into your opponent which serves as a fun distraction. Another interesting distraction is Arcade Quest which throws you in a gaming arcade in order to make friends and play Tekken. Consider it Tekkenmii but it’s a nice way to introduce new players to the franchise and mythology behind Tekken, including finding your fighting feet. Another highlight of this mode is Super Ghost Battle, it allows you to fight against your own ghost and other players ghosts which is a great tool for again fine-tuning your Tekken skills. Besides fighting the AI or friends locally, you can take Tekken 8 online which is where most people will probably be spending their time – for both ranked and unranked matches. Lastly, you can customise your Tekken 8 characters if that’s your fighting jam as well!
From a graphically perspective, Tekken 8 channels that video game blockbuster with its spectacular graphics that boasts larger than life environments and fantastic character models that cannot be faulted. Each of the fighters in Tekken 8 move with this superhero like realism and each well-timed punch, kick, hold or throw feels very powerful. Further, the attention to detail in each character model is unparalleled and even the finest of texture details can be seen and yes the “jiggle” returns for some of the characters. The developers should also be commended on the various designs for each character that makes them all look quite unique like their fighting styles. Additionally lighting and special effects complements the other graphical components that when matched with the gameplay makes this a totally satisfying game on the PS5.
The overall sound effects and music of Tekken is great and like the previous games, the voice acting is over the top, just like the spectacular fighting mechanics. At times, it’s loud and clichéd but when needed, there is also an element of emotional seriousness to it in order to help progress the story. As expected, the fighting sound effects add to the combat mechanics in order to make it feel and sound more satisfying. Additionally the soundtrack works well with the gameplay and certain scores target a particular aspect of the character’s that helps with that overall immersive factor.
I thoroughly enjoyed my return to the Tekken series and more importantly, it will become a fighter that I can revisit again and again. The developers aimed high with Tekken 8 and succeeded in delivering a fighter that can be played by all and yes, the King of Iron Fist Tournament is back! Sure, the story can become convoluted at times (what Tekken game isn’t) but for the most part, it’s a rollercoaster ride from start to finish with perfect fighting mechanics thrown into the fray. At its core, it’s a next-gen fighter with a wonderful cast of fighters that I’m eager to unlock more about their stories and play it more online with friends and enemies.