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Tekken 8 (PC)

Tekken 8 (PC) - Review

by Daniel Parker , posted on 25 February 2024 / 3,151 Views

A revolution in the realm of fighting games is now upon us.  Tekken 8 has arrived, bringing with it significant changes and exciting new additions & features.  This latest installment is arguably not only the greatest Tekken game to-date, but one of the best, perhaps the best, traditional fighting games ever created as well.  It shines in nearly all categories, while also shying away from overly greedy corporate tactics we've seen in other titles in recent years, with things like battle passes and highly expensive rotating cosmetic shops, making it nothing short of a masterfully great experience.

New players will have a bountiful sea's worth of tools to help them adjust to the high actions-per-minute gameplay that Tekken 8 demands.  It may seem as though veteran players just mash whatever button they feel like to the uninitiated, however while it is true that mashing happens, (anyone who says they never mash is simply lying), most of the decision-making is based on muscle-memory and your opponent's communication via their own movements and attack strings.  Take Kazuya's "Spinning Demon."  You're not actively looking at his feet; you're conditioned to automatically block low when he spreads his arms apart and turns backwards, and there's just enough time on the start-up animation for to visually confirm and react.

Tekken 8, like its predecessors Tekken 7 and Tekken Tekken Tag Tournament 2, offers training mode options to replicate any match situation.  However, this entry takes it a step further by introducing a groundbreaking feature: a set of options available for players to take control during replays.  This has never been seen in any fighting game on its day of release.  In fact, only Guilty Gear XX - after nearly 20-years-worth of updates - would include a similar feature in its final version, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R, and it was added just three years ago.

Taking control and even practicing during replays allows players to dissect gameplay strategies, analyze button inputs, study frame data, and learn how to respond to different situations.  This innovative tool empowers players to experiment and strategize on their own, without the need for external coaching.  Additionally, with replay tips enabled, you can even practice against a specific attack, with the game giving you a solution.  You can use these options to improve match-up knowledge against specific characters you may struggle fighting against, or try to find gaps in your own playstyle.  The level of engagement with these tools is so expansive that it makes going through the replays an enjoyable experience.   It's a game-changer that sets Tekken 8 apart from other major fighting games and should really be considered a new standard for all fighting titles in the future.  

 
For instance, after seeing Ling Xiaoyu's foot nearly make contact in the fight shown above, I wondered if I could have tried another string for better spacing.  After trying it out, I would have needed frame-perfect timing for just a 1% life-lead, with no room for a draw, because we both would have been awarded points for a round, winning Xiaoyu the game.  In the end, I was satisfied with what I actually did, and don't have to wonder about all the other options I could have taken.  It's truly amazing being able to try out your specific "what-if" situations in real time and know exactly how they would have played out.

Additionally, one of Tekken 8's story modes centers around a player-created avatar.  In this mode, your avatar visits different arcades, learning to play Tekken while being guided by an in-game coach who teaches various aspects of the game.  For those who are completely new to Tekken and don't know where to start, this should definitely be your first priority.

Those looking for a simpler experience, or who maybe have a friend who just wants to mash the controller until the trigger buttons go flying across the room, there's also a simple-controls option, called "Special Style".  This functions similarly to Street Fighter 6's Dynamic Controls, but distinguishes itself by also being available for online play.  The four face buttons are designated to specific actions, such as kicking or executing air combos.  These actions are automatically controlled by AI and are influenced by various in-game variables, including positioning relative to your opponent.  While the lack of control isn't particularly ideal for me personally, if you have a good understanding of when you should or shouldn't be on the offense, you can go pretty far using Special Style.  Thankfully, it's a togglable feature, so you can turn it on and off at will during a match, but while it's on, prompts will appear on-screen, so your opponent will absolutely know when you have it activated.  The higher up the ranked ladder you go, the less you'll see this feature used, which is great; it's nice to see a feature fulfilling its intended purpose, without being exploitable by more skillful players.  Its implementation lowers the skill floor.  It even includes options for people with vision impairments, potentially opening the door to even more players.

Regardless of control type, Tekken 8 is a sequel that makes Tekken 7 obsolete, which hasn't always held true for this series.  Even though it's significantly easier to pick up and play, there are also features added on the higher end of the spectrum that raise the skill ceiling.  Recoverable health is now a thing.  Successful contact from the attacker, either on hit or blocking, will restore health, which almost always sways the outcomes of matches, especially when time is running short.  Even if you have a life-lead, and successfully guard all of your opponent's attacks, they may restore enough health to take the round.  But this added aggressiveness and greed may also lead to foolish mistakes.

The change in health has also alleviated my biggest issue with the Tekken series for the past 15 years: Rage Mode.  Yes, it still exists in Tekken 8 and works similarly to previous games, but for each character to be able to heal themselves over the course of the match means it doesn't feel as overpowered as in past entries.  There are also Rage Arts (Cinematic Supers) and a new heat system, which gives attacks added buffs as well as chip damage.  It's honestly a lot to take in initially, yet none of it feels overwhelming to learn or over-powered to play against.  Part of that is because chip damage doesn't cause knockouts, and yomust land an unguarded hit on your opponent to take a round.  And, as usual in Tekken, you're expected to not just block attacks, but move out of the way whenever possible, as an attack that misses is always disadvantageous.

There are three new characters in Tekken 8. First up is Azucena, who essentially replaces Tekken 7's Lucky Chloe, Katarina Alvez, and Josie Rizal - yes, that's one character replacing three.  Meanwhile, Victor Chavalier seems to be Noctis Lucis Caelum's replacement. And finally there's Reina, who stands in for Heihachi Mishima.  Honestly, as someone who used five characters in Tekken 7, I was surprised to learn all five of them would not only be returning in Tekken 8, but would be part of the game's base roster as well, so my experience with the new characters has mostly been in the form of opponents.  All three of them are fast and very dangerous.  Reina is among the game's most popular characters thus far, and it's rarely an easy bout going against her.  It can be frustratingly difficult as she fights with a hybrid of two styles: Mishima-style Karate and Taido.  When she rolls across the floor, I'm expecting a low and am surprised by the middle attack more often than not.  Maybe I'm the issue.

Many of the series' characters have also been retired or freshly entered into rotation.  No longer will Tekken bring back all, or nearly all, of the previous entry's cast, as it was honestly becoming very bloated and even redundant in some cases.  While it's true that Jun and Asuka are both present with the same fighting style, they're in fact very distinct from one another.  But do we really need Baek Doo San and Hwoarang in the same game as well?  I would say that it's a good thing that over 20 characters from the previous game are currently sitting on the bench, but it's worth keeping in mind that the original arcade release of Tekken 7 in 2015 had a much smaller cast than this original release of Tekken 8; we just might see over 50 characters on the roster in a about five years' time.

The first of these new DLC characters for Tekken 8, Eddy Gordo, looks amazing.  And no, I'm not talking about his hair, but rather the new animations shown off by the development team.  It instils confidence in the game's long-term support and gives off the impression that the budget went to all the right places.

Tekken 8's primary story mode is another example of the game's budget flowing into the right areas.  It's a significant upgrade over its predecessor's, although it barely passes as a "good" story.  Just as Tekken 7's protagonist, Heihachi, was a severely flawed character, acting as a villain in some titles, he wasn't a character I'd consider to be worthy of a redemption arc.  Likewise, Jin started World War III during the events of Tekken 6, and that's who we're making the protagonist for Tekken 8?  It seems to me that Lars should have been the focus. He even takes on the role of protagonist temporarily in the story and he hasn't done anything remotely evil in his past.  As for playtime, the story isn't long and doesn't overstay its welcome, perhaps lasting between four to six hours.

While most of the roster appears in story mode, also included are the usual character-specific intros and ending movie sequences.  In general, these are done well enough in terms of visuals.  The main issue I have is how unfunny the game is when it attempts to be humorous.  Paul's obsession over fighting aliens was out of left field when he started doing it in Tekken 5 - a huge departure from his significantly more dignified personality in Tekken 4 - and now he's a poor, old karate champion who complains about aliens; it's tired and not at all funny.  It also doesn't help that many legacy characters are handled with massive amounts of disrespect.  Like Paul, Marshall Law is also a poor, old fighting champion, but instead of aliens, Law hates rich people.  Why are we doing this to the character inspired by Bruce Lee?  It's entirely cringy and no parts of it are actually funny.

Continuing on with the shortlist of things I don't like about Tekken 8, it's a bit too difficult to add friends to your friend's list.  Like with many other cross-platform titles, Tekken 8 has its own networking ID system that communicates with the various different platforms.  The issue is that you can only add people you've met or played against online, or have as a friend on your native platform.  So Steam users cannot simply send out an invitation to a user on PlayStation.  As an opt-in feature, this would have been great, as it seriously cuts down on the amount of people spamming your inbox with friend invitations if you're streaming for example, but when it comes to trying to add friends who are on different platforms it's an inconvenience.  There's also currently no way to link different network accounts if you play on multiple systems. 

Taking into consideration the recent post-launch roadmap for Tekken 8, the development team seems to be addressing various issues, so it's possible the above problems will be rectified in the future.  It's already been acknowledged that fans want character options on the main menu screen (so that they don't just have to look at Kazuya, or the most recently added DLC character).  And when the new patch arrives, it'll add a quit button to the main menu screen on PC.  At the moment, it's in the options menu, so I tend to force close the game.

It may be necessary to mention that, in previous Tekken titles, character customizations were a little more focused.  Tekken 8 offers more in terms of categories, such as facial hair, eyebrows, eye colors, and so on, but the total amount of customizations are about equal in number the Tekken 7.  So it seems to me that the groundwork for expanding the feature has been laid.  Even now, I've seen lots of creative costume designs, from Batman, to Captain Falcon, and an overabundance of Walter White and Drake.  I personally didn't go much further than attempting Carmen Sandiego for Zafina.

Although there's a lot of potential for this feature, I wouldn't want resources to be taken away from other areas for the sake of more customization options - let the team focus on more important aspects of the game.  It's also worth noting that each item must be tailor made for each character's body type, or it'll look generic and not fit to the characters form.  In general, this is an expensive, time-consuming aspect of the series that I'm happy to see return, but I can also see that it's unreasonable to expect or want things to be expanded to the point that it takes away from another area of the game.

In the next update a shop will be introduced, with skins costing about $4.  The development team has already stated that this feature will be used to further fund post-release development of the game.  So, for those who would like more items to use for customization, they will more than likely come in time.  Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Tekken 7 both saw free updates and items added to the character customization feature, so we may very well see that for Tekken 8 as well.  

In the meantime, if you want more than costume edits for your character, the Jukebox feature is available on all platforms this time around (not just PlayStation users, and PC users who modded their game).  You can select nearly all of the music from previous Tekken titles in the series, including Tekken Revolution - the PlayStation 3 exclusive live-service game that was made from Tekken Tag Tournament 2 assets.  Some of the music tracks I noticed to be missing were Tekken Tag Tournament 2's extended character select theme, the entire arcade version of Tekken 4's soundtrack, as well as Tekken 5.0's version of Hall of Fate (although the Dark Resurrection mix is available).  So not all tracks are included, but it is still a great selection.  

Thankfully, Tekken 8 has toned down the heavy use of ear-bleeding dubstep that's found in recent Tekken entries.  In fact, there are quite a few music tracks that I really enjoy here.  Some of which, like the Yakushima Stage Theme: Tamashii, I refuse to swap out.  And one thing that I really appreciate is the fact that stages which share themes may have different themes selected within the Jukebox.  This means no stage has to share a theme unless you personally prefer it to be that way.

It also appears that every character in the game has had their in-game vocals redone.   The only potential exception to this is Marshall Law, although he might just be voiced by the same voice actor across recent entries.  Some characters, like Lili and Asuka, have used the same battle cries since Tekken 5, which became quite jarring by the time Tekken 7 came out.  Having voice consistency across all characters is excellent and does a lot to freshen up the series.

Adding onto this are the strong visuals. Tekken 7 didn't even look better than the game it succeeded (Tekken Tag Tournament 2) in some areas. This was really poor considering Tekken Tag Tournament 2 released on 7th Generation platforms. Fortunately, everything looks fantastic in Tekken 8. Models have proper body proportions, hair looks like hair, and Kazuya looks his age. The only thing that could have made it look even better would be subsurface scattering on the character models, as the lighting doesn't quite look as realistic as it could. But fortunately, the environments are nice and varied, and the colors look amazing. No matter where the fight takes place, all of the stages look fantastic. I can name stages from literally every Tekken game that I dislike - and Tekken 7 in particular had many - however this time around I like all of them. Yakushima's beautiful sunlit forest is the largest stage in the game; like Tekken 4, the series’ staple infinite stage is absent this time around. With all the graphics options turned up to ultra, the game looks just as good as the pre-rendered cutscenes, which is something many have wanted to see since the release of the very first Tekken. It even runs on a generous amount of low-end computer equipment. Personally, I was so excited for this release that I upgraded my entire PC set-up, but I was able to launch the game in 1080p resolution with all settings at their lowest on an RX-580. All in all, it's a fantastic upgrade over Tekken 7.

There's some extra content that goes beyond fighting opponents, including Tekken Ball, which is essentially hot potato meets volley ball.  While there is a ball selection, there's no option to change stages, and ultimately it's only fun for a few minutes, so I wasn't particularly wowed by its inclusion.  I wish Tekken would try a new type of sport; why is it we only see Tekken Ball, Tekken Bowl, or sometimes neither?  What about Tekken's take on tennis, or perhaps even a kart racing mini-game?  At least Tekken Ball can be played online this time around, unlike Tekken 7's Ultimate Tekken Bowl.  Hopefully we'll see more mini-games added in the future in the form of DLC.  

Tekken 8 is excellent where it needs to be.  It looks, sounds, and feels like a true, authoritative sequel.  In fact, if you're into competitive games, there's no reason to not own it, as it's packed with all the tools you would ever need for mastering the gameplay, without the need to use external sources or coaching.  And even after playing over 1,000 games - nearly all of which were ranked matches - there's still so much more for me to take in, so much to do, and lots of fun to be had.  


VGChartz Verdict


9
Outstanding

This review is based on a digital copy of Tekken 8 for the PC

Read more about our Review Methodology here

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18 Comments
Bofferbrauer2 (on 26 February 2024)

Is it just me or does the color palette seem very dark in this game?

  • +2
siebensus4 Bofferbrauer2 (on 26 February 2024)

If you compare it to Tekken 3, the game has developed in a strange direction... the stages, the characters, the music... all is pretty dark and evil. The game could be good, but the art style is very repulsive to me. It all started with Tekken 4, when the franchise began to focus on the western market instead of the japanese.

  • 0
Burning Typhoon siebensus4 (on 26 February 2024)

Ogre killed several characters, and took their fighting styles. Heihachi shot his own grandson. Both of these events happened in Tekken 3. Kazuya isn't in Tekken 3 because Heihachi threw him in a volcano at the end of Tekken 2.

  • +2
Bofferbrauer2 Burning Typhoon (on 26 February 2024)

Yeah, the storyline is pretty messed up, especially when it comes to the Mishimas and their extended family members themselves. Thrown into volcanoes, strapped to rockets, blown up by a pile of JACKs...

  • +2
Burning Typhoon Bofferbrauer2 (on 26 February 2024)

It's me. I'm sorry, but that's due to my own settings.

  • +1
xl-klaudkil (on 26 February 2024)

Microtransaction shops alread announced for this game true a patch....so there not shying away from corporate greed

  • +2
Burning Typhoon xl-klaudkil (on 26 February 2024)

There's nothing wrong with micro transactions. Post-development isn't free. The skins are $4, and not $25. Greed would be charging $10.

  • -2
Vodacixi Burning Typhoon (on 26 February 2024)

When you look at Tekken 5 or Tag 2 and the crap ton of outfits, characters and cosmetics that could be unlocked for free by just playing the game and then you compare it to what you have in base Tekken 8... Yeah, there is a lot wrong with micro transactions.

  • +4
Burning Typhoon Vodacixi (on 26 February 2024)

Tekken 5 came out in 2004... on PS2. The customizations were anemic in that game. It had no online infrastructure, and Steve was so busted in that game. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 despite being my second favorite next to 8 nearly ended the series with it Tekken Federation, and nearly a dozen free DLC characters. Not to mention the poor sales of that game as well. Again, post development content isnt free. Sequels aren't free. This game needs support for at least 5 years, and they'll have to eventually make Tekken 9. $4 isn't asking much.

  • -2
The Fury Burning Typhoon (on 26 February 2024)

Cosmetic stuff I can understand, I'm still frustrated they are charging for characters in an age when people moan about 'pay to win' in gaming. Nothing says pay to win like a downloadable character who is generally better than all the others made to 'sell'.

Sell as much cosmetic only crap as they want, make characters free.

  • +5
Burning Typhoon The Fury (on 26 February 2024)

It's been mentioned that DLC characters will be usable in some way offline. It may be possible to use the DLC charactets in training so you're not going into a match totally blind.

I mean, we're getting full characters for cheaper than what other games charge for a single skin. The development team has previously stated that the costs for a single stage in Tekken 7 was $2 million. These games arent cheap.

  • -2
firebush03 Burning Typhoon (on 26 February 2024)

Greed is charging anything for cosmetics. There was once a point where microtransactions didn’t even exist: Any microtransactions should be considered greed unless it truly adds something substantive to the game.

  • +2
Burning Typhoon firebush03 (on 26 February 2024)

There was once a time when a Tekken game didn't cost over $60 million dollars to develop too. We are in a different time.

  • -1
Bofferbrauer2 Burning Typhoon (on 26 February 2024)

I have no problem with microtransactions if they bring anything meaningful to the table. $4 just for a single skin is not meaningful, that's greed. For around that price you could already get a new fighter, not just a skin for an existing fighter.

I have no problems buying DLC if they're worth it - for instance the fighter pass in SSBU - but this isn't anywhere near worth anything and thus a hard pass.

Skins in general tend to be a money grab ever since THE horse armor that started it all, but thankfully they're generally cheaper than this or bundled up, so there's sometimes a chance to buy them at a sale. But for this one I would need at least a 75% discount to make it worthwhile

  • +1
Burning Typhoon Bofferbrauer2 (on 26 February 2024)

That's fair, but characters were $6 in Tekken 7. Guests like Geese and noctis were $8. We know that for Tekken 8, Eddy is getting all of his assets remade from the ground up. Only new characters had new animations before. It's possible that new characters are more expensive than in Tekken 7.

As someone who has around 400 skins in Fornite, and a lot in Overwatch (I just know I have 42 on D.Va alone) I'm tired of paying up to $25-$50 for a skin I want. $4 is a bargin.

  • -1
halil23 (on 26 February 2024)

Love Tekken but fooking hate that stupid screen shake gimmick! Anyone know if there's finally an option to turn that shit off in this?

  • 0
Burning Typhoon halil23 (on 28 February 2024)

Honestly, it's not something I've noticed, but after looking into it, no, there isn't. Your best bet is to tweet Harada, hope he sees it, or ask someone from the modding community to do it if you're on PC.

  • +1
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