Tekken 8 review: Building greatness from the basics

tekken 8 kazuya mishima

Tekken 8 is a masterclass in improving a fighting formula already refined over the years. Our Tekken 8 review shows that the game takes everything great about the previous iteration and builds on it meaningfully. While the basics remain the same, nearly all aspects atop those basics are improved for the better.

Veterans of the series might be confused about receiving chip damage when blocking attacks, which encourages a strong offensive. Gone are the days of just blocking every hit from an opponent and waiting for the perfect opportunity to counterattack. Tekken 8 opts for a faster combat pace, which may turn off some defensive players but generally speeds up matches. Tekken pros might take a while to adjust their play styles, but this faster gameplay will draw in more casual players.

The Good:

  • Faster overall combat makes the game more exciting to watch and play than ever.
  • A healthy selection of 32 diverse characters from the get-go

The Bad:

  • Some single-player game modes are limited.
  • Aggressive monetization

Review Details:

Platforms available: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Official release date: January 26, 2024

Tekken 8 eases new players in and appeases veterans

Tekken 8 does a great job of introducing its game mechanics and characters organically. Players new to the series are encouraged to play excellent offline modes before hopping online. Among the single-player offerings is the story mode that revolves around Jin Kazama and his father, Kazuya Mishima. Despite focusing on the Mishima family, the mode lets players pick different characters along the way.

The main story has many twists and turns to enjoy, and with a multilingual cast of characters, we were excited to see what would come next during our Tekken 8 review. The game tries to tie up loose ends for older Tekken fans and hits many nostalgic notes along the way. While following all of the history might be challenging for newcomers, the story is simple and fun enough to stand on its own.

The Arcade Quest mode is a brand-new addition to the series. Players make their avatar and arcade hop around the country to become the best Tekken player. The avatars might be future vehicles for microtransactions, but they are not that important. What’s important is the feeling of visiting an arcade and challenging other players to regular Tekken battles.

The Arcade Quest mode is also great at introducing character moves and mechanics to the players. Each arcade offers different moves and mechanics, letting players master a chosen character.

The classic arcade story mode is still there, but it’s reduced to a mere five fights. The ending cutscenes are present for the retro arcade mode, but there are no mid-story cutscenes here. All battles take place in the same stage one right after another. Players are back at the character select screen in just a short time. It all feels like an afterthought rather than a fully fleshed-out mode.

Tekken 8 introduces new accessibility features 

Tekken 8 follows Street Fighter 6 in a new accessibility addition: easy inputs. Players can opt for easy combo mode, which lets them execute complex combos with simpler inputs. The easy-button combos let new players test out the characters and take them for a spin before settling on a main. The easy combo mode can even be toggled on during online matches. The series’ ranking system is still intact, making progression feel meaningful.

Tekken 8 introduces a new Heat Dash system, switching the gameplay from strategic pokes, dodges, and blocks to more aggressive combos and precise defensive movements. The feeling of outsmarting an opponent is unparalleled here. There were mind games before in Tekken, but the Heat Dash system propels them to the forefront of matches. While this is great for viewers and casual players alike, only time will tell how well this new mechanic works in the hands of professionals.

Among the healthy 32-character roster are a few new faces. Reina is a fantastic new addition to the game and could easily be a fan favorite. Victor and Azucena have flashy, stylish moves that are satisfying to execute. There are a lot of returning characters as well, and their basic move sets are exactly the same. Paul’s punches go off with the same button combos, King is still the king of grapples, and Yoshimitsu still plays like an alien.’ bottom line: Tekken 8 takes its formula and pushes it forward in a way that will satisfy both newcomers and series veterans.

Score: 9/10

Author image

Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza. In over two decades of gaming, he has only broken two controllers. His work has also been featured by TheGamer and WhatIfGaming.

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