Looking Ahead: Tekken 7

If you stumbled upon this article hoping to find evidence of Tekken 7, or information on it, then I am sorry. Whatever Google search terms you used obviously misled you.

Tekken 7 has been given the green light and is being worked on right now. Of course, the game is probably in an extremely early and barely playable stage of development right now so there’s really nothing known about it yet. All we know is that Namco allowed the Tekken dev team to start work on the next game and that it will most likely be on the current crop of consoles.

So what is the point of this article? Simply put, it is my wish list for Tekken 7. I’ve been playing Tekken since the second installment of the series, so I’m quite a long time fan so I feel that I have some very legit complaints regarding Tekken’s direction, as well as some decent ideas. Let’s get the show on the road.

1. Jun Kazama

Call her whatever negative term you want, and even label her as bland or generic if it tickles your fancy. However, the fact will still stand that Jun Kazama was a very influential character in the Tekken story. Without her we wouldn’t have a potential counter to the Devil Gene, nor would we have had Jin Kazama introduced in Tekken 3. In Tekken 2, Jun demonstrated that she has some kind of supernatural power by being able to defeat/overpower Devil. She was also able to get through to Kazuya, which is something that just seems flat out impossible for any other character to accomplish.

Jun Kazama was labelled “missing” after Tekken 2. There is no confirmation that she is dead or alive, and Namco refuses to give any hints regarding her condition which makes it easy for just about anyone to believe that Jun is alive and that Namco is just being quiet about her, possibly because they want to utilize her for something in the future or because they simply forgot about her and are too ashamed to admit it.

Besides, even if she did die, I’m sure she could return. Kazuya Mishima, anyone? Remember that everyone’s favourite Devil Gene character completely missed Tekken 3 due to being dead. Several other Tekken 2 characters did as well, and they didn’t return until Tekken 5. Namco is slow to bring back a select few old characters. Jun could very well come back if Namco wants to include her in another game. Remember, she isn’t dead. She is merely missing.

Since her exclusion from Tekken 3, fans have been begging for her to return in each and every installment of Tekken. Even though Asuka Kazama (my main in Tekken 6, by the way) essentially replaced Jun when she was introduced in Tekken 5 and used Jun’s old fighting style, fans just became even more desperate for the Anti-Devil to make her reappearance in the series. It’s interesting to note that Asuka hasn’t done anything worthwhile yet since she was introduced in Tekken 5. Her ending in Tekken 5 did show that she has some sort of power similar to Jun’s, but she did crap all with it and wasn’t even aware of it herself. In Tekken 6, all she cared about was her lunch and beating up Lili, a character that Asuka shouldn’t even have anything to do with. Perhaps Asuka not knowing about her powers or accidentally utilizing them more often is intentional for reasons we’ve never thought of? Jun = Future mentor for Asuka?

Jun has appeared several times as an apparition or flashback and, despite not appearing in playable form since Tekken Tag (which did not even follow canon), she has been mentioned a few times. Other characters who have faded off the map, such as Kunimitsu, do not receive such treatment. Jun’s talents and her ability to overpower the Devil Gene still plays a large role in the Tekken storyline. It seems bizarre that the most gifted Kazama in the storyline hasn’t appeared for so long. Some fans speculate that Namco is holding her back because they are planning on using her for something big. I agree. Before I get into anything, I’m just going to move on from there. Obviously I have ideas for Jun in Tekken 7 since I have her on this list, but I’ll get into everything about her when I bring up what I’d like to see for the story.

2. Juggle Breakers

There is nothing impressive about being kept in the air for several seconds by your opponent. To those who do not play Tekken, that sentence probably sounded pretty ridiculous, and I will side with you guys. The juggles in Tekken are becoming too long. I don’t know anybody who enjoys watching their characters being kicked and punched up higher and higher for several seconds as their life bar drops below the halfway point. It takes the element of fair play out of the game. This is why I suggest introducing a way to get out of juggles.

Enter the juggle breaker. Say that a juggle is lasting a little too long and you’re starting to get rightfully ticked off about it. With a bit of quick timing, you could perhaps press QCB or QCF plus a certain button to perform a sort of “combo breaker in the air” and knock the opponent away from you. The result? Both fighters fall back in opposite directions and fair play is restored to the fight. Perhaps only one or two juggle breakers could be granted per round, and the timing of them would have to be very, very precise. If executed properly, juggle breakers could be very, very awesome. If executed poorly, I could see such a concept hurting the gameplay quite a bit.

3. Lose Tekken 6’s Fluff Features

The “bounce” feature in Tekken 6 was borderline ridiculous as many attacks would knock your character off the ground, which was practically a gift for your juggle-ready opponents. Tekken likes to defy gravity and logic an awful lot and I’m okay with that, but characters bouncing off the ground consistently and far too often is just way too silly for my liking. It gives your opponent the chance to perform free juggles as well, which can be a real pain in the ass. Bouncing should either be removed entirely, or it should be made a less prominent feature. Too many attacks force characters to bounce. Perhaps make only a few high risk moves per character perform bounces?

The “rage” effect should also go away. This sort of feature belongs in junk games like Smash Brothers. Any fighting game that has even a single shred of self-respect would never have a rage effect, so I’m still blown away that Namco would include it in Tekken. Not only can it screw up the results of certain fights, but it just makes no sense. Weakened opponents should not become twice as strong. That just defies all logic. We’re not watching an anime here where the main character powers up when he’s on the brink of death and tears apart his foe as well as the surrounding country side. Weak opponents shouldn’t be rewarded for being weaklings! They shouldn’t be punished either, since losing should be punishment enough. Just let the weaker player lose the match, Namco. There is no need to try to even the playing field at the last second.

Scenario Campaign should also NOT return. Tekken Force modes are interesting diversions, but when they become such a mandatory mode to play through, the fans will just end up not enjoying them at all. Scenario Campaign was nothing more than an overly long borefest. Having to replay stages just to save up money was ridiculous. I still cannot understand how Scenario Campaign was more profitable than the actual fighting game modes for the player to play through. I’d rather get rich beating up AI opponents, friends in versus mode, or strangers online. Make sure Scenario Campaign stays out of Tekken 7 please. Throw in some silly minigames instead, such as the volleyball game from Tekken 3, or follow Mortal Kombat’s example by ripping off successful games such as Mario Kart or Puzzle Fighter. The fact of the matter is simply that Tekken sucks as a beat ’em up. Please stop forcing this sort of game mode on us, Namco.

4. Customization Options

A lot of people want a character creator like the one we have in Soul Calibur IV, and you know what? I’m all for it! As long as there would be online lobbies where created characters were restricted, then it would be just fine and would make the “BUT IT WOULD MESS UP THE GAME’S BALANCE!!!” people slightly happy. An actual character creator would also prolong the longevity of the game with many people. A significant portion of gamers enjoy editors, modding, and so forth these days. Good customization is key to luring these gamers in, and a character creator is the way to do it.

However, what I want to see is the ability to customize characters to an even greater extent. Tekken 6 was said to have a revolutionary customization sytem, but it was essentially just Tekken 5’s customization system with an added hairstyle editor. Actually, Tekken 6’s customization system may have been worse overall since many pieces of clothing had fixed colours and were extremely expensive compared to the item prices in Tekken 5. At least in Tekken 5 you could change the colour of anything that you equipped. This was not the case in Tekken 6, which was slightly lame.

It was also odd how the second player could not use custom costumes in local versus/team match. What gives, Namco? Tekken 5 allowed it, so why doesn’t Tekken 6? Typically sequels are supposed to move the bar up, not down. I would like to see this problem rectified.

So for Tekken 7, it would be nice to see more customization options (cheaper items, more variety, colour options for all items), the ability for the second player to use custom costumes, and perhaps a character creation system with “no custom characters” lobbies for online play.

5. Tag Battle

It was almost ten years ago when we last had this feature. Considering the fact that Soul Calibur IV has a rough version of the tag feature, and that rivals Marvel vs Capcom and Mortal Kombat will have tag team combat in their next installments due out in 2011, it just seems that Tekken should really bring this feature back before it gets left behind. If everyone else is doing it, why isn’t Tekken? Especially since Tekken did it so well several years ago? The only tag team battles that I think are executed better are those in the Marvel vs Capcom series. Tekken Tag nailed tag team battles.

Check out Jin’s awesome IGN tattoo.

A tag feature would also be great for the game’s story mode. Kazuya could have his faithful bodyguard Bruce as his partner, while Paul could have Law, King would have Marduk, and so forth.

There’s not much else to say about this feature. I’m sure that the fans would be thrilled if Namco included it in Tekken 7. If they have any sense at all, they’ll add it in. After all, this is the most requested feature with each new game. Will Namco finally take the hint? Let’s hope.

6. Smaller Character Roster

I’m quite serious about this one. The character roster in Tekken is like a freak mutation that is out of control. It’s like Tetsuo in Akira. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it seems like nobody can do anything about it except Kaneda. Wait, no, I meant Namco.

So what should Namco do? I propose killing off some characters and simply excluding a few others. Here is who I would like to see go.

Anna Williams – Let her sit out for a game. Nobody will miss her since we’ll still have Nina, the popular sister.

Armor King – Do we really need him? King is a beloved Tekken staple, but Armor King just feels like a cheap addition. Even if he is apparently essential to the storylines of both King and Marduk, I’d prefer to see the character sit out for a game or two.

Baek Doo San – Even though I love Baek and think he’s quite awesome, I believe that Namco should incorporate his best moves into Hwoarang and then have Baek retire from fighting. Let the mantle be passed on to Hwoarang, please.

Christie Monteiro – We don’t really need her. I don’t care if she’s sex appeal, get her out! She would be fantastic as a character in Eddy’s storyline and should be relegated to that sort of role. As a full blown selectable character, I just don’t like her. She’s just a female Eddy.

Devil Jin – Don’t like this character. I feel that Devil Jin should only be a plot device and not a selectable character. Add his better moves to Jin and be done with it.

Ganryu – He’s not particularly popular and just seems to be there to increase the roster size these days. Tekken would be better off without him, I think.

Heihachi Mishima – Surprised? So am I. However, when Heihachi’s voice actor passed away, I feel that Heihachi himself did as well. Nobody can replace him, and it would just feel wrong to reuse old voice clips of a deceased voice actor in such a way. Heihachi should be injured or killed off.

Kuma/Panda – The bears aren’t really even that popular. I don’t even think they serve any sort of purpose in the storyline at all now. Just take them out.

Mokujin – Lame gimmick character. Random select works just fine. We don’t need a random select disguised as a wood man filling up a character slot.

Roger Jr. – Same as the bears. I never even see people play as this pointless character. Take the kangaroo(s) out.

Wang Jinrei – He’s an old man and he’s also extremely unpopular. Usually the unpopular characters are removed, but Namco thinks that it’s a fun idea to have them cling to each new game like dead weight. Characters like Wang only bring down the quality of the roster. We don’t need pointless fluff characters like this.

After these characters are removed, I would only want to see perhaps one character return (Jun Kazama) and about two new characters join the fray. Think small, Namco. Don’t let Tekken’s roster become out of control. It’s already pretty close.

Here’s my ideal roster for Tekken 7.

Now for the final matter..

7. The Story

Tekken 5 had a weak story with the whole Jinpachi thing going on. Tekken 6 does not really make things any better by having Jin make completely ridiculous and unintelligent decisions, and just generally making Tekken 6 a gigantic Mishima clusterfuck with Heihachi, Jin, Kazuya, and Lars playing central roles. Thankfully adopted boy Lee wasn’t extremely central to the story, even though he’s my favourite character in the Tekken universe.

When Tekken 6 ended, Raven’s organization found the unconscious body of Jin Kazama in the desert sands. We still have no idea who Raven works for. Since he was introduced in Tekken 5, all we’ve known is that he is working for some shadowy organization that can potentially stand up to the Mishima Zaibatsu. So, who does Raven work for? And who heads this mysterious organization? I have a theory, and it goes back to the start of the article. The leader of Raven’s organization is…

Jun Kazama. Complete with a new and improved “serious” look. Just pretend that there are age marks around her eyes.

Anyone who knows who the picture was originally of gets a shiny nickel.

Should she lose her trademark white wardrobe? If she returns with the role I predict, then I would assume so. She could still be the “darling sweetheart” that she always was, but just with more direction and purpose now. She would have people behind her, helping her. She would be the opposite of Kazuya at G-Corporation.

It all makes sense. Raven is being ordered to stick his nose directly into Kazama/Mishima affairs. Somebody outside of the G-Corporation and Mishima Zaibatsu obviously knows what is going on. It would make little to no sense for it to be a group of people never mentioned ever before in the Tekken games. There has to be some kind of connection between Raven’s group and the Kazamas and Mishimas, and I believe that the connection is Jun.

In my opinion, Jun vanishing off the map in order to privately find a way to put an end to the Devil Gene without interference from the Mishimas makes sense. Jin may have been left to fend on his own because Jun believed in him and felt that he would be able to overcome his problems. Jin is clearly struggling with some aspects of his Devil Gene, and perhaps being taken in by Raven will allow Jun to do something about that while putting her plan into motion to�deal the Mishima family.

In Tekken 7, I feel that Jun’s shadow organization will reveal itself, and I feel that it will be the only “good” faction of the Tekken universe. As the story progresses, Jun will somehow make Jin come to terms with himself and what is inside of him. Since the Devil Gene has gone from being an actual demon to nothing more than some sort of supernatural birth defect of the Mishima bloodline, it would make sense for Jun, the ultimate counter of the Devil Gene, to be able to sort Jin out. I can see Jin perhaps lashing out once or twice, perhaps going berserk briefly for some reason or another as he refuses to accept Jun’s words. When all would be said and done, I believe that Jin would emerge as the protagonist that he was in Tekken 3. His Devil Form would become a minor plot device similar to Kazuya’s Devil Form. Instead of shifting into his Devil Form, Jin could perhaps learn to control it’s powers in his normal form. Of course this wouldn’t show itself too much in the actual ingame fighting system, but throughout the storyline it could manifest itself as immense strength or perhaps psychic powers.

G-Corporation (or just Kazuya) could oppose what happens to Jin for one reason or another that I cannot think of immediately. Perhaps they would want to take advantage of this and somehow harness Jun’s powers or something along those lines. Maybe Kazuya would see his son and ex-love working together as a severe threat to his plans for world domination and would then assert his Devil powers as the true force to be reckoned with – making everything we’ve seen from Jin since Tekken 4 resemble child’s play.

The Mishima Zaibatsu would serve a purpose of some sort, obviously hosting a tournament. I’d like to see Heihachi sit out for reasons I already mentioned, so perhaps Lars could have the Zaibatsu now? Or Kazuya could hold dual ownership over G-Corporation and the Zaibatsu? Leading both factions combined with the might of his Devil Form could make him an amazing antagonist for Tekken 7. It would be thrilling to have Kazuya as the central bad guy once again, wouldn’t it?

Kazuya could even kill off the voice actor-less Heihachi in the Tekken 7 intro, just to firmly establish himself as the true force to be reckoned with in the game. The little duel between the two in Tekken 5 was more humourous than anything, so an actual bloody battle between the two (with Heihachi being the only one losing blood) would be quite a shocker for the fans and also get their adrenaline pumping. Kazuya killing off his own father once and for all would be nothing short of epic. A fitting end to old man Heihachi. Perhaps after being crippled severely and begging for mercy, Kazuya could shift to his Devil Form and end poppy’s life with one vicious attack?

Much like G-Corporation and the Mishima Zaibatsu have selectable characters in their ranks, I feel that Jun’s organization would be no different. Who would be a part of it? Well..

Jin Kazama, Jun Kazama, and Raven would be obvious. Asuka�would be highly probable due to being related to Jin and Jun, and she possesses the same powers as Jun. Asuka could be educated/informed about her unique abilities by Jun. Hwoarang could perhaps put his rivalry with Jin aside and help them for the greater good. Alisa and Lars could be possibilities, though I would believe that they’d be more likely to be with the Mishima Zaibatsu or Lee’s organization, whatever that may be. Yoshimitsu is another good possibility. If Yoshimitsu were to ally himself with Jun Kazama, this could open the doors for Kunimitsu to appear and ally with G-Corporation. There’s a neat thought. Since every Tekken game seems to shove certain characters into the role of bodyguards for Kazama and Mishima characters, Kunimitsu could perhaps take on the role of Kazuya’s bodyguard. Yoshimitsu would be a very fitting bodyguard for Jun, considering the fact that they are both good-aligned and noble characters.

So, that’s my take on Tekken 7’s story. Jun Kazama is the leader of Raven’s mystery faction. Jin is restored by Jun (though this would take some time, perhaps for most of Tekken 7’s storyline). Kazuya would want to crush the immense threat of Jin+Jun, exposing the frighteningly powerful Devil Form that he has hidden from the eyes of Tekken players for far too long.

Jun Kazama returns and her powers, along with Jin’s redemption, play a central role in the story. Kunimitsu potentially returns and allies herself with whatever faction opposes the one Yoshimitsu is with. Devil Kazuya as the game’s final boss. Sparks could fly as G-Corporation, the Mishima Zaibatsu, and the organizations led by Jun and Lee possibly butt heads. This would be the perfect way to get the Tekken back on track after the Jinpachi and Azazel mess that we’ve had to put up with for the past few years.

Let’s cross our fingers for something great!

Return to July 2010 Articles


Tekken 6 (Review)

“Despite a few minor shortcomings, this is the best Tekken to date.”

So it has taken me half a year to finally cave and review Tekken 6. This is odd considering I picked this game up on launch and that I like it very much. This may be a good thing however, as I am reviewing Tekken 6 after clocking dozens of hours in it.

First off, what is Tekken? It is a fighting game series by Namco that has enjoyed considerable success and is, without a doubt, the most respected 3D fighter. Tekken may not be able to garner as much respect as Street Fighter, but it isn’t far off.

The Tekken games all revolve around the King of Iron Fist Tournament and the Mishima family members behind it. Originally started by Heihachi Mishima, control over the tournament and the Mishima Zaibatsu (the “family business” of sorts) has bounced around between himself, his son Kazuya Mishima, and his grandson Jin Kazama throughout the course of the series.

In Tekken 6, it is Jin Kazama who controls the Mishima Zaibatsu and is the one behind the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6. Typically the one behind the tournament is usually a bad guy, and given how Jin was the series protagonist from Tekken 3 onward, some may be confused as to why Jin is hosting the tournament in Tekken 6. Jin has his reasons for doing so, and I won’t get into them since they are quite spoiler heavy.

To find out what’s going on with Jin, players will have to play through the Scenario Campaign mode. This is a beat ’em up sort of game mode and plays like a heavily upgraded Tekken Force. In Scenario Campaign, players will play through a few dozen stages, fighting notable Tekken characters at the end of each stage as bosses and uncovering more about the game’s story after beating each stage boss.

Scenario Campaign primarily follows the adventure of two new characters, Alisa Bosconovitch and Lars Alexandersson. The game will encourage the player to use Lars as their character, though once you beat a stage boss they will become playable in Scenario Campaign. Lars then becomes sort of “optional” for Scenario Campaign, but all cutscenes will still feature him as well as Alisa.

I found Scenario Campaign to be very tedious. It wasn’t overly difficult (except for the optional secret stages) and I never died too many times. What made Scenario Campaign tedious was the fact that, overall, it wasn’t really a lot of fun. It didn’t do anything very interesting and the gameplay was mediocre at best. Despite the fact that your character controls exactly as they do in the standard fighting game modes, camera issues and hordes of AI enemies will make pulling off certain moves difficult. The only incentive to playing through Scenario Campaign, besides uncovering the story, is item collecting. At random, fallen foes will drop treasure chests which contain items for character customization. Beating stages will also grant you bonus currency that you an use to unlock new items.

Scenario Campaign really throws a lot of these items and coins at you, making it the best way to unlock items. While you may receive nearly 200,000 coins for beating a two or three minute stage in Scenario Campaign, a fight of any length outside of this game mode will regularly only net you between 2000 and 5000 coins. This makes fighting, the main focus of the Tekken games, become an unviable way to unlock game content.

Speaking of the actual fighting, I think that I should move on and talk about that. Simply put, it’s great. Tekken 6 has the best fighting mechanics in the entire series. Juggles have become more lethal, health bars have been extended, and “rage” power-up has been introduced when players are almost defeated. The changes to the juggle system, as well as bouncing becoming more prominent, has led to many people criticizing Tekken 6 and saying that all players have to do to win is juggle the opponent, since they last longer and inflict more damage now. This is just nonsense spouted by people who took the game’s features out of context. You will so rarely have trouble avoiding being juggled or beaten senseless that it isn’t an issue. I’ve had a few rounds with friends that have been a little unexplainably one sided, but this happens so rarely that it just doesn’t impact the enjoyment that we get out of this game.

Before I forget, Tekken 6 introduces an impressive six new characters to the roster, bringing the total number of selectable characters in Tekken 6 to an amazing forty characters, a huge number for a fighting game.

The new characters are probably the best crew of newcomers since Tekken 3, which was notable for introducing Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Hwoarang, and Eddy Gordo to the series. Tekken 6 does an equally impressive job with it’s cast of fighting misfits. Alisa, Bob, Lars, Leo, Miguel, and Zafina make up the cast of newcomers.

Alisa, mentioned earlier, is a cyborg creation made by Doctor Bosconvitch and created in the image of his daughter. Alisa is a very speedy character with several bizarre attacks which make her very unpredictable to fight against.

Bob is an overweight American who likes to fight. He is essentially a fat version of Paul in that regard, though he plays entirely different from his fellow countryman. Bob is surprisingly fast and graceful, and is sure to beat down players who underestimate him simply because of his appearance.

Lars is apparently the new poster boy for Tekken, acting as the main protagonist in this game. Lars is Heihachi’s illegitimate son who rebels against the Mishima family, intending to bring it down. He plays like a standard Mishima, but with much more flair.

Leo looks like a gender confused Rock Howard from King of Fighters. Leo is called both female and male ingame, so this can make things a little confusing. However, after using Leo once, you will be able to draw your own conclusions as to which gender this character is. Fortunately, Leo is quite beginner friendly and can kick quite a bit of ass.

Miguel is a Spanish brawler with no defined fighting style, instead opting to just beat his opponents until they can’t move any longer. Miguel is probably my favourite new character. He has a very badass look and his moves look just plain painful as he smashes opponents in really brutal ways. Stick with Miguel and learn his moves, and you will be rewarded greatly.

Zafina is weird. I could just leave it at that, but I’ll explain a little. Zafina is Tekken’s new sex appeal icon, quickly (and thankfully) demoting Lili who was introduced in Dark Resurrection. She is a Middle Eastern (or perhaps North African) assassin who fights using animal themed stances such as Mantis and Tarantula, as well as a third stance called Scarecrow. In these stances, particularly Tarantula, Zafina will bend her body in very peculiar ways and become incredibly unpredictable. I haven’t been so confused by a character since Eddy Gordo’s floppy introduction in Tekken 3.

So Tekken 6 is a great game, but what are it’s flaws? There are four, and I’m going to go over them.

Flaw #1. Character rankings work the same in Tekken 6 as they did in the previous game, meaning you will start at beginner before progressing through the kyu ranks until you hit 1st dan. Unlike Tekken 5, this is the highest rank you can reach offline. If you want to progress through the rest of the dan ranks and go even higher, you will have to play online.

Flaw #2. The second player cannot use custom costumes made in the character customization. In offline versus and team match, this can be a little annoying and, when player two selects and uses a default costumed character only to face off against player one’s Eddy Gordo with an afro and pink clothes, they just might feel a little left out. I count this as a very significant flaw because it only favours the first player and shows that Namco neglected putting much effort into local multiplayer, instead opting to make online fighting the main draw.

Flaw #3. The final boss, Azazel, is borderline ridiculous. I really enjoy difficult bosses, but only when they are legitimately difficult. Azazel’s abilities and tactics are questionable at best, and if you fight the beast without using boring and cheap tactics, then you’ll likely find yourself becoming frustrated.

Flaw #4. The graphics. Tekken 6 was originally released in arcades a whooping two years before seeing a console release. In this time span, Tekken 6 went from being a visually amazing fighter to, well, a mediocre looking one. To Tekken 6’s credit, the game does look great in motion due to the animations and stage lighting being absolutely fantastic, but the graphics are overall on the dated side.

These four flaws are actually fairly small. Character rankings really don’t even matter, the lack of 2P customization is nearly forgotten after extensive play sessions, Azazel is rarely fought, and the graphics never dip below average.

Overall, it’s an incredibly solid package and definitely my favourite fighter this generation. There’s lots to do and plenty of unlockables, and the fighting is so intense and rewarding that it never gets old. Tekken 6 is as good as the series gets, making other noteworthy entries in the franchise appear average. Tekken 6 is a Tekken like no other. If you have any interest in Tekken, then this game is a must purchase.

Final Score