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Tekken 8 Review — Return of the King?

Is Tekken back to take its throne as the king of all fighters? Check out our review of Tekken 8.

Jeremy Proome

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Whether you’re a newcomer or a longtime fan of the Iron Fist Tournament, Tekken 8 is a stellar fighting game that ramps up the bombastic elements for a more cinematic experience, but maintains the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master approach to its fighting mechanics, with a few new tricks thrown into the mix.

One of the standout features of any Tekken game is the sheer diversity of how each character functions and fights, and Tekken 8 takes that to new heights. While some games tend to have pretty similar fighters on the roster, Tekken 8 has some pretty varied personalities to take control of. From fighting as the iconic Jin Kazama or using the wrestling strengths of King, to jumping into the furry paws of Panda (yup, a real kung-fu panda) or capitalising on the taekwondo speed of Hwoarang, Tekken has always delivered a different experience, and three new fighters — Azucena, Victor, and Reina — add some interesting new styles to tinker around with.

Furthermore, Tekken 8 ramps up the customisation element, as you can change different cosmetics on your character, making them look a little more ‘unique’ to your particular experience, which is pretty neat.

The fights themselves are as brutal as ever, with punches landing with fantastic flair and impact to enemy animations, and some extra pazazz has been added to more acrobatic moves, swinging the camera around to emphasise the impact and damage being done. For those who loved Tekken’s more weighty fighting over something like Mortal Kombat, this hasn’t been tampered with, and even the fleet-footed of fighters deliver bone-crunching shots that make landing a tricky combo extremely satisfying.

On top of the general fighting modes, you get a campaign to play through that continues the admittedly convoluted Tekken story. If you haven’t been keeping up to scratch on what’s happening in the world of Tekken, a filler is probably needed, and thankfully there are some catch-up videos in the game’s gallery. But if you want to just wing it (there is a lot to absorb), you do get some pretty well-animated cut-scenes and dialogue moments that hype up the long-running rivalries, adding some fuel to the battles even if you have no idea why a katana-wielding ninja is fighting a bear.

Ultimately, you know what you’re getting with Tekken, which isn’t a bad thing as the quality of the series is just so damn high. Tekken 8 looks gorgeous running in Unreal Engine 5, the backgrounds and character models are vividly colourful and beautifully animated, and the fighting is as brutal and technical as ever. Tekken 8 packs the core game with a ton of characters, content, and love; which is rare in a market obsessed with post-launch padding.

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Tekken 8 is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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