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Tekken 8: A Spectacular Fighting Game Package for Long Time Enthusiasts and Casuals Alike 

Over a year after its announcement, The Iron Fist Tournament has made a sensational return with Tekken 8. This latest installment has been developed on twice the budget of its predecessor and the astounding leap in graphics, sound, modes, and gameplay mechanics, reflecting monumental advancements for this franchise.


Overall, Tekken 8 offers exhilarating combat for long-time enthusiasts, casuals, and everything in between and has set a resounding new standard for the expectations gamers should have with fighting games.


Central to this package are its two story driven campaigns: “The Dark Awakens” and “Character Episodes.” The first takes players on through a 4-hour interactive narrative filled with one-on-one action sequences, cutscenes, and quick time events. “The Dark Awakens” could be likened to a fan-service movie, containing a surface level narrative with lots of flashy action sequences, cameos, short dialogue sequences that will excite the longtime fans and provide suitable entertainment to those being introduced to the series. It does not have the ominous atmosphere of Tekken 4’s story, or the iconic cutscenes of Tekken 5, but it retains the delightful mix of colorful humor and anime inspired grandeur the series is known for.


The character stories are also enjoyable. It takes players through an arcade mode style tournament ladder where they face off against five different opponents, after which players can unlock the exclusive pre-rendered cutscene of the character they chose. All these character endings are meticulously well rendered and exciting to be sure. It is a massive improvement from Tekken 7’s “Mishima Saga”, which used a monotonal narrator, dull pictures, and in-game cutscenes to most of its story.


On a competitive level, Tekken has distinguished itself as the most difficult fighting game franchise on the planet; this time however, the developers have simultaneously made this entry more accessible and more strategically varied.


Unlike other competitive fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, Tekken is a 3D fighting game meaning that players must adjust strategy against a greater set of variables. On defense certain moves can be blocked while others must be “side-stepped” by moving into the background or foreground of the screen. Conversely, on offense, players must anticipate their opponent’s next move depending on their position on both the x and z axis, adjusting their combos accordingly once they have successfully landed a move that launches the opposing character into the air.


These aspects of Tekken are merely the surface of its depth and previous entries have been very intimidating to newcomers. Luckily, however, Tekken 8 has added features that make these challenges more approachable and rewarding for a casual audience.  The newly implemented “special style” enables beginners to string together basic combos by simply mashing a single button, and the newly implemented mode “Arcade Quest” takes players through tutorials with an in-game companion, Max, who can answer questions at any time. There are also a set of “combo challenges” with progressively more difficult button combinations, which enable players to learn characters more quickly.


While featuring a smaller roster than Tekken 7, characters have been re-designed visually and mechanically in a way that makes each feel fresh to long-time fans. With only three newcomers, the roster is visibly smaller. Luckily, the three characters making their debut (Reina, Victor Chevalier, and Azucena) are each beautifully realized and thrilling to play. Returning favorites like Kazuya, Bryan, Nina, Lili, Paul, Jin, Law, Leroy, and Raven have also been treated to a massive revamp. The new “heat system” allows players of all characters to access a variety of super-charged moves and to apply greater offensive pressure for a brief time. The tempo of gameplay has also received a massive boost with buffs to characters’ forward movement. These changes create a much more active fighting experience that encourages players to attack rather than wait for their opponent to take the first move.


In summary, Tekken 8 is an astounding achievement that is well worth its asking price. The electrifying gameplay and features available in this installment will audiences across all gaming platforms for years to come.


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