Our initial reaction to the announcement of Tekken 8 was, “What could Bandai Namco possibly do to make another Tekken feel new?
That’s not a criticism of the franchise; instead, it is evidence of how outstanding Tekken 7 has been for the previous eight years.
There’s a reason why Tekken 7 is a mainstay in the fighting game world; it’s the most sophisticated 3D fighter yet, and there’s nothing quite like some good-ass Tekken. Even so, there’s always potential for improvement, and after spending a few hours playing a preview build of Tekken 8, it was instantly apparent how the series may move in a daring new path.
It still boasts a large cast of characters, each with a distinctive fighting style and depth of moves. The most recent console generation’s improved visual fidelity and eye-catching embellishments have made it even prettier.
However, the main gameplay elements, particularly the Heat system and Special Style, as well as modest modifications that encourage aggressive play, are where you’ll find most of the novelty.
Increasing The Heat System
The gameplay of Tekken has undergone a significant alteration because of the Heat system.
Every fighter on the Tekken 8 roster now has access to a brand-new gameplay element called Heat, which lets you use it once per round to unlock new strikes, create chances for wild combinations, and improve your character’s standard moveset.
Consider it as an additional meter that can provide you with an advantage by enabling you to take a more aggressive stance; nevertheless, the nuances of managing the Heat system skillfully are where the game becomes more challenging.
A single button press launches the attack known as Heat Burst, which triggers the Heat state and adds one stock to the Heat gauge. If the attack succeeds, you receive a spectacular little move that creates a chance for a combo, and even if your opponent blocks it, it at least temporarily knocks them out.
However, more intricate, character-specific maneuvers called Heat Engagers also trigger Heat and add two stocks to your gauge.
Heat Engagers can be followed by a Heat Dash (using one Heat stock), which will send your character sprinting toward the opposition and allow you to begin a lengthy combo. You can still utilize a Heat Dash to close the gap and exert pressure even if the Heat Engager is blocked.
Finally, there is the Heat Smash, which will use up all of your remaining Heat and Stock in return for a potent assault similar to a super or EX move found in other fighting games.
You’ll have access to various alternatives when in the Heat state, but they are only a few.
Gaining the upper hand also requires more passive effects. Heat can alter a move’s characteristics or enhance specific assaults so they deal greater damage.
When Jun has Heat active, for instance, this trait is neutralized, letting you utilize her powerful attacks without suffering consequences. Xiaoyu also gains access to more destructive combo strings, King gains impregnable throws, and Kazuya enters Devil mode.
These are but a few illustrations of how each character plays even more distinctively and leans more heavily on their unique fighting techniques to add new depth and variety to Tekken’s brawls.
Director of the Tekken series Katsuhiro Harada sees this as an additional technique to entice people to learn characters they might not otherwise play.
Due to the variations in the Heat systems for each character, “[players] will] start off with their main, but they’ll see the [command] list and see what makes another character more unique in a Heat state that they’ll gradually want to try other characters as well, and we think it will induce that exploration,” the developers said.
High-level players will need to consider this when fighting particular characters and attempting to understand their opponents because it adds another element to the game.
The Heat System Replaced Rage Drive From Tekken 7
Heat is made to allow players greater control over how to use their character throughout a match rather than when they are low on life, even though they have some similarities (although each character still has Rage Arts at low health, which is now a unified command input).
Thus, Heat is more of a layer that alters the match’s flow and creates new opportunities for competitive play than a comeback mechanic.
A Particular Approachability
In Tekken 8, there is also a feature known as Special Style, as if the additions above and modifications weren’t enough to liven things up. It’s a streamlined control system that allows beginners to perform powerful attacks and interesting combos with shorter button input strings.
Similar features can be found in several fighting games, such as the Stylish mode in Guilty Gear Xrd or the Modern control scheme in Street Fighter 6. The Special Style in Tekken 8 differs from previous versions in that it may be switched on and off immediately during combat.
You can switch between regular controls and Special Style at any time by pressing L1 or LB; it doesn’t require any frames or animations. These control methods can be combined and matched as part of your strategy during a match.
Preparing For The Upcoming Battle
Although Tekken 8’s new features aren’t particularly novel for fighting games as a whole, they add a whole new aspect to the series and the game’s fundamental gameplay that has the potential to alter the dynamics of competitive play.
After a few hours of playing the preview build, we instantly felt the developers’ intention to play aggressively, nudging us in that direction. It’s the Tekken we’re all familiar with and enjoy, but with a few extra abilities that keep each match moving forward.
We needed to spend more time in the lab exploring the Heat system’s full potential, understanding my old favourite, Jun, or getting to know Xiaoy again. Sadly, the release date for Tekken 8 is still unknown, but when it comes, it will be made accessible on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
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