After months of character reveals, Closed Beta Tests, Closed Network Tests, and all other types of promotion, Tekken 8 has finally arrived with a demo to give everyone access to some of the roster and get a chance to see what they might want to buy come January 26, 2024, for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (Steam).
Minimal Menu, Maximum Options
The first thing you will notice is that Tekken 8 has kept the nice clean menu from Tekken 7, though you might get annoyed with Kazuya’s face scowling at you all the time.
While Tekken 8 borrows heavily from all other menu systems today, with each mode getting its own section for the most part, you can’t help but like the amount of content on offer.
From the outset, as you can see in the image above, you have a bunch of different options available to you from the main menu:
- Story: The Darkness Awakens (Preview of the Story mode)
- Arcade Quest (First location Preview)
- Player vs Player (Local)
- Player vs. CPU (Kinda like Arcade matches)
- Gallery (Story summary videos of Tekken 1 through 7)
Of course, there are more options when you select one of the other sections like Offline, Online, Customisation, Replay, etc. Most of the options repeat from section to section, but it’s neater than most other fighting game menus… Right Street Fighter?
You still have access to your other options, like the Options Menu, where you can change some of the things inside the game, but a lot of it remains locked off as this is a demo.
You also have access to the Accessibility Option Menu, which, at the time of writing, only contains a color blindness changing option. It’s a nice little preview of what Tekken 8 can do to help people who need accessibility options in games. This is a great step forward for gamers of all types.
32 Characters in the Game… You get to choose 4
Character Selection in the Tekken 8 Demo is pretty sparse.
You would think that with 32 characters available to throw into a demo, that 4 characters wouldn’t be the number you would aim for. Hell, even the characters selectable are 4 of the most common characters in the Tekken franchise. You would think that maybe we would get access to one of the new characters or something.
Kazuya, Jin, Paul, and Nina all play like they did in Tekken 7… Which is annoying since there are so many that don’t all play the same way. Sure, Nina and Paul can do some counters, but that’s the only difference between the 4 characters.
It’s a shame that this is what we get so close to the game’s release since even the CBT/CNT demos had some different characters available to use, giving some variety for people to use so they can see what the game has to offer before making a decision of who to main.
The Mishima Saga Continues… Again
In a very surprising surprise, the Tekken 8 Demo gives us a chance to preview the upcoming Story mode.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Story of Tekken (Yes, there is a story), then you are given a chance to go through the Gallery of videos, which will give you a summary of the previous seven games… Mainly the story of the Mishima Family since Tekken doesn’t see a point in telling the story of someone like Law or Paul for example.
After watching a well-animated cutscene of the meeting of Jin and Kazuya in the city, you are thrown into a fight as Jin, against Kazuya. In my playthrough, I beat Kazuya easily in the first round, triggering another cutscene that ended with a two-button decision to make (Either dodge or punish a punch thrown by Kazuya) before going into another fight. Once that one is over, you get one final cutscene that plays out the results of the battle and brings the chapter to an end.
Going into this mode right away might not be a good idea for newcomers to Tekken. Those of us who have played these games since 1994 will have no issue jumping right into the fight, especially Jin players from Tekken 7 since Jin plays the same way he did in the last game.
Arcade Quest: A Better Battle Lobby
Arcade Quest is the newest mode added to Tekken 8. In this mode, you take a custom player chibi model through a storyline based around playing Tekken in Arcades.
Through this mode, you will take a default player model (The customization options are not available in the demo) into a small Arcade called Gong after watching a tournament.
It is here that you can access some tutorial sessions that explain how to play, with a couple of them based around the Heat System being mandatory to continue. From here, you do some random fights by talking to people in the Arcade (much like Street Fighter 6) and ranking up. The mode ends with you accessing the local Tekken 8 tournament, where you will either win or lose, with the result being a nemesis character telling you that you must get stronger and enter the Tekken World Tournament to prove yourself as a Tekken player.
This mode looks like it will be the one that will keep people playing long after the appeal of the Story mode wears off, as it might be possible that these characters can be used online or the player data can be used online… However, this is not confirmed at this time.
After all those Tekken 8 CNT sessions… Nothing?
In one of the weirdest moves, the Tekken 8 Demo has no online mode available at the time of writing. Seeing as there were so many Closed Network Tests leading up to this demo, you would think that this would be the best time to give the online mode one final test before release.
While many other people, including our EIC, Keith Mitchell, are lamenting the absence of the Online mode, I do not care since there is no Oceanic server available for Tekken 8.
Tekken 8: Looking like a Great Way to Enter 2024
You’ll notice that the one thing I have yet to mention is the actual gameplay itself. This is because Tekken 8 is one of the most stable fighting games ever made. Tekken has not changed the core gameplay since the original game on Arcade and PlayStation. Yes, there are additions in Tekken 8 like the new Heat system, which gives you more power for a short time, and the return of the Rage Arts, there isn’t much new here… Except the “Easy mode” from Tekken 7 returns as a “Special System” that acts like the “Modern” mode from Street Fighter 6.
After spending some time with the limited roster that the Tekken 8 Demo presents, I’m still wanting to go back and play more of the game. Hell, that “Do you want to go to the full game purchase screen?” pop-up is looking more and more appealing each time it shows up.
Tekken 8 is looking like a great addition to the huge lineup of fighting games that come around every few years… Till they pump out the Season Pass DLC packs for high prices.
Overall, Tekken 8 is looking good. Sure, there is still some of that Tekken 7 left in the core of the game, but the new aggressive style of fighting works for someone like me who wants to have a good old-fashioned brawl.
Tekken 8 will release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on January 26th, 2024 worldwide. Come back to The Outerhaven around that time for our full review of Tekken 8.