Tekken was released on September 21, 1994… Almost 30 years later, we see the release of Tekken 8, the latest entry into the long-running series featuring one of the most dysfunctional families in fighting game history. Does Tekken 8 finally end the bad blood between Fathers and Sons, or are things only worsening here? Find out in The Outerhaven’s Tekken 8 review for the PC.
Name: Tekken 8
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, PC (reviewed), Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios & Arika
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Game Type: Fighting
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
Release Date: January 26, 2024
The End of the Devil Bloodline?
Tekken 8 Story Summary – (Chapters 1-3) SPOILERS
Story Review – Some Vague Spoilers
Editorial Note: If you read the summary above, you’ll notice that coverage stopped at the end of Chapter 3, this is by the request of Namco-Bandai in regards to giving too much information about the story out before release. There are 15 chapters in total in the Story mode.
Tekken 8’s story starts in a good place, keeping things going from the end of Tekken 7‘s story mode and bringing the stakes up to a fever pitch by the time you have finished the game’s 15 chapters (Around 3 hours of game time, including cutscenes). For the majority of the time, you will be playing as Jin since he is the main character of the whole story. You do get a chance to play other characters through the story, but not enough to make them worth getting into, as they are more along the lines of cameo fights than anything else.
When it comes to fighting vs. watching, you’re going to be on a 40-60 split, so you might want to sit back while going through the story mode, but you can’t stay off guard completely as Tekken 8 is one of the last games around to use buttons during quick time events while you are watching some sequences. These aren’t annoying until you forget about them and have one suddenly pop up during a scene.
While you do spend a majority of the story mode playing in one-on-one fights as the story dictates through character interactions, there is a small homage to Tekken Force mode from Tekken 3/4 where you will be in a 3D battlefield facing off against waves of opponents, which breaks things up a bit. Most of the time, you will be fighting in the typical fighting game style, sometimes against the same opponent multiple times to keep the story moving… A spoiler here: the final battle has 10 rounds involved against the final boss of the game. I was yelling, “I’m done! No more fighting! Just end the story!” by the time I finished that final battle.
Another Story, Starring YOU!
For the first time in the Tekken series, there is a second smaller story-based mode included in Tekken 8, called Arcade Quest. Here, you are the star of the show as you go through the motions of being a Tekken novice (though with major skills since you are no actual novice), fighting your way to becoming the King of Iron Fist, the ultimate Tekken player. You’ll go from Arcade to Arcade, doing missions and just training yourself to fight in tournaments, all of which will lead to a rivalry with Orochi, the current Tekken champ.
Arcade Quest is mainly used to do two things: Unlock costume parts and unlock the Super Ghost mode. You’ll be fighting Ghosts of different ranks and skill levels, most of which will ignore any preset game difficulties and just throw whatever they want into the mix. If you stick to the assigned missions, then you’ll have a good moderate level of challenge, but beware, if you stray to challenge other people in the Arcade, the game will not hesitate to throw challenges at you that you might not be prepared for. I got stuck on a Fang player’s Ghost that just blocked and countered me into oblivion, to the point I almost smashed my first controller in over 15 years.
I’m no newbie when it comes to Tekken games, but getting string combo’d to death over and over in the first chapter of the game is not what I would call enjoyable. So once I got through most of Arcade Quest, I was more than happy to quit out of the mode and go back to playing Online. If I’m going to get destroyed, I’d rather it be by a real human player than a pre-programmed Ghost that AI learning created to cheat.
Striking 10-Hit Visuals.
Tekken 8 is visually amazing. While you might be mistaken for thinking this is Tekken 7 with a new coat of paint, there is a lot more going on that you might not know about. Tekken 8 is the first fighting game that uses the Epic Games Unreal 5 engine, with all the character models getting a complete overhaul in terms of looks… and it shows.
Muscles bulge and shine, clothing has a texture that matches real-life options (Cosplayers will love the attention to detail here), hair flows smoothly, and sweat flies off with every connecting hit. The motion of the fighters is silky smooth, with little to no screen tearing or motion blur, even at higher settings.
The backgrounds in Tekken 8 have also increased in quality. While not as busy as something like the backgrounds in Street Fighter 6 or Mortal Kombat 1, the backgrounds here are still packed with detail, and the movement of background characters or crowds runs smoothly, keeping the frame rate nearly constantly locked during gameplay… Except…
A word about the PC version.
We got our review code for PC thanks to the lovely people at Namco-Bandai. So, at the time of writing, we do not know if there are any issues with the console copies of Tekken 8. However, on PC, there several times when the framerate went from a steady 60 fps to sometimes sub 20fps at the time (as seen in our video review), mostly during the transition from cutscenes to actual gameplay or from introduction moments to gameplay. At these times, the game would slow down so much that the audio desync was very noticeable to the point where it was annoying.
That being said, the frame rate issues could be caused by different factors:
- NVIDIA hasn’t released compatible drivers at the time of writing
- The game might require more than an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
- Recording video via OBS on the same system eats up resources
- My PC didn’t handle things as well as promised via PC benchmarking sites
As much as we would like to say there are issues with the PC version, we can’t prove these issues until after the game is released publically, patches are released, and we can compare it to an Xbox or PlayStation version. Also, the frame rate data was supplied via the in-game fps option, not an external fps checker.
One small good thing about the graphic options with Tekken 8 is that the PC version supports widescreen monitors, which I am very happy about as a new widescreen monitor owner. However, the HUDs are still locked at the 16:9 resolution styles, which does help for video capture but at the same time does not show the full glory of what Tekken 8 can show graphically, which is why my screenshots in this review are done widescreen.
Tekken 8 Times the Fighting.
With Tekken 8, the gameplay falls somewhere between button-mashing newbies and skilled masters; sometimes, you will find things like King’s Tekken 2 chain wrestling combo (Gory Bomb into German Suplex into Atomic Drop into Spinning Sit-Out Powerbomb into Giant Swing or Muscle Buster), which were a pain to do the inputs back then, is not just something you can button mash your way through. Other times, you must have frame-perfect timing to do something like a basic 5-hit combo, let alone master the 10-hit combo.
That being said, the main offline gameplay of Tekken 8 is still a blast to go through in the standard Arcade Mode. In this mode, you will play through 8 standard matches against computer-controlled characters before facing off against Devil Kazuya as the mode’s final boss. Most matches are over the standard best of three-round matches, with two winning rounds moving you to your next opponent.
After playing Arcade Quest for a while, you unlock Super Ghost Battle, where you get to play against a stream of programmed Ghost characters, some of which are Ghosts of some top Tekken Pros. This mode ranges from easy as hell to impossible, just like in the Arcade Quest. If you want a challenge outside of Arcade Quest or Online Lobbys, then this is where you will find it.
When going online, you are presented with Tekken Lobby, a roamable lobby system much like Street Fighter 6. In this mode, you can customize your character in a clothing shop-style area, practice in the Tekken Dojo, or face off against other players in the Arcade Lobby.
Fighting online isn’t too bad. Sadly, while I was reviewing the game, there were not that many players online during our review period. There were multiple lobbies/servers available for me to use and play on. Seeing people running around is pretty cool, and getting a free machine to start a battle is a flashback to the glory days of the arcades. When in battle, this is where Rollback Netcode shines if you are using wired ethernet, but not so much if you’re trying to play via Wi-Fi. In some battles, where the ping was over 300ms between me and my opponent, everything was smooth with zero frame drops during battle… It’s a shame my skills weren’t better when playing online.
Online battles have been handled extremely well and will be the way to improve skills before tournaments. It seems all those Network Testing builds were worth the time – And this time, Namco-Bandai also included an Oceanic Server! Hurray for small miracles!
The customization section works in combination with the online and offline modes. It is here that you can do three things:
- Customize an outfit for any fighter
- Customize an outfit for your Arcade Quest avatar
- Customize our Player Profile Card
Most of the customization mode will be spent looking at the somewhat limited outfits you have for your character, with some of them locked behind specific Ghost Data fights, clearing Arcade Quest missions, or using G-Coins, the game’s currency. Unlike other games, there is no premium currency to buy with actual cash, which is a good thing after some of the things that other companies have done recently, as getting G-Coins comes from doing anything in the main game at a rate that makes grinding feel like it accomplishes something.
The only drawback I had with the customization mode is that all the costumes and outfits you can buy with G-Coins are the same and locked for each character. So unlocking a headband for Kazuya doesn’t mean it unlocks for all characters, leaving you to buy the same item for each character. This gets annoying, and nothing feels unique because of it. A wider and more unique outfit lineup would have made this mode into something worth unlocking over time. I also miss the New Japan Pro Wrestling/Bullet Club collaboration outfits that were present in Tekken 7. Also, you cannot change your name if the servers are down.
Finally, we have the return of Tekken Ball. This mode makes a welcome return for the first time since Tekken 3.
For those unfamiliar with Tekken Ball, the mode is a simple ball juggling mode where you hit a ball of various styles into your opponent to do damage, with the ball resetting should it hit the ground, also doing damage in whatever side it falls into. This simple mode is a blast to play as it teaches you how to perform specific moves to do maximum damage while building power over time. Tekken Ball will give many hours of fun against the right opponent, probably a human one.
Tekken 8: Harada was on Some Good Stuff
If there is one thing that Tekken 8 is not lacking, it’s options of things to do. If you are not a fan of going online and facing off against people in your server cluster, then you can play Story Mode with additional character chapters, Arcade Mode, Arcade Quest, Ghost Data, Tekken Ball, or practice your skills. Online adds standard and ranked matches for you to access and use as well. All of this combined will keep Tekken players going for a long time to come.
It doesn’t matter if you are a casual Tekken player, a hardcore eSports tournament fighter looking to go to EVO or a first-time Tekken newcomer, there is something for everyone with Tekken 8. While I would advise caution for PC players as there might be a chance that the issues we had with our review copy remain once the game releases retail, I don’t say the same for console players as that will be where most of you will buy the game.
Also, beware of the DLC, as Season 1 (of probably three or more if Tekken 7 is an example) only has four fighters, with one revealed, Eddie Gordo, at the time of writing. However, Namco-Bandai likes to sneak a few extras into its Season Pass DLC over time to keep the masses entertained, so it might be better than anything CAPCOM offers with Street Fighter 6.
Overall, Tekken 8 is a solid fighting game that will be the cornerstone of the fighting game community as Tekken has been since its inception in 1994. Thirty years on, Tekken is still the King of the Iron Fist.
Review Disclosure Statement: Tekken 8 was provided to us by Namco-Bandai for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy.
Tekken 8 is a solid outing for the Unreal 5 engine, using it to improve the already impressive graphics we had with Tekken 7. The gameplay is solid with a lot of modes for you to play for hours on end. However, PC users should be warned that there are possibly frame rate issues with their version. If these issues are patched, then Tekken 8 will be the best fighting game on the market.
- Lots of Online and Offline options
- A huge roster to choose from
- Tekken Ball mode is a lot of fun
- Some battles in Arcade Quest can be frustratingly cheap
- Customization mode needs more outfits
- Frame Rate issues with the PC version