Players Need To Understand That Tekken 8 Is Not Tekken 7.5

Many pro players and franchise veterans have made it clear that they're having difficulty adapting to the offense-focused playstyle.

Story Highlights

  • Tekken 8 is a lot different from any other Tekken game in the past.
  • Many legacy skills that people have developed over the years don’t carry over to Tekken 8.
  • Tekken 8’s aggressiveness-focused style takes a long time to get used to but is also incredibly beginner-friendly.

Ever since the initial announcement of Tekken 8 back in Sony’s September 2022 State of Play presentation, many fans have assumed that Tekken 8 would be a direct successor to Tekken 7 in more ways than one. While it might’ve been partially true, Tekken 8 instead takes a step away from many legacy traditions that have been part of the franchise for over a decade.

It has been a few months since Bandai Namco launched Tekken 8 on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X. The game quickly made it clear that the experience and tendencies the franchise veterans had cultivated for over a decade wouldn’t be of much use here as the game director, Katsuhiro Harada, had expressed on many occasions that this game was all about aggressiveness, unlike past Tekken games.

The fact that Tekken 8 is so different from the past games in the franchise has the fans divided. While the newer, fresher audience loves the game, the people who have been playing Tekken for years find adapting incredibly challenging. Furthermore, even the pros find it difficult to adapt to the changes Tekken 8 brings and haven’t been shy about voicing their opinions on X/Twitter.

Tekken 8 heavily emphasizes aggressiveness, while Tekken 7 and any other past Tekken game significantly favored defensive gameplay. You could play the entire game by backdashing or spacing away from your opponent and punishing their mistakes instead of making a guess like in other fighting games. Every offensive tool had a clear counter-play that the player could use to completely render the attack useless and punish the opponent for using it.

This is exactly the strategy used by many pro players, and defensive gameplay was the primary reason behind their success in past Tekken iterations. However, in Tekken 8, the heat mechanic and many other moves are powered up to the extent that the opponent is left with no options other than guessing.

The lack of counterplay and the heavy emphasis on aggressiveness and chip damage make it so that the opponent can’t keep defending the entire game, and this has left many pro players and franchise veterans in a difficult position where they find it extremely challenging to adapt when faced with a guessing mix-up.

On the contrary, the fresh audience seems to love the game all the more for the exact same reasons. To be clear, the players that are new to Tekken 8 are taking less time to adjust and improve compared to the players that are coming from past games, and that is primarily because they have to rewire their brains for the new aggression-focused playstyle and it isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when you’ve been playing for years.

Tekken 8 Changes Things For Good

While Tekken 8 might not be the same as its sequel, it is definitely the best the franchise has to offer yet. Just because the game isn’t catering so much to veterans doesn’t mean the game is bad. We’ll be seeing the same people complaining about the game praise it in the future once they’ve adapted to it.

Tekken has always been a difficult franchise for new players to get into, and Tekken 8 changes that. I’ve never seen as many new players try out a Tekken game and genuinely have fun as they do with Tekken 8, and it’s very wholesome. Yes, as a long-time player, it does slightly upset me that some of the legacy skills I’ve developed didn’t exactly jump over to Tekken 8, but it is alright. I’ll get there and adapt to it eventually, and I’m pretty sure other players might have the same mindset.

Furthermore, watching high-level pro games is finally a lot more fun. We’re now watching actual action instead of both players trying to dash away from each other and throwing a small attack before going back to defending again. That sort of playstyle doesn’t work anymore; you either have to attack or lose the game.

One thing I’d have to point out is that some characters are obviously overpowered, and it’s not fun watching everyone in a tournament play the same 3 SSS tier characters. But yes, the game is still fresh, and we might get to see some balance changes coming to Tekken following EVO Japan, the first major tournament since Tekken 8’s launch, which is set to start on April 27.

Marshall Law, from Tekken 8.
Marshall Law, from Tekken 8.

Takeaway

Tekken has always been a very complex game, and Tekken 8 is no different. Yes, it favors new players and disregards legacy knowledge, but that doesn’t make it a bad game. I still wouldn’t want to go back to Tekken 7 even if I were to get paid for it, and I’m sure I am not the only one who thinks that way. 

It’s extremely difficult to rewire your brain trying to get rid of decade-long habits, but it definitely isn’t impossible. Every player that we see complaining about the game should understand the fact that Tekken 8 is different, and Tekken has always been about adapting; if you’re good enough, you’ll improvise and adapt; that’s the lesson you get from the game.

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Fahad is a news reporter at eXputer with a huge passion for fighting games. For the past year, he has been utilizing his skills to report on the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Side by side with his bachelor's in computer science, Fahad has also acquired a certification in English for Journalism from Coursera. Fahad now dedicates all his time to either playing video games or reporting news at eXputer.

Experience: 1+ Years || Covers News Stories at eXputer || Bachelor's in Computer Science.

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