Geek Preview 'Tekken 8' Makes It Easier Than Ever To Master Fighting Dominance

Geek Preview: ‘Tekken 8’ Makes It Easier Than Ever To Master Fighting Dominance

It is never easy to dip your toes into something new, much less a series that has been going on for nearly two decades, but for players hoping to test the waters with Tekken 8 early in 2024, things are shaping up to be very welcoming. After spending a couple of hours being put through the paces as well as speaking to Project Producer Michael Murray and Game Director Kohei Ikeda, we are more confident than ever that Tekken 8 is the perfect starting point for newcomers.

There are a couple of aspects to this, starting off with the new Special Style control scheme that can be toggled on at any given time during a fight. It has been designed for players to focus specifically on timing and spacing between fighters while giving easy access to signature combos and juggles that can deliver flashy action on screen.

Once players get those fundamentals down, it will serve as a great base to start learning each character deeply, and our time spent with it definitely opened our eyes to the possibilities when it comes to all the fighters.

“As you’re using Special Style and playing, you’ll gradually gain an understanding of why people like Tekken so much, and hopefully, at the same time, find a character that you resonate with out of those 32,” Murray shared. Yet, many would worry that this could be a tool that ruins competitive play, but that is not going to be the case. First off, as Ikeda said, players using Special Style would be “limited in your moveset,” but crucially, moves “don’t come out at their fastest frame,” so for everyone else who knows the same moves by heart, they are going to have a speed advantage.

The learning journey doesn’t stop there; Tekken 8 also boasts several more engaging modes that further strengthen your ability to stand up for yourself in the fight. Arcade Quest is definitely worth checking out, a hybrid offline-online mode that sees players jump into a metagame of sorts, using an avatar to explore arcades and take part in Tekken tournaments, all while learning battle knowledge and techniques that are used by the pros.

Central to this mode is Super Ghost Battle, bouts against AI ghosts that utilise what is termed Q-learning, which sees its learning players’ moves and replicates them with lifelike consistency and accuracy. If you ever wanted to fight against one of the developers or even the pros, this is where you can test your mettle and derive strategies to counter them.

“There’s kind of a hurdle between learning through the Story mode and the base of how the mechanics work, and then actually jumping online and fighting against other players. So this time around, we started developing an all-new AI system in which it recreates a ghost character of an opponent,” Murray continued.

Tekken 8 Azucena

“And it learns and fights quite like a human. So that’s kind of a nice little buffer between enjoying the story and then jumping online against other people. So rather than going straight into the shark tank, you can kind of practice against these ghost opponents until you’re ready to fight human opponents.”

The stronger players get, the stronger their ghosts will get as well, mimicking the progression of someone getting better and better at Tekken 8, and setting them up for more success in the competitive space. To round it all up, more work can be done in My Replay & Tips, a frankly revolutionary addition that is impressive, to say the least.

All battles in Arcade Quest, Super Ghost Battle, and Versus mode between human players will recorded, and the fight history can be reviewed at any time, dropping players into past fights with precious advice to improve their technique and execution. Although it may seem like overkill for the casual player, this is a big game-changer for those hoping to make the next step up. Add in Practice Mode, where there are combo challenges and situational replays, and the Tekken curriculum becomes even more comprehensive.

And while gameplay can always be refreshed and iterated on, the story of this franchise is the most daunting and intricate of webs that need to be unravelled, something that the development team is well aware of.

“So there are various ways that people can get caught up in the story,” explained Murray. “There’s a gallery mode in which you can see movies that kind of concisely explain what happened during Tekken 1 through 7. We also had in Tekken 7 something similar. But then once you do get your hands on Tekken 8, obviously, playing through the story and the character episodes for each character will give you a better idea of that character’s personality and motivations for the tournament.”

“And then also, depending on certain pairings of characters at the beginning of the match, when they meet up, and they say a certain spoken line, it actually changes depending on if they have a certain relationship with that appointment or not. So that will give you kind of an idea of the dynamics between the different characters in the Tekken universe, and what kind of characters there are and what their motivations are.”

With Azucena and Victor Chevalier already revealed, Reina is the newest face on the block, and she comes with plenty of intrigue, further complicating the dynamics of the established characters in Tekken 8.

This is a fighter who possesses a mixture of traits and a personality to match her prowess in combat, able to be ruthless and manipulative, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. The developers are keen for players to discover more while playing the main Story mode, as it will dive deeper into who Reina really is, and possibly give us an understanding of why, for some reason, she appears to be using the Mishima way of fighting.

Even after so many years, the Tekken series continues to find new ways to reinvent itself, giving its most ardent fans more to look forward to in story, character development, and more ways to improve the main highlights of fighting in one-on-one battles. Whether you are a veteran or a newcomer, the stage is set for one of the more explosive entries in the entire series, and that is certainly a great way to kick off the year. 24 January just cannot come soon enough.