3D fighting games are not as popular or numerous as 2D fighting games. There are likely several fighting game players who haven’t touched a Tekken game since the early 2000s, and other series like Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive are stagnant because they haven’t released a new game in years.
If there’s one 3D game that has the ability to cross over and pull in 2D players, it’s Tekken 7. Although it has technically been out for a few years, the official worldwide console/PC release has been successful so far, with tournament registration and sales numbers to back it up.
The increased interest in Tekken makes it even more frustrating that the game has no tutorial to help new players learn the game. The closest Tekken 7 gets to a tutorial is in the Mishima Saga story mode. Some fights will display one or two tips on the bottom left corner of the screen. “Hold back to block”. “Hold down to crouch”.
But these tips disappear shortly into the story mode, and many concepts are left unexplained. Tips will occasionally appear in loading screens, but there is no database to revisit them. Keep a notepad handy.
The next step is to look at your movelist in Training Mode. Scrolling through this, you can quickly see which moves are screw attacks, which moves hit sidestepping opponents, and your armored Power Crush attack.
But you’re still just looking at the move’s effect on a dummy, not what makes it useful. You have a Rage Drive and a Rage Art, but aren’t given the context as to why you would ever use the Drive instead. From the perspective of a new player, Rage Art is stronger because it does more damage, right?
In a game where most tournament commentary consists of people constantly telling us the frame data, why is there no frame data accessible in the game?
The option to display your movelist in game is flawed. In Dead or Alive 5 and Guilty Gear Xrd’s Command Training, an indicator flashes on screen to let you know you executed a move properly. You can also set an option to automatically move to the next attack, or repeat the current one until you feel comfortable. Smaller games got it right, and the premier 3D fighting game should be able to do the same.
In Tekken 7, you can watch a demo of the move. You have to compare your attack to the demo to see if you did it properly. There is no confirmation that you did it, and no automatic progression to the next move.
The training mode is robust, but some things are confusing compared to other fighting games. Many games have a “1 hit guard/guard after 1st attack” setting to test combos: the first hit will count but the opponent will block everything else if it was not a true combo.
In Tekken 7, you must do this:
CPU Opponent Action 1: Stand
CPU Opponent Action 2: Guard All
To get a “guard after 1st attack” setting. I didn’t even understand how that worked until I looked up a guide online. There’s also no easy option to see how to break throws, leaving players to experiment or research online when it comes to escaping command throws or chain throws.
Tekken 7 has multiple ways to get up off the ground after being knocked down, but with no tutorial it’s difficult to know how to do any of them. If you ground tech, you can hit a punch button to roll into the background or a kick button to roll into the foreground. But if you’re already lying down, you press Left Punch to roll into the background and Down+Left Punch to roll into the foreground. Kicks do different things now.
Again, I had no idea how that worked until watching a tutorial. And this is deadly for new players, because if you aren’t waking up properly you can basically get stomped to death before you can stand up and reset the situation to neutral.
Remember, single player content matters when engaging new players. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t!
Having combo strings makes it easy for new players to pick someone who looks cool, mash 1, 2, 3 or 2,3 or roll your face on the pad (if you’re Eddy/Lucky Chloe) and maybe even pick up some wins online. The combo system feels natural and intuitive from the start, while deep enough to allow players to build if they seek outside resources.
But the issue is requiring outside resources. The game won’t explain to you how Rage mode works, the difference between Rage Drive and Rage Art, when you should sidestep, the numerous wakeup options when you’re knocked down, how to use certain training mode features, how to break throws, how to break command throws, or when to block low vs. high.
I am enjoying Tekken 7 a lot and got 9th place at a local tournament recently (there’s proof, don’t @ me: http://challonge.com/cfgTekken7_01/) (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRSuhxXhTziYR2IGVam4AFz_8u2c-9-p6) I’m looking forward to playing more and improving. I’m just frustrated that the game has no way to teach new players because Tekken 7 is excellent and I want everyone to try it.
If you’re interested in learning Tekken 7, bookmark these pages for tips and system mechanics.
Basic How To Play Guide at Tekken.com:
Video Tutorials for Beginners and Intermediates by AvoidingThePuddle:
Video Tutorials by KingJae:
A Street Fighter Player’s Guide to Tekken by jmcrofts:
The Top 15 Moves for Tekken 7 Characters by Drunkard Shade:
Combo Guides from LegendaryMihawk:
Every Character’s Strengths and Weaknesses by Fergus:
TekkenChicken Frame Data App:
Tekken Zaibatsu Discord: