Back in early December, Bandai Namco released the Tekken 8 demo. As of December 14th of last year, PlayStation 5 users were granted the ability to test out the newest entry in the fantastic franchise. This demo features four characters and access to three modes. These are the offline vs. mode, story mode, and the new arcade quest. With four playable characters and a handful of modes available, here are my first impressions of the demo of Bandai Namco’s latest title.
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There are now two stories to be experienced in the world of Tekken. The main story follows the events after Haihachi Mishima was thrown into a volcano by his son, Kazuya. Before jumping in, you can get a quick rundown of everything leading up to that fateful volcano toss. This demo gives us a quick peek as to where things are heading, but to prevent any further spoilers, I will save that for the full-length review. What I will mention, however, is that this story is being presented in a much more exciting way than 7. That game’s story intro was uncharacteristically dull. This time around, the stakes feel higher, and the action is on a grander scale.
The second story is in Arcade Quest. You create a character and follow their story, challenging others in arcades. It appears to follow a similar formula to Street Fighter 6’s World Tour and Battle Hub, but instead of creating abominations or celebrities, you create an avatar for hopping on cabinets. Similar to World Tour, this mode teaches you the ins and outs of Tekken 8. Throughout your experiences, you’ll rise through ranks identical to, well, ranked mode. The demo shows a pretty good amount of fighting mechanics, from the basics to air combos and the new heat mechanic.
New Gameplay Mechanics
Tekken 7 introduced rage arts into the series. These allowed for special and super moves and could turn the tide during battle. A great feature that certainly saved me many times, it has been built upon in T8. Now called the Heat System, T8 adds a lot more depth and options to the special moves and abilities. Now it resides in a meter beneath your health bar, and you can use it at any time during each round. It opens up a whole new can of whoop-ass, bringing moves such as power crush, heat smash, heat burst, and a few others. The focus here is aggression, and Bandai Namco makes it clear with these mechanics. It feels as though Tekken 8 is pushing the franchise forward in the best of ways.
The Tekken 8 demo gets my hopes up high. The fighting feels fluid and well-paced, and the graphics are phenomenal. The single-player modes I got to try to feel like great offerings, and if the rest of the game is anything like them, I’m gonna have a third major fighting game to throw into my rotation. Between Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 last year and Tekken 8 coming out this month, fighting games are on a roll. Here’s to a trifecta of fighting game fun!
Tekken 8 will be released on January 26th on PS5, PC, and Xbox Series. The demo is free on all platforms and is available now!