I’ve never really understood the appeal of Tekken. I mentioned yesterday that I am a very casual fan of the series, extending to a few bouts with Tekken 3 back in the day, but the only part of the lore I am familiar with is the central family conflict of the Mishima family.
Beyond that, I am totally ignorant.
One reason I think that the series has never really appealed to me is the character designs. Not that Bandai Namco doesn’t make beautiful characters, as it very well can proven by the Unreal Engine 4 renders of the Tekken 7 roster in the gallery above. It’s just that none of them particularly jump out at me as memorable.
When I think Street Fighter, I think about Dhalsim, Blanka, E. Honda, Zangief, Vega, Sagat, Ryu, Chun-Li, and the rest of its immortally charismatic roster of fighters. I am of the belief that too many options of throwaway characters ruins the appeal of Street Fighter rather than adding to it, which is why I don’t buy expansions.
The same goes for Killer Instinct with Spinal, Fulgore, Saberwolf, Glacius, Orchid and Cinder. Bandai Namco’s own SoulCalibur series has Ivy, Seung Mina, Mitsuguri, Sigfried, Voldo and Taki. Mortal Kombat has Scorpion, Sub Zero, Raiden, Liu Kang, Kabal, Sonya and Cyrax. Guilty Gear and BlazBlue are in a league of their own in this regard. Dead or Alive is of course, Dead of Alive, and we all know what is memorable about those games.
Tekken just doesn’t have those memorable faces that even casual fighting fans like myself can recognize. Heihachi and his glorious hairdo is the best I can think of. Not that it is alone in this problem as I also can’t choose a Virtua Fighter character from out of a line-up, but it is something I’ve always felt holds it back. I’m half joking/half serious when I say I can’t distinguish screenshots between the two.
Both franchises seem more loved for their precise, frame-counting gameplay rather than their design, and that’s okay for professional players. Not for “normies” like me.
Tekken 7 will be released in arcades throughout Japan next week on Feb. 18. No official announcements for home console ports yet, but I don’t think we’ll have to wait very long for that.