We played the Tekken 8 Beta! Here is what you can expect from the next entry in the legendary fighting game series.
The Tekken 8 Beta was only around for three days, but somehow we still managed to clock in around 25 hours across PC and PlayStation 5. And the moment those servers shut down until a potential open beta or the release in January of 2024, I'll be longing for more.
Tekken 8 is simply some good-ass Tekken now that Tekken 7 is slowly getting stale. With a stellar roster, new mechanics, and a massive visual update this might be the best shape the series has ever been in. But let's start from the top.
Tekken 8 Beta Impressions
Compared to the last Network test earlier this year, Tekken 8's roster has received a bit of an update. Now Feng Wei and Raven will once against join the King of the Iron Fist tournament, followed by newcomer Azucena a coffee peddling Mixed Martial Artist from Peru.
Azucena feels like an excellent addition to the roster while Feng Wei and Raven either retained or upgraded their arsenal from previous iterations.
For the uninitiated, characters don't tend to change that much between entries in Tekken. They'll get some adjustments on top of the new game mechanics but largely stay the same, besides some changes in frame data.
This is why your usual Tekken game debuts with a large roster of characters from the start with more being added throughout its lifecycle. Tekken 8 will be released with 32 characters, in comparison to Street Fighter VI which launched with only 18 characters, most of which have only a quarter of the moves your standard Tekken characters have available.
So what about Tekken 8 then? If you played Tekken 7 you'll feel right at home. the new Heat mechanics will change things up, however. In every round players have one bar of Heat available to them which can be used to enter a special state that deals chip damage, extra movement, or a powerful attack.
Since your usual Tekken round tends to fly by really fast, the decision of when to use your Heat becomes very interesting. Do you use it at the start of the round to exude pressure or do you keep it to get out of a sticky situation later? It's a very fun mechanic even if its use is somewhat limited but it suits Tekken's frantically paced back and forths.
Boasting the Unreal Engine 5, Tekken 8 might become one of the prettiest games out there. Sure its textures aren't as high-res as some other titles, but seeing the muscles of your characters bulge while clutter is flying across the stage is a sight to behold esüecoaööyinsane attention to detail the series has always been known for.
The Fight Lounge
More and more Fighting Games seem to adopt the concept of a lounge where multiple players from a region can meet up, hang out, and match up with each other. Tekken 8's Fight Lounge is just the latest of these where you hang out in a pseudo arcade with cutesy chibi characters and challenge each other to battle.
During the beta, the training facility and Tekken ball were not available yet but it does give off a cozy vibe compared to the more sterile look of Street Fighter VI's battle hub. If there was only one complaint, it's that you couldn't match up one-on-one with other players by simply talking to them. You had to find an empty machine which was pretty tough during peak hours.
Rollback Netcode is the golden standard in all Fighting Games and Tekken 8 seems to embrace that as well. It's solid, but not as good as SF6 but considering how much more complex Tekken it is a big step forward from Tekken 7 and the Closed Network test from earlier this year.
We could even match up coast to coast (Europe to North America) with a decent ping and very playable rollback. A small issue we encountered was large with PC players on much weaker machines. Rollback tends to adjust for players that can't hit the 60 FPS needed for fighting games but it will also turn the game into a slide show on the other end.
All in all, Tekken 8 is well on its way to becoming the best fighting game on the market. With Street Fighter 6's stellar release, Mortal Kombat 1's critical success, and Guilty Gear Strives enduring popularity it is high time that the King of the Iron Fist makes its return and reclaims its throne as the best of the best.
Tekken 8 releases on January 26, 2024 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. We'll keep you updated on everything Tekken and the latest in Fighting Games here on ESTNN