Tekken 8: 2 Months Later

Tekken 8 released nearly two months ago on January 25, 2024, becoming another critical and financial success in the series. Now, since the game’s release, it has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and received a 90 score on Metacritic. Currently, the game is being enjoyed by most fans, with the positives being its graphics, soundtrack, and single player content. Although, there are some flaws with Tekken 8, like the lack of character customization and rampant occurrence of online cheaters. However, due to the number of known cheaters, Bandai Namco has noticed the problem and begun to thwart these offenders. Anyway, I thought to reflect on these past few months, and dissect the current state of Tekken 8. Especially, since this installment is the first to feature microtransactions, which is always a debated topic among most gamers.


To begin, since its release the focus has shifted to being more so on what was added to the game. For example, the recent patch that rebalances some of the characters, so they are more competitive, or not overpowered. Like King received buffs, but the main player base is asking if the character required them to begin with. Surprisingly, even with the buffs though, not one character seems to be extremely overpowered when compared to one another. So, there does not seem to be a universally considered weak character on the roster, like Gigas in Tekken 7. Although, certain characters definitely seem to have better odds when used for online ranked matches. Particularly, statistics show that characters like Reina, Dragunov, Jin, and King see the most usage during online matches. However, the remaining roster is not out of the discussion for players to use to rank up to Tekken God.


Then as for controls and inputs, many of the characters’ moves all appear to be easier to execute. In addition, there is a simplified control scheme for newer players, but that is merely an option. Personally, it seems more like a method to transition into the classic controls without the stress or learning curve. Whereas, the performance and graphics really hold up, as Tekken 8 runs off Unreal Engine 5. Also, players are taken back by the game’s jukebox which features music from essentially the entire franchise. So, the entire presentation of Tekken 8 shows that the art and music direction in this entry is top notch. Furthermore, the game was launched on multiple consoles, including a PC release, and even arcade units throughout Asia. As a result, every type of gamer has some form of representation or preference to enjoy Tekken 8 at launch.


Now, as stated earlier, the biggest contention towards Tekken 8 is the introduction of microtransactions within the franchise. For those possibly unaware, microtransactions are when games pressure players to purchase in-game currency by spending their own physical money. For example, they are commonly found in most mobile games, like Raid: Shadow Legends, and Pokémon Go. Although, microtransactions are part of mainline consoles games too, but not as rampantly seen in mobile games. However, at this time there is not many things to buy with Tekken 8’s in-game currency, except legacy character outfits. Specifically, outfits used by these particular characters, Kazuya, Jin, Jun, and Xaioyu. Yet, what seems to be eyebrow raising is how the in-game currency costs and is applied when buying outfits. Surprisingly, the outfits cost 400 coins, but for American players like myself, we must spend $5 USD for 500 coins. So, players end up unnecessarily spending an extra dollar, whereas other games try to match their currency to the cost. Currently, these microtransactions do not affect my enjoyment of the game, as I am not compelled to purchase these outfits. Unfortunately, I am unaware of what the developers may add to the roster of purchasable goods, or their costs. So, something added in the future could tempt me, and its price could be inflated to my dismay. As a result, fans should be cautious regarding this system, and be vocal if situations like I described do occur.

Whereas, following the addition of microtransactions, another common complaint is that character customization received a further downgrade. Like Tekken 7 had fans disapproving of its character customization capabilities, but with Tekken 8, many are visibly annoyed. As a result, many fans agree that Tekken 6 or Tekken Tag Tournament peaked when regarding this aspect of gameplay. Coincidentally, some believe the neutered the character customization is to further push the microtransaction system. Personally, I somewhat agree with this theory, as one of the people behind this game previously worked on DOA 6. Although, Dead or Alive does not use microtransactions, most of its DLC has become nothing but cosmetics changes. So, this most likely may turn out to be where Tekken’s character customization is proceeding towards for future installments.

Yet, what is more egregious than cosmetics, is the ranking system and how online bad behavior is handled. First and foremost, there are many people cheating and rage quitting during the online ranked matches. Specifically, some players have scripts installed that reads inputs, and automatically block anything, as well as some causing instant knockouts. Originally, Bandai Namco was oblivious to the cheating, but as mentioned earlier, they begun to acknowledge the problems. However, not everyone has been banned or penalized, as some well-known cheaters remain on the leaderboards at this given time. Whereas, the rage quitting occurring is unnecessary, and people seemingly are doing it because there are no penalties. Especially, since some players think having a win streak is as important as the ranking system itself. Unfortunately, at least for these players, win streaks have never been accounted towards ranking up or how points are acquired. So, theses players are just wasting their time, and everyone else’s time when trying to enjoy ranked matches.


Thankfully, with Bandai Namco attempting to remedy these problems more players are slowly returning to online matches. Like I avoided ranked matches until recently, as bad players were more visibly and actively getting reprimanded. Although, more things that need to happen besides adding penalties, banning players, and keeping records of known offenders. Personally, I believe ranked matches need to undergo some reform, as there are ways to game the system. For example, players will lose on purpose to get demoted, and win the proceeding promotion match again to gain more points. Surprisingly, by repeating this process it makes it easier to achieve the next proceeding rank within the system. So, the point system mostly needs the retooling to help mitigate players from abusing this unintended gaming mechanic.


Overall, Tekken 8 appears to have a pretty healthy and active user base at this time, even with its flaws. Currently, the game has muddy waters to traverse, as it juggles its microtransactions, and pursues known cheaters. Hopefully, once EVO rolls around, the game will have things running smoothly with a less exploitable ranking system. In addition, I hope they add a penalty system to detour rage quitters, so it keeps the player base alive. Personally, the game is very enjoyable, and I am learning all the new aspects with this installment. So, I have no plans to stop playing Tekken 8 anytime soon, unless the online portion does not shape up.

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