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Love It or Hate It: Tekken’s evolution over the years literally changed the game

With each new Tekken series a new mechanic or feature is introduced that fans either love or hate.

More than 20 years have passed since the release of Tekken 1. Unsurprisingly, the game introduced several new features to keep it fresh and appealing over the years. Some of these changes were well received by the community, and some not so much. However, how has Tekken changed up until now? Let’s take a look at what made fans of the Iron Fist enthusiastic, as well as perplexed over the years.

Tag Teams

The tag system modified the approach and the pace of the matches so much that it justified a dedicated spin-off. The player was encouraged to learn more about the whole cast and to find a suited partner for his main character. Despite some preferable combinations related to the tier list, the right choice also allows you to cover the weakness of the main fighter.  Overall this mode was well received and gained a personal space in the franchise without imposing its different style on the main game.

Environment Interaction

Tekken 4 introduced the ability to smash an opponent against the walls and boundaries of the stage to deliver more hits and additional damage. This opened the game up to a massive use of juggles and wall-bounces. Though it was somewhat criticized, it was accepted once it got into the fifth and sixth chapters. In Tekken 5 it was less the central focus, but in Tekken 6 it found a major space.

The fan base is still debating about this today. A lot of players like and miss the feel of the first few Tekken games because there was nothing to worry about other than the fight itself. There were no additional elements that gave a player even more of an advantage over his opponent when that player was already performing a high damaging combo.

The breakable ground also threw another element to the mix, causing even more overpowered situations in the first build of Tekken 7.

Bound

Let’s call this the brother of the “wall bounce.” While someone may be frustrated  by wall bounce, “bound” is much more integrated into the combo system by being a permanent and predictable move that can be performed by every character. Bound allows you to strike the opponent to the ground and leave them vulnerable to a new hit or combo while bouncing. That’s why the origin of the name bound stands for “bounce off the ground.”

Rage/Netsu Power

First featured in Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag 1, respectively, both these abilities work similarly. Basically, Rage and Netsu grant a boost of attack power to the disadvantaged player to help them make a comeback. It also makes matches more uncertain and intense. Apart from a fix to the percentage of life needed to activate this buff, this mechanic isn’t overpowered because it doesn’t change the  balance by itself and still leaves the outcome to the players.

Strange Characters

This isn’t a matter of gameplay, and it could sound naive to pro-players focused just on balancing, but character design has always been a huge topic of debate over years. The recent interest and controversy surrounding Lucky Chloe confirms that the game has shifted from the serious tones of the first installments. While players are used to cute girls (as Harada defended Chloe), robots and demons in fighting games, it can begin to be too much when you start having the likes of pandas, robo-lolitas armed with chainsaws (yeah, Alisa), and boxing raptors.

What mechanics or features do you love or hate with each Tekken release? As usual, share with the community your thoughts and opinions by posting in our forums or leaving a comment.

He's a long-time Tekken player ever since someone told him, "Hey dude, there's a new arcade in town," back in 1995. After working as journalist in Italy for some time, he realized he wrote about everything, but rarely about games. Because he always plays games at "hard" difficulty, the choice to bring the same principle while treating about video games drove him to write in English even though he's Italian.

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