January 25, 2024

Get ready for the next battle in our Tekken 8 review!

In the world of fighting games, there are three main franchises that have stood the test of time. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat have already seen their current generation iterations released within the past 12 months. Now, it is time for the undisputed champion of fighting games to return.

Can Tekken 8 remain on the throne of fighting games?

Bandai Namco have spent literal decades honing the Tekken gameplay formula like the edge of Yoshimitsu’s sword. The introduction of the ‘Rage’ system in Tekken 7 gave the series a new life that lasted over multiple seasons of DLC in the previous console generation. Now with a new entry in the era of the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, does Tekken still have that trademark Mishima spark, or did the series die at the end of Tekken 7 along with Heihachi?

Tekken 8 Review – Story

Over the past 7 mainline titles, Tekken has twisted together a tale of multinational conglomerates and a mysterious demonic power known as the ‘devil gene’. Themes of betrayal, revenge, and redemption are woven into the fabric of Tekken’s story. Effortlessly creating a tapestry of interconnected destinies spanning generations of familial conflict where the fate of the world is at stake.

Help me, Jin, you’re my only hope.

Let’s be honest, fighting games typically don’t have the strongest storylines in the arena of videogame genres. However, the narrative in Tekken 8 is an intricate tale that simultaneously makes strong references to the history of the Tekken franchise’s past events whilst also introducing fresh, compelling characters. Longtime fans of the series will find themselves engrossed in the continuation of the Mishima Zaibatsu saga and further development of mainstay characters Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima.

Even for Tekken experts steeped in the series’ lore, there are some curious twists and turns that make this an adventure to remember whilst also keeping the door wide open for future entries in the series. There is no doubt that the legendary King of Iron Fist Tournament will definitely be returning.

In addition to the main story that lasts between 3 and 4 hours, each of the game’s 32 characters has their own short tale to experience – and it is here that the game is both ridiculously hilarious and batshit crazy. Traditional Tekken insanity encourages players to explore the diverse roster and experience the story from different perspectives, providing a sense of depth that few fighting games achieve. I can’t spoil any of these events here – but you simply must experience every single one of them for yourself!

Heeeeeeere’s Bryan!

Tekken 8 Review – Gameplay

Tekken 8 continues the franchise’s legacy of delivering genre-leading, complex and dynamic gameplay. The game retains its signature 3D fighting style with the diverse roster of 32 characters covering almost every style of martial art known to man. Every single cast member has a unique move-set of mind-boggling size.

Fan favourite from Tekken 7 DLC, Leroy Smith, makes his main roster debut alongside three brand new fighters in Victor the enigmatic Frenchman; Azucena,coffee-loving MMA fighter; and Reina, a young woman cloaked in mystery (and a sweet jacket).

Where else can you use a British Boxer and take on a Mexican Pro-Wrestler or … a panda?

Literally hundreds of different moves and combinations are possible for every single fighter and this has always been both Tekken’s strength and its main weakness – a huge skill barrier that can seem insurmountable for new players. Fortunately, Tekken 8 comes packed with features that will make an expert out of anybody willing to engage with what this game has to offer.

In a series first, Tekken has introduced a new control scheme called ‘Special Style’. This automatically binds sometimes complex button combinations to the face buttons of the controller and allows a new player to easily switch between the different characters without needing to learn new (and vastly different) move sets.

Practice mode is here of course and has all of the features you could ask for. You can program exactly what you want the opposing fighter to do (stand still, crouch and guard, jump and attack, etc.) A feature that was also in Tekken 7 as paid DLC content now returns as a standard inclusion – frame rate data that is essential high-level competitive play. If you know, you know.

If you can’t compete online with all of these practice features, maybe you should stick to Animal Crossing

Tekken 8’s gameplay is smoother and more fluid than ever. Rage Arts return from Tekken 7 and are joined by the brand new feature known as the ‘Heat’ system. This can be used to power up your moves, quickly close distance to the opponent and even extend your air juggles. I look forward to seeing how much the online champions can break this feature.

Tekken 8 review special style

Extra Game Modes in Tekken 8

I have already spoken about the main story mode, where you use specifically selected characters to progress through the story. Each individual character can also be taken through a short 5-round ‘Character Episode’ to experience the game’s events from their perspective. New to Tekken 8 is the ‘Arcade Quest’. In this mode, you will create an avatar (that looks suspiciously Mii-like) and take them through a series of arcades to fight against computer-controlled fighters of increasing difficulty.

Tekken 8 review avatars

Your helpful friend Max will teach you how to make the most of your chosen character and also give you some challenges that are another sneaky way that Tekken 8 improves your fighting skills. Skills you will definitely need if you are a newbie as the enemies at the end of Arcade Quest are no pushover.

Tekken 8 review arcade mode

Mate, I don’t want to see what is under that trench coat, alright?

Tekken 8 also sees the return of the classic game mode from Tekken 3 known as ‘Tekken Ball’. This is a weird combination of Tekken and Volleyball where you use the floaty beach ball to pummel your opponent into the sand.

Multiplayer in Tekken 8

Of course, all of these various game modes are a solo affair. Where a competitive fighter really shines is in online multiplayer modes. The availability of online matches during the review window was unfortunately small. Where were the other Aussie reviewers? Fortunately, I was able to complete a bunch of matches with players in both Asia and Europe. I can speak from first-hand experience that such distance made online play in Tekken 7 almost impossible.

Tekken 8 review coffee character

Whoever programmed this Netcode deserves a delicious cup of coffee!

The netcode in Tekken 8 sees an absolutely MASSIVE improvement. Hooray for rollback! Somehow my matches with people on different continents were not just playable, but occasionally smooth. I am definitely excited to see how actual local matches run but I have very high expectations based on what I have experienced these past two weeks.

Tekken 8 Review – Presentation

Tekken 8 was developed on Unreal Engine from the ground up for current-generation systems and it absolutely shows. It raises the bar for fighting game visuals, delivering stunning graphics that showcase the capabilities of modern gaming hardware.

Tekken 8 review leroy

Leeeeeeeroooooooooy…Smith. What did you think I was going to say?

The character models are incredibly detailed, featuring realistic textures, fluid animations, and meticulously crafted designs that breathe life into each fighter. This attention to detail is a testament to the dedication of the development team in creating a visually immersive experience. Even something as simple as the character select screen seamlessly presents these characters’ unique styles and personalities.

Stage environments in Tekken 8 are also a visual spectacle, ranging from vibrant urban landscapes to ancient temples and futuristic arenas. Each stage is a work of art, providing not only a diverse backdrop for the intense battles but also offering dynamic elements that influence gameplay and enhance the overall gaming experience.

The visual effects during battles are nothing short of spectacular. Every punch, kick, and special move is accentuated by dazzling particle effects and dynamic lighting. The attention to detail extends to the interactive elements of the stages, with destructible environments and dynamic weather effects adding an extra layer of strategy to the fights. Stunning cinematic cutscenes presented during the main story mode also transition directly into the gameplay which is a great touch.

Without a doubt, Tekken 8’s graphics are a visual spectacle that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in a fighting game. You will definitely want to use each character and finish a match with their Rage Art to see some of the best over-the-top KO screens ever made.

Tekken 8 review rage art KO

I dunno what the hell is going on here, but I want to do it again.

But the fantastic presentation doesn’t stop there. Tekken’s trademark techno soundtrack returns and brings as much energy as Azucena after a triple-shot espresso. As always, the high-energy beats provide the perfect backdrop to a symphony of punches and kicks to enhance the fighting experience. Not only are the new tracks in Tekken 8 fantastic, but a variety of retro options from EVERY previous entry in the series are available as well!

One of the game’s main themes, “Pave Your Way”.

The bone-crunching impact of each strike has been tweaked to perfection and is well supported by the resonant soundscapes of the variety of stages on offer. The international voice cast once again breathe life into this motley cast of characters. Talented actor Vincent Cassel even joins the returning group from Tekken 7 to voice the new French fighter, Victor Chevalier.

Tekken 8 review woman with robot army

Walkin’ into the club with your crew like…

I love that each character speaks only in their native language – and they all seem to understand each other no matter what language is being spoken. The sound design is a testament to audio excellence by the Bandai Namco and Tekken Project team.

Tekken 8 Review – Performance

Overall, I spent about 20 hours with Tekken 8 during the review window, and for every single minute of that time, the game ran without any problems whatsoever on my launch version PS5. Tekken has always been a series that has pushed the limits of what the current technology is capable of. Despite Tekken 8 once again following the trend by looking better than any other fighting game on the market, the team have minimized loading times so that they are barely noticeable at all.

Tekken 8 review panda fighters

Don’t reach for your phone, the next fight is starting right now!

Sure, you are waiting a couple of seconds to get into a match from the character and stage select screens, but that is it. Any game that can load up in a short enough time that doesn’t make me reach for my mobile phone has done its job. Simply put – Tekken 8 plays great, looks great, sounds great and runs perfectly. I have nothing more to say.


Tekken 8 is a triumph of fighting game excellence that surpasses even the high bar set by its predecessors. The gripping narrative, breathtaking graphics, and immersive audio collectively create an experience that caters to longtime fans. Meanwhile, an incredible set of features make this game more accessible to series newcomers than ever before. By seamlessly blending nostalgia with innovation, Bandai Namco has crafted a game that not only pays homage to the legacy of Tekken but also sets a new standard for the fighting game genre.

Tekken 8 review get ready for the next battle

If you already consider yourself a Tekken player – you have probably already purchased this. If you have ever been interested but worried that you are stepping into the ring too late to stand a chance, then this is the perfect opportunity to jump on board, train up, and join The King of Iron Fist Tournament. Tekken has truly never been more accessible than this.

Tekken 8 is a celebration of the series’ roots and an evolution of one of the greatest fighting game franchises in history that will only get better with the heavy update support that will come over the rest of this console generation.

So, why should you play Tekken 8?

  • The best competitive fighting game is back with a new entry, and it is bigger and better than ever.
  • Complex fighting mechanics are more accessible than ever with the new ‘Special Style’ control scheme.
  • No fighting game has a more diverse (or bizarre) roster of fighters – that will continue to grow with multiple seasons of DLC.

But, why shouldn’t you play Tekken 8?

  • Even with ‘Special Style’ assistance new players may find the barrier to being competitive online far too great to overcome.
  • Those with a preference for traditional 2D fighters may prefer other options that are available.

A review code was kindly provided on PlayStation 5 by Bandai Namco Australia for our Tekken 8 review.

Are you ready for the next battle? Check out our review for another big fighting franchise’s most recent release – Mortal Kombat 1. Don’t like violence? Maybe the puzzle/climber Jusant is more up your alley. If you need a break from playing games but still want to talk about them, then come and join the Qualbert Discord Server and say hi!

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