Start your journey to pro
You just picked up Tekken 7, and you're having a blast playing through its sweeping story mode and mashing buttons while competing against your friends. As soon as you hop online, however, you get absolutely mauled. Now what?
As beautiful and fun as Tekken 7 is, you'll need some serious dedication to truly master its intricate 3D combat. Fortunately, after putting in some long hours at the Mishima Dojo — and calling on the help of pro player Steve "BloodHawk" Palakas — we're here to deliver eight tips for starting your journey from button masher to Tekken maestro.
Image Credits: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Learn proper movement
Constant movement is key to surviving any competitive Tekken match. Be sure to frequently mix up your forward dashes, back dashes and sidesteps to keep your opponent guessing and to put yourself in a position to do big damage. You can even cut your dashes short or cancel them into attacks to become even more unpredictable.
"A core part of a Tekken match is using movement to control both your opponent's and your own positions on the stage to keep yourself at advantage," Palakas said. "If you just stay still, you'll find yourself likely overwhelmed by your opponent's attacks and unable to get away."
Play who you want to play
When choosing among Tekken 7's 36-plus characters, don't worry about who's most powerful or easiest to use; just play who you like. According to Palakas, learning any of the game's fighters will give you fundamental skills that you can transfer to other characters.
"[Tekken characters] all have the same basic movement options, and they all have an assortment of high, mid, low and throwing attacks at their disposal," Palakas said. "If you decide you don't actually like your initial choice of character, a lot of the basics of the game will transfer over to a new one."
Make the most of Practice Mode
Using Practice Mode wisely is essential to upping your game. Instead of mindlessly mashing on the AI, try to get comfortable with some basic attacks and figure out how they'd be useful in a real match.
"When you jump into Practice Mode with a new character, you should look for a few things," Palakas said. "What are some fast mid and low pokes that I can use to whittle down my opponent? What is an easy juggle combo that can reliably work on most of my launching attacks?"
Palakas also recommended using Practice Mode to "explore the move list of a character you are having trouble fighting against and find out how to punish their own moves, or use the Record function to learn how to defend against multiple scenarios at random."
Try some Sample Combos
While Tekken 7 lacks a proper tutorial, you can get a good idea of what your character is capable of by trying out the Sample Combos at the bottom of your move list. These will give you a sense of which moves can start, extend and end a combo, all of which are building blocks you can use to create your own attack strings once you've gotten comfortable.
Master the Rage system
When you're character's health is down to 20 percent, you'll enter Rage mode. This gives you access to two key abilities that, if used properly, can be used to mount the ultimate comeback.
Rage Arts are big, cinematic attacks that do a ton of damage if they connect. However, you'll be extremely vulnerable if your Rage Art is blocked or dodged. Generally, you should throw a Rage Art out only if you anticipate that your opponent isn't blocking or in the middle of a combo for guaranteed damage.
Rage Drives are far more complex and work differently for every character. Some are good combo starters, while others are great for confusing a blocking opponent. Make sure to hop into Practice Mode and experiment with both of your character's Rage moves to see how they can be applied in a fight.
Know your Power Crushes
Tekken 7 also introduces Power Crushes, which are powerful armored attacks that can't be interrupted by most basic punches and kicks. Be careful not to get predictable with them, though; Power Crushes can break through most mid and high attacks, but they'll get beaten out by lows and throws. To figure out which of your fighter's moves have a Power Crush attribute, look for the big, red shield icon on your move list.
Warm up with Treasure Battles
One of Tekken 7's main single-player options is Treasure Battle, which lets you earn all kinds of crazy customization items while taking on an endless string of randomized AI opponents. It's also a great way to play if you're not quite ready to take on live opponents.
"If you want a constant barrage of enemies to practice on, use the game's Treasure [Battle] mode," Palakas said. "It's definitely a good way to play if you are intimidated by online play or don't have anyone at the time to play offline in versus mode."
Learn from the pros
While Tekken is one of the most dauntingly complex fighting games around, there are a ton of great resources out there for stepping up your game. YouTube channels, such as Avoiding the Puddle and Level Up Your Game, are filled with valuable tutorials for beginners, and you can hop on Twitch at any given moment to catch some high-level gameplay. You should also check out websites such as Tekken Zaibatsu for forums and guides. Keep watching, discussing and learning — it could be just what you need to reach that next level.