Tekken 8 (Playstation 5)

It’s been 6 years since the last King of the Iron Fist Tournament graced consoles and PCs, helping pave the way for the resurgence of fighting games, since then the landscape has changed with titles like Street Fighter 6, Mortal Kombat 1, and Guilty Gear -Strive- doing the rounds. Ready to put everyone back on notice, Kazuya Mishima and the rest of the rag-tag Tekken crew have laced their boots up one more time to show the world exactly how Bandai Namco beat Virtua Fighter at its own game of 3D Fighting Games.

Tekken 8 is the series debut on current-gen consoles and as such anticipation was at an all-time high, fortunately, Bandai Namco has taken everything they learned in Tekken 7 and gone even bigger and better starting with the presentation.


Tekken 8 is an amazing-looking game with a true “Next/Current Generation’ feel to it, Tekken 7 was already a beautiful-looking game and this title blows it out of the water in terms of graphical fidelity. You know you’ve got a visual treat when the in-engine cutscenes look better than the CGI work in the story mode. 

The classic roster has all been tweaked to look fresh yet still retain their iconic looks, Kazuya has never looked more intimidating with his business suit and leather coat combo whereas Paul Phoenix has suffered a serious bout of gravity pull on his once gravity-defying mane. Not every character has seen significant change, rather an age up and costume change for some of them which helps drive home the fact we are much further down the path than we were with Tekken 1 way back when. 

Stages have never looked so believable as real places, there’s a great reason the promotional material and beta focused on the New York City stage which is simply beautiful, even after it lay in destruction after your bout. As standard diversity runs wild with stage selection and for every pick like the Stadium stage you have stuff like a Meteor flying through space, it’s daft but it’s so representative of this franchise you can’t help but be charmed by it.

In the Arcade Quest mode, the developers have opted for more of a chibi avatar look, while I’ll discuss that in more detail when talking about the mode the avatars look great but the real star of the show here is the look of the arcades, in-between Tekken 8 machines you have classic Bandai Namco games displayed on machines giving it more authenticity and a loving nod to the arcade past of the company.


The Tekken series has for as long as there has been voice acting, excelled in that department and once again hit it out of the park for the most part. Every character speaks their “native” language which lends itself credibility to a point, now while I am not multilingual I do wonder about the quality of the non-English lines as the characters who hail from Ol’ Blighty sound like knockoff Peaky Blinders.

The music is fantastic, an excellent mix of upbeat electric tracks, face-melting rock, and even a vocal track for the main song that is thankfully leagues better than that of King of Fighters XIV which still haunts my sleep. If the new soundtrack doesn’t quite capture you there is also the brilliant Jukebox which features tracks from every previous Tekken title with the added feature of custom playlists.

Gameplay Modes

Tekken has always been a series that has prided itself on having considerable content for its fans, from Tekken 2’s amazing amount of unlockable characters to Tekken 3’s Tekken Force Mode to Tekken 7’s inclusion of a cinematic story mode, Tekken has always had a plethora of options for gamers and Tekken 8 is no exception. 

The available modes in Tekken 8 are as follows. 

  • The Dark Awakens (Cinematic Story).
  • Character Stories.
  • Arcade
  • Tekken Ball
  • Customize
  • Super Ghost Battle
  • Arcade Quest
  • Training mode
  • Gallery 
  • Tekken Fight Lounge

The Dark Awakens

Tekken 8 follows directly on from the events of Tekken 7 and aims to be the conclusion to the ever-growing “Mishima Saga”. After the death of Heihachi Mishima at the hands of his son Kazuya it’s now left to Kazuya’s son Jin Kazama to stop his father and end the curse of the Devil Gene.

The story is about as tongue in cheek as you can expect from a narrative in a fighting game, in the first chapter Kazuya destroys most of New York, killing thousands before announcing he is hosting a new “King of Iron Fist Tournament”. From then the game just narratively leaps from a fighting tournament set up to a world war led by the roster and culminating in a suitably epic battle that would make any Marvel or Shonen property green with envy. 

While the story does give some screen time to characters like Lee, Lars, Xiaoyu, and newcomers Victor and Reina the main focus is on Jin and to a lesser degree Kazuya, this creates a mostly focused narrative if not slightly negligent to characters further out of the Mishima gravity well. What this does though is play well into the daft side of Tekken and as an example has Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law having a right old scrap in the middle of a battlefield over money that Paul owes Marshall before the story then flips back to more pressing matters of a rather enraged Devil Kazuya making his way to the area. 


The story “The Dark Awakens” doesn’t overstay its welcome clocking in at around 4 hours, and has a few surprises up its sleeve to keep players engaged throughout that I won’t spoil here but it isn’t just the pleasing writing that will keep fans of the story gushing about this mode.

Character Stories/Arcade

Character Stories is a stripped-down classic Arcade run where you get a little story and an ending for every character in the game. Nothing major in terms of new content but some of the endings brought a smile to my face and continued the legacy of comedic Tekken ending cutscenes such as Kazuya’s love of Sneakers or Kuma’s eternal love quest.

Arcade exists purely as a traditional arcade ladder only lacking introductions and endings for the characters, here as a quick goto for a 10 battle run rather than the character ending producing 5 battles in Character Stories.

Tekken Ball


The ever-popular Tekken x Volleyball mode is back and just as fun as ever. Perform moves on a ball and send it flying over to your opponent to destroy them. Sadly this mode is local multiplayer online in yet another confusing move from Bandai Namco (Tekken Bowling not having online multiplayer in Tekken 7 was criminal) but it’s still nice to see another fan-favourite mode return.



Easily the most robust character customization yet in a Tekken game to the point you can completely change the facial features of your favorite characters. Plenty of costumes and accessories to make your mark on the world, as serious or comedic as you like. I have spent an unhealthy amount of the in-game Tekken coins to make my roster unique to me.

Super Ghost Battle

Here you create a “ghost” version of your character which learns how you play, you can then face off against other players’ ghosts as well as Ghosts made specifically by the developers of the game including the main man Harada himself.

Arcade Quest


This is possibly one of my favorite interactive tutorials in any fighting game. You are presented with a small story where you go from Arcade to Arcade, learning different facets of the game from air combos to guard crushes all while providing a slowly building challenge. 

The writing, while incredibly cheesy does get across a very important point that is often forgotten nowadays with fighting games people enjoy the games and Tekken for different reasons and none are less valid than others, be it playing for fun or competition.

There are various challenges to complete but they tend to flow naturally with what aspect of the game you are learning at the time and plenty of cosmetics to unlock as you challenge the plethora of arcade goers to battle. 

For customization fans you get to mess around and make your own Avatar that represents you, heck you can even get costumes to turn your avatar into some of the Tekken cast in a chibi form, my personal favorite being a Golden Mokujin, then you can take those Avatars into the online mode “Tekken Fight Lounge”.

Training mode

I feel like I’ve used this word far too many times already but once more for good measure, robust. The training mode in Tekken 8 offers every feature you could need to get the most out of your characters.

Frame data, move lists, and properties, combo challenges and everything is tweakable enough to make spending time in the lab cooking up your next combo not only a joy but an easy and streamlined task.


Every fighting game has one and Tekken 8 is no exception, spend your Tekken Coins on concept art and rewatch unlocked cutscenes and promotional videos. 

Nothing overly special but good to have a gander at some of the early concepts of the game and have a chuckle at the cutscenes without having to playthrough Story or Character Stories again. 

Tekken Fight Lounge


The fight lounge is your one-stop social area for Tekken online, a massive step up from the menu-based online system from previous games that allows you to interact with other players using your avatar and gives it much more of a personal almost brick-and-mortar arcade feeling.

The Gameplay

So you should all know by now Tekken is a 3D fighting game, being this is a traditional Tekken it is strictly a 1 Vs 1 affair in contrast to the 2 Vs 2 gameplay in the Tekken Tag series of games. 

New to this iteration of the series is the inclusion of “Tornado” moves which spin characters around in the air and open them up to further combo attacks either with a mid-air “juggle” or off the “bounce” state when they hit the ground. 

Heat state is another addition, it activates a short attack which allows you to shield some damage and then can be triggered again to activate a damaging special move, you could also use this to dash forward instead to close the gap on your opponent and while the meter is activated you also do extra damage in the short time it lasts.

For those who aren’t familiar with the series or just casually play there is a “Special” control option that simplifies some inputs and opens the game up to everyone rather than you just getting murdered by a Tekken pro off the bat.

The game has never felt better, it’s insanely responsive and the heat system adds an extra dimension for more aggressive play styles, it has never been more fun or accessible to learn a character and just jump into arcade or the online modes and have a blast, heck single player content alone gave me over 15 hours without hitting up the practice mode or jumping online in Ranked and Casual matches and I still feel that new game buzz when I boot the game up and see Kazuya Mishima staring at me.


The roster is a mix of familiar faces and some of the newer cast that come in with Tekken 6/7, being Tekken is a legacy series those who jumped on with Tekken 5 will be happy to know their main character will still control the same and have mostly the same movesets.

The newcomers in this title are the mysterious young girl Reina with her Mishima style of fighting, Victor who feels like he fell out of Guilty Gear taking more than a few moves from Noctis in Tekken 7 and Azucena the pervican coffee queen with mixed MMA fighting style and a cheeky lust for life. Leroy Smith from the Tekken 7 DLC makes his main roster debut but I can’t help but feel a omissions like the popular DLC character Lidia Sobieska or a guest character in any form sets this roster slightly behind the mammoth one that came before.



So online connections have always been a point of contention with this series, it’s always felt behind the times and series veterans will no doubt shudder at the baked in lag of Tekken 6 and Tag Tournament 2, fortunately this feels like a distant past as Bandai Namco have included not only the ever popular Rollback netcode but also Cross Platform features ensuring the player pool is very healthy regardless of your chosen format. 

While server issues have played the game at launch, I got to do a few hours of online prior to launch and it was without a doubt the smoothest online experience the series has offered, even playing against people on WiFi offered minimal lag and issues. Obviously wired is preferable but it feels leaps and bounds better to play than Tekken 7, the rollback netcode is also adjustable in options to help create the smoothest online experience alongside main competitor Street Fighter 6, a far cry from the shambles that is Mortal Kombat 1.


With a feature rich release, a robust online package, a quick fix already done to the servers and season 1 of the downloadable characters being led by fan favourite Eddie Gordo the future looks bright for the King of the Iron Fist Tournament.

Present day Tekken 8 is one of the best fighting game launch titles you can buy, it’s addictive as all hell, it helps you gradually build the skills to take the game online and has enough content to keep you battling into the early hours of the morning with a “one more fight” attitude. All cards on the table this is the strongest alternate to Street Fighter and has everything in place to stand toe to toe with Capcom’s premier fighting game, the best Tekken game since Tekken 3 and has everything possible to eclipse everything that came before it.



Long Live The King Of Iron Fist. 2024 belongs to the Mishima Family

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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.

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