Tekken 7 does not have an in-game tutorial. Novice players Tekken games will lose out for the wrong reasons. Just because they need to practice the subtle mechanics of the game, it’s not because they won’t know those subtle mechanics exist in the first place. This creates a huge knowledge gap between new Tekken players and veterans who have developed their muscle memory and strategy over the years. New players cannot enjoy the game to the level they could.
In a interview with Committed, game director Katsuhiro Harada said that Tekken 7 is “more accessible to new[er], more novice players. Bandai Namco simplified the combo system from Tekken 6 and scaled combo damage so that a player who is cut in the air doesn’t instantly lose due to a well-timed juggle. They removed the rear roller to get up from the ground, which was previously extremely dangerous, and replaced it with a safer, more defensive animation. And they’ve incorporated “Rage Arts,” which gives players the ability to return with easy-to-perform power combos.
One way to make this game “more accessible” is to provide an in-game tutorial. This has become the norm in modern fighting games such as Street Fighter V and Injustice 2. In Tekken 7, the only direct help in the game are little hints that spin at the bottom of the game’s loading screens. Watch this one:
“Press (press up) to switch to the background or (press down) to switch to the foreground of the screen. “
This is important information, but it is not well communicated. First, the word “press” will confuse new players: if the player “press” up, the character will jump; you have to “tap” from top to bottom to avoid, or move between the background and the foreground. Second, the side step is inherent in 3D fighting games and sets them apart from 2D games. Players who do not know it or cannot master it only know a fraction of the game’s strategies. Burying this essential information makes the game impenetrable for inexperienced players.
Here’s another loading hint:
“Miguel’s Rage Drive is a mid-attack combo that can send opponents into a spin when he strikes.”
It’s closer to what an in-game hint should be. It is character-specific, technique-specific, and deals with the properties of a specific movement. But it also uses lingo that new players won’t understand. What is Rage Drive? What is a medium attack and how do its properties differ from high or low attacks? Is “spinning” a desirable outcome? What do you do after “turning” an opponent? Not only is this hint inadequate as a tutorial, it raises more questions than it answers.
Here’s another basic concept that is never explicitly taught in the game: How do you break a pitch? The character movement lists in the game, the scrolling procedures for each character, are heavy on attack and light on defense. They show how to make throws, but never how to block them effectively. The only hint of load in the game regarding throwing is a frustrating wave and reduces the fundamentals to the level of random trivia.
“Escape is triggered the moment you are caught by pressing the corresponding button (s). “
For the purposes of this article, use the notation in the following diagram, which has become standard for the Tekken community.
An opponent would perform a basic throw by pressing 1 + 3 or pressing 2 + 4. To break a 1 + 3 roll, a player would press 1. To break a 2 + 4 roll, a player would press 2. Sometimes the opponent might use a more complicated “command” roll, such as d / f + 1 +2, or f, f + 1 + 4. For those, a player would press 1 + 2. There are exceptions to these rules, and multiple throws (such as back throws) are essential. But that’s the general idea.
I imagine that one Tekken the newcomer would read the clue in the game—“Evasion launches the moment when you are caught by pressing the corresponding button (s)” –and be completely misled. To counter a 1 + 3 throw, how would a person press 1 and not 1 + 3? To counter af, f + 1 + 4, how could a person press 1 + 2?
“When you get caught” is also vague. The play footage below shows one of King’s chain throws. Whenever the training dummy briefly changes color, from blue to normal and then to blue, this is the real window of opportunity to counter.
This color change is useful for mastering timing, but it is accessible through an extremely comprehensive but not intuitive training mode. To view it, a player would go to “Display Settings” and set “Recovery Animation” to “Display”.
How would a newbie navigate a menu full of unfamiliar options to enjoy a recovery animation display they might not even know existed? How would a beginner even know why Recovery Animation is important?
A tutorial in Practice mode could guide a player through all of the different menu options in the mode, thus maximizing the mode’s usage. As it stands, that’s wasted potential for the average player. It’s like giving a $ 300 tennis racquet to someone who is still learning to swing and expects them to improve.
In the absence of a tutorial, the Tekken community filled in the knowledge gap and demonstrated mechanical to new players by various tutorial videos. But the community would be better off if everyone had the same level of foundational knowledge to begin with. For Tekken 7 to be truly accessible to new players, the game should provide the knowledge that the community currently has. An in-game tutorial would allow novice players to learn the game on their own, without the aid of external wikis or videos, in order to master the universal mechanics for all characters. And then, more people can focus on the metagame, where the most interesting discussion takes place, and the unique strategies for each character.
New Tekken players should get thrown, not because they didn’t know how to break the throw, but because they couldn’t read the opponent’s movements correctly. New Tekken players should be swept away, not because they didn’t know how to do a low parry, but because they didn’t parry quickly enough. An in-game tutorial would mean new Tekken players could stop losing for the wrong reasons and start losing for the good ones.