Tekken 7’s character customiser is a joyful experience

Often, I think “surely we are now at Peak Character Customisation.” The freaks and geeks of Saint’s Row or Black Desert seem to have pushed things about as far as they can go without entirely breaking – a dizzying range of choice and absurdity, only hinted at in the days when we believed City of Heroes’ dressing up tool was a revelation.

I never expected Tekken 7 [official site] – a fighting game, of all things – to be the game that made the joke funny all over again. From Sexy Skeletor to three-foot hair to Murderous Bird-Jocks to Regency Mech-Deer to Cath Kidston Badass, tailoring Tekken 7’s brawlers is an absolute delight. It is also the real game.

One proviso before we get too celebratory here: many of Tekken 7’s most gloriously ridiculous costume options are only available in the more expensive deluxe edition. If you’re only in this for shits and giggles, as opposed to intense online competition or whatever, the $74.99/£59.98 pricetag, as opposed to the standard edition’s £39.99/$49.99, is going to seem pretty steep. And that’s a damn shame, as with all this weird and wonderful dress-up stuff, Tekken 7 becomes a game that transcends fighting game fandom – making the standard and deluxe edition one and the same would surely put it in whole lot more hands, not just those of the most dedicated fisticuff gonks.

So, with a slightly heavy heart at the inherent aspect of ‘let me show what you’re missing out on’, let me show what you’re missing out on. Edit – looks like I got that a bit wrong. Apparently the extra customisation options are primarily metallic-coloured variants of stuff available in both editions. Phew!

Mohawked metallo-man JACK has always been the absolute boy in Tekken as far as I’m concerned, so I’m happy to see him back in this new one – now as JACK-7 – but happier still to discover that I can make him even more ridiculous than he usually is.

Hazard-striped power-loader legs, a natty regency waistcoat and jacket in various shades of pink and purple and OH CHRIST a baby deer’s head on top of it. JACK was always one of the most visually intimidating characters in Tekken, but this Mecha-Moreau creation should shit my opponents right up. The victory screens are particularly unsettling:

Onto Kuma next, one of the Tekken series two longstanding ursine fighters (the imaginatively-named Panda being the other; there used to be a kangaroo too, but he was removed for fear it would upset animal rights activists. All the bear-fighting and deer-men and bird-people and women who drag pet tigers onto the battlefield with them are a-ok though, apparently). I call this one Trump-branded Sex Dungeon Cyber-Bear With Butterfly Wings:

Jaguar-headed wrestler King, meanwhile, is transformed from feline to avian, his added baseball jacket making him look like some jock escapee from Hatoful Boyfriend.

Also he wears a large pizza on his back. This pizza can indeed be used to attack people.

Though the series now pursues an awkward blend of absurdity and ponderous, cod-mythic storytelling, Tekken began life as a fairly brazen 3D Streetfighter knock-off, and if there’s one character sorely in need of mockery, it’s blatant Ken/Guile hybrid Paul Phoenix. I went for the ‘sacked Cbeebies presenter suffers public breakdown’ look here…

…while a hulking new character named Gigas takes to the battlefield as Mecha-Santa’s First Date:

And Akuma, a character this series now shares with Street Fighter, has decided to challenge the public perception of him as hellfire made flesh. You’ll catch your death of cold, man:

Of course, you don’t have to purse maximum absurdity. There are ton of options to make your character simply look cooler still, be it tweaking the outfit colour schemes to your heart’s desire, slapping a load of awesome armour onto them, or, in the case of the to-a-one titillatingly-dressed women characters (a trope that has sadly always haunted this series), depicting them as the pure badasses they really are. Here’s high-kicking series mainstay Nina, usually dressed in thigh-split dresses and stilletos, but now a ice-cool assassin who just happens to shop at Cath Kidston:

An alternative approach is to decide to own Tekken’s tedious sexpottery. So out goes stocking-clad waif Lili, and in comes Sexy Skeletor.

Feeling confused? I know I am. Sexy Skeletor is an also an excellent Sexy Dancer, incidentally:

While all this mucking about is ever so jolly within the character creator, it takes on new life in the game proper. It is genuinely joyous to see your wild creation knocking seven bells out of someone who’s supposed to look cool, and, should you dare to venture online, getting to kick an aggressive opponent’s bum with a character who looks like they got lost during a stag party is is an absolute delight.

I’m not much for online, really – if I only play against AI I can kid myself that I’m still good at Tekken – so I’ve been delighted to discover that one of Tekken 7’s singleplayer modes is expressly dedicated to unlocking new costume options. And that’s the game for me. It’s all the game I ever needed a new Tekken to be.

Where once I’d play through a campaign with each character in order to watch their nonsense ending scene and progress towards unlocking more fighters, then give it all up once that was done, now I’ve got an ongoing reason to keep playing. Like so many games now, you’re given random unlocks for successful fights, but in this case those unlocks are Santa hats and hotpants and oversized sunglasses and angel wings and trees that grow out of your head and fish you strap to your back to slap people with and Buddha heads and maybe eventually I’ll get to make Sexy Megatron.

I keep playing because I get to create some new monster every time I do well. And hell, some of my old Tekken skills are slowly returning as I play – a collateral bonus of chasing silly hats.

I ignored Tekken 7 at launch because I thought that, fundamentally, it’s a game from my past, and I’m steadily burning out on nostalgia, but it turns out that the dress-up options, joyful and triumphant, make it very much a game of the now after all.

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19 Comments

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  1. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I made an Marshall Law that looks like Inspector Gadget.
  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    “maybe eventually I’ll get to make Sexy Megatron. ”

    I read this as “Sexy Mettaton” and was a little confused.

    But I guess that’d be possible in this too.

  2. Arthandas says:

    There are no exclusive costumes in the game YET, so you’re not missing out on anything (except for metallic versions of existing costumes) by not buying the deluxe edition.

    And Roger (the kangaroo) was never removed from the game because he was never in it to begin with (or was ever planned). Even Katsuhiro Harada said on Twitter this was fake news.

    Did you even play the game or just took some screenshots from the internet and wrote the article around them?

    • emotionengine says:

      It seems pretty obvious to me that Alec is writing about his subjective experience (and own silly creations) with the game so far.

      Did you even read the article properly or did you just notice two potential inaccuracies and make a needlessly hostile and ridiculous accusation based on those?

      • Arthandas says:

        “It seems pretty obvious to me that Alec is writing about his subjective experience (and own silly creations) with the game so far.”

        What’s subjective about stating you’re missing out if you don’t buy the deluxe edition when in fact you miss nothing? What’s subjective about stating an animal character was removed from the game because of animal activists when in fact nothing like that ever happened? Do you even know what “subjective” means?

        • Dreggsao says:

          Do you know what “fact” and “nothing” means?

          • Ghostwise says:

            Or “adumbrate”, for that matter, though ADMITTEDLY that’s a wee bit of a tangent.

        • emotionengine says:

          Hmm, so you really ARE just fixating on those two errors and ignoring everything else that was said. Yeah, you found the mistakes, congrats, have a cookie. Now let’s have a look at some of the OTHER things mentioned in the article:

          “[…] tailoring Tekken 7’s brawlers is an absolute delight. It is also the REAL game.”

          – Purely objective truth in that statement, to be taken at 100% face value.

          “It is genuinely joyous to see your wild creation knocking seven bells out of someone who’s supposed to look cool […] I’m not much for online, really – if I only play against AI I can kid myself that I’m still good at Tekken – so I’ve been delighted to discover that one of Tekken 7’s singleplayer modes is expressly dedicated to unlocking new costume options. And that’s the game for me. It’s all the game I ever needed a new Tekken to be.”

          – Not a shred of subjectivity or personal opinion to be found in the above paragraph. Only cold, hard and indisputable facts.

          “I keep playing because I get to create some new monster every time I do well. And hell, some of my old Tekken skills are slowly returning as I play – a collateral bonus of chasing silly hats. I ignored Tekken 7 at launch because I thought that, fundamentally, it’s a game from my past, and I’m steadily burning out on nostalgia […]”

          – That’s pure generic, unflavoured and uncoloured universal truth, as to be applicable for all of humanity – and not in any way relating to the personal experience of an individual.

          (I feel I should point out, just for you, that I am being sarcastic above.)

        • Graham Smith says:

          Those aren’t errors.

          Roger was not removed from Tekken 7, but that sentence was about the series. Hence the use of the word “series”. There used to be a kangaroo in the series, now there is not.

          The deluxe edition contains 35 costumes that aren’t in the base edition and, by your own admission, there are many more due to be added for deluxe edition owners in future. So it’s also true to say that if you’re only in it for the character creator, it’s a bummer to miss out on the current and future larger set of goods that DE owners get.

  3. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Is Tekken the one with a wooden training doll, that would randomly have another character’s move set?
    I used to annoy my friends so much with that one. Just start button mashing and see what happens, chances are you’ll win at least one round, further annoying your mate who has actually bothered to learn the combos.

  4. DingDongDaddio says:

    I didn’t expect to see an article praising T7s customization. I mean, if you like your character being a joke and having a bunch of silly options it’s not too bad. But if you actually want something serious, you have VERY little to choose from. I’m very disappointed with it.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Once you can play Sexy Skeletor, you don’t really need another character.

    • Premium User Badge

      Al__S says:

      As an ant once sang, ridicule is nothing to be scared of. And there’s no shame in being beaten sexy robo deer.

    • Blad the impaler says:

      I might be niggling with this, but I’m kind of there too. There are lots of useless props to choose from – things you can hold but do nothing with – but there’s not a lot of base stuff to customize. I don’t find it’s any deeper than your average makeup station.

  5. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I made an Marshall Law that looks like Inspector Gadget.

  6. MikoSquiz says:

    Ohh, that’s going to be a good Monster Factory.

  7. Jovian09 says:

    It’s a lot like the CC of Soulcalibur, a game I wish they’d update and I could play on PC. And like that game, it’s bizarrely afraid of suggesting men’s underwear “contains” anything.

  8. snekodinsson says:

    Now, this is all well and good, but I dunno if I really want to buy a full game just for this…

    Okay, I wasn’t fooling anyone. Of course I do. However, I remember Saints Row 3 & 4 having a demo in the form of a character creator, meaning I could make all the horrendous monstrosities I could. (Though I was about 12 so it was something more along the lines of ‘Sexy Skeletor’). And when I played the free 7-day trial of Black Desert Online, I spent about four hours creating two characters, neither of which I played because of my own internet and server issues. Still marveled at my Valkyrie, though.

    Still, interesting to see. Should I ever get the game, I’m definitely gonna have me some fun with this.

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