What to know about the game

Getting into a new fighting game can often be pretty overwhelming, although, fortunately, the genre is now much more accessible. Tekken 8 also tries hard to introduce new players to its systems with its arcade and story modes.

Not everyone wants to play through the story first to understand the basics however. That’s why we’ve summarised everything you need to know to get straight into Tekken 8 below.

9 min

Arcades

Old and young alike discuss the importance of Japan’s vibrant and flourishing arcade scene.

Anyone who comes from the 2D fighting game genre will have a hard time with a game like Tekken 8 initially. This isn’t necessarily because Tekken is more complex than a title like Street Fighter, but rather the complexity lies in other aspects that 2D gamers may not be used to.

In a 2D game it’s primarily about controlling space: where can I move, where do I have to stand for my poke, how can I best force a jump and thereby punish it? Many characters have strong options at mid to long range.

Characters in Tekken meanwhile usually have a relatively limited range for their attacks. The game is based on controlling time and opponents are put under pressure with a series of attacks (strings). It’s important then to know when it’s your opportunity to attack your opponent.

It is important to understand the three hit levels of Tekken: High, Mid and Low.

Highs can be ducked by opponents

© Bandai Namco

Highs are often very quick or long-range attacks. They’re often relatively safe when blocked, however they also have a crucial disadvantage. If your opponent ducks, high attacks miss and can be punished. This often happens through enemy moves that put the character in a position that resembles crouching.

Mids must be blocked while standing

© Bandai Namco

Mids must be blocked while standing and hit opponents who block while crouched. Many combo starters are mid attacks. As a result, they usually can’t be used without consequences. Many strong mid moves can be punished by your opponents when blocked.

A low must be blocked by ducking

© Bandai Namco

Lows must be blocked while crouching and hit standing opponents. Unlike mids, lows moves are less likely to result in combos, but often have solid range. They’re there to condition your counterpart: if they keep getting hit by a low, they start blocking while crouched, making them vulnerable to your mids.

In the beginning it’s always good to know at least a good mid and low for your character, so that you can mix them up and deal damage.

Since Tekken 8 is a 3D fighting game, you not only can move towards and away from your opponent, but also move forward or backward in the room. To do this, simply tap on the top or bottom of your input device. The forward and backward dashes known from other games are also present in Tekken 8, but these maneuvers can all also be combined with one another. This means that you can cancel a back dash with a sidestep and then immediately attach another dash to that step.

Understanding and using movement effectively is an essential aspect of Tekken at intermediate and higher levels. That’s why it’s also important to learn how to hit something like a sidestep. There are attacks that also hit the depths of the room and you can recognise these in Tekken 8 by a blue spark.

Tekken pro Hoa ‘Anakin’ Luu can give you more coaching about movement in his Tekken Academy video below:

7 min

Mastering movement

Anakin focuses on the importance of movement in Tekken 7: dashing, backdashing, sidestepping and jumping.

The hardest decision in any fighting game is which character to play. The general rule is always to choose a fighter that you personally like, be it because of design, move set or game feel. Of course, there are simpler and more complex fighters to choose from, but ultimately you won’t stick with a game if you don’t like your own character.

The new gameplay mechanic in Tekken 8 is Heat. This is available to you every round and is symbolised by a blue bar under your life points. If you activate heat, your character will begin to glow white and the bar will slowly begin to empty. From now on, two passive bonuses are available to you:

Chip Damage: Your attacks cause significantly more damage when blocked. However, this varies depending on the move.

Bonus Effects: Each character has traits and buffs that become active when Heat is activated. You can find out more about this in the move overview for your chosen character.

There are two different ways to activate Heat: Heat Engager and Direct activation.

When you activate your Heat, it lights up white

© Bandai Namco

For direct activation, simply press the buttons for your right punch and left kick together. You then carry out an attack and sacrifice a small amount of your heat bar. The attacks always give you an advantage and absorb enemy attacks. If you tap backwards twice when activating, you skip the attack and go straight into heat mode.

After a heat engager, you storm towards your opponent

© Bandai Namco

Heat Engagers are attacks that, when they hit the opponent, cause you to rush forward and activate your Heat. In contrast to direct activation, you won’t lose any heat here. These moves vary depending on the character.

Once you are in your heat mode, you can use two actions that are only available in this state: Heat Burst and Heat Dash.

A Heat Dash aborts an attack

© Bandai Namco

Heat Dash is available during moves that are usually Heat Engager. Simply hold forward during such an attack and your character will cancel the attack and rush forward. It’s there on block to force the advantage. If the attack hits, the Heat Dash usually results in an extended combo.

Heat bursts are particularly powerful attacks

© Bandai Namco

Heat Burst is a particularly powerful attack that can only be used during Heat.

Both Heat Dash and Heat Burst use up all of your remaining Heat Bar, which will be fully available to you again at the start of the next round.

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