Are the Pros Right? Is Tekken 8 Too Frustrating to Play?

Are The Pros Right? Is Tekken 8 Too Frustrating To Play?

There’s been a lot of doom and gloom in the Tekken 8 discourse, but are things really that bad?

As more tournaments and matches of Tekken 8 get played, pro player opinions have not been kind to the game. Despite all the positive buzz and stellar release of Tekken 8, more and more competitive players have only found themselves getting frustrated with the latest installment of the popular 3D fighting game series. 

There’s been a lot of criticisms about the game but most centered around the game’s core philosophy of ‘aggression’. Tekken 8’s new Heat System, as well as a bunch of other gameplay changes, were designed with that in mind. While initially, the flashiness of the Heat moves was well received, its welcome quickly wore thin among high-level players.

When Arslan “Arslan Ash” Siddique, the undisputed best Tekken 7 player in the world, makes a comment like that for your new game, something must be wrong. It’s especially egregious when he says that he’s ready to talk trash about the game after winning a major tournament.

Arslan Ash is not the only pro who has this opinion about Tekken 8. Bae “Knee” Jae-Min, one of the oldest and most distinguished Tekken players of all time, also had to air out his frustrations with the game. And when two Tekken GOATs are basically saying the same thing, it’s a bad look for your competitive fighting game.

Aggression leads to frustration

So what exactly is it about Tekken 8’s ‘aggression’ that’s causing top players a lot of pain? First of all, developers Bandai Namco said that they chose this path for the game because they didn’t want it to play like Tekken 7. High-level Tekken 7 towards the end was all about patiently waiting for your opponent to make a mistake. Games would drag on and running the clock was a common enough strategy to steal rounds off of opponents.

Tekken 8, in contrast, has given players so many tools to unleash relentless pressure on their foes. Many attacks leave opponents stuck blocking them, making it difficult for them to get away. Chip damage (which is shaving away bits of your health when you block an attack) was added to Tekken, meaning the aggressive player is still rewarded even when their attacks are blocked. Throws are also now homing, meaning that you can no longer side-step them, removing an important part of the counterplay strategy. And that’s not even including the craziness that can happen with the Heat System.

Are the Pros Right? Is Tekken 8 Too Frustrating to Play?
(Image by Bandai Namco)

With a game so drastically different from its predecessor, it’s no wonder that pro players are getting frustrated. The patient and defensive style of play is no longer present in the new game and that can definitely be aggravating, especially when you think about how much time they spent mastering that style. Some pro players have played Tekken 7 for nine years, so their opinions of Tekken 8 are understandably skewed. 

Learn, adapt, overcome

That’s not to say that Tekken 8 is a perfect game — far from it. But at a certain point, it’s up to players to adapt to the changes around them. Yes, Tekken 8 can be frustrating, but as a pro, you only have two options to go from here.

All the complaints about Tekken 8 are not going away overnight. Bandai Namco are sure to be paying attention to their top players’ comments but big changes will take time. Till then, with tournaments and the Tekken World Tour already in motion, players will have to adapt.

Ultimately, this is the mindset that any true competitor needs to have. Despite the bumpy start both Arslan Ash and Knee are committed to learning Tekken 8. And who knows, maybe they’ll even change their opinion and learn to enjoy it down the road.

Banner photo by Patrick Maloney / Red Bull Content Pool.

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