Tekken 8 (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £64.99)
Verdict: Punching… with feeling
It’s been a while since Tekken 7. Nine years, in fact. Long enough for me to have forgotten how brilliantly barmy this series is.
But now, after Tekken 8, I’ll never forget again. From its opening cinematic sequence to the closing punches of its story mode, this is a game that dials the barminess up to 11.
Everything explodes. Everyone has a massive hair-do. There are lots of demonic pacts being made. And the best way this world knows of resolving its many differences is… a fighting tournament.
It’s gloriously maximalist, but is it actually enough? After all, last year saw the release of what is probably the greatest fighting game of all time, Street Fighter 6, along with what might be the runner-up, Mortal Kombat 1. Any combatants entering this arena have a lot to prove.
Happily, Tekken 8 stands up to its competitors — in part because it’s learnt some of their moves.
This is a game that dials the barminess up to 11
Happily, Tekken 8 stands up to its competitors — in part because it’s learnt some of their moves
There’s a wonderful ‘arcade’ mode, straight out of SF6, in which you adopt a cartoonish persona and set about learning Tekken’s arcane control system. It’s more welcoming than the series has ever been before.
But Tekken 8 also distinguishes itself — and not just because it brings the barmy. In other fighting games, the narrative feels like a secondary concern, a way of setting you up for the real business of online scraps against other people.
Here, it’s almost the other way round: Tekken really cares about its cast of weirdos, its Kazuyas and Kazamas, and their longstanding rivalries.
And so I ended up caring, too — about who I was punching and why. If that isn’t a heartwarming outcome, what is?
Another Code: Recollection (Nintendo Switch, £49.99)
Verdict: Good memories
Breezy, that’s the word that kept coming to mind as I played through Another Code: Recollection — and not just because half of it takes place on a wind-battered island and the other half on a presumably quite blowy lakeside.
No, this remake and reunion of two games released over a decade ago on old Nintendo consoles (2005’s Another Code: Two Memories and its 2009 sequel Another Code R: Journey Into Lost Memories) is just… breezy.
I swept through its dozen or so hours in a few happy sittings. It’s a frictionless ride.
This is partially because of how the remake has been done. Almost everything about the original games, from their graphics to their mechanics, has been improved from the ground up.
Rather than struggling with outdated gameplay, you’re left marvelling at how modern it all feels.
Rather than struggling with outdated gameplay, you’re left marvelling at how modern it all feels
It’s simple when compared to other, more recent narrative games, but certainly compelling enough to keep you pressing forward
The story helps, too. Here, spread across both parts of Another Code: Recollection, is the tale of one teenager’s forgotten past, with a splash of Christie-esque murder mystery and a touch of the supernatural.
It’s simple when compared to other, more recent narrative games, such as the Life Is Strange series, but certainly compelling enough to keep you pressing forward.
Not all of the breeziness is welcome, however. When helping that teen, Ashley, through her own story, you’ll often come across puzzles that are so straightforward as to be unsatisfying.
Even gamers of Ashley’s age or younger would probably prefer a bit more of a challenge.
Yet, overall, this is a welcome — and well done — feat of restoration. Without Another Code: Recollection, a couple of good ‘uns might have been left blowing in the wind.