Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).

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Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Jin and Kazuya’s final battle (image credit: angel177h).

Tekken 8 was finally released a year after both Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 came out. As soon as it was made available on Steam on the 25th of January, I took the liberty of purchasing and playing the game after giving it a test run on the Closed Network Test and the Closed Beta Test last year.

As a Tekken enthusiast, the game is indefinitely a massive improvement over the previous instalment. The team seemingly has gotten a better grip on how Unreal Engine works, and everything just looks beautiful. The story has improved significantly, too, compared to Tekken 7 with mediocre storytelling and cutscenes (but it was excusable considering the struggling financial budget for the game’s launch).

I want to highlight a few segments of the plot — Story: The Dark Awakens — and by considering that, expect major spoilers ahead.

The Story Focuses on Jin Trying to Regain His Devil Gene Power.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Jin Kazama to Kazuya in the first chapter.

In the beginning chapter of the story, Jin Kazama sets off to face his own father in a duel to end the never-ending conflict across the globe, with Kazuya effortlessly overpowered him, even with Jin succumbing to the Devil Gene to gain the upper hand. Kazuya finishes Jin off when he turned into the Devil with a laser beam of sort, winning the fight.

Jin finds himself sinking in the bottom of the metaphorical ocean (it’s probably in his mind), and Devil Jin seeks to reach out to his hand, apparently trying to save him. Jin refuses, and Devil Jin disappears as Jin sinks further into the abyss. Alisa saves him afterwards, as shown in the next chapter when Jin expresses his gratitude towards Alisa for saving him after the fight with Kazuya.

The next chapter (Chapter 2: Wayward Power) shows Lars Alexanderson sparring with Jin to monitor his combat progression, which he lacks as Lee appears after the fight to explain Jin’s suffering potential through the sparring session he had earlier. Lars convinces Jin to unleash his Devil power, but it is to no avail as he can no longer bring out the Devil in him.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Lars telling Jin to show his Devil Gene.

This probably explains why in every Tekken instalment, Devil Jin and Jin himself are always separated into two rosters, and Kazuya, his father whom he inherits the Devil Gene from, only takes up one slot. Jin has never associated himself with his Devil counterpart, further proved by his entirely different move set because he never wants to be associated with the Mishima (which will be explained further later).

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Hwoarang telling Jin that the Devil Gene is not a separate entity from himself.

Every character in the game that is tied with Jin Kazama doesn’t antagonise him this time around, unlike the events in Tekken 6 (understandably because he started the World War), but instead encourages him to understand his use of Devil Gene. From the early chapters to the near climax of the plot, it’s quite blissful to see that the characters are supporting Jin throughout his journey.

You Get to Play Your Favourite Mains in Some of the Chapters.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Playable characters in Chapter 5: A Fate decided by Fists.

The story focuses solely on Jin, but there are some parts where you get to play the others, be it main or side characters. 

In chapter 5: A Fate decided by Fists, Jin goes to Italy to further advance through the tournament hosted by Kazuya Mishima himself. It’s held in The Colosseum, where all representative fighters from around the world converge and decide the fate of their countries there. This includes almost all of the playable characters from the game, so we’re bound to have our favourite mains here.

It’s a tournament, so there are six matches in total for the first round. In each match, we get to decide who we’re going to play as (except for the match between Jin and Leroy, which in this case we have to play as Jin).

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Players can choose who to play as between Steve Fox and King in the first match.

It’s a kind thought from the team to include almost all characters to play some roles in the main story, considering that they are all affected by every King of Iron First tournament held by any member of the Mishima/Kazama family (Heihachi, Jinpachi, Jin, or Kazuya). Starting chapter 5 onwards, players occasionally will be playing other characters apart from Jin, including Kazuya, Reina, Leo, Victor, Raven, and some characters from the tournament.

It’s one of the welcoming additions from the Tekken series. It started from Tekken 7, where you get to play certain characters in certain chapters, but this is on a whole new level. It’s a massive improvement over the last entry, and I’m definitely loving every bit of it.

Zafina ‘Dies’ Too Early in the Story.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Zafina losing her Azazel power.

It’s expected, but I still cannot believe how quickly Zafina is thrown aside to conclude her role in the story.

From the plot of Tekken 6 where Jin resurrected Azazel (the progenitor of the Devil Gene) through the destruction of the world, Zafina (the astrologist and assassin tasked to protect the tomb of Azazel) stepped in to seal the Devil spirit in her left arm after Jin successfully subdued it because it wasn’t exactly destroyed even with the Devil Gene power.

Eventually, the Devil power grew stronger and uncontrollable for Zafina to keep it sealed, so she sought Claudio (the exorcist and leader of the Sirius Marksmen) in Tekken 7 in Sirius Sanctuary for aid. That’s the starting point where Zafina’s role in the Tekken plot grew.

Unfortunately in Tekken 8, she is dismissed almost too instantaneously. Kazuya intervenes as Zafina, Claudio, Xiaoyu, and Panda approach The Colosseum. He gets a hold of Zafina and wrestles Azazel’s spirit from her as he throws her away, only for Jin to catch before her body lands to the ground.

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Zafina snatched away from the group by Kazuya.

Yes, Zafina is one of my go-to characters, so I do feel slightly disappointed to see her get thrown around.

But, judging by Kazuya’s words to her, and her premonition, Zafina expects this. She wasn’t there to delay Kazuya of any sort and she only sought to fulfil said premonition, but it’s still awful to see her go without a fight. Considering her significant role in the story, you would expect she’d be at least playable in the story, but no.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Zafina tells Jin to retreat to Yakushima, the place where he obtained the cleansing power of Kazama.

Having the spirit wrestled away from her, Azazel finally takes form, reminiscent of the time in Tekken 6 when it once appeared as a boss fight as Zafina tells Jin to retreat to the “point of origin”, before she ‘dies’.

I do think that Zafina’s story ends in Tekken 8, regardless of whether or not she dies. After the Devil’s power being destroyed at the end of the game, there’s not much of a role for Zafina to partake in. She’d be back to her Tekken 6 move set if she were to appear in the next game, and she was considerably a low-tier character at the time before the Tekken 7 event took place.

Azazel is Back.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Azazel takes a physical form after being released by Kazuya.

I was expecting Kazuya to take away the Devil spirit by syphoning directly from Zafina, but I was NOT expecting Azazel to be a boss fight. Well, mini-boss fight.

This was the most feared boss fight in Tekken 6, apart from the Ogre in Tekken 3 and Jinpachi in Tekken 5, because of how unfairly strong it was back then. It blocks every move, leaving no room for aggression — only counters and punishes, but that would still leave you at a disadvantage, because of his ranged attacks.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Azazel in Tekken 6 (image credit: Fighters’ Generation).

This Azazel is a bit tame, however. I don’t know if it’s purely for the sake of the story, or Azazel has been nerfed as Zafina had, but I played on the hardest difficulty and still cheesed my way through with it.

Regardless, the return of Azazel was such an epic moment that a Tekken nerd like myself was gasping and screeching at the sight of it. Though momentarily, I appreciate the team for actually putting in effort to have Azazel as a boss fight in the game to cherish the moments of all Tekken players who once struggled against it in Tekken 6.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Kazuya’s final form of the Devil Gene.

Kazuya takes hold of Azazel’s power with ease upon defeating it, and the group that is on Jin’s side urges him to retreat as they try to delay Kazuya as much as they can. With Azazel’s power on his hand, obviously Kazuya is undefeatable by any of the characters, even Jin, if he decided to stay and fight. It doesn’t stop them, though, Claudio stays behind to perform the strongest exorcism ritual while the others occupy Kazuya.

The coordination of the fight between all of them is genuinely pleasing to the eye, before Reina steps in and tries to take Kazuya alone, in which he surrounds her and himself with crystal stalagmites, inhibiting anyone else from interfering with them both.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Reina’s personal duel with Kazuya.

“Reina got a death wish”, I thought to myself, but then it is her intention to bring out the worst in Kazuya to benefit her (which again I will explain further later on). Before Kazuya gets the chance to finish her off, however, Claudio manages to finish the ritual and breaks the stalagmites surrounding the two, before chaining Kazuya with a restriction field and attempting to draw the final blow to him with the Spear of Kephalos, but he misses. Kazuya breaks the chain and delivers the final blow to him instead, but not before Claudio re-divert the spear back to Kazuya.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Claudio drawing the Spear of Kephalos.

Though defeated by Kazuya, Claudio’s spear manages to destabilise Kazuya’s newfound Devil power, causing Azazel to attempt to take control of him. Kazuya is then forced to flee, sparing the group from the same fate as Claudio himself.

Claudio and Zafina may seem like they have died, but apparently they both survive the encounter as they both appear in the credit scene if players get the ‘good’ ending. That’s a bit of a relief, but similar to Zafina, I believe that concludes his story in Tekken as well. After the Devil’s power is cleansed at the end of the story, there’s no reason for Claudio to be around anymore, as he himself mentioned to Xiaoyu that it has been long since his resolve for this.

There’s More.

Let’s Talk about Tekken 8 — The Story (Part 1).
Kazuya in Chapter 8: A Humble Beginning.

Tekken 8 story is super long — much longer than Tekken 7 (I spent almost four hours finishing the story), so more will have to wait. I will delve further, possibly concluding the story in the next part, but for now, I leave you to your interpretation of what I think in the highlighted segments above. I’ll see you in the next part.

Author

  • Muhammad Hariz

    A ’00 Malaysian freelance writer for MugenMilano. Occasionally writes for fun; otherwise, going to the gym and playing video games would be the R&R for Hariz. Having a keen interest in the area of gaming and technology, Hariz’s written materials would mostly be tech-related and gaming news, particularly in adventure, horror, and fighting genre. Doesn’t stop him from writing other interesting topics, though, as long as it is worth checking out.

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