Earlier this week at Bandai Namco‘s pre-TGS event, I spent some hands-on time with the upcoming big-name fighting game Tekken 8. While I expected to be stomped into the ground by the more talented fighting gamers at the event, Tekken 8‘s new control scheme, “Special Style,” let me hold my own—and even come out on top more than once.
Despite being an avid gamer for over 35 years and playing more fighting games than I can count, it’s a genre I have zero natural talent in. The mixture of complex inputs and incredibly tight timing for long strings of combos is something I’ve been unable to master—leaving me a decidedly mediocre player.
Luckily for me and those like me, there has been a noticeable upturn in recent years of games trying to bridge the gap between casual and hardcore players with things like FighterZ giving each character an auto-combo that requires only pressing a single button repeatedly or Street Fighter VI‘s “Modern Mode” which cuts down the number of buttons a player needs to keep track of (at the cost of move variety).
Tekken 8 takes this to the next level with its “Special Style” control scheme, which gives each character a variety of attacks and auto-combos—changing up which attack comes out simply by pushing one of the face buttons and holding a different direction. This allows new and less skilled players to focus on the basics of blocking, counter-attacking, and playing “footsies” to hit that first attack when in neutral rather than focus on trying to pull off complex combos.
But what makes the feature is the ability to toggle it on and off mid-fight with the press of a button. Thanks to this, you can mix and match the normal moves with the various auto-combos with ease. Now, will “Special Style” have you winning tournaments? No, of course not. However, the game’s producer, Michael Murry, expects it will help players reach an intermediate level where they can transition to the more complex standard controls by toggling “Special Style” on and off when needed.
If you want to try Tekken 8 out for yourself, there will be a closed beta for the game running from October 20, 2023, to October 23, 2023, on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows with cross-play available. You can sign up for it until October 11, 2023, here.
Tekken 8 is scheduled for release on January 26, 2024, for PlayStation 5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S.
Disclosure: Bandai Namco Filmworks Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., is a non-controlling, minority shareholder in Anime News Network Inc.