I have been playing Tekken 7 since it came out for PC in 2017 and adjusting to the new mechanics took me a good amount of time. I admired the Rage specialty of Tekken 7 and with just two variations of the Rage attacks, it was easier to understand and execute either the Rage Art or Drive according to the circumstances.
Tekken 8 is almost ready to be launched in a year or so and of course, it is obvious to think that it would bring some new features to the best fighting game ever.
In a long 36 minutes video, Executive Director Katsuhiro Harada and Game Director Kohei Ikeda discuss the new mechanics and features of Tekken 8. It was easier to follow the new system but like Rage, and Recovery Gauge but when it came to the Heat System, I was pretty overwhelmed.
This is the first time I had to rewatch some parts several times to understand how the Heat System works but before we move on to that part, let’s take a look at some of the new features added to the new installment in the Tekken franchise.
New Rage System
Tekken 8 retains almost every aspect of the Rage system we have in Tekken 7 but excludes the Rage Drive completely. So, now players can only perform the Rage Art and to activate it, your health bar needs to be reduced to a particular point where the Rage gets enabled automatically.
One more change is that the Rage Art activation is now simplified to the extent that each character has the exact same button combination to perform the Rage Art. Players just need to Press Down Forward and 1+2 at the same time or it can be also done by pressing the R2 trigger button.
I believe it is a wise decision because it’s not easy to remember different button combinations for each character especially if you are a newbie.
Recoverable Gauge is a new feature that modifies how the health bar used to get depleted in Tekken 7. Previous Tekken had a simple concept of reducing the health bar by just attacking the opponent and if he blocks, the health bar stays the same.
In Tekken 8, the Recoverable Gauge is a new concept where each character has the ability to reduce the Health bar even if the opponent is blocking. This doesn’t apply normally but only with specific circumstances. Like if your character performs some big moves while the opponent is blocking, his health bar shows a reduction with a white recoverable gauge.
This is similar to The Tekken Tag series but this time, the recoverable Gauge does not fill up automatically. Instead, the player with the depleted Recoverable Gauge has to attack the opponent to fill his white gauge back.
The health bar can also be depleted using Heat moves even if the opponent is blocking. It is also possible to deplete the whole health bar leaving only the recoverable gauge but this won’t knock out the opponent. However, the opponent is now vulnerable to death once, the other player uses guard-breaking moves or unblockables.
The Game Director, Kohei Ikeda says that “It is important to be aggressive and keep attacking while recovering”. This opens the door for spamming but also puts one of the players in a vulnerable situation if his opponent side steps, power crushes or uses frame advantage to counter the player with the depleted health bar.
The Heat System can be pretty confusing in the beginning because there are various specialties it equips the player with. This is probably the biggest feature Bandai Namco added to Tekken 8 and replaces the Rage Drive but in an overwhelming way.
Unlike the Rage, the Heat System doesn’t require any health bar condition and can be activated at any time. It can be mainly activated in two different ways. You can either activate it with the Heat Burst or The Heat Engager. Both these techniques provide a way to dominate your opponent but require careful execution.
When the Heat System is activated, the player gets covered in blue flames and the Heat Timer starts. The Timer will end in 10 seconds which is still quite a good amount of time to execute the most powerful moves your character has.
Further, the timer stops whenever you attack your opponent and only continues when you are not attacking. This means the total time can easily extend to several seconds depending on how aggressively the player attacks in the Heat State.
When the character enters the Heat State with the Engager, he performs one of his signature moves and if it hits, the character runs toward the opponent for the follow-up attacks which are guaranteed. If it is blocked, the character doesn’t run toward the opponent.
Every character has typically 5 moves that can be used to activate the Heat Engager and when it hits the opponent, the character gets two Heat Energies. These Heat energies can be used for further Heat moves but if the Heat Engager gets blocked initially, the character only gets one Heat Energy.
Now the other way to enter into the Heat state is to use the Heat Burst. It can be activated at any time with a single button and can also be used in aerial combos. Using Heat Burst gives only one Heat Energy to follow up with one more Heat move but has a lot more potential than Heat Engager.
It provides a slight frame advantage over your opponent and allows further Heat attacks on your opponent even if the initial Heat Burst was blocked. Heat Engager on the other hand requires a guaranteed hit or you won’t be able to follow up with guaranteed moves.
Heat Burst initial hit can also be canceled but allows going into the Heat State with one Heat energy. This is particularly beneficial when your character is far away from the opponent and you want to deal some massive damage with the Heat moves.
Now the Heat state allows two different types of actions. One is Heat Dash which gives your character the ability to hit, run and execute a combo. The other is the Heat Smash which is a powerful single move that deals big damage.
If you enter the Heat mode through the heat Burst, you can execute either of the two moves but if you enter through the Heat Engager, you can use both Heat Dash and Smash which does some serious damage to your opponent’s health bar.
The Heat state also has unique effects on each character. For instance, when Paul hits his Down 1, 2 in the Heat State, the second punch will break the opponent’s guard and the follow-up moves will be unblockable.
Similarly, if you are playing with Law, using Nanchakus in the normal state will knock out the opponent to the ground but if he is in a Heat State, the attack will result in a combo. Exactly like this, every character is able to perform their powerful moves in a way unique to themselves.
This is how the whole Heat System works in Tekken 8 and can be pretty challenging to understand the first time but with repeated practice, it should become easier to understand and execute.
Finally, Tekken 8 brings fighting with two different control styles. One is the standard Arcade style and the other is the Specialized style. The Specialized style allows using the onscreen interface for performing special moves like Aerial Combos, power Crush, and Heat Bursts by just spamming a single button.
The interface can be enabled at any time in the gameplay with the L1 button and will help the new Tekken players utilize the special moves without any practice. Of course, the level of advanced attacks and combos will be basic with the Specialized controls and advanced players will still prefer playing in the traditional Arcade style.
Source: Bandai Namco Youtube