Skip to main content

The most boring-sounding Tekken 8 mode is the series’ most important innovation in years

'My Replay & Tips' was introduced later on in the Tekken 7 life cycle, but it might be Tekken 8’s secret weapon.

Tekken 8's Kazuya Mishima stands, arms crossed and angry, in front of the roster of fighters coming to Tekken 8 – all of whom are slighlty blurred.
Image credit: VG247/Bandai Namco

“If you've noticed, some people are like ‘yeah, we need to teach people how play new games,’ and then they just have a long-ass tutorial where you go through a menu and pick all the stuff, and it teaches you what it means in the game,” says Tekken 8 producer (and long-time Tekken advocate), Michael ‘Mishimaikeru’ Murray.

“In Tekken, that’s something that [veteran developer] Katsuhiro Harada, in particular, hates. “He always says that ‘you have to learn the game through playing it’ and ‘we can’t just have a straight-up tutorial. You have to have fun with the game whilst you’re playing it.”

That philosophy has never been more present than in Tekken 8, a game that contains a nearly-embarrassing level of content on-disc at launch. Aside from the modes that are expected in a post-Mortal Kombat X world (like a cinematic story mode, character episodes, and Tekken’s funky new online-adjacent single-player mode, Arcade Quest), Tekken 8 has got one of the most robust and beginner-friendly training modes I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. And I’ve been playing since the mid-90s!

The headline offering of this training suite is the somewhat innocuous-sounding ‘My Replay & Tips’. It’s a feature that was introduced a little later on in the Tekken 7 life cycle (during Season 2) that lets you relive your battles whilst leaning in to say ‘psst, you could have dodged that’ or ‘hey, you know you can interrupt the enemy combo at this point, right?’

In Tekken 7, this feature suite was criminally underused by low- to mid-level players. But it’s one of the most fascinating, and useful, training suites I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. For Tekken 8, it’s had something of an overhaul – and Bandai Namco has juiced every iota of power it can from the current generation of console architecture in order to make it even better.

Tekken 8 presentation, with a big focus on 'My Replay & Tips' featuring long-time producer, Michael Murray.
The team is clearly proud of the work that's gone into this mode. | Image credit: Bandai Namco

“It's true that when you're playing a fighting game, there are several ways to get better: one of them is to increase your damage output, so you put a lot of effort into find out how to do that – or how to decrease your damage taken from your opponent,” says Kohei Ikeda, director of Tekken 8. “And so ‘My Replay & Tips’ was introduced as another way of researching that, and finding out how to do [optimise damage output and reduction]. And if you do both of those, obviously, you’ll be better as a player.”

But there’s a lot of effort involved in doing that, and a lot of jargon and technical data that novice or even intermediate players aren’t going to be able to parse, at a glance. “We wanted to make that play cycle less intensive,” continues Ikeda. “Having advice and being able to practice your options on the spot… That’s probably the most effective and optimal way to get better as a player. And so we’re hoping people will use this tool, efficiently, to get better in their real matches.”

Say you play as King (the best Tekken character, obviously). There’s a nice juggle combo you like doing, but you always opt for one of his air-grabs mid-combo; it looks cool, and it’s flashy. But it’s not the optimum way to continue his string. Muscle memory can be a killer in fighting games, and ‘My Replay & Tips’ will give you the option, in real time, to identify that weak point of your combo in a match and step in to practice alternate options at the press of a button (even suggesting inputs and options for you).

Tekken 8 Victor character reveal
To the Victor, the spoils. | Image credit: Bandai Namco

“When we were talking about developing this tool, efficiency was the core idea behind it,” explains Murray. “But I remember when I was trying to get better as a player, Jun Yasuda (AKA Mishimastar, Tekken Battle Tuning Director) said that ‘you need to look at your replays’. It’s a pain in the ass – I didn’t want to do it!

“First, you have to look at it, then you have to realise what you’re doing wrong. And that’s a lot! But now, you just look at the replay, and the computer tells you exactly what you’re doing wrong, and then it allows you to practice on the spot. It’s so much easier, and low-effort, compared to anything in the past.”

This mode did exist in Tekken 7, yes, but it was “towards the end of the last generation,” per Ikeda. “But it’s easier [to develop] now, with SSDs and everything else, and we’ve improved on the version that came into the last game in Tekken 8. The transmission between the hardware and the short loop time makes it so responsive, and so much better as a learning tool, too.”

In Tekken 7, the replay tools would show you what you did wrong and that was about it. But in Tekken 8, Ikeda, Murray and the rest of the development team made it more interactive, more dynamic, and – as Harada no doubt enjoys – more fun.

Reina is one of the best new additions to the roster in ages, as far as I'm concerned.

“So, you're in this one situation that you messed up in, and rather than just saying, ‘hey, this is what you should do’, it lets you try things, like, maybe instead of punching, you’ll side-step and try something else,” says Ikeda. “And for 10 seconds, you can freely practice in that space. That's something that we’re easily able to do thanks to the new generation of consoles.”

In theory, it’s a smart way of helping ‘single-player only’ types hedge their bets against harder AI opponents. In practice, it’s somehow even better, allowing you to bury bad habits and reinforce good ones in an effortless, seamless way. It’s the sort of training suite that almost emulates that ‘big brother’ vibe; having someone better than you sit next to you, gently encourage you, and eventually allow you to be good enough to climb the ranks in that tense online environment that Tekken has made legendary.

‘My Replay & Tips’ is a boring name for a truly innovative, accessible feature, and something that no-one should miss out on, just because it’s buried at the bottom of a menu somewhere. It’s just one of the many features that makes Tekken 8 look like 2024 ‘game of the year’ material, even this far ahead of launch.


Tekken 8 is finally on January 26, 2024 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Read this next

news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news