Tekken 8 launches on January 26th for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC, and it’s a hefty upgrade over its predecessors. There are new systems to learn, new characters like Reina, Azucena and Victor to lab, and several new challenges to master. It can get a little overwhelming, especially since each character possesses dozens of techniques and numerous ways to interact with mechanics like Heat.
Fortunately, there are many tools in place to help. Here are 15 tips and tricks, mostly for newcomers but also for those wondering how to take advantage of Tekken 8’s features.
Find Your Character
It seems obvious, but it’s one of the rules of fighting games – find the character you’ll have the most fun playing. They don’t have to be the most meta or top-tier. Pick a fighter, jump into a mode – whether Super Ghost Battle, Training or Arcade – and try them out. Enable Special Style if desired and see some of their techniques in action.
Bread and Butter Combos
Before you move on to the big, extensive combos, you’ll want to master the bread-and-butter combos first. These are combos which you can execute confidently at a moment’s notice. Reina’s Right Punch combo is a good example – keep pressing Triangle and chaining hits for a solid four-hit combo. These combos are something to fall back on when trying new strategies or incorporating new combos that you’re still learning. Be careful not to use them continuously, lest your opponent punishes you.
Frame Data in Training
Frame data is available in Training mode (no DLC purchase required), but if not automatically enabled, you should do so when jumping in. It will provide information on attack startup frames and frame advantages. However, it’s worth paying attention to status since it denotes when you or your opponent is crouching, airborne, etc, allowing further combo optimization.
Learn to Love Launchers
Tekken is all about those juggles, and Tekken 8 is no different. Launchers will enable some of the best combos in the game, and it’s worth learning all the options a character has. Use the best ones depending on the situation, but keep an eye on your opponent and learn to avoid their launchers. It’s a tall ask due to the sheer range of the roster, but it can save you down the line.
Check All Techniques
When you load into Training and check the Move List, there are two tabs – All Techniques and Main Techniques. The latter summarizes the combos and specialty skills that define a character. However, you’ll want to check All Techniques since it can highlight certain combos and Heat Moves that wouldn’t be mentioned otherwise. It’s useful for mixing up your strategies while diving more in-depth into a character.
Practice, Practice, Practice Combos
There are Sample Combos and Combo Challenges to complete in Training and you’ll likely fail them repeatedly. Demos in the latter help when understanding how certain combos work, but you should be comfortable enough to perform them without seeing the commands on screen. Once you’ve mastered that, try implementing them in your regular gameplay and then return to Training. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Pulling off combos is great, but how about defending and punishing different characters? Punishment Training is the ticket and provides two settings – Normal and Hard – for different punishment scenarios. The former will see the CPU performing a basic attack or combo and showcasing the ideal punishment to execute. Do it correctly, and you move on to the next scenario. Hard difficulty doesn’t tell you the best punishment – you need to figure it out. Both require abject timing for punishes and are indispensable for countering.
Special Style Tips
Special Style is a new addition and maps several commands, like air combos and low attacks, to the face buttons, which can change based on the directions held. It allows for performing complex combos and signature moves, but you shouldn’t keep mashing a single button and/or direction. Mix things up and toss in other button inputs, if for no other reason than to keep your opponent guessing.
Don’t Rely on Special Style
Of course, as neat as Special Style can seem at first, you shouldn’t rely on it long-term. Not only can it ultimately make you predictable – since there are only so many commands and combos to perform – but it limits your freedom in performing different techniques. Again, use it to see what a character can do, then jump into Training to learn their Main Techniques before delving further into All Techniques.
Heat Engager and Heat Smash
The Heat System is the crux of Tekken 8’s fighting system, and it’s activated by pressing R1 on PS5 or Right Bumper on Xbox Series X/S. This performs a Heat Smash – a powerful attack with Power Crush properties. Press the button again to complete the maneuver, dealing extensive damage to an opponent (if they don’t block it).
The other approach to activate Heat is a Heat Engager. These are tied to certain moves, with your character running forward to meet the opponent. The difference is you get more of the Heat Gauge to use, which means more opportunities for different combos and ending with the default Heat Smash technique. You can also cancel out of Heat by using a Heat Dash, closing the distance on an opponent even quicker.
When to Use Heat?
Of course, the question is: When is the best time to use Heat? You only get it once per round, so spamming it off cooldown isn’t an option. The honest answer is that it depends on the combos you rely on. Using a Heat Engager and inflicting chip damage is ideal if you’re confident in following up to inflict permanent damage. However, a Heat Smash is also good if you must escape from an opponent’s onslaught and immediately put them on the back foot. As always, it’s up to you.
Power Crush is an attack that gives a bit of Super Armor, absorbing damage from an opponent’s attack while allowing you to retaliate. It’s useful to create some distance when pressured, and the damage absorbed converts to recoverable health, which is not a bad trade. However, you want to be careful when to use them, especially if your opponent follows up with low attacks. Each character has multiple Power Crush options, so keep a few in your pocket.
Grind Super Ghost Battle
Super Ghost Battle is unlocked after progressing through Arcade Quest and introduces various AI opponents to fight. These employ different strategies and increase in difficulty over time, making them ideal for live training. Since you can download other players’ Ghosts, it can also be ideal for learning from higher-level players.
Fight Your Ghost
Don’t neglect to fight your Ghost, though. Since it’s based on your tactics, it can often reveal any bad habits or traps you fall into while playing. It allows for working around them and tightening your gameplay, which is always good.
How to Get Fight Money
Fight Money unlocks customization items for each character, and thankfully, the game isn’t stingy about doling them out. You can earn tens of thousands for completing matches regardless of the mode (except for Training) and achieving certain milestones.