I’ve been a longtime fan of both Street Fighter and Tekken, so I always love when the two worlds collide. While I’ve stepped up my game in Street Fighter through Ultra Street Fighter IV and the more recent Street Fighter V, my love for the Tekken series has always been more for the characters than the gameplay. That made Street Fighter X Tekken a great experience for me since it was based on the Street Fighter mechanics, but with Tekken 7, Akuma’s inclusion helps me enjoy the Tekken 7 fight mechanics thanks to various spillover points from Akuma’s Street Fighter roots.

Bandai Nacmo says that Heihachi’s wife made a deal with Akuma that if anything happened to her, he would kill Heihachi and Kazuya. As my time with the story mode begins, I select if I want to play as Heihachi or Akuma (I choose Akuma), and the two kick off a high intensity brawl.

Akuma plays exactly how you’d want him to play. Within seconds of selecting him in a showdown against Heihachi, I’m hurling fireballs, throwing dragon punches, and slinging hurricane kicks toward the Tekken mainstay. My familiarity with Akuma from playing Street Fighter helped me topple Heihachi. As the match ends, the battle transitions seamlessly into a cutscene showing the two combatants flying at each other in what should end this confrontation. The screen cuts away just as the strikes go to land and my demo ends.

Tekken 7’s visuals are crisp, the gameplay feels stronger than ever, and the story mode’s presentation feels fully featured and headed in the right direction. With so many factors playing in Tekken 7’s favor, I’m more excited than ever to see how the final chapter of the Mishima blood saga plays out.

Tekken 7 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2017.

the author Brian Shea