Tekken 7: Accessibility Review
Since the advent of the Playstation 1, Tekken has been a popular 3D fighting franchise. Accessibility of games in that era wasn't exactly the most solid of guarantees even by today's standards though. Now that the technology has sufficiently advanced to allow for a high quality, mostly (if not fully) accessible experience, I wanted to see just how much the franchise has changed, if at all.
The copy of the game used in this review was provided by Microsoft at no cost to the reviewer.
Setting up the game
Note: You can see the notes and information I compiled during the setup process, go
here to read the information on menus, options etc.
Though some might think I'm stating something that doesn't need to be stated, Tekken 7 doesn't have menus that utilise the Speech Synthesis API, partially covered in this GDC conference recording. This would've greatly eased the setup process for the game amongst other elements, which I had to get sighted assistance for. You can read the information I compiled on how the setup process works via the link above.
Tekken 7's music is very much the techno soundtrack we've come to expect from the series. However, it's certainly an improvement over it's predecessor, with a few memorable tracks in a vast array of dynamically altering pieces. It also features a couple of tracks harkening back to Soul Calibur, with Claudio's theme being the main example.
There's ambience that blends well into the background even at default levels, though on a different note, not being able to turn the voices and sound effects up or down independently is rather frustrating.
The *big* Problem
The greatest issue, present with the series since its inception, is its use of primarily mono combat audio for its in-fight sequences. Tekken 7, I'm sorry to say, is no different. Coupled with the fact that the final boss flies above you, the easiest way I found to beat her was with Akuma, on the lowest CPU difficulty setting, throwing a constant barrage of fireballs her way. You can jump and try and hit her, but it doesn't always work.
Story Mode Special Chapter
Beating the special chapter in story Mode is one of the toughest things I've ever had to do in a Tekken game and managed to complete. Boss Akuma has a few extra abilities that make him very difficult, including a fireball chain that can hit you and juggle in the air and a parry that can negate any of your attacks. The only way I found to beat him was to mash down, forward and 1 and 3 and occasionally use 4. This partly stemmed from me misreading the notes I found online for Devil Kazuya's transformation, but regardless, I managed to defeat him by taking a couple of tips for how the end of the fight was supposed to work. Hitting a rage art when you don't know it's coming, within around a second's time frame, isn't the easiest thing to do.
I did read online whilst researching how to beat the fight that it wasn't just me who was having trouble, as the difficulty setting doesn't actually change the difficulty of this final confrontation. This is, I believe, a big mistake regardless of disability, as those unable to execute moves rapidly will have little chance against this unchanging boss character.
Practice mode, which would benefit from Speech Synthesis API support like all other menus in the game, is pretty standard for a fighter. Treasure Battle, a sort of survival and reward mode in one, is an interesting accessibility proposition as there are large gaps in between matches finishing and the next one starting, with just the music playing.
Such gaps, as also seen in the story sub mode for character episodes (though the latter contain text that is difficult to skip without a large amount of guesswork and no sighted assistance), can be very disorienting and frustrating.
I will update this review if I try online and though I hope to do so, I'm not sure when that'll happen at the current time.
Well-composed musical score, including in comparison to previous installments.
Sound is impactful and hard hitting.
Well-chosen final boss for story mode (not counting the special chapter).
Secret fights that are hard to obtain, but worth it.
Mono combat audio asside from certain cues that you'd only hear with the music all the way down.
No support for subtitles in Narrator to aid understanding of the story mode.
No Speech Synthesis API support for menus.
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