Games reviews roundup: Tekken 7; The Surge; Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada | Technology

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PS4, Xbox One, PC, Bandai Namco, cert 16, out now
★★★★★

Now in its 23rd year, the latest episode in Namco’s 3D fighting series feels like a celebration of Tekken’s rich history. The story mode retells the whole Mishima bloodline saga; beautiful cut scenes flow seamlessly into battles. It’s hardly essential, but is easily the best in the series’ sketchy history of single-player modes. There are 37 characters, with the most striking new face being that of Street Fighter’s raging demon, Akuma, complete with EX bar and combos straight from Capcom’s game. There are also the most drastic changes to mechanics in the series’ history, including power crushes (armoured moves that absorb attacks), rage drives (powered-up modified moves) and rage arts (showboating super combos). These, when paired with the new slow-motion effect that kicks in for the final tense exchanges of battle, add up to the most dramatic combat Namco has ever produced. Far and away the best game in the series. RH



‘Fresh and different’: The Surge

PS4, Xbox One and PC, Focus Home Interactive, cert 18, out now
★★★★

In a cyberpunk future, Warren takes a job at the megacorporation Creo; in return, Creo promises to give him back the use of his legs by equipping him with a cybernetic rig. After waking from the procedure, Warren find himself trapped in a Creo facility ravaged by rogue robots and fellow workers driven mad by an unknown energy pulse. It’s a sci-fi premise that might have come from any number of development brainstorming sessions, but here it translates to the best attempt to date to make “the next Dark Souls”. The core action-RPG concepts are still there, with just enough tweaks and extra gear modification mechanics to feel fresh and different. The Surge’s twist is ensuring that the best way of getting new gear is by cutting it from enemy bodies, targeting specific limbs. It makes every fight both more tactical and more visceral. PH

‘Thoughtful design’: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada.



‘Thoughtful design’: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada.

PC, PS4, Koei Tecmo, cert 16, out now
★★★★

Strictly speaking a spin-off of a spin-off, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is born from the Dynasty Warriors series. Like most if its predecessors, the game focuses on weapons-based melees in the heart of large-scale military battles. Here, the setting is inspired by Japan’s Sengoku era, a time of near-constant conflict some 500 years ago. There are action-RPG elements too: with opportunities to converse with characters, upgrade weapons and abilities and take on short-form side quests, Spirit of Sanada should prove hugely enticing to action hack-and-slash fans. Engrossing, well written and exhilarating, this is a perfect entry point for series newcomers and devotees alike. WF



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