Angel Jin and Devil Kazuya punch it out
Screenshot by Destructoid

Tekken 8’s bonkers story, explained

Literally out of this world.

Up until rather recently, “story mode” was a foreign concept in the Tekken series. Before we just got Arcade mode, which meant picking one character, getting them through ten fights, and then sitting through a cutscene that sometimes had nothing to do with the series’ overarching plot just so we could unlock a new character.

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Those days are over. Even though we can still play through the chapters of each less central character to learn about their puny little tales, Harada and co. put some serious effort into having Tekken 8 tell one grand mainline tale that feels as big as a top Hollywood blockbuster.

The plot of the Tekken series — as is usual with long-running fighters — has gotten bonkers to a point of no return. The good news, however, is that the bonkers-ness of Tekken 8’s plot is awesome and does a spectacular homage to the series’ past.

Tekken has never put this much emphasis on the story

The gist of what we need to know before starting the game is that Heihachi Mishima, the recurring big bad of the series, dies at the end of Tekken 7 — and this time it’s not a fake-out. This allows for Kazuya, his son, to become an even bigger bad. If you want to know more about the mainline plot up until this point, you can head over here to read my recap or hear it from the mouth of Brian Cox himself.

The main plot of Tekken 8 lives in a game mode called “The Dark Awakens”, which is ironically about Jin trying to get rid of the evil within him, in an attempt to prevent Kazuya Mishima from taking over the world.

Oh, there’s also this girl named Reina. She’s that mandatory new Mishima clan member who shows up in every game and totally existed this entire time but only bothered showing up now (see: Jinpachi, Lars, and Kazumi). Reina is yet another offspring of Heihachi, but she mostly sits on the sidelines until after the end of the game. We’ll get to her later.

Note: Spoilers follow for Tekken 8‘s story from here on out.

The main event

Kazuya’s big plan is to summon and kill Azazel, the final boss of Tekken 6, to gain his devil powers as he’s the original devil gene’s owner. Sorry, Satan. Kazuya succeeds in his plan and becomes Super Devil Kazuya.

Jin knows this is just too much smoke for him to handle, so he makes amends with Devil Jin, the evil force/gene living inside him. After this he becomes Angel Ji— actually, wait — he becomes Devil Jin, but good.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Jin flies towards Kazuya, and the final fight begins. It somehow takes them to trade blows atop an asteroid floating above Earth. Things are getting really heavy but, as you begin to realize this is now more Azura’s Wrath than Tekken, Jin gets his ass kicked so hard he begins seeing Jun Kazama, his dead(?) mother. After a nice catching up, Jin unlocks an even more ultimate power, which finally turns him into Angel Jin — although he looks way more like the Warrior Of Light from Final Fantasy.

Screenshot by Destructoid

With Kazuya and Jin at maximum power, things get absolutely mad with every battle segment ending with a DBZ-worthy blast. Things go so hard that they literally beat their devil and angel special powers out of their bodies, and have to go on a final one-on-one battle where they can only use their regular fighting abilities.

Screenshot by Destructoid

This part is awesome, because it seems to evoke the final fight of Metal Gear Solid 4, the one where we see Ocelot going through all of his personas from all the games in the series, but we’re the ones playing Ocelot.

The different segments in this battle have players going through Jin’s move sets from the various games he’s been in. In the end, after bringing Kazuya’s life to 0 or near zero about 10 times, he finally goes down.

Endings

In the bad ending, we see Kazuya continuing the Mishima clan’s questionable tradition of just throwing his bloodline rival off a cliff.

In the good ending, we see a fully-good Jin looking at the sun, and definitely not throwing Kazuya off a cliff or into a volcano. After showing Jin, we get to see Kazuya lying unconscious on the floor as we see his wife Jun approaching. Is he dead and finally reunited with her? Is she alive and about to bring him back to the light side, even though he’d just plunged the world into chaos? Who knows?

In the secret ending, we learn that the devil gene isn’t gone, as Reina assumes her devil form to create a cool cliffhanger.

Is the series going to tone things down in the next installment? Can things get even wilder? We’ll find out in Tekken 9, I guess. You can now crossplay Tekken 8 on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.


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Author
Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.