The remainder of the core solo mechanics outside of the tag system involve knowledge about stances, the crush system low parries, netsu, but most importantly of all, the wakeup system. I saved Wake Up & Okizeme till now so everyone can appreciate the reasons why Tekken goes into so much detail in giving the player options complementing the way all the other mechanics in the previous sections were handled by Namco.
Stances work in Tekken like any other fighting game. You input a certain command to enter into that stance and from that stance you will have access to a plethora of new moves that you weren't capable of unleashing from a neutral position. A lot of characters can interchange between stances like Zafina, Hwoarang, Ling, Lei, or Steve among others which makes their use pretty complex and beautiful to watch simultaneously. Taking for example Hwoarang and his transitions between his 4 stances:
It's quite fast and you need versatility to properly use stance heavy characters like that. Their strengths like in their mixups and their ability to keep their opponent guessing. Some moves cause him to transition, but instances where Hwoarang tapped ~f right after a move cancelled into his Left Flamingo Stance, which in the end made it safe whereas it could have been easily punished had it gone through
II. Crush System
This is one of the most controversial inclusions in the Tekken saga which a lot of the old school players aren’t too fond of, it’s the crush system. Crush basically implies a “dodge”. Some moves have specific properties that can dodge a low attack or a high attack. If a move dodges a low attack, it’s called a low crush move, and those moves usually involve airborne manoeuvers. Similarly if a high attack is dodged it’s called a high crush move. The gif below gives some examples:
Another you might have noticed was how Lei had a specific FCD (Facedown) stance that crushes highs and a good majority of mids, so you have to be aware Tekken also has stances with those kinds of properties as well, not just moves. Ling Xiaoyu’s AOP stance also has similar properties.
The reason why a lot of veteran players didn't like this addition to the series was because they felt that certain moves which could juggle you while crushing a high or low (like Lar’s u/f+3 or generic hopkicks) was far too overpowered and led to random wins. But in my opinion, it’s part of the game and adds a lot of hype factor into the gameplay. As frustrating as it can be, there is a lot to cherish about this addition to the series.
III. Low Parries
Low Parries is a defensive manoeuver to shut down constant low pokes from your opponent or even low attack during an attack string from your opponent like Law’s b+2,3,4 Junkyard string. This was introduced in the original Tekken Tag probably to take care of all the nuances Eddy gave the entire roster back in Tekken 3. It’s pretty simple to execute but the timing definitely is important where you input a d/f right before the low attack connects on you. This will put your opponent directly in a bound state and allow you to perform a mini juggle on your opponent:
Sometimes, it’s better to simply block a low attack if the guard stun inflicted on your opponent is long enough for you to perform a more damaging punish or even a complete juggle combo. That’s why it’s best to practice and know how to defend appropriately against the majority of the cast.
IV. Wakeup & Okizeme
Along with movement and spacing, wakeup is the other fundamental mechanic of Tekken that players NEED to understand and prioritize to survive in this game. After talking about wakeup we'll talk about Okizeme. Okizeme basically translates to your course of action against an opponent grounded. So it basically talks about what you can do to counter someone who's attempting to wakeup.
Tekken probably has the most complex wakeup system in all of fighting games. There are a multitude of ways to do it in this game, First we'll talk about Quick getups:
- Quick Getup
- Chinese Getup - Hold Forward while landing, do a spring kick back into a standing position.
- Tech Roll - Tap 1_2 while landing to tech roll into the background and vice versa tap 3_4 to tech roll into the foreground.
- Quick Backroll - Hold B after a Mach Breaker-esque knockdown to quickly return to a standing neutral position.
- Quick Backroll 2 - Hold D/B from a roll back knockdown to quickly return to a standing neutral position.
- Regular Getup
- Quick Getup - Tap u, Fastest way to return to a standing neutral position from a grounded position
- Low Kick - Tap 3, Rise directly to a low kick, unsafe. Properties different if Facedown/Faceup.
- Mid Kick - Tap 4,. Rise directly to a mid kick, unsafe. Properties different if Facedown/Faceup.
- Backroll/Forward Roll - Hold B or F to roll backward or forward to get farther or closer to your opponent
- Spring Kick - B+3+4 to do a slow spring kick that goes a far distance. Slow, seeable, safe
- Sideroll - Tap 1 to roll into the background, or d+1 to roll into the foreground for a better vantage point in arena
- Lying Toe Kick - Tap d+3 or d+4 to do a toe kick while your player is lying on the ground from their FUFA position. Very deceptive yet unsafe & paltry damage.
- Cross Chop - F+1+2_B+1+2 to roll in a specific direction followed by a cross chop head dive. Slow, seeable, but safe.
- Getupkick Intricacies
As you saw in the above GIFS that the 3 and 4 getup kicks don't cause knockdowns, BUT if they hit on CH, then they will knock your opponent down and give you more breathing room and unleash your own okizeme options. But the other interesting thing is how the properties of the kicks from a FDFT (feet down feet towards) position are automatically Counter Hit so it will knockdown your opponents regardless. However, remember they are always unsafe:
- Techroll Intricacies
Techrolling is one of the most powerful tools to escape free damage your opponent can deal but it can be equally fatal:
Julia's CH 1~1,1 string (among many others by various characters) causes a stun that leads to free damage follow ups, that can be avoided by techrolling. And there is also certain moves like Bruces' d+3,4 that can reset the juggle when an opponent lands on the ground, that can only be avoided by techrolling. BUT as we saw above, there are unblockable setups that people can save for techrollers that are absolutely devastating. So it's important to choose wisely on how to getup.
- Other Okizeme
So not just with techrolling, but every other frontier available for someone to wakeup with, there are a set of tools each character has as an option for okizeme against any type of wakeup the knocked down opponent attempts as seen below:
Some follow ups are guaranteed and others are strategically selected to optimize your damage or position. It's a whole world of possibilities with okizeme and it's definitely one of the deepest aspects of playing Tekken that can be disastrous for you yet rewarding simultaneously.
These are all commands that must be inputted during the landing period. If you wait, you'll get a different set of options that will be outlined below. The quick backroll is the only option that has no risk tied to it, the other two such as the tech roll or chinese getup both dangers that can apply to them but rewards simultaneously. Tech rolling is usually the best route to go with unless you know your opponent has a tech trap set up for you which will be explained later. Moves that spike you onto the ground do not allow you to do quick getup moves.
This is where lots of people get lost and unable to decide what choice to go with for wakeup. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. If you know your opponent is about to hit you with a low hit, it's best to quickly getup and block low. If a wall is behind you, you should sideroll to get a better vanatage point or to avoid a potential running stomp. You could land any of the 4 attacks (low,mid,spring kicks, crosschop) to stop a bitbulling opponent. But each of those choices have disadvantages.
Netsu is a game mechanic originating from the original Tekken Tag tournament. Netsu literally translates to fever. This is the mechanic where if you took a certain amount of damage, your partner gets angry and hence gets “a fever” which is where the Netsu term originates from. The visual cue to know whether or not Netsu is activated is by the blinking lifebar. To give an example of the damage increase with Netsu take a look at the GIF below:
In the original Tekken Tag, the activation for Netsu depended on the number of hits the character took and changed depending on the team, i.e. a team with good chemistry like Jun and Jin require fewer hits to activate netsu for them. And on the other exteme a team that hates each other like if Heihachi and Kazuya are partners then neither of them will ever have netsu activated. TTT2 retains that concept. More information can be gathered on the specific allegiances between characters at the Tekken Zaibatsu Wiki page. Solo mode players will get netsu twice per round at the midpoint of theire health and close to when they're dead against teams. Against another solo opponent netsu will only activate at the end of the match just how rage did in Tekken 6. There is another method of getting netsu, but that will be explained in the next unit.
That about covers all of the basics of the fundamentals of Tekken and everything it encompasses. Now when you watch certain match videos or notice certain occurences during the game, you can attribute everything properly instead of wondering how such and such happened. But again, these are the fundamentals, we haven't completely covered everything the game offers. There is still all the tag functionalities, and that will be covered in the next section.