The mid to late 90s marked a true sense of evolution for the gaming medium. Console manufacturers and development studios alike began embracing the world of 3D by incorporating that new visual style into a wide swath of titles. For fighting games, that was certainly the case. Sega took a stab at making a 3D fighter for itself with Virtua Fighter, while Namco offered its own foray into the world of 3D brawlers with Tekken. And for the longest time now, "The King of the Iron Fist Tournament" has reigned supreme as the champion of the 3D fighting game sub-genre. For this list, we're going to rank every major release in the series and make out way up to the very best Tekken games ever made.
The 22 Best 'Tekken' Games, Ranked
Best 'Tekken' Games
22. 'Tekken Arena'
Released in 2013
Never heard of this one? Yeah, we're not surprised. It's one of those super obscure Tekken releases that didn't amount to much of anything in the long run. It's a pretty inoffensive free-to-play MMORPG that only launched on mobile devices. It features some familiar faces, but none of the explosive combat the series has come to be recognized and celebrated for. Watching two still images violently shake as they mimic the heat of battle gets old real fast here. Tekken Arena is nothing more than an intriguing experiment in theory that was far from a smash hit in execution.
21. 'Tekken Resolute'
Released in 2010
Java mobile games were all the rage from the mid to late 2000s. Once 2010 rolled around, they started to get phased out in favor of more impressive mobile games available on iOS and Android-powered devices. Before Tekken got to hop onto those new pieces of pocket-sized power, the series had a little Java game experiment of its own. And to be quite honest, it's what you'd expect it to be - a ho-hum fighting game that's none too fun thanks to some frustrating controls and overly simple gameplay. Tekken Resolute is a curious oddity and nothing more.
20. 'Death by Degrees'
Released in 2005
Death by Degrees is one of those games that had a lot going for it when it got announced. It's a single-player action/adventure spinoff starring Nina Williams using her bone-breaking moves to incapacitate all sorts of random goons. Unfortunately, the final release just doesn't fulfill any of the pre-launch potential Tekken fans expected of it. The repetitive combat, weird analog stick fighting control scheme, uncooperative camera, and annoyingly long loading times keep Death by Degrees on the bottom of every comprehensive list of the best Tekken games.
19. 'Tekken Card Challenge'
Released in 1999
Bandai's portable WonderSwan handheld console had its fair share of fun little spinoffs derived from successful mainline IPs. Tekken certainly falls into that category as it received a halfway decent card battling RPG that featured cutesy chibi-style renditions of the Tekken 3 roster. The Yu-Gi-Oh! approach to card combat is way more fun than expected here, plus the presence of a full Adventure Mode makes the whole card-collecting portion of this game an addictive endeavor. Tekken Card Challenge is one of those Japan-only Tekken releases that are actually worth importing if you're an avid collector of everything the series has to offer.
18. 'Galaga: TEKKEN Edition'
Released in 2015
On a list of the best Tekken games such as this one, this cool little mobile arcade shooter doesn't have the amazing quality needed to stand next to the greatest releases known the world over. But that doesn't mean it's downright offensive to series fanatics. Galaga: TEKKEN Edition is just a simple remixed version of the classic 80s alien buster that swaps in 8-bit pixelated Tekken characters for all the spaceships and bugs the original version features. It's a crossover game that brings together two major Bandai Namco franchises that offered some fleeting moments of fun when it was still available.
17. 'Tekken Advance'
Released in 2002
When Tekken 3 took over the world, it was easy to see why other non-PlayStation consoles wanted to get in on all the fun. The Game Boy Advance was lucky enough to get its very own version of the game and it's shockingly a fine adaptation of the console experience. Tekken Advance's visual prowess is surprisingly solid and its gameplay handles well. For a GBA game, this Tekken 3 port excels. It's one of those handheld fighters that you might be shocked to still find combo videos for. Some of the game's music becomes a little grating after repeated listens, though.
16. 'Tekken Card Tournament'
Released in 2013
It seems like every worthwhile franchise worth its weight in gold gets a fully dedicated collectible card game of some kind at some point. Tekken Card Tournament is one of those types of games that popped up on mobile and garnered a ton of attention during its active lifespan. And to be quite honest, it's quite solid. Participating in action-packed turn-paced battles while you select the cards needed to activate actions for your onscreen battler was quite the addictive activity in this game. Plus the graphics and tag battles are pretty good to boot! we actually kind of miss this one...
15. 'Tekken' (Mobile)
Released in 2018
When this mobile take on the Tekken formula was still alive and kicking, it ended up providing a nice bit of fun via its touch-based control scheme. This mobile fighter was pretty much a bite-sized version of Tekken 7 that mixed in a lot of the familiar roster members featured in its console counterpart. But like most mobile games of its ilk, the gacha elements got in the way of continued players' progress most of the time. The gameplay's great, but the free-to-play structure of it all presented that wall of frustration that many mobile games rely on.
14. 'Tekken Revolution'
Released in 2013
Here, we have a whole 'nother free-to-play experiment that gave everyone a pared-down version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. And for the most part, everything that's worth celebrating from that tag fighter works pretty well in a solo fighter environment. Newly added features such as "Special Arts" and "Critical Arts" increased the fun factor here. Plus the new and improved character maneuvering upgraded things to a reasonable degree. What really hampered Tekken Revolution was its pay-to-win mechanics and microtransactions that forced folks to pay up to even complete just one playthrough of Arcade Mode.
This is the one that started it all. The first Tekken was a revelation for gamers who got their first taste of experiencing fighting games in 3D. At the time, it was a revolutionary foray into the genre that presented cooler characters and flashier hit sparks in comparison to Sega's Virtua Fighter. Playing it today can be a bit of an issue for many due to the fact that characters take forever to get up off the ground. Even still, this series starter still offers a few reasons to keep playing it. The OST still slaps, the combo strings are still fun to pull off, and the impactful nature of each character's moveset never gets old. Those extra palette swap characters with copy and paste movesets do kinda suck, though.
12. 'Tekken Hybrid'
Tekken Hybrid acts as the ultimate triple threat package for longtime fans. The biggest reason to have this rare oddity in your collection is the HD version of Tekken Tag Tournament, which looks way better than the original and lets you run your matches at 60 FPS. Having the entire roster unlocked from the jump here is a blessing, too. Honestly, the rest of this compilation isn't worth much. The Tekken Tag Tournament 2 demo is meaningless at this point and the Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie is pure mid. Having a cleaner-looking version of TTT is still a worthy addition to anyone's Tekken collection, though.
11. 'Tekken 3D Prime Edition'
The Nintendo 3DS got some pretty decent fighting game ports during its time in the sun. Super Street Fighter IV and Dead or Alive are among those releases. And then there's Tekken, which got an updated version of Tekken 6 that was rejuvenated with 3D capabilities. All in all, Tekken 3D Prime Edition handles its job well in providing another solid portable Nintendo rendition of Bandai Namco's biggest fighting game franchise. 41 characters pop up here, which provides a ton of playable options to invest in. Beyond that though, there's a severe lack of meaningful single-player content and the wireless online was shoddy at best at the time of release. This 3DS version of Tekken is a cool little series oddity, all in all.
10. 'Tekken 4'
Tekken 4's such a strange red-headed stepchild of the series. It has its good parts, for sure. Two of the game's debuting new characters (Craig Marduk and Steve Fox) injected some much-needed freshness into the series' martial arts styles offerings. The OST has a wide range of bangers that stand out as the series' very best (Authentic Sky is just pure audio bliss), and the way Jin Kazama evolved here over his Tekken 3 self is so dope. Then comes the weaker parts of this game, which come in the form of all those wide-open stages that made this game a non-factor for competitive play. Bouncing someone repeatedly into a mall wall and being able to hide behind pillars in a parking lot present some of the balancing issues that keep this fourth mainline entry from being the absolute best Tekken game.
9. 'Tekken 6'
The first time Tekken made a splash onto the PS3 was with the sixth mainline entry in the series. Tekken 6 retained the signature battle feel and mechanics that fans grew to appreciate, plus it arrived with the "Rage" system and "Bound" combo extender that helped players maximize their character's playstyle. The newcomers that sprung up in this sequel are pretty cool, especially Zafina, Miguel, and Leo. Now Tekken 6's Scenario Campaign left a lot to be desired, honestly. And while Lars and Alisa's gameplay is fun enough, but their character designs didn't leave a very good strong impression upon their debuts. Tekken 6 is still a quality addition to every series installment that came before it, though.
8. 'Street Fighter x Tekken'
For the longest time now, people have been clamoring for the two biggest fighting game juggernauts to produce the greatest mashup of all time - Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat. While that crossover may never come to fruition, we still have to be thankful for the one we never even knew we wanted until it happened. And that dream versus fighter is Street Fighter x Tekken. Being able to utilize 2D versions of Tekken icons such as Kazuya and Paul while placing them in teams with fellow series alumni and Street Fighter's "World Warriors" worked like charm. The "Pandora" system was never good, to be quite honest. And the gems system just doesn't work all that well. But the fast-paced moment-to-moment gameplay and tag team combos keep this fighter alive in the eyes of hardcore FGC players. The update that came in 2013 refined this game into its strongest state to date.
7. 'Tekken 2'
The way the entire Tekken series entered another stratosphere of greatness with this sequel is extraordinary. Everything got pushed up to an even higher level of quality with Tekken 2 - the cinematics, the new characters, the OST, and the snappier gameplay all came together in a way that showed that Tekken was here for the long haul. This game is forever goated due to the fact that two of its newest characters (Jun Kazama and Lei Wulong) added so much to the series' amazing roster and lore. Baek Doo San and Bruce Irvin's welcome debuts here also increased the greatness factor of one of the finest fighting game sequels ever made.
6. 'Tekken Tag Tournament'
Once the PS2 finally launched on October 26, 2000, this Tekken spinoff made its way over from arcades onto Sony's new system and got the graphical clean-up job it so richly deserved. Tekken Tag Tournament has so much going for it - its godlike intro, fun 2v2 spin on Tekken's strong combat structure, and a roster full of characters that all appeared the in franchise's first three games are among those reasons. And the soundtrack? It's simply top-of-the-line tunes as far as fighting game OSTs are concerned. "Tekken Bowl" mode is way better than it has any right to be, by the way. Now excuse us while we bump to this game's fire "School" theme...
5. 'Tekken Tag Tournament 2'
After Tekken 6 came the battle royale of all battle royales in fighting game history in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. It's still mindblowing to fathom just how massive Tekken's roster has become since the first TTT, as evidenced by everyone that's starring in this tag team brawler. With all those characters in tow came the new battle mechanics featured in Tekken 6 and the double-team combos known as "Tag Assaults." Everything still works to perfection here, especially the character customization options that are still considered the best version of that signature mode to date. TTT2 is such an awesome celebration of the franchise as a whole.
4. 'Tekken 5'
Tekken 5 really rejuvenated the entire franchise in a major way that satisfied hardcore players to the highest degree. All of the semantics that makes a Tekken game legendary are here - you got dope intro/outro cinematics, notable improvements to the series' signature gameplay, and a nice array of new faces to head into the arena with. Raven, Asuka, Feng Wei, and even Devil Jin (who fulfilled Tekken fans' requests for the return of Jin's original Tekken 3 movelist) added so many fun playstyles to what came before them. It's worth noting that the home version of Tekken 5 is practically a playable museum for the series - you pretty much get all three arcade versions of the first three Tekken games here, which is the ultimate compilation for diehard series collectors.
3. 'Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection'
Leave it to the PlayStation Portable to deliver the best version of Tekken 5! Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection came through with some new looks for the original game's array of stages and also threw in some extra catchy remixes to those stage's tracks. The biggest updates that arrived with this notable upgrade are its three new characters (Lili, Sergei, and Armor King II) and a bunch of new character customization features for the entire roster. The character rebalancing also went a long way towards making this version of Tekken 5 one of the most refined entries in the entire franchise's history. Shout out to Namco Bandai Games for eventually porting this bad boy over to PS3 with online multiplayer enabled!
2. 'Tekken 7'
It's been amazing to see how far Tekken 7 has come. It began its life in arcades in Japan in 2015 and finally made its way globally to consoles in 2017. And along the way, the game's roster has ballooned to feature an incredible mixture of series regulars, welcome newcomers, and shocking guest combatants from a number of non-Tekken IPs. In its final state, Tekken 7 features an amalgamation of so many dope battle mechanics that makes everything just as fun to watch as it is to play. The slow-mo climaxes when two characters attempt a strike at the same time, the "Rage Art" super moves, and "Wall Bound" assist are just a sample size of the amazing gameplay elements implemented into this sequel. What are the only blemishes in this game? It's lackluster Story Mode and a ho-hum lineup of debuting launch characters, for sure. Even still, this seventh mainline series entry is still one of the best Tekken games.
1. 'Tekken 3'
Ladies and gentlemen, this should come as no surprise whatsoever. Not only is Tekken 3 one of the highest-selling games of all time, but it's also our #1 pick for the best Tekken games on this list. In album sale terms, this game went triple platinum and birthed a whole generation of fighting game fans that still play Tekken to this day. The major leap in art design and presentation from Tekken 2 to this sequel is simply amazing - the characters got older, the music got even better, and everything as a whole got edgier. Tekken 3 features such a huge lineup of debuting faces, which are still series mainstays fans know and love. Jin made his first appearance here and even adorned the cover in a move that solidified his top placing among Tekken's other mascots. Tekken 3's implementation of side-stepping and fun side modes such as "Tekken Force" & "Tekken Ball" is part of the reasons this PSOne classic is pure fighting game excellence.
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