Tekken 7 doesn't have a console release date, but it will hit arcades in Japan sometime in March. The latest game in the long-running fighting game franchise takes some bold steps forward by providing new features that help make the game more accessible to newcomers and fighting game novices. While these features aren't quite as popular among the hardened tournament veterans, they are a necessary addition to the series.

In the modern era of gaming, more and more casual players are starting to make the transition to hardcore players. With that evolution comes a larger player base for tournaments. This is one of the reasons why games such as Street Fighter 4 perform so well at tournaments. While the game is much easier to play compared to almost every other Street Fighter title, it still retains enough depth to keep veterans entertained. That's the same great balance Tekken 7 is going for, and there are quite a few features leading the charge.

New Characters

We don't yet know the entire roster of Tekken 7, but what we do know is that there will be at least four new characters. New characters are great for newcomers and Tekken veterans. They give the new players someone to use, especially if they didn't enjoy the existing Tekken character roster. In addition, Tekken veterans have four new characters to delve into and break down. Even if the veterans don't end up playing as any of the new characters, they still need to learn how to defend against them, adding more depth to the title.

Returning Characters

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 featured just shy of 60 characters. That's an intimidating number to newcomers trying to pick up the game. At present, Tekken 7 features a much more accessible roster of 20 characters. While that number is likely to rise, it's unlikely we'll see more than 40 characters at the most, and even that seems a bit high given the current number of known characters.

While the smaller roster does mean some characters will get cut, at present there are only four new characters. That means 16 characters return from previous Tekken games. Tekken has quite a few clone characters that have been created over the years. While their move sets have become more unique with each installment, all of those clones have been removed from the Tekken 7 roster (unless you want to counter Mishima characters).

If you liked Forest Law, you can still play as Marshall Law. If Baek was your character of choice, you still have Hwoarang to play as. These characters aren't identical, but it's not a difficult transition to make, especially if you're a Tekken veteran. Returning characters keep the veterans coming back and give casual players some familiarity if they decide to get into the new game.

Rage Arts

One of two new additions to Tekken 7 is the Rage Arts ability. This is an extension of the Rage ability from previous Tekken titles and serves as another comeback mechanic. You can think of Rage Arts as a way for Tekken to bring super combos into the mix. There's a flashy animation followed by an attack that inflicts significant damage and absorbs incoming attacks. Your character still takes damage from the absorbed attacks, but it's meant to be used to make a comeback, not as an invincible power move.

To help balance the new attack, Rage Arts can only be used when your health is low, so you have to be careful about which attacks you're absorbing. If you toss out a Rage Art attack with virtually no health left, you won't be able to absorb any attacks and still survive. Some players look down on comeback mechanics, but this one has to be used very carefully and will likely be toned down if it ends up being too powerful.

Power Crush

The second new addition to Tekken 7 is the Power Crush attack. Power Crush attacks have armor just like Rage Arts. Your character will still take damage from absorbed attacks, and the Power Crush can be interrupted by low attacks and throws. This helps to balance the fact that you can use a Power Crush at any point during a match, unlike Rage Arts.

Power Crush attacks are balanced just like normal attacks. Some are safe if an opponent blocks the attack, but don't lead to much damage. Other Power Crush attacks are not safe if the opponent blocks (meaning the opponent gets a free attack in return), but they lead to more damage. Power Crush attacks vary depending on your character, which means some will be more useful than others.

We'll have more on Tekken 7 as the March arcade release swiftly approaches!