Tekken 4 introduced significant new gameplay changes from the previous games in the series. For the first time, it allowed players to maneuver around an arena interacting with walls and other obstacles for extra damage. These "environmental hazards" in turn allowed players to juggle opponents for consecutive combos and allowed the designers to implement a "switch maneuver", which let players escape from cornering and throw the tide in their favor. Also, the game engine had been tweaked to be more focused on the environment, causing the characters to move more slowly and fluidly than in Tekken Tag Tournament. Finally, the game introduced a brand new graphics system, that featured increased lighting, dynamic physics, and smoother surfaces.
In high level tournament play, it became apparent that the engine changes caused the game to heavily favor quick jabs and punches, upsetting some fans due to the decline in usefulness of more complex moves and strategies. Jin Kazama especially, was over-powered, and if one were to look at the tournament records, he was used by nearly every top player.
Four Characters have their own boss characters, Kazuya and Hwoarang face Jin, Lee faces Combot, and Heihachi faces Kazuya.
Tekken 4 includes a beat 'em up minigame available from the outset called Tekken Force. Similar to the previous minigame found in Tekken 3, it presents the player with an over-the-shoulder perspective as they fight wave upon wave of Heihachi's Tekken Force through four stages, eventually facing Heihachi himself. The player can pick up health and power-ups while they fight waves of enemies. In the minigame it is discovered that the Tekken Force possesses different ranks in the organization, evident in different amounts of stamina, strength and skill.
5 years ago