Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Platforms: PS3, Xbox360, Wii U
Release Date: September 27
Tekken has been around for almost 20 years now, and has provided some of the finest beat’em up games we’ve seen. The series is also one of the reasons why I bought my first Playstation console many years ago. Now it is time for another King of Iron Fist tournament, and everything that’s ever been good about Tekken is still here.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 doesn’t try to reinvent the series by sticking with the same ideas that have been driving the series for the last 18 years. The core remains the same: simple gameplay mechanics (four attack-buttons, one dedicated to each limb), responsive characters, intriguing combo techniques and a big roster of characters to choose from. Oh, and there is that one thing that still remains the same: If you jump in without knowing what you’re doing, you’re getting your ass whooped.
If you jump in without knowing what you’re doing, you’re getting your ass whooped
That said, every aspect of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 support the core functions, making the actual fight itself more than fun. Movement and combat are executed extremely well. The characters feel responsive and navigating through the 3D-stages feels natural giving room for a player to focus on simplistic controls and combo system which are truly enjoyable.
The controls and combos feel rather simple and intuitive at first, but in truth, it is deep enough for you to spend months mastering your chosen character. Each character has dozens different combos which are pulled off by chaining different limb-specific attacks together.
The feature where the game gets its name is the tagging mechanic. Like in previous Tekken Tag Tournament, you can change switch characters during a combat in and out as you please with a single button. The real perk here is that tagging mechanics brings you another set of moves that you can use to prolong your combos i.e. keeping your opponent disabled until they’re knocked out. Sounds a lot easier said than done, but it does add – plenty of variety and fun moments to your beatings.
The Fight lab
Unfortunately, Tekken has never been the easiest game to master regardless of the simple limb-specific controls. Sure, you might get an occasional win with simple button-mashing, but if you’re facing a fellow player who has spent some time with the game… bad news. To ease up the learning curve, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 provides you a new practice mode called Fight Lab. Fight lab introduces all you need to know about Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Movement, tag play mechanics, combos, launchers, and knockbacks etc.
You’ll be also fighting fat Power Ranger lookalikes
The Fight lab is also an RPG-style meta-game where you’re earning money and experience by completing training missions. What you earn in the training mode, you can spend to purchase moves and abilities for your training character Combot which can be selected as a regular character in other game modes. So instead of being boring training missions one after another, Fight Lab provides you some fun hours with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 while teaching you all that is necessary to get a good grasp of the game. You’ll be also fighting fat Power Ranger lookalikes (it’s true)
Me? I’ve been playing Tekken games from the days of old, and I must say that while Fight lab doesn’t turn Tekken novices to masters, it gives everything one needs to start learning the controls of your new favorite characters.
While everything I’ve said earlier might sound intimidating if you haven’t played any Tekken-games before, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 does not require you to be an expert to have fun with the game. While Fight lab might help you, you can still snatch occasional wins because not all who play fighting games are hardcore veterans. And after a while, it does feel good to beat an opponent who is using button-mashing rage tactics.
Fun with friends or without them?
The gameplay modes are divided into two sections: Online and Offline. These game modes offer no surprises but they have been well crafted. Arcade mode offers you reiteration of the classic 8 fights, mini-boss and punishing final battle while other game modes such as Time trial, Survival, Team Battle and Ghost Battle are pretty self-explanatory. When the core of the game has been crafted well, it doesn’t matter how you enjoy a good fight.
The most important fact for me in a fighting game is smooth online play, and l was pleased to see that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 delivers what I was expecting. Online performance is smooth. The fights online worked pretty good even with poor connections although I do have to mention that when the lag is big, fighting feels a bit sluggish.
Even though I play most of my VS matches online, I was pleased to notice that offline multiplayer has not been forgotten and the developers understand that a good fighting game is a social encounter regardless if it happens offline or online.
Tekken franchise hasn’t been successful without reasons. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is all in all a very entertaining fighting game that is easy to pick up, feels extremely good to play, but requires some skill. If you’re willing to invest few hours to learn the tips and tricks of this fighter, then Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is well worth your money. On the other hand, if you wish to survive with only button mashing, you might consider something else.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Score: 9.0
Why so good? It is Tekken, excellent combat, precise movement, I’m good at it.
Why so low? It is Tekken, it might be hard to learn, you might lose a match or two.