Developer: Namco/Bandai / Publisher: Namco/Bandai / Played on: PlayStation 3 / Price: $59.99 / ESRB: Teen [ Alcohol Reference, Crude Humor, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence]
Tekken Tag Tournament is back and bigger than ever. In fact Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has the biggest character roster in Tekken history with over 50 martial artists, including bears, devils, robots, and kangaroos. Tekken has proven throughout the years to be one of the best 3D fighting franchises of all time. From the wide variety of characters, simple yet in-depth gameplay, and comical story, it’s set to be one of the best fighting games of the year… if not, dare we suggest, ever?
If you are looking to fight using your favorite martial art fighting style, Tekken will offer it. Not only does Tekken Tag Tournament 2 have fascinating characters, like the aforementioned devils and kangaroos, they use real-world martial art styles. From karate to taekwondo, sumo to wrestling, boxing to capoeira, this makes for an exciting battle to determine the most superior fighting style.
Just like all previous Tekken games in the franchise, the button layout remains the same. Special moves are simple to perform and the tag mechanics are similar to the original Tekken Tag Tournament. When you want to maximize your combo, you tag in your partner to help you out.
New to TTT2 are several tag abilities. You have Tag Assault, Direct Tag Assault, and Tag Crash. Tag throws are also available and when preformed with the proper partner, the attack can be devastating. Tag Assault allows you to tag in your partner and have them in for a short time in order to extend your combos. You have the option to control either character by pressing and holding the tag button. Direct Tag Assault brings your partner out after handing out a devastating attack. This is executed by pressing both punch buttons along with the tag button. Tag Crash gets your lead fighter out of trouble by diving in the middle of battle. You sacrifice grey health (your rechargeable health bar) once this move is performed, but may save a defeat. With all these tools, and each character having over a hundred moves at their disposal, there’s no limit to crafting damaging combos.
If you don’t want to run with a teammate, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 lets you battle solo. As you play solo you have extra health and chances to build combos to compensate for your missing partner. You have to balance not dishing out the damaging tag combos , but you have a rage state twice in a round as opposed to once per partner. Rage state happens when your fighter has taken too much damage, providing a comeback mechanic by letting you dish out more damage, indicated when your health bar starts flashing red.
Another interesting element added to Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the relationship factor. Depending on which partner you select, your partner will enter rage mode sooner or later, or sometimes not at all. Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law have a very strong relationship in the world fiction, so if Law sees his buddy getting the shit kicked out of him, he will enter rage mode sooner in the round. This adds an extra layer of strategy when it comes to selecting your team.
The core gameplay is simple enough for beginners and complex enough for advanced players. There are no super meters to worry about meter management or preforming a super ultra-finisher. You just fight. The basics of fighting games still apply in Tekken: high, mid, and low mix-ups and mind games are all important, but the Tekken team always makes it clear that this is a tag-based fighter.
There are several modes to choose from in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. As in most fighting games Arcade mode pitches you in several consecutive matches where you fight up the character roster until you face some familiar bosses. After completing Arcade mode you are rewarded with a short, sometimes satisfying ending to the first character you chose. Tekken has always had a comical feel while still treating the story with respect.
Of course, you can customize your character, now with hundreds of items to earn, even changing their color. Special items let you equip your characters with guns, swords, magic wands, and deadly ice cream cones. The variety of customization through all these items is as expansive as I’ve ever seen in any fighting game.
Ghost battle mode is made up of continuous matches of ranked opponents. As you win you earn money, rank, and you unlock more customizable items to place on your characters.
New to Tekken Tag Tournament is the Fight Lab, which introduces you to the varied fighting mechanics of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. In Fight Lab you are re-introduced to Combot, a robot fighter who first made his appearance in Tekken 4. Now, as the story goes, it is Lee’s job to resurrect Combot after ruining the more advanced version of the fighting machine. You must learn how to move, attack, break throws, and perform the combo basics in order for Combot to regain his memory. As you complete these tutorials and mini games, you are awarded money and Combot points to buy moves to equip your Combot. And these moves change depending on which character you use for practice. This is an extremely useful practice mode as you can equip your Combot with specific moves and battle and against it.
Online mode is actually pretty good. While playing on a wireless connection, I was able to get a five bar signal, and I haven’t experienced any disconnection or dropped matches. Unfortunately you are unable to team up with a friend online. You can, however, play two players locally on one console online.. An awesome new social network site has been added to Tekken Tag Tournament 2 as well. The World Tekken Federation tracks all of your stats and posts them on the site. It tracks everything from throw breaks to total win/loses, character usage, everything a fighting fan wants and needs to improve their game in a format similar to Call of Duty Elite or Halo Waypoint. But you don’t have to pay for it! You can also develop teams with other players, earn money together, and customize logos. All your stats and updates are posted in real-time so you don’t miss anything. This is extremely useful for those fans that want to be the best of the best in Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
Honestly there’s not much Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has failed to deliver for fighting fans. If you’re playing the PlayStation 3 version of the game you will have a massive, (and I mean MASSIVE) required install of 7.5GB!
One missing feature is that there are no slow motion replays. I really enjoyed the slow motion replays in Tekken 6, so it’s not clear why it was left out here.
Besides these minor issues, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 brings a lot to the table: the ability to play up to four players, over 50 characters (and more on the way as DLC), and on top of that, the DLC characters will be free of charge. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has awesome gameplay mechanics that are simple enough for anyone to jump into regardless of skill, and with the World Tekken Federation, which is also free, this is just going to grow the Tekken community even more. The game should be big hit at the EVO championship next year.
Awesome gameplay and graphics. Tons of fully customizable items to unlock that you will be playing this game for years to come. Snoop Dog (or Snoop Lion). It hits all the right notes for true fighting game fans.
9 / 10