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Review: Tekken Tag Tournament 2Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Namco Bandai Tekken
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: Out Now
(Wii U version available November 18)
ESRB: T for teen
This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of the game
The last Tekken Tag Tournament game came out all the way back in 1999 in the good old days of arcades and brought with it an intriguing mix of tag team match-ups that focused on team synergy and the “dial-a-combo” and juggling insanity that Tekken games were known for. Afterwards, the series then slipped off into the dark recesses of the Tekken universe. Until now that is.
With the tag series making its current gen system debut with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (TTT2), has the series once more reclaimed the iron fist? Or is the series finally showing some rust?
The first thing that players will notice is the immense level of polish and detail put into this game. Stages are vibrant with life as onlookers cheer and jeer, the ground breaks and crumbles as bodies slam against them (and in some cases break apart completely, revealing new sections of the stage), fighters’ faces wince and twist in pain as they take a particularly nasty blow. And the air itself warps and bends into shockwaves as fists and feet tear through their targets. They even go into smaller details like showing dirt and dust caking on the fighters’ bodies as they roll around on the ground or showing their clothes get wet if they fall in water. The effects in TTT2 are a main draw to the fight as lights and explosions fire off with each hit.
Now the game itself is real pretty, but is the gameplay any good? The answer to that is a resounding “Yes, most of the time.” Tag team play is obviously the focal point of TTT2, and it tailors a great deal of game mechanics with this in mind. The standard tag button allows you to swap your partner in and out. However, the game also implements some special moves each fighter has that allow them to launch their target into the air which when timed with a well-placed tag-in, allow you to switch in your partner to cause some nasty air juggles which not only do more damage, but also remove some of the opponent’s recoverable red health as well. The other extra move is called the “bound attack.” With this move, when you hit your foe and tag in your partner, both members of your team stay on screen to a double-team attack. In addition to tag-throws, slides, and other transition techniques, you have a solid repertoire of moves at your disposal.
And for those who prefer to run a one-man-wolf-pack and go solo, you have the option to fight with only one character as well. The game makes the two-on-one match-ups more balanced by giving the single player a buff in health and attack power.
The controls are reminiscent of Tekken games of yore but have a degree of polish and tweaking that make the attacks and combos flow with a decidedly weighty feel to the blows. When you hit, each strike makes an individual impact that creates a stronger sense of realistic force with each blow. It all makes for a surprisingly visceral and enjoyable experience.
Carrying the tradition from the most recent Tekken games, you can also customize and purchase new items to make new costumes and outfits for your fighters. By completing modes in the game or winning matches, you are awarded money to buy new items.
As is now a prerequisite in any modern-day fighter, TTT2 also boasts an online gaming mode along with their standard fare of Arcade, Versus, Time Attack, and Survival. The online mode runs very smoothly and has many options for the burgeoning pugilist. Spectator modes and match-ups are there along with some rather unique facets like the clan mode which allows you to make a sort of online posse in the Tekken community, replete with team banners and name.
They also have some interesting co-op tag matches in which two players each play a character in a tag team and must fight as one team. This definitely forces some communication and planning to make some of the trickier moves, but it does make for a fun way to mix things up. In addition to all these modes, as you wait for a match to start, the game takes you to a training room where you can do some practice sessions against a dummy while you wait. While a small addition, it makes a world of difference as opposed to twiddling your thumbs as you wait your turn to come up.
While the many modes and facets of gameplay may be a bit overwhelming, the game also features a mode called Fight Lab where you make a battle robot into the greatest fighter ever built. The mini tutorial session is set up in a series of missions that help teach you the controls and the gameplay styles. As you complete each stage, you are awarded with new moves to load into your Combot to make him stronger and more effective. Overall it makes for a very informative way to get new players acclimated to Tekken.
TTT2 is a definitely delight to play, but it is not without some low points. The main nitpick comes from the AI. During the fights the AI-controlled fighters can swing from challenging to down-right cheap in a matter of seconds. The final boss in the Arcade mode in particular is a spam master of epic proportions for example. But despite this hiccup, the main draw is definitely playing with other human players.
In the end, TTT2 has returned from its absence learning much from its contemporaries and has become an enjoyable fighter with lots to offer.
+ Solid controls
+ Incredible level of polish
+ Online Play is a blast
- Incredibly cheap AI (even on easiest difficulty)
- Not much to do offline
Overall Score: 8 (out of 10)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 returned in full force. A must-play for any Tekken fan or any fighting fan in general.
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