Author: Heath Flor
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/tekken_tag_tournament_2/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
The Tekken series has always featured a strange cast of characters which includes anthropomorphic animals, robots, and even a tree thing. In Tekken Tag Tournament 2 nearly the entire roster is back and ready for action; fight with one, or create a tag team with two of your favorites and go head-to-head with other teams across the world in this arcade fighter.
Just in case you've been living under a rock for the last decade, gameplay in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 focuses on fighting, and a lot of it.
All joking aside, Tekken has strengthened itself over the years in an effort to bring players a unique fighting experience. This is a challenge in today's market, where fighting games are starting to resemble carbon copies of their competitors. Tekken doesn't necessarily break away from the pack in that regard, which is made evident by another recent release with nearly identical gameplay -- Dead or Alive 5.
Even though DoA may exhibit top of the line boob sway, Tekken steps up to break the mold by focusing on more realistic character features. Fighting with a big character slows down the pace quite a bit, and it's more difficult to grab that pesky lightweight hopping around at your feet. Likewise each character feels different than any other in the roster, and delivers a personal fighting experience, creating lifelong bonds with fans. Namco knows this and packs the roster with new -- and more importantly -- older characters to flesh things out.
There's not much in the way of controls -- low kick and punch, and high kick and punch -- but the combinations are rich, especially when you throw grappling into the mix. If you don't like the button configuration, you can change them at anytime. I had to actually shut off the right analog stick, as a slight tap would tag in my partner. It was annoying the few times it happened, and the simple on/off function allowed me to enjoy the game more. Unfortunately there's no way to turn off the d-pad as the directional input. I really wanted to use my analog stick instead, as it's about as close to an arcade stick as I can get these days.
If you're in the mood for some customization, Tekken is anxious to scratch your itch. The characters look amazing, and the variations are endless. In fact I went up against a team of faux Power Rangers online who didn't hesitate to pummel me into the dirt -- and they looked pretty doing so. A nice bonus is the ability to edit your move list as well, which adds an incredible amount of value to an already rich feature.
If you've never played a Tekken title before, or are generally weak at fighting games, you'll want to start off with the Fight Lab. Here is where you'll be introduced to the various techniques used in battle. Think of it as a tutorial masked as a story mode.
You'll find plenty of other things to do while offline including Team Battle, Time Attack, Survival Mode, and the full arcade version of the game. There's even couch battles as well, with Vs Battle and Pair Play (4 players in two tag teams) leading the way. If you're still having a tough time and need to polish your skills, there's also a Practice mode (highly recommended).
Unlike Dead or Alive 5, the online features all work in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. This was a great start to my online experience, which quickly faded as I proceeded to get my ass handed to me by everyone I went up against. If you're a casual player of fighting games I suggest you stay offline and practice, and then right when you think you're ready to go online, practice some more.
This is where the directional controls being on the d-pad really messed me up, because all it takes is one misstep for someone to swoop in for the kill, and I couldn't get the control swap through my thick skull. The furious beat downs I received online deterred me a bit from getting back into the fray, and I don't see myself doing it again anytime soon. The features themselves are excellent, and I really enjoyed the CPU sparring partner in between rounds. However, my pride took quite a beating, and it hasn't recovered just yet.
If you're looking for a robust support system outside of the game, you needn't look any further than the World Tekken Federation feature. Here you'll find an amazing amount of resources with which to manage your fighters and help hone your skills against opponents throughout the world. Though it did little to assist me while I was on the ground begging for mercy, I was quite impressed with the ungodly amounts of fighting data at my finger tips.
You have the option to analyze your characters and their move sets, giving you an idea of what moves are your strongest and weakest. Viewing your opponent's past battles gives you an insight on their techniques, while creating your own team badges gives you a sense of personalization. All of these features are found on the official World Tekken Federation website, and you must have a Bandai ID to join.
The graphics are fantastic, with the game taking on a somewhat cartoonish look rather than going the hardcore reality sim approach. I don't desire every single game to be realistic, especially when it has an arcade pedigree, so I didn't mind the departure. Even so, the characters themselves still sweat, get dirty, and show signs of wear and tear as the fights rage on.
Though I'm still not impressed with the Snoop Dogg level, all of them look amazing. Many of them feature destructible environments, and looking closely in the background you may catch a glimpse of a funny scene being played out around you. I noticed such a scene during practice while in Germany where a rooster, cat, and dog riding atop of a donkey would circle the ring. In case you're not familiar with the story, the silly riders hail from an old German folk tale called the Town Musicians of Bremen.
The new "Tekken Tunes" feature acts as a jukebox, allowing you to add tracks from your own playlist, as well as position existing tunes in any desired order. This allows you to entertain your inner music producer, and set up a custom set aimed at pumping you up for action. This feature is a massive plus in my book, as it allows you to skip the crap songs -- of which there were few.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Dead or Alive 5 closely resemble each other in features, except for one major factor: the online experience actually works in Tekken, and is far more robust. In this day and age, player support goes well and beyond the physical disc and the World Tekken Federation website expands what players have come to expect from typical fighting games, making it a very difficult feature to compete with.
Even with the amazing online features, the game has a steep learning curve, which will be off-putting for newcomers. Seeing as how even experienced fighters are getting beat down from the start online, it's going to be much harder for amateurs to tackle. Still, it's great to see Namco Bandai giving such great fan service, and it would be nice for other developers to take note; it's perfectly ok to cater to your long term fans while hunting for fresh blood.
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