Tekken Tag Tournament 2 review: Dream battles
Tekken has been a bit of a gamble in the last few years, with a few awkward games that didn’t have the weight or meat of their earlier titles. Does the iron fist hit with full force again? Or did Heihachi’s youth elixir fail? Get ready to pitch anyone and everyone against each other.
Once you unlearn all the moves from Street Fighter x Tekken and you start playing
proper fighting games Tekken again, you will notice a few new tricks have been added through the tag system. A lot of new tricks. While some moves are the same favourites all the way back from Tekken 3, like Bryan fury’s 9-hit kick combo, many characters have been retooled in a bid to modernise their move sets. All characters have either had a few new moves added to enable new mechanics, or had existing moves given those properties. Wait what, properties?
To handle all of the various tag moves and to streamline combat a bit, the move list contains a bunch of new icons, which represent everything from moves that hit side-stepping characters, to bound attacks, which allow for extra combo time against an enemy. During a bound, you can perform a tag assault, allowing both of your characters to unleash attacks on a defenceless fool.
If this is all sounding like too much, the game features a handy, humorous tutorial with Violet building the ultimate fighting machine, Combot. This handy robot can be taught moves from a myriad of characters, allowing you to choose everything from whose throw the bot should use, to what punch forward + left punch will unleash. Combot has 4 data files for saving different move combinations, meaning you can tailor him for certain fights or try something new without losing your favourite hybrid style.
Huge roster of characters to play with. Huge. 59 characters is nothing to sneeze at, especially considering all of the DLC characters will be part of free updates. Yes, FREE. Customisable outfits are back in a big way. While there are not as much as say Soul Calibur, there are a lot more than most fighting games. While most of the customisations are cosmetic only, the weapons can be used, adding an extra move or two to your favourite character. A lot of the extra outfits and panels, the portrait of your character before a battle, have to be unlocked through play. Julia Chang has donned a luchadora fighting style in this title (with a much improved move set) and Michelle will unlock soon as Angel, if you were wondering where they were.
Air juggles, prone attacks and tag throws come with an added benefit: they reduce how much health can be regained by the inactive character, effectively minimizing your opponent’s health total. The important thing to remember is that if either of your character’s dies, you lose the round, meaning switching out before being caught in a juggle at low health is really important.
Punishes, tag throws, tag assaults, tag rage recover, and swapping to characters who are in a rage state all result in extra damage, making health bars feel really small. This has brought out the tactical strength of the series, making the game especially punishing of those who prefer to fight without blocking.
After the mess in Street Fighter x Tekken , I was worried about a repeat with horrible net code, but the game plays really well, even in matches with the worst possible connection. Instead of losing sound, the game rather feels like it is slowing down if you have a bad connection, kind of like playing a game on
Darryn’s a really underpowered PC.
Stages are interactive now, including a few gimmicks to dole out even more punishment. Wall smashes extend the length of an air juggle, and balcony smashes set up your tag partner for a free attack. Some stages feature breakable floors too, which can be used to catch someone off balance. Using these moves in tandem with normal combos (you guys remember those annoying 10-hit combos?) and possibly a tag assault, can be devastating if pulled off properly.
Now to get back to fighting the final boss, who is 18th Dan and can juggle my entire health bar in one combo.
Tight controls and quick action result in frantic bouts of combat. It has been a while since I played a game until my hands cramped and tried to carry on anyway. The pace and tactical decisions had me on the edge of my seat, wrestling with my arcade stick. Chock-full of modes and being able to improve your rating in every mode is very handy, though I wish there was a way to set the arcade mode to only use the original outfits instead of random assortments. Some of those outfits are HORRID.
Design and Presentation: 8/10.
Good net code, and amazing looking characters, each with their own feel due to speed and strengths, makes for a comprehensive package. Now if only the move list could be sorted by category or property instead of a massive long list. Oddly, it seems all characters are made with the same skeleton, making the females look overly masculine in the shoulders. Though I’m sure you aren’t looking at the shoulders.
With close on 60 characters to play with, and you are actually reading the value section? Geroff mah lawn! The promise of extra characters and levels, free of charge in the future, is really icing on the cake. Now to find out how to learn all of the character’s moves for some good randomised versus action.
If you haven’t played Tekken for a while, or perhaps you have been playing Street Fighter x Tekken, prepare for a quick, sharp knock to your ego. This game is hard and fast and takes no prisoners. The computer can’t wait to lock you in an air juggle while you are still working out how to throw someone. Tons to do and learn, all mixed with the off-beat blend of humour that Tekken is famous for, with the free content planned for the future showing the other game companies what the players want in a great game.
Reviewed on Xbox 360, with a fighting stick. Also available on PS3.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was reviewed by Garth Holden