Fighting games are my fall-back of choice. When I’m not sure what to play, a few rounds of juggles (and jiggles) keep me busy or get my mind ready for something else. Over the years, however, I have become more accustomed to a fight stick than a controller, something that can take more of a beating. Sigh, I’m going to stop with the phallus humour now, promise!
Last year I shared my thoughts on Tekken Tag Tournament 2, with a roster of characters so stunningly large that still has me fumbling to find people on the selection screen.
The Wii U edition contains all of the characters and stages from the Xbox and PS3 versions of the game, giving you all the pugilists and every place to beat your friend’s face in. Characters like Dr B, with his flailing fighting style and Miharu, Xiaoyu’s busty friend, sit alongside Slim Bob, Ancient Ogre, Kunimitsu, Forest Law P.Jack, Alex, Angel, Michelle Chang, Sebastian and Lee’s alter ego, Violet.
If you are a Nintendo fan, this is going to be a treat. Get your favourite chars dressed up as: Mario, Luigi, Link, Bowser, Zelda, Peach, Samus (Zero suit) and Captain Falcon! These outfits range from suiting the character (Anna as Zero Samus) to completely ludicrous (Paul with Mario’s hat teetering on the top of his tower of hair).
Mushroom battle mode introduces power-ups, making several strategic sidesteps necessary. Collect mushrooms to get bigger and stronger than your opponent. Be careful for poison mushrooms though, they hurt and make you smaller. Grabbing a star makes you invincible and makes all your attacks unblockable for a short while, which can really turn the tables at the last moment. All of these stages feature upbeat versions of classic Mario songs.
Tekken Ball mode FINALLY makes its return, last seen in Tekken 3. Get ready to beat up your opponent by storing your attacks inside a friendly looking beach ball. No really, that is how it works. And while you play, your ears will be caressed by a song of food, falling in love and the BALL!
“All I really wanna do is hit the ball
BALLLL BALLLLL BALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!”
You can thank me later for the awesome music.
The third mode is not so much a game as a way to toss your gold away. Choose a character and give them some of your money. If they are in a good mood and you give them enough, they will give you an item! If they aren’t, watch your money disappear for nothing. Now maybe I don’t play enough fighting games, but I have yet to reach the point where I have spare money in TTT2, so adding a mode with no guarantee of items, a silly one minute timer between transactions and what feels like a really badly done dating game is puzzling, and feels downright stupid.
The game looks great on the Wii U, and you can set it to play only on the gamepad, moving audio and video off your TV so that Brenda can watch Jersey Shore. While everything is fluid during the game, there is this odd lag on the load screens, which looks almost like rubber-banding. With no option to install the game onto your HDD without buying it from the eStore, there was no way to tell if the digital download version was perhaps better.
The Wii U gamepad offers you filthy cheat mode OF FILTHY CHEATING. While it is admittedly noob friendly, I dislike games and platforms that offer you shortcuts for your moves. A single tap on the gamepad screen will unleash anything from a complicated combo to a special throw. You can also hold in the L button and the face buttons turn into another set of moves and combos.
Character customisation is still an oddly slow affair, but the more artistic among us may find using the stylus to create custom colourations of their characters to be a real treat. Hopefully we will see some impressive fan-made colourations in the future. Though be careful to avoid this situation: “No, I had to rub my stylus there on that character, my loving, understanding wife! What do you mean why? Because it’s art! No please put that sword down. Help. HE~~~~”
Multiplayer is always a touchy subject for Nintendo. I couldn’t get anything to connect, even when I switched routers, obviously putting a bad taste in my mouth. What was interesting was instead of creating lobbies, you can search for games with your friends, or search for games with a certain passkey. This four digit number can then be used on forums, gaming websites or wherever to make for an easy way to connect to people whom you might know, but aren’t necessarily on your friends list.
The new modes, while fun, leave much to be desired. Odd failings like no tournament for the mushroom battle mode, as well as only one stage (with the exact same song every round) in Tekken Ball make this feel like a rushed attempt to be ready for the Wii U’s launch. The new content is great to have and is something any Nintendo fan should experience, but I keep going back to TTT2 on another console, where it is installed and I have a fighting stick already. At which point I get frustrated because I’m missing characters and costumes… sigh, this is tough.
In the end, it really boils down to whether you have it on another platform already or not. Are you a Nintendo fanboy? Of course you are if you own a Wii U, silly question! Personally, I’m still worried I will break the gamepad by playing fighting games on it. Because who hasn’t thrown their controller in a fit after losing to an annoying boss?
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Wii U) was reviewed by Garth Holden on a Wii U