Review: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (X360)
With Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (TTT2), Namco Bandai’s 18-year old Tekken series has taken everything that fans and gamers have loved about the game and put it into one jaw-dropping, bar-raising masterpiece.
TTT2 first impresses with an enormous roster of 49 characters from Tekken games past, with another four included with the box set as free DLC. This doesn’t just give fans of the genre a ‘dream match’ edition of Tekken: it also has the honour of being the largest cast available in the current generation of fighting games. TTT2 also builds off existing mechanics from Tekken 6 and the original Tekken Tag Tournament; its adaptation of movesets from previous iterations make its new mechanics easy to pick up.
The game comes with a standard set of offline modes; staples like Arcade, Versus and Training Mode are available. There is also a Ghost Battle Mode, where players can take on AI with customised characters. The latter is meant to emulate real-life opponents one might meet in an arcade. For the less tournament-seasoned, there’s Practice Mode for – as expected – practice with their combos and tag team capabilities.
The juiciest addition to the Tekken Tag series, however, has to be Pair Play Mode. This allows up to four players to duke it out at any one time. Pair Play in Arcade mode is a shining beacon of how much Katsuhiro Harada and the Tekken team care about their game. I managed to unlock beautifully rendered CGI endings for each character, most of which were filled with insight on their pasts and futures, portrayed exhilarating fight sequences, or was simply a humorous short of their regular (mis)adventures. Dragunov and Asuka’s endings are my personal favourites.
Online play has seen a great improvement in TTT2. it feels a lot smoother than the previous iteration, and the net code has been visibly improved this time round. However, the game only offers two modes of online play: Ranked Match and Player Match. While these modes are tried and tested, I have to say I am disappointed that Namco Bandai didn’t put in an online Lobby like they did with Soul Calibur 5’s Global Colosseum, which would allow people to choose between playing with friends or random strangers. Even now, the Global Colosseum in SC5 houses more players than both its Ranked Match and Player Match modes, so I’m really disappointed in the lack of a similar mode in TTT2. The addition of the Online Practice mode is, however, great for veteran players to showcase new techniques to friends and new players.
Something else new to TTT2 is the Fight Lab mode. It serves as the game’s tutorial, where players will be brought through the different movement options, attack options, and tag team options in the game. However, it isn’t made clear to players that Fight Lab is the place to go to get up to speed in Tekken, and I’ve heard players have resorted to searching online for answers to their questions: answers which are meticulously explained in Fight Lab. This whole tutorial is presented as a story mode laced with trademark Tekken humor, so give it a playthrough even if you’re a seasoned Tekken vet. There are also cameo appearances from characters of other franchises, so look out for that!
Fight Lab also introduces a new character, Combot. The star of the Fight Lab, Combot is a brand new robot designed for combat practice. Players have to go through Fight Lab to unlock his story and moves. The latter can later be used in the Combot Tuning mode, to customize his moveset. Each player’s Combat is unique to him, and can be brought into other modes of the game. Have fun showing your creation off, because…
Character customization has always been something Namco Bandai has had high on their list of priorities, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is no exception. Each character in the cast has an entire wardrobe of new outfits, weapons and accessories that will suit any player’s tastes and you’re allowed to save up to 10 different customizations for each character. I love the ability to add weapons to your characters, which grant them hilarious and gimmicky new attacks that you can use during a fight! One ability lets you plant paint balloon bombs on the floor, which colour you or your opponent if you stand on them when they go off. I do have one gripe with customization, though. Shopping for new items comes with painfully slow loading times. However, I am playing the game on the Xbox 360 where installation is optional, so hopefully these loading times improve on a system where the game is installed.
Overall, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 presents gamers with a complete package both of what the Tekken experience is about, and what the fighting game genre has to offer. If you’re a fighting game fan, you must consider getting this game. If you’re not a fighting game fan, know that if you pick this up, you’ll be picking up one of the most complete and fulfilling titles in the genre.
|SCORESHEET (out of 10)||OVERALL
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a fighting game by Namco Bandai Games for the Xbox 360, as well as the PlayStation 3 and in arcades.