Earlier this month, we were lucky enough to host a fun-packed community event centred around Tekken Tag Tournament 2. We've told you how the evening went, so now we should really let you know about the game itself!
One of Tekken's most endearing traits is its eclectic range of characters. The likes of Hwoarang with his fancy taekwondo kicks and Steve Fox with his rapid fire punches are fairly pedestrian in terms of the fighting game norm, but once you factor in a wrestler that wears a jaguar mask, a cybernetic ninja that spins around like a windmill and a prehistoric Velociraptor that knows how to box like Tyson, it's clear that Namco can stage a fight that's as tense as it is memorable. And now that the King of Iron Fist Tournament is accepting tag-teams once again, the diversity on offer is more impressive than ever.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 doesn't feature any original characters in the strictest sense but it does bring all the fan favourites and forgotten faces together for the biggest roster in the series long running history. Nina Williams can be paired with Anna for a duo of sisterly assassins while Jin Kazama can team up with his mother Jun for an epic showdown against his demonic father and sadistic grandfather (ah, family...). And while juggling the opponent like a helium-filled mannequin is still the key to victory, the focus is now on tandem assaults rather than solo slugfests.
Tag, You're Hit
Anyone who's played a Tekken game since the turn of the millennium will be at home with the four attacks and fifth tag button, only this time, you can pull off some fancy new techniques that target the rechargeable part of a character's health. The Tag Combo lets you start a barrage with one character before finishing it off with the other while the Tag Assault lets you extend a combo well beyond the traditional bound and juggle threshold. You can even start a combo with Marshall Law's iconic somersault kick before tagging in his son, Forest, to perform the same manoeuvre in a showy display of Jeet Kune Do teamwork.
The Rage system from Tekken 6 also returns in a slightly altered form as your benched character will become enraged if your point man, point woman or point panda takes one hit too many. One thing that helps keep the anger to a minimum, however, is the new Fight Lab mode that teaches the intricacies of the fighting system with a range of challenging tests. One minute you could be learning counter timings against a family of Mokujin spirits while the next could be a lesson in bound combos against a character that looks suspiciously like an overweight Ken from Street Fighter.
The other great thing about the Fight Lab is that it lets you customise your own robot. Ever wondered how Eddy's capoeira twists would fair if they were backed up by Bryan Fury's mach punch? Tekken Tag Tournament 2 lets you find out. It also features as respectable spread of Arcade, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle and Ghost Battle modes in addition to an all-inclusive Practise room. Here you can tailor the dummy settings for your training needs, use the record function to learn the optimal punishes and adjust the input latency so you can practise in online conditions.
When you enter the online arena for real, you'll find that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is noticeably more stable than Tekken 6. It's roughly equivalent to SoulCalibur V in terms of lag reduction if not a few shades better, and although the selection of online features doesn't get more sophisticated than ranked and player matches with replays and leaderboards thrown in for good measure, the new World Tekken Federation service lets you build teams, tracks stats and enter competitions. It's also free to anyone who buys the game new.
Change Your Tune
As a package, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is hard to fault as it irons out the online kinks, serves up almost all the characters and - perhaps most importantly - incorporates a tag system that feels integral and weighted rather than tacked-on and gimmicky. Its only shortcoming is the lack of a substantial single player mode, but when you play a match with full 3D support (if your TV can handle it) and import your own music, it's clear that this second game of doubles is all about the thrill of the fight. And on that note, Namco has barely skipped a beat.
- Well over 50 Tekken characters
- Building tag combos is an art form
- The online experience is stable
- Needs more single player content
- Uses an Online Pass system
- Where's Gon from Tekken 3?