I'm what you call and "on again off again" Tekken fan. I religiously played the series for hundreds of hours per iteration all the way up until Tekken 4, then I just kind of...stopped. For years to come, I would dabble in the Tekken universe, but nothing ever really caught my interest for more than a few months.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Wii U)
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Release: September 11, 2012 (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) / Winter 2012 (Wii U)
Tekken is an extremely technical series, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with it in the first place. Although I wouldn't put it in the same pantheon of pugilism as the Virtua Fighter series, the fact is, Tekken both rewards split-second twitch decisions and lengthy planned combos and juggles, making it very hard to get into if you're a newcomer.
For starters, by checking out the command list, you might be turned off by the fact that more than a few characters have well over 100 moves and combos. Thankfully, Namco Bandai wanted to lower the barrier of entry a bit with TTT 2, so they included a new extensive training mode called "Fight Lab" that should get you up to speed with the series. Fight Lab puts you in command of Combot -- a familiar character for fans of the series. It's your job to learn everything there is to learn about Tekken's combat, and power up Combot in the process.
There's even a little mini-story attached to Fight Lab to help keep things a bit more interesting. Combot is actually a project employed by Violet Labs, as Violet struggles to create the ultimate weapon -- and constantly harass his secretary in the process. Although it's a bit nonsensical (ok, it's completely nonsensical), it adds to the appeal of learning the ropes -- at least, it's more appealing than just about any other fighting game training mode to date.
Mechanically, TTT 2 heavily follows in the footsteps of Tekken 6 before it, just with the added twist of tagging, and various tag-based special moves. Tag throws, Tag combos, Tag Assaults, and Tag Crashes all perform various functions such as tandem assaults, safe tagging, and the creation of combo openers.
Since the console version includes the content and balances found in the Arcade update, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited, you also have the ability to play as one buffed solo character instead of a proper tag team. Because of this, you can utilize the Rage system, which was introduced in Tekken 6 to a polarizing degree. For those of you who are wayward Tekken fans, Rage is extremely easy to use, as it basically triggers automatically when you're at a certain level of health.
Once you learn the ins and outs of the tag system and tag combos, however, you should be able to counter single characters with a bit more ease -- just like any fighting game, the more you play, the more familiar you'll become with various tactics. Fans of the series should know how they feel about Rage by now; just be aware that it still exists.
Speaking of characters, don't worry your pretty little heads in regards to DLC: producer Kasuhiro Harada stated that there will be no paid character DLC in TTT 2. While four characters (Kunimitsu, Ancient Ogre, Michelle, and Angel) are unfortunately pre-order timed exclusives, they will unlock for free at a later date. Although I wish there was no DLC whatsoever for fighting games, these concessions are much better than paid character DLC -- period. Unfortunately, the characters were unavailable for testing for my review (same with the Snoop Dogg stage), as the codes were not online and active yet.
If you're a Tekken fan, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is essentially a "greatest hits" of Tekken so far, just like TTT 1 was in 2000. If you're not a franchise fan, there isn't really much "extra" content here to "wow" you, or make you change your mind. If you're somewhere in the middle, though, know that TTT 2 offers some of the best core combat in the series, and runs wonderfully online provided you're willing to treat it like an old-school fighter and play it over and over...and over.
THE VERDICT - Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Reviewed by Chris Carter
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