Namco’s latest in the Tekken franchise – Tekken Tag Tournament 2, feels like the fastest and most intense fighting game of the series to date. Boasting a roster of more than fifty playable characters with explosive new tag moves – if you’ve been waiting all your life for a Tekken revamp, it’s finally here… the sequel to the Playstation 2 original Tekken Tag Tournament from 2000!
Twelve long years has passed since the original Tekken Tag Tournament first appeared on home consoles in the year 2000 – and thanks to the power of technology we can now play games online over Xbox LIVE since then, making a sequel not only long overdue, but one of the most enjoyable fighting titles when hooked up to LIVE. The bright and glitzy menu screen upon loading portrays an image of a futuristic arena where trained fighters from the world over will battle it out to become a winner…the only game where a Kangaroo can fight against a Panda, or even a Bear. Almost all of the weird and wacky characters of Tekken to date make an appearance in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and it has the simple premise of do or die – end of, game over.
If Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has a story, it’s a pretty tough one to find since the game and its whole menu system is that of an arcade menu where you just select a mode and get straight down to the nitty gritty. Featuring an Online Mode, Offline Mode, Fight Lab (an enhanced training mode), Customisation Options, Tekken Tunes, and Gallery it has enough on offer to keep you entertained for hours on end. Online mode, as great as it is with Ranked Matches, Player Matches, Team Modes, Leaderboards and a Tekken Channel, can only be accessed unfortunately with an online pass included with a new retail copy – otherwise a pass can be purchased separately from Xbox LIVE.
With the Online Modes, in an online Ranked Match it seems the easiest way to change your ranking and improve is to find another player with a similar ranking as yourself because even after multiple fights with a player of a greater rank it rarely improves your own. Thankfully there is a rank limit, but for those who just like to hop into a fight without worrying about ranks and scoring, then Player Match is the ideal option for you if not actually the best option all round. Player Match includes additional choices of Quick Match, Search for a Match and Create Session. As you can guess, this is to enter a quick 1 on 1 battle, search for an open session and create an online session match respectively.
For the hardcore Tekken player who might be part of the World Tekken Federation website you can play in the online Team mode – by joining a team you will always display your team name and emblem during a fight to show your dedication to the sport. Teams compete for rank based on their level, so you can fight alongside your team friends with an aim to become the strongest Tekken Tag Team in the word!
If you don’t have access to Xbox LIVE, then fear not – the game’s full featured Offline Mode will take care of your needs pretty damn nicely – with an Arcade Battle to play the arcade version of the game, a Ghost Battle Mode to play against a series of wild & wacky ghost characters, Team Battle to form your own team and fight against the CPU, Time Attack, Survival Mode to defeat as many players as possible with limited health, and finally a Practice Mode to get to grips with every players moves and combo abilities.
The actual gameplay still pays homage to the original Tekken Tag Tournament where each match requires you to select up to two fighters of your own per player to take into battle. The bonus of being able to take two fighters into a battle arena is that whilst one of your active fighters are in full swing of things, the inactive fighter is recovering and you can switch between the two with a click of a button – it’s just a split-second response as your character comes into play to swap over. The combat is intensive and insanely difficult, but you can set your difficultly levels at any time to help boost your endurance, but every fight is about timing your moves and perfecting your combo’s against your opponents. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 does require a certain level of skill and concentration to be able to move forward and progress, otherwise all the random button mashing here and there will rarely get you far.
Graphically Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a millions miles apart from the original and is stunning, filled with intricate detail and amazing backdrops with every battle arena – but it lacks imagination. I can’t see this as anything else other than a quick pick up and play fighter so difficult that I have to be in the right frame of mind to continue it. Hardcore Tekken fans will drool in awe of the fantasy-esque world it creates within its own glory, but it could have been so much better if every fight had a purpose – it lacks a story, or something meaningful to make every punch and kick worth it.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a great sequel, but sadly not worth the wait – it could have been a whole lot better, but instead presents itself as a series of menu’s and quick fights to cure a bit of boredom.