Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3Wii U

The successor to 1999's Tekken Tag Tournament.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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Tekken Tag Tournament 2 screenshot
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 screenshot

At first glance Tekken Tag Tournament 2 feels like a novelty; take the core of Tekken 6 and bung in a tag mechanic so Namco Bandai can laugh all the way to the bank. But this latest trip to the Mishima Zaibatsu is, thankfully, a far more elegant and generous effort than it first appears.

Namco Bandai has pulled out an oldie but a goodie, the 'dream match' that's been working wonders for fighting franchises since the golden days of King of Fighters '98, and used it to create a game that's free of the cloying narratives that have eroded the publisher's recent efforts. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 immediately strikes a positive note by focusing squarely on its iconic fisticuffs, rather than Tekken 6's painfully overwrought and utterly detestable Scenario mode or the laughable Story component of SoulCalibur V. It feels good to see a fighting game focus on what it does best.

But with the fighting taking centre stage, veteran players might feel a bit put off by how familiar it all feels. Tag Tournament 2 inherits much of Tekken 6, though subtle character tweaks make for a more refined experience. Solo play is available but the headline feature is 2v2 tag play, letting you pick any pair from the 49-strong character roster and tinker around with new features like combined moves, throws and two-person combos.

Much of Tekken's appeal is in its apparent simplicity, with the game doing away with flailing power meters and tiered supernatural attacks; it is very much the antithesis to much of Capcom's work. Instead we have fantastical interpretations of martial arts disciplines with an impressively unrealistic physics engine, creating a fighting game where the action is delivered up close and the fighters can bounce into the air after cracking open pavements.

Dig a little deeper and the process becomes far more complex, though jabbing away at the controller like someone is repeatedly delivering electric shocks to your hand is, as ever, always a surprisingly effective tactic. A deep and varied character roster lets you pick and choose from robots, animals and plenty of characters riffing off movie stars, and Tekken 6's robot girl and whassisface pop up to remind us that anybody added past Tekken 3 isn't very good.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 screenshot

The problem, for anyone looking to take the game seriously, is that there's an awful lot of characters you need to become familiar with. Bread-and-butter abilities like launchers and bound attacks aren't shared across movesets, so to get an understanding of each character takes plenty of time and patience. And while a significant time investment is to be expected, Namco could make things far more approachable with the addition of, say, standardised moves.

Education is often where fighting games fall down, but Namco does makes a considerable effort to ease players into Tekken's distinctive and fairly unique requirements for positioning, moves and attacking. The new Fight Lab mode, a five-stage tutorial campaign that effectively teaches you the basics, is also jam-packed with the kind of Eastern humour that is impenetrable (and a little awkward) to your average Western player, and if you're anything like me you'll get through the mode by skipping through all dialogue and cutscenes as fast as you possibly can.

'I found myself playing comfortably against American players, which felt remarkable in a world where Tekken 6 became a stuttering, wheezing mess as soon as you even considered taking it on the Internet.'

Other additions, such as occasional stage gimmicks and equippable weapons, feel like they've been added in by focus groups and marketing committees, and fail to really add much to the formula. I've never been much of a fan of Namco's renewed focus on player customisation, either, though there's plenty of that here, tied into the game's central economy that slowly tots up as you win fights.

All of those trivial bonuses slip into the background compared to the weight and breadth of the modes on offer, with all of your expectedly standard forays into survival, time trials and team battles. The real star is the game's online suite, however, and Namco has finally come good by delivering solid netcode (locked behind an online pass) that actually seems to work. Time will tell if it can hold up in real world conditions, but I found myself playing comfortably against American players, which felt remarkable in a world where Tekken 6 became a stuttering, wheezing mess as soon as you even considered taking it on the Internet.

Namco has certainly focused on the right things this time around; an excellent training mode, surprisingly decent netcode and a vast array of characters, many of them tweaked nicely from their Tekken 6 incarnations. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the best home console version of the series to date, though the series' core fundamentals could definitely do with a shake-up by the time Tekken 7 rolls around.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

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6 Comments

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User Comments

Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

AWWWWW YEA! You better believe i'm getting this gem!
Posted 20:48 on 11 September 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Don't mention MK - it pains me that we won't see the sequel until next gen consoles, which means it is still some time away. Such a good story/intro to the major characters.
Posted 20:08 on 11 September 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ pblive

Yeah, I think Mortal Kombat did a good job. Most of them don't; most are RUBBISH.
Posted 20:01 on 11 September 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Loved the first game, can't afford this.

Story modes are fine if done well (Mortal Kombat, MK vs DC, SFIV) and I really loved the fully scripted Mortal Kombat, it was like playing a movie.
Posted 19:59 on 11 September 2012
MrGloomy's Avatar

MrGloomy

BALLS! Unfortunately my money's a bit tight at the moment and I'm too busy at work to even enjoy TT2 on release. I'm really looking forward to this though, so maybe I should gather the pennies.

I suggest a videogamer.com vs the forums night. I traditionally hate playing fighting games online as any form of lag really does my head in. Still, I'd like to have a go
Posted 19:29 on 11 September 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Good read Martin. Seems like Tag 2 won't reach the same heights as Tag 1, but it sounds like it can throw a punch or two than compared to a rather mediocre Tekken 6. I am very much looking forward to Tag 2 this Friday, as I am not afraid to admit it... Tekken Tag Tournament is the best Tekken game Harada has produced... In my opinion of course :)
Posted 18:50 on 11 September 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
8
Out of 10
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
  • Online mode works well enough
  • Tag mechanics are fun
  • Plenty of content
  • Series is in danger of feeling old
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Release Date: 14/09/2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , Wii U
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Fighting/Strategy
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 921 14
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