Format: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, Wii U (released 11-18-12)
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
ESRB Rating: T
This is a year of Tekken. The King of the Iron Fist Tournament has been held at least four times with: Street Fighter x Tekken (360, PS3), Tekken Prime 3D Edition (3DS), Tekken Hybrid (PS3), and (now) Tekken Tag Tournament 2. While this year's predecessors were received with a mixed reaction, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the pay off. Improved graphics and an awesome soundtrack present a polished piece of deep gameplay and content.
Based on Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited, the console port of the arcade fighter looks to deliver much more in the way of content for longtime fans and newcomers. Beginners and veterans alike will find the Fight Lab mode invaluable. Character customization is fun and adds a level to gameplay with item moves. Tag team fighting is improved allowing for tag combos, throws and tag assault. Rage mode returns which strengthens attacks based upon how much damage the player has left. Partner characters can go into Rage Mode sooner based upon his or her affinity for the character on-screen. This feature rewards players for being longtime fans and lends some strategy to the formation of tag teams.
The basic gameplay of Tekken is more like Rock'em Sock'em Robots as opposed to the quarter circle fest of Street Fighter flavored fighters. Each button on the gamepad controls a limb on the fighter. My concern on the Xbox 360 is the controls. While Tekken is traditionally a fighter in arcades and on Playstation consoles, I wanted more control over gamepad layout on the 360. Specifically, I was disappointed that I wasn't able to set character movement to the left analog stick. Overall, it's a minor inconvenience as Fight Lab does a thorough job in teaching basic movement, attacking, defense and tag team actions.
Fight Lab is TTT2's training mode. It follows the creation of a combat robot or Combot by violet of Tekken 4. The player is Combot who gains fighting experience through a series of tests administered by the lecherous Violet. Training is tough, but rewarding as Combot is actually TTT2's version of Create-a-Character. The player can unlock movesets to assign to Combot by performing well in Fight Lab.
Character Customization isn't limited to Combot customization. Each character has a wardrobe of insanely priced clothes. Most important are items which augment the character's moveset. Weapons can be attached to character models which can be used in-game. The item move aren't as deadly as a good combo. It's a nice touch, however, to polish off a rapid fire of punches and kicks with a couple shots from a handgun. Another neat touch are the vanity panels featuring artwork by Tomio Fujisawa, Shunya Yamashita, and JUNNY. These panels are unlockable and good way to display to any online competition that you are a dedicated fighter.
Interaction with other players is conducted through online matches, downloading ghost data, and watching others in replay mode. Online matchmaking is a little intimidating to players unfamiliar with the kyu and dan system of Tekken ranking. Though, that is taught by going through Arcade mode a few times. While the game does not hold a player's hand, the fact that it goes quite a way to teach is impressive. Dedication to teaching an learning a craft of playing fighting games showed up earlier this year with Konami's Skullgirls. TTT2 knocks teaching gameplay out of the park.
With a wealth of content, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the pay off to a year of lesser titles. While the gameplay is tougher in relation to street Fighter, the game appeals to longtime fans and does a great deal in teaching the art of fighting. The Xbox 360 version comes with a minor gripe about gamepad controls. The King of the Iron Fist Tournament, however, proves to be a competent and rewarding experience.
S&S Rating: 9.5/10