Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review

By Jonathan Deesing - Posted Sep 17, 2012

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 really brings it. It's a fighting game chock full of content to keep gamers plugging hours into the game. Customization, great controls and seamless online multiplayer make this a must-buy for fighting game fans.

The Pros
  • Smooth and responsive controls
  • Wide variety of gameplay modes to keep everyone happy
  • Customization makes every fight a reward in and of itself
The Cons
  • Learning curve is drastically steep
  • Training mode is at times incredibly frustrating
  • Bare bones online multiplayer can get old fast

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review:

When it came to fighting games growing up, Tekken was always my weakness. I was a button masher; precision was not really my bag. I realized that it still wasn’t my strong suit, when after playing Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for hours, my roommate came home and whooped my ass without any practice whatsoever. But that’s what’s so delightful about Tekken. After my humiliating loss, I logged over a dozen hours practicing only a few moves so the next time we fought I beat my roommate handily. Further, the game also threw in a number of great features that more than kept me happy while I ground away on my combos.

 

 

Not for the faint of heart

Often the largest grip with Tekken games is that they’re just so damn hard, and TTT2 doesn’t break the mold. Even with years of fighting game experience—Tekken included—I still struggled mastering the training. In this mode, you take on the role of Combot the combat bot (ugh) while he trains on various moves and skills. It’s a fantastic training but will undoubtedly be frustrating to newcomers or less skilled players.

Learning each move is a trial by fire, and if you don’t really grasp the concept, you may be restarting the same fight more than a few times. I, for one, found the blocking training particularly difficult, as it requires razor precision timing, but I still had to beat three walking bars of soap (at least I think that’s what they were) in a row to advance. It was insanely obnoxious and by the end I had mastered the first two opponents. But I can say with confidence that I’m pretty good at blocking now.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

It is a feat that with a game this intricate and precise, Namco Bandai was able to maintain a feeling of total control. With a few exceptions, I felt that my fighter was always smooth and responded to my controls organically. The game functions on a 3D platform, and moving side to side or moving up and down felt just as natural as a traditional 2D fighter. So if you can get through the training and get a solid grasp on the moves, TTT2 really opens up. Unfortunately, the sheer difficulty of the game may present a barrier to a fair amount of hopeful fighters. With a command list for each character that pushes a hundred combos, it’s entirely possible to become overwhelmed by the game.

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I’ll take the aviators and Cupid’s bow

While I was plugging countless hours into the game with the sole motivation of beating my roommate, I was also earning cash that I later spent on customizing my characters’ moves and appearance. I’m certain beyond a reasonable doubt that no one else has the same character combinations as I do. There are millions of combinations for each character—clothing, hairstyle and accessories—so you can be sure to get each of your fighters looking just how you want them. Like how one of mine has a giant teddy bear backpack and is wearing an eighteenth century knee-length coat.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Heading online after growing tired of beating up computers and my roommate, I found that the multiplayer elements didn’t detract from the game at all. Matchmaking is smooth and features a training room in which to warm up while you wait for a match. I didn’t spend too much time in that room however, as I could find a match relatively quickly. Although I fared far worse online (we’re talking repeated perfect losses), I was only encouraged to put more time into learning new combos and moves. The only downside to the online multiplayer is that it lacks depth. If you want to get online and beat up real people, you can, but that’s about all that’s offered. There are no tournaments and no real opportunities to expand your online experience.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Keep Your Quarters

My time with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 truly felt like an arcade without the frustration of losing my allowance in quarters. Text at the bottom of the intro screen reads “Free Play” and seeing the continue screen still makes me angry enough to throw a fit. I plugged time into TTT2 just like I used to spend hours with my nose buried in an arcade machine, and just like the 90s, whenever someone stepped up to play me, I lost handily. But that’s what makes Tekken so great: the only reason to keep playing is to get better, and you can always get better.

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Editor's Note: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was reviewed using an Xbox 360 copy of the game; however, we also played the PS3 version, and found no differences. If further investigation reveals any differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.