Giant Bomb Review

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Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review

4
  • X360
  • PS3

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 works great online and offers enough variety to make it stand out from other recent Tekken efforts.

With Kuma and Panda each getting a character slot, one starts to wonder if Tekken actually has too many characters at this point.

Three normal games, then a Tag game. That's the emerging pattern for Namco's long-running Tekken franchise. So, with 2009's Tekken 6 long in our rearview and the franchise overall feeling a bit repetitive nowadays, it's nice to get something to mix it up even a little bit. And the two-man moves found in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 offer an interesting change of pace that will probably confound a lot of beginning players at first, but the game's helpful tutorial is effective at getting any persistent player up to speed and ready to take two fighters into combat.

TTT2 is fairly no-nonsense about how it handles its business. It has its mode bases covered with an arcade mode, training, and so on. Ghost battle, which has you competing against teams of varying degrees of skill as you rank up your characters and earn fight money to spend on costume parts also returns, though every mode is fought against named "ghosts." This leads to some ridiculous moments in the arcade mode, though, since even the final boss confrontation might be a customized version of the character, covered in a motorcycle helmet or some other piece of gear that sort of lessens the impact of the final fight. The mode that breaks out of the standard Tekken mold has you upgrading a robot named Combot by taking it through numerous challenges that serve as tutorials for the game's systems, from basic movement up through strikes, how to punish after a block, some basic juggle concepts, and the handful of new tag-oriented mechanics. It's not going to make you the world's greatest Tekken player, but it'll at least give you the tools you need to proceed.

As with the previous Tag game, Tag 2 takes place outside of the normal continuum of Tekken's bear-punching, dinosaur-fighting, volcano-tossing storyline and offers a roster that contains just about every fighter that's ever appeared in a Tekken game. That's over 50 characters, in case you haven't been keeping track, and there are a few more on the way either as pre-order bonuses or free post-release downloads. Thankfully Gon is nowhere to be found.

You can outfit Combot with a set of moves in the Combot Tuning menu.

It's locked behind an online pass, but the online play works just fine. If you get matched up with a player with full connection bars, it feels great. It also offers a handful of good player matching options to keep you from getting into a fight with someone way out of your league. This is sort of vital, because it's hard to think of a fighting game that is less fun than Tekken when it comes to just getting your ass handed to you. Plenty of other fighting games make losing a learning experience. And, sure, if I paid extra-close attention, I'd eventually learn all the mix-ups and match-ups across the Tekken roster. But until that day, each mistake results in huge chunks of my life bar being taken away as I spend most of the fight helplessly floating around as I bounce off of some guy's fists. There's usually no escape from that situation, you're just sort of left to take it and hope that you can roll out of the way or rise fast enough to start blocking so you can set up a tag to your other (hopefully healthier) character.

If you're the sort of person that thrives on that sort of Tekken action, well great... actually, if you're that sort of person, you probably already bought Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and don't really need a review to tell you anything about the game. But I digress. For most people, you're going to want to make sure that you can find players that match your skill (or lack thereof) at the game. That's true of any competitive game, of course, but I'd underline it twice when it comes to Tekken. Losing at Tekken can be the sort of frustrating that makes you want to turn off your console and go outside for a change.

None of that really reflects one way or the other on the overall quality of the game, though. It's a nice-looking fighter, with big characters that animate well, even if a lot of that animation has been around the series for years. It has plenty of depth, so if you're the type that actually wants to start learning the game at a higher level, it has plenty of levels for you to aspire to, but you'll need to hit up a pile of websites and start learning Tekken theory there, because the game doesn't really go beyond showing you the basic moves and combo timing. That's more than most fighting games, of course, but don't expect miracles. You will need to put in work to get great.

These ladies are SHOCKED by the overall quality of the online play.

If dressing your fighters up sounds appealing, the game has a decent customize mode that lets you buy and color different pieces for each of your fighters. You can save multiple costumes per character, so if you're trying to make matching tag partners, it's totally doable. The mode could have saved some steps, though, by allowing you to buy and immediately equip new gear. Instead you have to go to the buy section, pick out your items, then go over to equip to put it all on. That seems like a weird way to handle it.

Though the arcade version has smoother-looking character models, the console version still looks good, overall. The differences between the platforms is something of a toss-up, with the PS3 version taking slightly longer to load your custom costumes up at select time and the 360 version doing that astoundingly annoying thing where it seizes up for a few seconds every time you unlock an achievement. Once you've blasted the easy achievements out of the way, that issue goes away, but it's still pretty lame that little things like that haven't been dealt with prior to release.

Tekken's tag moves help freshen up the fighting and make TTT2 stand apart from the last couple of Tekken releases, and it's a solid reminder that Namco is still capable of making vibrant, exciting fighters. But it's only truly great if you're playing against like-minded, similarly skilled opposition. If you can rustle up a community of people that fit that bill, go nuts, it's a great time. But if you're a Tekken neophyte hoping to pick it up along the way, you'll probably be brutally rebuffed by what you find.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
56 Comments
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Posted by csl316

Can't wait til it arrives!

Posted by Pepeman

Eeeh

Posted by iAmJohn

Now this I did not see coming.

How's Snoop Dog Lion?

Posted by gla55jAw

This is out? Wow.

Posted by MadLaughter

I had no idea this was even close to coming out.

Posted by wmat

Jeff / anyone playing it, does the achievement hitch go away if you disable the notifications?

Posted by TheHBK

Triple H's hair cut is already affecting games. Look how terrible the bear and panda look. Just textures, no actual fur technology. Things are going downhill quick.

Posted by Marz

This sounds good, the only other Tekken game i liked was Tekken Tag Tournament 1.

Posted by Iceland

Even if it takes place outside of the continuity, are there ending cutscenes? If not, NO DICE!

Posted by IroN1c

Can you play online 2vs2? Each player controlling one fighter on your team as in DoA4?

Posted by kerse

@TheHBK said:

Triple H's hair cut is already affecting games. Look how terrible the bear and panda look. Just textures, no actual fur technology. Things are going downhill quick.

Its true, soon all video game characters will be completely hairless to get around it.

Posted by Curufinwe

I wonder if Jeff prefers this to P$ Arena which he also gave 4/5 to.

Posted by Hunter5024

Are there endings for the characters after you beat arcade mode? Kind of curious how much single player content you can wring out of this.

Posted by mrfluke

@Hunter5024: yep and there just as crazy as the other games

Posted by edgeCrusher

@Hunter5024 said:

Are there endings for the characters after you beat arcade mode? Kind of curious how much single player content you can wring out of this.

I'd like to know this too. Also, how are the load times. Tekken 6 had horrendous loads, and I gave up trying to play it after a week.

Posted by mrfluke

here let me answer the big question for everyone,

yes there are individual endings for characters

Posted by Hunter5024

@mrfluke: Fuck yes. This may be the best overall Tekken package to ever come out.

Posted by leejunfan83

Fuck IGN

Online
Posted by Nettacki
@Hunter5024 said:

Are there endings for the characters after you beat arcade mode? Kind of curious how much single player content you can wring out of this.

Yes, there are endings for each character.
Posted by BBQBram

Very clear review, the game sounds very competent and full of content, if a bit by-the-numbers (like most fighting games). Will be picking this up.

Posted by agentboolen

@kerse said:

@TheHBK said:

Triple H's hair cut is already affecting games. Look how terrible the bear and panda look. Just textures, no actual fur technology. Things are going downhill quick.

Its true, soon all video game characters will be completely hairless to get around it.

probably took keep the frame rate up.

@IroN1c said:

Can you play online 2vs2? Each player controlling one fighter on your team as in DoA4?

I'd also like to know this, 4 player Tekken play would be fun as a option.

Posted by Y2Ken

As a long-time Tekken fan who has been won over by 2D fighters ever since SFIV came out, I've been looking forward to getting back into some Tekken. Glad to see they've done well by it.

Posted by XavierD

I'm not huge into fighting games but I do love me some Tekken.

Posted by TheHBK

@leejunfan83 said:

Fuck IGN

What? Why? They gave it pretty much the same score.

Posted by Ockman

Can I has quick look?

Posted by vgmkyle

Great review, Jeff. I wish I had friends that would play Tekken with me still...

Posted by NeoZeon

I got kind of scared after Tekken Hybrid came out, but it looks like this might be worth it after all.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Yes, . Tekken has too many characters. Kuma and Panda are all the characters it could ever need.

Posted by YukoAsho

@mrfluke said:

here let me answer the big question for everyone,

yes there are individual endings for characters

You don't even have to play arcade mode to unlock them. You'll get the occasional ending movie unlock during Ghost Mode, which is pretty fun.

Posted by Baltimore

I'm most certainly going to rent the game if not buy it for the simple reason that this game got me through my Junior Year of College. My crew spent hours playing Tekken Tag in my room. Hours I tell you.

Posted by liako21

after seeing that screen shot of Kuma and Panda about to throw down on a fucking fishing boat, I am not sure how Jeff didnt give it 5 stars.

Posted by SlightConfuse

jeff vs max

Posted by Solh0und

The burning question is: Is this game good enough for me to put down Persona 4 Arena?

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam

If there's one lesson I've learned in life it's to never let Jeff Gerstmann sell me on a fighting game.

Posted by joelalfaro

Who's going to summon the Itagaki quote?

Posted by MindChamber

4 stars for a game thats looked the same for about 5 years

Posted by Dan_CiTi

Panda is nothing like Kuma. Panda is awesome. 

Posted by vinsanityv22

Great review Jeff. You actually convinced me to buy DOA5 instead here. I've always liked Dead or Alive more anyway, but thought I was finally "into Tekken" enough to jump into a main series entry at launch. But then you reminded me of how one-sided Tekken can be, since you DO spend a lot of time getting juggled in this game when fighting better people. There's not a good way to counter that. DOA, however, is ALL about countering. I know it is pretty much the best-feeling fighter on the market (with the best, fastest, most responsive animation)... I just don't think DOA5 is a huge step up from any of the previous games. But between the two - Tekken and DOA - I think I gotta go with DOA.

Posted by Sagalla

Nice review... It's true that if you want to get good at this game you have to be ready to take your lumps. For the majority of players it probably means admitting that the tricks that might of worked against their little brother or roommate ten years ago actually bear no resemblance to how the game is played at high levels... So most players that have thought they are good at this game really aren't, and now the online is solid, the reality is going to hit home. BUT now that the online is solid, players without a local arcade scene can see how the game IS meant to be played, so if you want to get into the fighting game equivalent of Starcraft (that's really what we're talking about here folks, the scene in Korea and Japan is testament to this) then there has never been a better time to jump in.

Posted by GaspoweR

Man I really hope this is really gonna blow up come next EVO season and hoping that big names from Korea show up next year, and for US guys like Jimmy Tran aka Mr. Naps to make a comeback.

Posted by selbie

Boob grab in 3...2......1

Posted by dropabombonit

Sounds good but only have the cash for one game this month and it has got to be Fifa 13 after playing the demo

Posted by Eyz

@selbie said:

Boob grab in 3...2......1

Mmmhh, Dat Screen!

Posted by Morridin

@mrfluke said:

here let me answer the big question for everyone,

yes there are individual endings for characters

Oh Darn and here I was thinking I could skip on TTT2 :')

Edited by Xymox

Gon is better than Kuma, Panda, Kangaroo-Man and Other Kangaroo-Man combined.

He could spin, nibble peoples ankles, whip people with his tail, take a nap. Good times.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

Words can't describe how awesome these endings are.

Posted by flanker22

dirty jeff gertsman picking such an amazing cover pic to get ppl to click :P

Posted by pong87

The most important question remains unanswered. Does it have tekken bowling?

Posted by Cybexx

No bowling mode of questionable quality but constant hilarity? I don't know about this.

Posted by pong87

@Cybexx: My thoughts exactly

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