I Suck At Fighting Games: Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Posted by PerfidiousSinn (730 posts) -

Here's some key links if you want to learn Tekken Tag Tournament 2:

TTT2 For Dummies

Avoiding The Puddle Text Tutorials

Most new fighting games are trying to strike the elusive balance of “easy to learn, difficult to master”. Ideally, the game has mechanics that are intuitive enough to understand instantly, or have a tutorial that's so thorough that new players will understand. Then, the depth of the game emerges naturally through learning matchups, combos, and your own character's unique abilities.

This happens to be a game that I found hard to learn, and even more difficult to master. It'll kick your ass at the start, but once you start to understand how the game works, it rewards you every step of the way.

The first thing that immediately caught my attention when watching Tekken gameplay were the crazy characters. There's Black Disco Stu, a kangaroo, a bear, a robot maid, and so many other characters that are very far out of the traditional fighting game archetypes.

Really, seeing that Snoop Dogg has his own stage and wrote a song for the game was a big selling point for me.

The craft put into this huge cast of unique characters carries over to the rest of the game. Menus are very clear on what options they provide and load quickly, the graphics in game are incredibly detailed and even include small touches like characters getting dirt on them as they fight, and the soundtrack is a fine combination of rock, trance, and dubstep.

Watching gameplay for Tekken, especially commentated ones, was a bit daunting at first. I try to watch a lot of footage of people playing the game to get tips and learn the ropes, but I was lost. Thankfully, the tutorial of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is long, detailed, and has the exact amount of challenge I wanted.

Note: If you're watching Tekken tournaments with commentary, 1 and 2 are Left Punch and Right Punch. 3 and 4 are Left Kick and Right Kick. Took me forever to realize that.

The Fight Lab is one of the best tutorial modes in a fighting game right now. If you want to get into Tekken but are afraid of the high learning curve, I guarantee you the Fight Lab will help you out.

It's split into multiple chapters, each one focusing on a certain element of gameplay and ending with a boss battle. There's also a lot of text boxes for the “story” of the Fight Lab that actually give more detail into when and why you need to use certain techniques.

For example, the guarding tutorial starts off with lessons on how to block high and low attacks and escape throws. Then you're thrown into a gauntlet of color-coded enemies who will either attack high, low, or try to throw you. The lesson helps, but the real importance is getting to use your experience in an actual combat situation right away.

The Fight Lab doesn't hold your hand, either. You have a health bar, and some of the mission constraints are very strict. So you can definitely get knocked out and have to retry a stage, but you are also rewarded with bonus Gold (for customization) if you do very well.

Even as I began to understand the game more, I frequently revisited the Fight Lab to replay older missions and hone my skills by shooting for higher ranks.

One of the most daunting things I've experienced as a new player to fighting games is “Who do I pick?” Especially in games with huge rosters such as this one. I want to try out every character and see if I like the way they handle, but it's not realistic with a lineup of 55 characters. So I took the advice of a beginner's guide and just picked who I liked.

What I would recommend doing first, unless you are 100% sure who you want to play, is going into Arcade Mode, choose Solo, and pick a character you think is cool. I started off with Lili and it happened to be a good choice. Something about the character just “clicked” and I felt like I knew how to play as them effectively in a short amount of time.

Once I found my main character, I jumped into Practice Mode and learned her key moves. You want to learn all of your character's launchers, Bound moves, and moves that allow you to tag to your partner after they connect. Luckily, there is a Command List that has an icon next to all of these moves. You'll want to practice their Sample Combos as well, which the command list also includes along with video demos.

I probably harp on this a lot but EVERY FIGHTING GAME SHOULD HAVE IT. Command Lists and move demos are invaluable for new players and even veterans who want to make sure they're doing the moves correctly!

Now, how do you actually play this game? To simplify most of what I learned...AIR COMBO. A lot. Here's your general game plan in Tekken Tag Tournament 2:

  1. Launch your opponent

  2. Do a short combo that ends in a Bound attack

  3. Tag your partner in

  4. Combo again

Ideally, you want to do this as much as you can to drain your opponent's lifebar because they can't do anything about it. You can't block while you're getting punched in the air, you see.

In practice...it's not that simple. Speaking as a beginner, this game can be frustrating as hell. Advanced players will pop you up in the air, juggle you, and carry you into the corner where you get hurt even MORE. Air combos don't typically do a lot of damage, but they carry you towards the wall and wall combos HURT. So it gets disheartening to spend what feels like most of the round in the air: you can't do anything about it.

The emphasis on juggles is why Tekken was a game I initially overlooked because it looks like you spend too much of a round being helpless. I'll admit I was a little biased. Still, persistence pays off and there are ways to counter being juggled. If you don't have great defense or spacing, people online will BEAT it into you. So while the game looks crazy as hell, the spacing is so important. You can almost never just rush in and go crazy. Patience is the key to winning most rounds.

Backdashing is an important tool to establish space, but has a recovery period at the end that can be easily punished. One thing I didn't quite get the hang of was backdash canceling, which lets you get some breathing room but is much safer than a normal backdash.

I felt like sidestepping in this game was less useful than in other 3D fighters, only because so many moves track. They'll hit you regardless of your position, so I didn't feel a need to use them that often.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 turned out to be a game where I spent more time than expected just working on movement: sidesteps, dashing, dash cancels, and jumping. It took some getting used to because it's very different from Virtua Fighter, but I think the controls feel great. I've quit playing fighting games before because the characters feel awkward or unresponsive to my inputs, but TTT2 does not have that problem.

There are a few minor issues have with Tekken. There are a couple of Free Moves (like God Hand!) that every character can do. On wakeup you can do a big springboard kick that has a lot of startup frames and covers a lot of space. If you can break into a full sprint, you can either tackle or do a slide that knocks down. Also, hopkicks are a universal launcher for everyone (I think everyone has it?) that you can do by jumping and inputting Right Kick. I don't know if everyone has these moves though, as the game or tutorial doesn't explain what they are or how to do them. Throws and how to throw break could have been explained in more detail because they are more complicated than they seem: each character has a 1+3 and 2+4 throw that you must input a certain button to break. Then there's air throws, wall throws, and tackles that require a certain input to break. The tutorial doesn't go in-depth enough with what seems like a pretty complex throw system!

Save yourself some grief and read this tutorial http://www.avoidingthepuddle.com/news/2012/9/5/ttt2-beginners-guide-unit-2-types-of-attacks.html, but I do wish they would explain these things in the game.

What I Liked:

-A fantastic tutorial for beginners and experts. It teaches you all the things you'll need to know, and then gives you a tough pop quiz to make sure you know how to do them.

-Presentation. The music is great, the characters are cool, there's a huge amount of customization, the menus are smooth, and the character endings aren't even constrained by the game's art style.

-Very challenging to get into, but extremely rewarding once you begin understanding the systems.

What I Didn't Like:

-Long load times in some occasions

-Random lag spikes online

-Tutorial doesn't explain some of the more obscure aspects like backdash canceling, free moves, and throw escapes

Tekken is a tough series to get into for a newcomer. You won't get any lucky wins here, you'll have to earn them. And while it's frustrating initially to just feel like you're getting juggled to death, the reward of unleashing your own air combos is very much worth it.

I feel like this is one of the few fighting game series that hasn't changed significantly over the years, so if you were good at Tekken before you will probably still be good at Tekken. I hear the movelists for characters don't change much between releases, so I'm probably going up against people who have been with their characters for years.

It'll take a long time to get to a position where I feel I'm truly “good” at the game, but I think it's worth it. The game does one thing very right: it just FEELS good when you hit someone. Like you actually hit them and not just a hitbox. There are a few strange elements with “flop” stuns where you're comboing your opponent's legs and not them, but it still feels pretty satisfying.

As a beginner, I'd recommend Tekken Tag Tournament 2 to beginners. It's rough at first, but if you stick with it it'll pretty much beat the fighting game fundamentals of better spacing and better blocking into your head. It's a long road to getting good at Tekken, but a road worth traveling.

#1 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6089 posts) -

That's a terrific write-up. I've been a Tekken fan since the second game, and I think this one's the highlight of the series in terms of its roster and depth. I'd like to see the story/endings fleshed out a little more, but they're certainly not terrible. I guess you can't expect much story from what is essentially a side-game to the story anyways.

I've been playing Tekken a long, long time and still regularly get my ass handed to me on a regular basis online. That said, it was one of the friendlier online communities I've seen, with a lot of "GG" messages sent after matches. The community has obviously shrunk, given the amount of time that's passed since the game's release, but it still occasionally has a few players online.

Moderator Online
#2 Posted by falserelic (5333 posts) -

That's a terrific write-up. I've been a Tekken fan since the second game, and I think this one's the highlight of the series in terms of its roster and depth. I'd like to see the story/endings fleshed out a little more, but they're certainly not terrible. I guess you can't expect much story from what is essentially a side-game to the story anyways.

I've been playing Tekken a long, long time and still regularly get my ass handed to me on a regular basis online. That said, it was one of the friendlier online communities I've seen, with a lot of "GG" messages sent after matches. The community has obviously shrunk, given the amount of time that's passed since the game's release, but it still occasionally has a few players online.

From my experience the community hasn't been friendly..

#3 Edited by GaspoweR (2809 posts) -

Great write up, @perfidioussinn! Also TTT2 probably has one of the best online code in a fighting game along with Soul Calibur V (which I suspect is the game they got the net code from in the first place). Even though it's not perfect it's better than any of the other current gen fighting games out right now (with the possible exception of games with GGPO but it also has it's own set of problems such as the rollback).

Also here's a legend of the nomenclature that is used in Tekken:

http://www.tekkenzaibatsu.com/legend.php

Also http://www.tekkenzaibatsu.com/ is probably one of the best resources for anything that is related to Tekken especially if you already past the beginner level, from character guides, advanced strategies, etc.

#4 Posted by FLStyle (4581 posts) -

Nice job on the write-up, I did quite enjoy 4 player TTT2 on the Wii U the other night. Recommend it for a fun night if you're all similarly skilled.

#5 Posted by PerfidiousSinn (730 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: I'm brand new to the series so I know nothing of the characters or the lore. I just know the endings are really good in TTT2. Loved how they used so many different art styles.

@flstyle: I really want Tekken Ball on the 360 version. The Wii U version is clearly the best because it has Tekken Ball.

@gaspower said:

Great write up, @perfidioussinn! Also TTT2 probably has one of the best online code in a fighting game along with Soul Calibur V (which I suspect is the game they got the net code from in the first place). Even though it's not perfect it's better than any of the other current gen fighting games out right now (with the possible exception of games with GGPO but it also has it's own set of problems such as the rollback).

Also here's a legend of the nomenclature that is used in Tekken:

http://www.tekkenzaibatsu.com/legend.php

Also http://www.tekkenzaibatsu.com/ is probably one of the best resources for anything that is related to Tekken especially if you already past the beginner level, from character guides, advanced strategies, etc.

This is incredibly useful and I am bookmarking it. Thanks!

And yeah, it's kinda weird. I had no issue with Soul Calibur V's online but was getting lag spikes every other match in Tekken. It still mostly works and didn't hinder the game too much, but I saw more brief hitches than in SCV.

#6 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6186 posts) -

I am very much in love with Tekken after Tag 2 and been learning a lot since its release. Especially after playing this at EVO, I really learned a lot about fighting against people. Now I am trying to get into the Mishimas especially after using a Korean stick for a while. It's definitely a road worth traveling.

#7 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

TTT2 is an awesome fighter. One of my favorites out now for sure. The footsies game is so fun. I love how important movement is although I never got good at KBDing or anything like that. I also have issues with throw breaks in this game. Not an issue but the biggest hurdle to a newcomer I found.

My only problems with the game are the rage mechanic and infinite stages. The former is a silly comeback mechanic which feels out of place in such a fundamentals game as this where you could earn your comeback more with clean play. The latter take away stage positioning which I like a lot about 3-D fighters.

#8 Edited by ThePhantomnaut (6186 posts) -

@immortalsaiyan said:

My only problems with the game are the rage mechanic and infinite stages. The former is a silly comeback mechanic which feels out of place in such a fundamentals game as this where you could earn your comeback more with clean play. The latter take away stage positioning which I like a lot about 3-D fighters.

For infinite stages to still exist is a bit silly but since it's a tradition for Tekken, I understand what NBG is doing. Rage in TTT2 is fascinating since players can force opponents to get rage and pressure them into a situation to either take more damage and have a possible chance to raw tag in and use the partner's buffs to your advantage. The opponent can just tag crash in favor of safety but the offensive player might find a way to avoid tag crash and force the same situation once again.

Personally, rage has weird layers of risk/reward to it for both sides of the spectrum. I know it increases damage but hell, finding a good launcher and following it up with a high damaging Tag combo is too (especially on counter hit).

#9 Posted by jewunit (1054 posts) -

Thank you for this post! I was looking at this game recently since it's price seems to have dipped and I have been enjoying Tekken Revolution. In particular, I like it when a game has a big tutorial section to explore. The Fight Lab and Practice options sound very appealing. I may give this game a go some time in the future. Thank you again for your observations about the game!

#10 Edited by PerfidiousSinn (730 posts) -

@jewunit: The game totally gives you the tools you need. Don't know how to put it more simply than that...it teaches you how to play it quite effectively. Hope you enjoy it!

@immortalsaiyan said:

TTT2 is an awesome fighter. One of my favorites out now for sure. The footsies game is so fun. I love how important movement is although I never got good at KBDing or anything like that. I also have issues with throw breaks in this game. Not an issue but the biggest hurdle to a newcomer I found.

My only problems with the game are the rage mechanic and infinite stages. The former is a silly comeback mechanic which feels out of place in such a fundamentals game as this where you could earn your comeback more with clean play. The latter take away stage positioning which I like a lot about 3-D fighters.

Y'know, I never had a huge problem with Rage. I'm not too fond of comeback mechanics in general, but I hardly noticed Rage. I was never losing a match and came back thanks to Rage or had an opponent make a crazy comeback thanks to it.

It's definitely no X-Factor.

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