Tekken Tag 2 - 2 Month Impressions

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One, I've been too busy playing the game for the last two months to really post impressions. But more importantly, I wanted to let the game really sink in. I've been a pretty big fan of Tekken starting with Tekken 2. Played Tekken 3 a lot with friends. Skipped Tekken 4. Played a decent amount of Tekken 5. Got back into the game more with 6 and have been really enjoying Tag 2. 
I'm not a great player. I can do some more advanced techniques like back-dash cancel, sometimes throw break, know some good combos. However, online with the game has taught me there are a lot of good players out there. Beating your friends doesn't mean your any good. To be good at this game takes a substantial dedication and that's something that I've been slowly going through. Luckily, I enjoy learning the intricacies of the games and winning isn't the most important thing as long as I'm improving. With 287 ranked matches, I'm sitting at a lowly 21.3% win percentage (61 wins). I'm taking a break to work on a bunch of things in practice mode but will be back at it in the next few weeks. Below are my impressions so far:

>>Game is about doing damage.

To get the full experience of the game you really need to go in to practice mode and have some combos ready. The combo system is kinda like a mini-game unto itself and is really fun if you put the time in. Practicing combos can also get you used to how important each split second in the game is. For the first 6 weeks, I just played the game like T6 with a tag button and you can be competitive with basic tools but you have to work so much harder for your wins by ignoring a vital compenent to the game.

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>>Maximizing combos and juggle damage is important but movement is probably more important.

Like most fighting games you need to learn how to deal damage, but unless you know how to actually use it in a real fight, it's worthless. Movement is the prime method to landing the biggest hits. You want to hang outside your opponents range and get them to whiff and attack, then BAM you've got a launcher. Back dash cancel or at least a Stair Step backdash (lot easier if you're just starting) will allow you enough speed to make a difference. They've really buffed movement in this version but the standard backdash isn't enough to get enough space from your opponent.

>>Defense is really hard.

There are a lot of characters and a lot of strings to account for.  With good movement you can limit the danger of many strings by keeping a distance but sooner or later you're going to have to deal with these. Some characters have some nasty strings. If a caporeira or baek/hwoarang get started on you, you are in big trouble already. I've had some success with breaking characters into two types. First group is characters with hard hitting strings than are not very long (2-4 hits). With these characters you can try to block their strings and punish them on recovery. The second group would be long strings that are hard to block. The only thing to really do here is either not let them get started or find ways to interrupt their strings with something like a quick jab. Unlike the hard hitting group, it makes a little more sense to gamble with a quick jab because eating a few hit won't be too damaging. Also, if you see someone start a 10-hit combo you might thing about just mashing jab. They are usually pretty punishable. At first I would just freeze up and try to block them but they often have a lot of high low mix-ups. Trying to block 10-hit strings isn't a good idea unless you just have them memorized.

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>>Getting up off the ground.

Paying attention to how you get up will pay huge dividends. For the most part tech rolling is the best option but there are many times when just staying on the ground or a simple up tap are the best options. Back rolling seems like the most natural option, but really not safe. I think the biggest thing with getting up is that you can really break your opponents flow. After I started getting up more consistently, I noticed those super long combos where actually a series of combos. I was getting combo'ed>knocked down>re-juggled on wake-up>carried to wall>end of round. I felt pretty helpless. As soon as I learned how to get up safer, everything became much more manageable.

>>Managing life.

This addition to the game adds a lot of strategy. At first I was tagging out a lot and using a lot of Tag Crash to bring my second character in. After some time, I think it's best take some chances not be afraid to leave a character in. If you get too predictable with your tags, you'll really pay a steep price. Also using the Tag Crash should really be a last ditch option because it removes red life and costs your rage. Both of these are so valuable. I also like how long combos mostly take blue life. It makes them seem more fair, because they often just the recipients tag partner rage. Really a lot of strategy and decisions in regards to tagging/red life/rage and it's really helped me to think about different strategies.

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>>Word Tekken Federation.

This addition is really cool. I'll often study my profile on my phone and check match statistics. The only addition that I'd like to see some more data about specific characters I'm using inside the teams. I'd like to be able to study the data and see which character is doing better or if a certain character is holding my team back. Hope every fighting game has something like this is in the future.


Online has been really good at times. I played quite a bit of Tekken 6 online. It was pretty decent after the patch but it still felt like a different game than offline. TT2's online isn't perfect but to me seems like mostly the same game online. This has also motivated me to learn the game better and actually improve. When I lost in Tekken 6 it was easy to blame the netcode. Now when you lose, you probably just got outplayed (unless your opponent is Eddy/Christie).

>>Graphics look great.

In motion I think this game looks great. They've also changed the colors to more bright colors which has really made a noticeable improvement over Tekken 6. Background are also much better than Tekken 6. Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot of carryover from Tekken 6 in the models. Especially when the game goes to win poses you can tell that the character models are looking a little dated. In motion though, it really does look fantastic. One thing I think Tekken has always nailed is the feeling of attack impacts.

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>>Customizations are a little disappointing so far.

Most of these look pretty lame or don't fit right. I like the approach of Tekken 6 where characters had all individual items. Too many general customization items for whole cast in this one IMO. Also take forever to unlock. I've had over 1000 Ghost Battles and still unlocking items (I'm picking the gold options in opponent select as they appear fyi) so maybe my opinion will change. I do like the addition of stickers from SCIV. Gives you lots of possibilities for unique textures and designs on clothing.

>>Game is fun to watch.

High level play is fantastic and that is who the game is really geared towards. If you're unconvinced, youtube some Tekken Busters or even find some footage from last week's MLG in Dallas. Once you know what to look for the game is very interesting due to all the options that are available to players. Also, watching the Koreans in particular is amazing to see how much skill one can get if they put in the time. JDCR an HelpMe really ran through some very good American players at MLG and at times it looked like training mode.

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>>Game seems to have done well so far.

At first it looks like the game wasn't selling too well on consoles but it looks like it sold 840K in the first month in just Europe and Japan. Looks like it will reach it's goal of 2 million by February. TT2 really delivers with content and I'm glad to see it being rewarded. Obviously Tekken is an arcade first game and has already made it's money back in arcades, but this is still great news for the future of the franchise.

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