In 2000 I first got a glimpse of Tekken Tag Tournament on the PS2. The game gave gamers the chance to fight with thirty five characters from Tekken, Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 along with Unknown, a female character with the uncanny ability to imitate anyone’s moves and styles from the game (what an annoying b**** she was). The game itself had massive success with reviews coming in around the 9/10 and 10/10s and now we find ourselves holding the much anticipated Tekken Tag Tournament 2 or TTT2 for the Xbox 360.
First and foremost we just have to talk about the character list. With over fifty combatants to fight with you’re never short of choice; what’s more you have to figure out who would make a good tag-team partnership in the arena. How about Jin and Heihachi using their awesome techniques and power to demoralisingly destroy their foes? Maybe you’ll opt to have the ever colourful Yoshimitsu standing side by side with the seductive Anna. Dead or Alive and Virtua Fighter have got nothing on TTT2’s character list.
The characters are arguably the game’s strongest point; you aren’t left watching countless movies and trying to keep up with multiple story arcs, instead you are thrust into battle choosing a pairing that you can defeat all that stands before you. You’ll have your bankers, the partners who you know inside and out (Jin and Baek for myself), then you’ve got the fun guys where Panda and Roger come in. It really is captivating picking different pairings and you’ll find yourself running through the arcades or battling it out in 8 vs 8 team battles with as many pairings as time dictates. As with the first Tekken Tag game, your tag-team moves are ones that should be utilised at most every opportunity. Although beware as a mis-timed switch can leave both you and your partner worse off than the guy lying on the floor.
Another nice aspect is the character customisation that TTT2 offers its users. Are you looking at Baek, thinking the karate kid outfit is looking outdated, then why not customise him and change the colours of his various outfits? You can even go the whole hog and match your tag-team’s outfits so they colour coordinate, damn even women can get in on the action (joke). You can customise your guys and gals with sunglasses, pants, shirts and even as far as handguns and street signs.
Visually the game is a true gem; it looks amazing, better even than Tekken 6. Like Tekken games of old each character looks and feels unique when you are controlling them. They all have their own swagger and style which makes them instantly recognisable. The tags are also flawless; press your D-Pad and your back-up seamlessly jumps into play protecting your previous character, or in some cases teaming up to dish out double the damage via the aforementioned tag-team attacks.
For newbies to the game you’ll be pleased to hear that the tutorial mode is actually enjoyable. Yes you heard me; you’ll want to play it more and more. Obviously you start with your kicks and jabs before moving onto more difficult moves, but Namco-Bandai has given the tutorial mode it’s very own plot as you take Combot through the various levels and improve your own skill.
Once you’ve trained yourself up you’ll want to get yourself into the arena and there are a number of options, albeit nothing exactly new or ground-breaking. You get your bog-standard Arcade, Time-Attack, Team Battle, Ghost and Survival modes, although these will keep you more than occupied whilst you play around with your tag-team duo, but it would have been nice for something a little different, some more imagination with the game modes.
The game’s online mode has been raved as one of the strongest points of the game. Gamers get a free stat-tracking service called the World Tekken Federation. Here you can see your wins and losses along with how many hours you’ve logged and various stats on the games that you have played. You can even team up and build Tekken clans online, fight it out against other teams and earn your way to the top of the WTF leader boards.
One piece of advice if you do wish to have any real impact in the online world of Tekken you need to get trained up as there are some unreal players on LIVE. If you haven’t memorised a good deal of combos you’ll find yourself on the back-end of a whopping more times than you’d care to imagine. It can be a very steep learning curve in that respect.
After all that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has lived up to the hype. The game is a true gem and has lived up to and exceeded the expectations of its loyal fan base. The Tekken online world, also known as the World Tekken Federation, will have gamers up all hours of the night in 1-on-1 and 8-on-8 battles with friends and enemies alike.
The offline modes are also not to be sniffed at, with an Arcade mode, which like the Tekkens before it, will have you fighting until your last breath. The character unlocks add yet another reason to continue playing this title and, let’s be honest, is there anything cooler than Devil Jin sporting a pair of Oakleys? The fifty three characters also adds so much depth to this game, with such a varied selection, that you’ll be chopping and changing your perfect tag partners, opting one day for all out speed and the next a mixture of sexiness and brute force.
Finally, visually the game is simply outstanding, one of the best looking games to grace the Xbox 360. It runs perfectly, with animations that are simply awe-inspiring and tag-team switchovers which look simply stunning. This may not be the ideal game for those select few ‘hardcore’ fighting fans, for the rest of the world Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is by far the best choice in its genre.