With Tekken firmly proving itself as one of the best in 3D fighters it pretty much had it all wrapped up, but how do you possibly top Tekken 6? How about with another stab at a game that came out originally on the PlayStation 2? Now following arcade updates and plenty of teasers and demos on other game collections we finally have what could be the ultimate 3D fighting game, Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
3D fighting games have not really changed much over the years, granting the first player to win two rounds wins the game and then you move onto the next battle; still offering similar move sets and revisiting popular characters; Tekken Tag 2 is no different, having you pick one or two combatants to go into the ring. However when you have over 50 characters to choose from plus a whole lot of alternative looks repetition is not necessarily a bad thing. I can't think of any Tekken character that is not on this list, it's huge, filling half the selection screen with a collage of familiar faces. Returning for another swing at the King of Iron Fist tournament we have long running favourites like Jin and Eddy mix up with some classic long forgotten characters like Ogre alongside some of the more recent characters like Jaycee or Alisa with her chainsaws for hands, a bit unfair but it's in keeping with a tournament that lets in bears, kangaroos and deities.
Alongside the staggering roster Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has managed to stack a load of options and game modes, splitting the action between online and offline. Online offers Ranked or Player Matches allowing you to participate in solo or tag battles with players from all over the world. There is an easy to follow ranking system so you should never really find yourself against anyone too far above your skill level, that said, I tend to get a royal beating no matter who I play against. To add insult to injury you can also view all this via the Tekken Channel, allowing you to replay all of your best (and worst) fights. The newly introduced World Tekken Federation will also appear, an online service that will allow you to view all of your stats, view world leader boards and create and join teams.
Offline, Tekken Tag Tournament does not hold back, offering an impressive amount of varied modes to keep you entertained. The classic Arcade Battle returns, allowing you to fight through other contenders solo or as a tag team and unlock all of the characters ending movies. Survival, Team Battle and Time Attack also returns, offering plenty of challenges and local multiplayer options plus you have Ghost Battle that offers non-stop matches against all of the characters in ever changing costumes, earning you all sorts of goodies along the way. Pair Play allows for four local players to each select a fighter and team up and finally Fight Lab; an interesting story mode where you we join Violet Systems as they create the perfect fighting machine. Sadly they manage to destroy it due to utter incompetency, allowing you to take control of Combot and start from scratch. Each level will offer plenty of fights to earn more credits which can then be used to customize Combot, borrowing move sets from the rest of the games characters and finally creating the ultimate fighting robot.
With every fight you participate in, no matter the mode, you will earn credits that can be spent on customising your experience. Via the game shop you can purchase all manner of clothes, hair styles and weapons and kit out your favourite character.
Just like every Tekken game before, the graphics offer the best of their generation, huge unique character models are superbly animated with deep detail down to getting soaked in water, all fighting through some great level designs from all over the globe; from a wrestling ring, a USA parade, schoolyard, town square to a tulip field in the Netherlands, they all look fantastic with levels slightly giving way under the more powerful moves, leaving rubble on the floor and even collapsing or certain stages, opening up to new areas. For most of the battles, the fighting is fast and fluid but it does come crashing down, slowing down or even completely stopping for a second when an achievement pops, it's not a game killer but it is very noticeable and here's hoping for a fix on this very quickly.
The same praise can be given to the controls, responsive as ever, with two punches and kicks and a couple of grabs and a tag button, making it nice and easy to pull off all of those special moves. Via the options you can even completely customize the controls, placing movement to the sticks rather than the d-pad and adding some pre-made combos to the trigger buttons for some of the more intricate tag throws and tag combos.
I was never a fan of the original Tekken Tag Tournament, mainly due to the dire loading times, but Tekken Tag Tournament 2 completely redeems itself with super-fast action and a wonderful roster of fighters from the past and present that will satisfy every 3D fighting fan for a very long time.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
Review Policy (Version tested: Xbox 360)