While other fighting game franchise have tried to reinvent themselves with each iteration, Tekken has stayed true to its core, but still manages to provide improvements along the way.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 feels much like the previously released title – Tekken 6 – albeit featuring exciting tag-team action – if you choose to do so. With the freedom in choosing whether to play with a single fighter or with a team of two, Tekken Tag 2 allows you to play how you want. Playing with a single competitor you will still face-off against a team of two throughout the Arcade mode, but your fighter will receive a slight buff in stats to help even the odds. Tagteams are able to pull off crazy team attacks and combos. The first KO will end the round, making it imperative to keep track of the health of each character. For those newcomers of the series, don’t come expecting to be pulling off hadoukens and shoryukens, Tekken focuses on time based combo gameplay.
Taking a glance at the character select screen, I was amazed at the amount of characters to choose from – with well over 50+ in all. All of the downloadable characters from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are already included and unlocked, giving Wii U owners access to them right from the start. It’s safe to say that Tekken contains the most varied and outlandish characters in any fighting game – seriously, the game has a boxing kangaroo/velociraptor and a fighting panda bear and none of the other characters seem to care!
Relying on an arcade style of gameplay, you won’t find a dedicated story mode to fight through. After the phenomenal story mode in Mortal Kombat, I was disappointed to find that Arcade mode acts as the main single-player experience. The ending sequence varies depending on the character used, but not being familiar with the Tekken universe, I didn’t quite understand the meaning behind most of them. One of the female fighters or I thought was a female fighter turned out to be a robot capable of removing her own head in order to fit inside a photo booth in Japan. If this makes sense to you, please let me know what I’m missing.
If you are new to the series, make sure to check out the Fight Lab, which will teach you the basics of the game and more importantly the timing that is required for pulling off successful combos. Some of the later challenges are more frustrating than helpful, which should be your cue to quit the Fight Lab.
With Tekken 6, Namco really stepped up the presentation of the series, and Tekken Tag 2 is no exception. Utilizing the groundwork from Tekken 6, the impressive engine with dynamic resolution scaling keeps the game relatively smooth through all the action. Every bell and whistle featured in the previous releases of the game are represented on the Wii U version without a hint of decreased texture quality or added frame drops.
The World Tekken Federation provides a free stat-tracking web service, but currently only supports PS3 and Xbox 360 owners – sorry Wii U owners. After registering for the web service, you will be able to see a comprehensive report of all your matches, along with the ability to form Teams with other players – Tekken’s version of guilds.
Getting into Wii U exclusive modes, Mushroom Battle feels like something you would find in Super Smash Bros., not Tekken. Littering the stages are various types of iconic Mario items, such as Poison Mushrooms, Super Mushrooms, Mega Mushrooms and Mini Mushrooms. Grab too many Mega mushrooms and you may find yourself too large to even make contact with your tiny opponent. How does Mushroom Battle get any better? How about dressing up your favorite Tekken characters with Nintendo themed costumes. If you don’t get a chuckle out of Panda dressed as Princess Peach or Heihachi as Mario then you have no soul. Of course each character doesn’t have a unique costume, but there are enough to cover the fan-favorite franchise, including Captain Falcon. Take the hint Nintendo.
Making its first appearance since Tekken 3, Tekken Ball returns as an exclusive to the Wii U version of the game. Essentially, you will be battering a ball back and forth. Once the meter fills up, the ball becomes volatile, causing damage to the next person to hit the ball. Old-school and newcomers alike will enjoy the inclusion of the mode, but its more of a distraction that something with substance.
As you select your character on the Wii , the GamePad will show background information and signature moves for the selected character. With a simple tap during a match, you will be able to pull off multiple combos for any character – if you use the GamePad. The entire game can be played strictly on the GamePad as well, if your television or monitor is occupied.
With the lacking single-player experience, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 feels more geared to those looking for a great multiplayer fighter, for online or local play. The lack of character unlocks does diminish the value of playing through the Arcade mode, but the money earned can still be used to completely customize each character. The online and local multiplayer experience holds up across each of the platforms and provides an engaging experience – even if I end up losing the majority of my online matches.
Note: The Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U review was written based on the Wii U version of the game provided by the publisher.