PS3 Reviews: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review

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Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review

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Overall Rating:       8.3




Namco Bandai


Namco Bandai

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Release Date:

September 11, 2012

Everyone knows Tekken. Even if you’re not a fan, even if you never understood the fighting fascination back in the glory days of the genre, you were certainly aware of the name. And now, nearly twelve full years after Tekken Tag Tournament wowed us on the newly launched PS2, the sequel arrives much to the delight of franchise followers everywhere. For the most part, this is exactly what they want: Hardcore, intricate, in-depth and a focus on fighting rather than silly additional modes. Still, it’s a tad…restrictive for anyone other than veterans.

First, the graphics— All the games in this franchise have looked good and TTT2 is no exception. There are some amazing animations here and I love the character designs, despite my general dislike of heavily Japanese-oriented artistic styles. Plus, with such a gigantic roster and a ridiculous assortment of moves, you’re continually greeted with attractive designs and animations. It really seems almost endless. I don’t believe it has that extra layer of polish and gloss we’ll find in the upcoming Dead or Alive 5, but TTT2 may end up being arguably more detailed.

Bolstered by a diverse, always-kicking soundtrack that enhances just about every encounter and a series of crisp, bone-crunching effects, the audio allows this game to shine. Even if you don’t particularly like every song, they all add to the experience and contrary to older iterations, they don’t all sound similar. It’s clear that the developers put a little extra care and effort into the technical elements, but it should be noted that the actual presentation feels a little bare-bones. So bare-bones, in fact, that you’re constantly reminded of this genre’s roots in the arcades. That being said, the visuals and sound are more than competent and quite simply do their jobs.

Now, as many already know, I am not a big fighting fan. Therefore, this may disqualify me as a capable critic in the eyes of the hardcore, which is an understandable sentiment. I’ve seen a whole lot of reviewers handling genres they really shouldn’t and at the very least, the critic should admit when he or she isn’t as checked out on a particular style of gaming when providing the public with an important analysis. However, I will add that despite my personal preferences, I’m quite familiar with Tekken and believe it or not, I remember the original TTT very well.

As I said above, Namco Bandai probably did the right thing here: They catered to the die-hard fans by expressly focusing on the fighting mechanic. There aren’t a whole lot of extra bells and whistles, there aren’t too many unique modes that may or may not be appreciated, and again, the presentation is pretty standard; even old-fashioned, some might say. Now, on the one hand, I’m totally fine with this. It’s my wish that more developers utilized the same approach this generation, rather than trying to fix what isn’t broken and appealing to an audience that never had any interest in your franchise in the first place.

But on the other hand, one of the reasons I never really got into fighters in the first place was due to their unrelenting and demanding nature. Tutorials didn’t really exist in those days; it was all about playing and playing and playing until you really got a firm grasp of the controls. And at first, I thought Namco Bandai had given novices like me a heaven-sent alteration to the traditional formula: The Fight Lab. This is where you can learn the basics as a boring ol’ Combot (which gets better and flashier as time goes on) and start to hone your own personal style. This, by the way, replaces the standard Story Mode.

Two things I found— Firstly, despite the absurd and almost pointless storylines and plots, I actually missed the Story Mode. I’m not even sure why…maybe it’s because at the very least, you felt like you had stepped into a character’s life (as minimal as the story may be), or maybe it’s simply because breaking tradition in this way is quite jarring. Secondly, although the Fight Lab is diverse and relatively well-paced, it still doesn’t quite feel like a tutorial to me. It tells me what Team Assault and other things are, but it doesn’t help me with timing or anything else. Hence, I still felt lost far too often, which is sort of counterproductive for a tutorial.

Again, though, bear in mind I’m not an expert at this stuff, so the more schooled and dedicated may not have any problem in the Fight Lab. I mean, I liked the lighthearted and even downright goofy atmosphere of the Lab (but it started to grate after a while), and I appreciate the attempt to teach me from start to finish. I also liked that you could spend the earned gold rewards on any fighter you wish, and the customization is quite deep, too. There’s a lot to like about how this is set up, but I maintain that Namco could’ve done more to make the n00bs feel a little more at home, to ease them into the game with a series of more accessible challenges. I hate to say, “treat me like a five-year-old,” but this game is deep.

And really, that’s the primary appeal of TTT2. This is great fighting, plain and simple. It’s absolutely Tekken, through and through; the developers didn’t abandon that which made the series so popular, and they added and tweaked in all the right places. The mechanics and control are solid and reliable and although tough to grasp at first, the end result is ultra-satisfying, provided you’re willing to put in the time. Tag Assault is the single biggest upgrade, as you can switch partners on the fly, which can result in ridiculously long juggling combos that are destined to frustrate the hell out of your opponent(s).

Of course, playing with others is the heart and soul of this franchise. If you have fond memories of parties and get-togethers that stretched far into the night, you’ll definitely want to check out Pair Play mode. Seriously, invite a bunch of like-minded friends over, order some pizzas, and start having a blast. Pair Play lets four players into the action; each controls one character and can be tagged in or out whenever a buddy so chooses. Things tumble back and forth between funny and competitive, depending on your particular group of chums. Just don’t let it get too heated; that totally wrecks everyone’s good time.

The roster is nuts, the action is fast and furious, the number of available combos to be learned and items to unlock for customization will boggle the mind, and there aren’t a lot of useless accoutrements and extras that don’t really add anything to the package. This is exactly what you know and love, only better. I just wish the Story Mode hadn’t disappeared entirely, and the Fight Lab is a tad too bonkers for my taste. It also didn’t properly explain the necessary intricacies of the gameplay, which I believe is a major drawback to anything that’s known as a “tutorial.”

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is very much a nod to the ardent fans. And I think that’s great. I believe they could’ve done a little more with the presentation and tried a few new things here and there, and I would’ve made the Fight Lab more user-friendly, but there’s no doubt that this sequel is precisely designed to put a smile on the faces of the faithful followers. Going online is almost as entertaining as playing with a group of friends around you (the latter will always be a touch superior, in my opinion), the depth of the fighting is fantastic, there’s a ton of cosmetic customization and in short, TTT2 is a winner…more so for the familiar veterans.

The Good: Great animations and character designs. Diverse, entertaining soundtrack and crisp effects. Deep, rewarding fighting mechanic. Humungous roster. Plenty of customization options. Tag Assault and Pair Play are definite crowd-pleasers.

The Bad: Fight Lab doesn’t necessarily do what it promises. No traditional Story Mode just feels weird. Kinda bare-bones presentation overall.

The Ugly: “Yes, I know what you want me to do, but how exactly do I do it?”

9/13/2012 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (21 posts)

Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 9:30:28 PM

Awesome review mate, that was a good read.

I bought the game yesterday & was mostly very happy with the game. It's the best & biggest roster i have seen in a Tekken game, the tag throws are great, the stages look amazing & most importantly it plays as brilliant as ever. I was playing it in 3D last night & it's a blast.

My only complaints with the game is the shite replay last-hit KO replacing the previous full slow motion replays & the lack of win poses from previous Tekkens.

Biggest gripe for me though is the absence of decent 2P costumes & the new customization mode is tits on a bull, giving us nothing more than universal casual rubbish with a mish-mash of upper & lower body items just don't match.

I've played loads of ghost matches which seems to unlock character specific items (Nina Death By Degrees outfit, Hwoarangs karate gi etc) so maybe there is deeper clothing to be unlocked within.

Regardless of my small gripes though, i seriously loving the game & looking forward to all the DLC characters & extras later on.

Cheers for the review.

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 4:36:56 AM

Can you let me know one basic thing, with all the customization there is can you simply change Hehachi's hair back to the original state( I can't help but think he looks like Wario now..) Also can you change colour of the hair. It's a basic thing, but Tekken 6 didn't even have it...

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 4:46:23 AM


Sadly Heihachi's old hairdo is not there (unless it's an unlock-able) & yes you can change hair/clothing color etc but you cannot alter the color of the default outfits/styles, you can only change colors if you're creating a customized character from a new slot.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 10:30:34 PM

Nice review, reminds me of the days when my friends and I will play Tekken and have a bet that the one who loses the match will drink a glass of water, by the way we're in a gin or beer drinking session almost everytime we play Tekken. Haha, the good old days.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 10:43:32 PM

I want the game but only after I get DOA5. And I don't know when I can get DOA5 so poo poo.
Oh well, VF5 FS still hits the spot =)

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 10:44:48 PM

Why no release day DOA5?

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 11:19:37 PM

Because it's terrible timing and probably money I shouldn't spend. I start a busy quarter that day. We'll see, but when I'm in school full time I tend to like to clear my plate of obvious distractions. I feel DOA will be a definite distraction. The online fight-lust can be just too lucrative for me =)

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 10:31:22 AM

Agreed, if you got classes to tend to then that's more important.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 10:47:07 PM

Sadly I'm leaving deep fighters behind, there's just better stories out there to spend my time on instead of trying to learn and perfect hundreds of moves like I used to. Stickin with the bouncin' gals for that fluid and easy button mashing.

I hope Soul Calibur returns to its former self one day too.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 10:48:39 PM

WorldEndsWithMe & Temjin,

If you guys are getting DOA5 be sure to add me & we can have some fights ;)

PSN: KevinTekken

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Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 11:20:50 PM

okay, but don't you live on another hemisphere? I'd imagine lag will blow hardcore. Worth a shot though ;)

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 12:56:20 AM

Excellent review. I particularly appreciated the piece on fan-based vs non-fan-based judgement. When most think of fans, they think of bias. However, it's not the bias towards something that lessens crediblity, as often a person more invested in an experience will appreciate and pay attention to things and that other's will simply miss, and will be in a better place to compare something to, say, other titles in a genre of interest that they may have more experience in. It is the bias against something that hampers judgement and, hence, crediblity.

Say, for example, one is a fan of shooters, and has played them all, good and bad, and even manages to make the most out of the bad. They, of course, will be a better judge of what makes a good fps, than someone who hasn't played any of them. But, say one is fan of, say, COD, and nothing else, and refuses to play anything else, they may be no better to judge than the one who hasn't played any of them at all.

This leads me to the dual nature of reviews. They can serve two purposes. One is to objectively, or as best as possible, assess a product for what it is, and how it compares to others of a given genre or type. We compare the parts, and the sum of the parts, to rough standards and benchmarks in the industry.

The other purpose is one of recommendation and marketing. Who should get this game, and which games should one play this over or before. Is it something a fan may enjoy? Is it something a fan will definitely enjoy over everything else? Is it so incredible that anyone, fan or not, should try or own?

Since, neither approach is an exact science, it doesn't make much sense for calling out someone who does either. Idealistically, a well made game is something that should be recommended, and hence, healthiest for the direction of the industry. Practically speaking, gamers, who all have limit on either budget or playtime, seek reviews to help them purchase the games that are not only quality products, but products that they will bother playing. So it is a balancing act. And, in an industry, where many don't even attempt to do so, I must say, this was one of the most balanced reviews I've read, particularly of this game.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 9:54:53 AM

Thank you. I believe critics should admit they're not omnipotent for the sake of the reader/consumer. :)

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 1:32:12 AM

I'm bummed about the lack of a story mode :(

...but I'll still get it.

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 3:39:22 AM

Can people stop comparing this to Tekken Tag Tournament 1, because it is nothing like it. TTT1 came along just after Tekken's peak of Tekken 3, it took the gameplay mechanics and characters and put them on cutting edge PS2 graphics. The gameplay is completely different though.

Ever since Tekken 5, Namco worked on a new engine which changed the gameplay dramatically. It was more adaptable to a 3D environment which was an honorable intention, but what came along with it was unforgivable. The pacing of the fighting became too fast, the characters became bulky looking like they're on steroids. But the absolute worst feature is juggling. Knocking an opponent in the ait then keeping them in the air with combos. It's so cheap as there is nothing you can do about it and since Tekken 5 you can juggle with 10 combos with ease. Tekken 6 made it even worse by combing juggling with bouncing a character off the ground like a basketball. These points have really put me off the series for good.

But that's not all, I have notice there is a serious unbalance between new and old characters. I use Heihachi, who is not known for being fast, but he sure was powerful. Now you'll get this anime-robot-chick who can fire rockets, fly with jetpacks and use her head as grenade. She is just as powerful as Heihachi, but far more faster, same goers with a lot of new characters, Lili, Leo, Raven. It's just incredibly unbalanced now.

As for the story... Well Tekken Tag is more of a compilation, so it isn't meant to have a story, so I wouldn't be so harsh on that aspect as I was with Tekken 6. For me the story ended with Tekken 3. It was all about the devil gene & Heihachi's ending he destroyed it by chucking Jin out the airplane and destroying the devil gene once and for all. It may not be the canon ending, but it is how I treat it as afterwards it got so convoluted it was unbearable.

Funnily enough I compare it to Sonic, Sonic 3 was great where they gave you a basic objective, with a couple of encounters with Knuckles then a confrontation with the boss. That was enough for Sonic. Tekken was the same, you had the introduction (Tekken 2 still has the best introduction to any game in my eye.), which sets the premise. Then you have all the endings and you can put it together piece by piece. Tekken 4 brought in story mode, which gave you more detailed information and Tekken 5 brought in these embarrassing cutscenes between the fights which to me destroyed the strong characters I built up myself.

I won't be buying this brand new, Tekken 6 went dirt cheap within 2 months, I might get it later on to try it, but I doubt I will be convinced. Still I am content with Tekken Tag 1 with Tekken Hybrid, so I have nothing to complain about really.

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 4:53:20 AM


Honestly man, forget about the story & just enjoy Tekken Tag 2 for the sheer character comebacks & gameplay variety. Many over at Tekken-nation & Tekken-Zaibatsu are saying this is one of the best Tekken games since Tekken 3 & if you were a fan of Tekken Tag (which i assume you are) then you owe it toyourself to own this or atleast play it.

It is really quiet brilliant & i personally find it to be more balanced then previous games due to the tag string combos & sheer enormity of tag team combinations available.

Just don't expect too much in the customization because that is probably the only real feature that lets it down, unless you like playing as Lars in a loincloth, Leo in swimwear or Xiaoyu in grandmother mittens.

Last edited by Kevin555 on 9/14/2012 4:54:52 AM

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 6:12:28 AM

It's the gameplay that bothers me though. Just because it has the Tag feature of Tekken Tag 1 does not make it the same. I played the demo on Tekken Hybrid and found it far to over the top. As I said previously I just cannot enjoy the new fighting mechanics of Tekken 6, which is what this game is basically. Juggling and Bouncing is key (Just look at the Gamespot video review...)

There is a little bit of me that wants to go out and get it, but I remember buying Tekken 6 at launch platinuming it in a week then barely touching it again. While Tekken 3/Tag 1 I still play Survival frequently.

As for the customization, What annoyed me is that you can do so many things on Tekken 6, but they have ignored the basic things like changing the colour of a characters default hair style. Why would I want to get a crappy generic hair style just to change the colour... Wrestling games we're able to do this back on the PS1... Oh and thanks for letting me know about Heihachi's hair :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 9:56:04 AM

Uh...I don't recall comparing TTT2 to TTT. I know they're completely different games so I didn't bother. I only mentioned the original in the intro because, well, it's the original.

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 6:14:29 AM

Awesome review :) I was planning to pick this up regardless, but it's still nice to know that's it's everything I expected.

The only thing that's worrying me, is the talk about the lack of customisation....but I'll just hold that to playing longer to unlock more stuff.

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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 12:30:25 PM

The Bad: Doesn't include a sequel to Tekken Bowl Tournament.


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Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 2:33:15 PM

Nice Review, I'm a fan of fighters but since Tekken 4 and those Juggle air combo's I know I'm not buying another Tekken again. I abused the prequel though. Can't wait for DOA5 :)

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