Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Zombiegamer Review | The Best of the Best

In short

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is not only the most impressive and comprehensive game in the series, but one of the most comprehensive fighting game packages I can think of. This latest instalment in the long-running series offers the most game-modes, the most characters and the most comprehensive ability to customise your Tekken game. It’s also by far the most stylish game in the series. This is a fighting game that will please the most ardent fans, as well as catering to the more casual fighters. The uncomplicated mechanics are a joy to work with, while still rewarding those that delve deeper into the combat abilities.

Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
For fans of: Arcade brawlers
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3, Wii U (forthcoming)
If we had to give it a numerical score: 9.0/10

What we loved

  • The character line-up
  • Comprehensive game modes
  • Audio/Visual quality
  • Deep customisation
  • Combat mechanics

Not so much

  • Nothing I  can think of


Gameplay and Features

Adding the ‘tagging’ feature to Tekken was one of the best moves from Namco. The ability to use to completely different characters in a round helps optimise your strategy against the different fighters, and their styles to be precise. If your first character is not ideal to fight a certain character, bring in the second. It also offers you the obvious ability to sit out a beaten-up fighter and bring in a fresh one. While this is not completely exclusive to Tekken, the Tekken Tag series makes great use of this feature due to the very different character’s fighting styles. The game now offers around 50 characters which some of will need to be unlocked, from old to new in the series, and some completely new unlockable secret characters.

What I have always loved about the Tekken series is the control-mechanics. There’s none of those awkward half and quarter-circular movements that so many other titles in the genre use. Tekken is about ‘juggling’ or putting together combos compromising of mainly kicks and punches. The key is to learn the sequences of the kicks and punching combos, as opposed to mangling the control stick, trying to pull of the movements required.

Thankfully Namco ditched the story mode, which never really works in fighting games – Tekken Tag 2 is a focused package that is all about ranking up your profile. Players can opt to use one fighter or a tag team combination throughout the various online and offline modes. You can also take to the thorough practice arena or ‘Lab Mode’ to fine-tune your combos and attacks.

The offline modes include in the ‘Arcade battles’ which gain you XP and is pretty standard rounds of fighting versus the different fighters. You can also play in ‘Ghost Battle’, a ‘Team Battle’ mode, ‘Time Attack’, ‘Survival Mode’; my favourite where you need to see how long you can keep a winning streak before depleting your health gauge. I found this the toughest of the AI battles due to the fact that you keep your starting health as you progress, so you don’t get a fresh bid of health in the new rounds. This mode alone will keep me interested for time to come, as I have only managed a 4 win streak thus far. The local multiplayer is the mode that will probably keep me playing for months to come though. No connection quality woes, no searching for opponents – straight forward battles versus human AI. It’s where I fell in love with the earlier games, and it is still the most entertaining mode for me.

The online mode is complimented by the ‘World Tekken Federation’, which tracks an astounding amount of statistics. The Players’ win/loss records are tracked as well as more streamlined statistics; like streaks etc. The online mode was well designed in every aspect – from being able to pair up with similar ranked players, to being able to search for good quality connections. I do not have the most capable line and so I did experience some hic-ups here and there, but the overall quality of the online code is sound.

The package also offers a deep customisation option, where an abundance of outfits are on offer. You can pick two extra outfits for a character, above the standard two. Here you can buy items of clothing and accessories with the currency you earn in fights. There are hundreds of items to choose from, and so you can customise your character to your hearts’ content. This also adds massive replay value to the game, as you will want to earn currency to buy as much items of clothing and accessories as possible, to create authentic characters. So above the bountiful offerings in game-modes, there is plenty to keep you playing.

Sound and Visuals

The audio and visual department is the area that blew me away the most with Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The gameplay has been solid for over a decade with the series, so Namco Bandai clearly took to creating the most attractive game in the series, as well as delivering the most competent offering. The visuals are astounding with this one, featuring the best in series living-like backdrops. The arcade theme is still very evident, but every other visual aspect I can think of has been bumped up, and not just a notch either. Tekken Tag 2 offers the most impressive visuals the series has seen by a country mile.

Everything from the vibrant use of colour, to the characters’ detailing and animations were carefully crafted and detailed. Then there’s the interesting cinematic sequences, which were designed to complement the characters’ back-story. The visual effects are so complete, that they are almost over-designed. There is not a second that goes by where you are not treated to bold visual effects. The characters’ animations, the bigger moves and slow-motion bits, have all been carefully and comprehensively designed to deliver a feast of visuals. The menus look as modern as one would wish for and are a pleasure to navigate through.

The sound quality echoes the visual quality, from the suited digital soundtrack, to the masses of sound-effects. The series has been known for the stellar soundtracks, and this one shines a little brighter than the rest. There are the traditional one-liners from the characters in the loading menus, which stay true to the Japanese origins, and there is the explosion of sound-effects in the fights, highlighting and differentiating the power of the various attacks.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is aesthetically the most impressive brawling game by some distance. I was positively amazed at how Namco managed to optimise the current-generations’ console capabilities. While there are many stylish fighting games, none that I can think of besides this one that actually rival the biggest of titles outside the brawling genre.

Closing Comments

The beauty with Tekken games is the uncomplicated control mechanics. The most basic of moves are still very pleasing, so while there are those fanatics that will give you little room to breathe in, the novice player can still pull of some visual-pleasing moves without breaking the controller, and so for this reason the series is very inviting. Once you learn how to string a few combos together though, the ‘juggling’ theme opens up to an array of options.

So from one of the truly greatest brawling series comes Tekken Tag Tournament 2, the most comprehensive, stylish and engaging title the series has seen. While the online mode will certainly give you the most play, there’s still ample game to play through in the offline modes.

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