Tekken's King Of The Iron Fist tournament is back, with more characters than ever before. But is this a good thing? Find out in our preview.
Published on Jul 12, 2012
It’s the look. Or rather, it’s that look. The look of someone faced with a character select screen dotted with more scowling faces than a local mugshot gallery, eyes squinting to find out where the hell they’ve put Bryan/Jin/Heihachi/delete as appropriate.
Not Kuma. You players are lucky. Just look for the spot of brown fuzz (ahem) on the screen. Everyone else? You’re stuck with that look, trying to figure out where your character is hidden.
This is a long way of saying Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is enormous. It’s the kind of game we’d describe as bursting at the seams, had it been stitched together by a keen seamstress rather than developed by a small army.
And as another month has passed, hey, have more characters! Alex is the lizard with boxing gloves in the same mould as Roger Jr, and while we’re assured Roger Jr veterans will find his moves familiar, he’ll have many distinct differences of his own.
Forrest Law will be brought back, so he can team up with his father Marshall Law, who was previously confirmed. Prototype Jack is back after Tekken Tag Tournament while Tiger Jackson, originally a palette swap for Eddy Gordo, now has his own moves alongside his afro, funk trousers and hideous shirt.
They join the existing cast, which has been rebalanced – Lars has been toned down, Zafina has been buffed up – while new faces join in. Jaycee is Julia Chang from Tekken 6 albeit in a luchador wrestling getup with moves to match – her trademark elbows are now complemented by drop-kicks, back spins and sunset flips.
There's already a lot of variety in some of the new locations.
Kunimitsu returns after a long absence away from the series, now packing ninja stances and quick blade attacks. Even bosses are on your side – Angel from Tekken 2, Ogre from Tekken 3 and Jinpachi from Tekken 5. The latter, in particular, is interesting. The chance to play as one of the most annoying videogame bosses ever made? Go on, then.
“The tagging system adds a new dynamic!” the press release will probably say when this hits HMV shelves next month, which translated into English means ‘tagging is good fun’. That’s it, really.
Tagging characters in and out of battle means the on-screen player gets stuck into the fight while the off-screen partner recovers health. It’s a quick tag that happens fast enough that you need to have quick reactions to spring into action and hit the partner running into battle before they can block.
It doesn’t carry the risk that a raw tag in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 does, where you get hit by arrows, lasers, meteors and colourful, fiery death just because you pressed tag at the wrong time. It’s a lot safer and easier for beginners to use.
What’s complicated is using tagging to build up increasingly elaborate combos, spinning your opponent through the air as your partner rushes in to add more hits, before control is handed back to your original character.
This is where experimentation with the tag system will truly lie, as you figure out different character combinations, setups and combos.
Which seamlessly brings us to Fight Lab! This will teach you how to play Tekken without doing it in a boring ‘attack your opponent… well done!’ manner that fails to entertain anyone with a gaming IQ in double digits.
Instead, Fight Lab will present a manner of mini-games and challenges to hook your interest, while you can also customise Combot with moves from other characters to create your own custom combos.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the sort of well-rounded package you get from a studio that understands its strengths, its player base and what people want.
If only it could make the icons on the character select screen that little bit bigger…