Back in the Playstation 2 days, TEKKEN Tag Tournament was one of my favorite fighting games and was the best TEKKEN game EVER in my opinion.  

Since the initial release of TEKKEN Tag Tournament  the series has gotten more sequels, more characters,  new game play mechanics, and now they are all put together in The King of Iron Fist Tag Tournament 2.

This editorial will cover everything you need to know about this game in an in-depth review.  With over 50 characters, new moves, and a robust amount of game play modes at its disposal; let us see if it can match the greatness of the original game with a new modern flare for a new age of Tag Tournament.


WARNING!


My reviews are normally elaborate in describing my thoughts and feelings; so hints and/or reveals of the story, character development, and any plot twists regarding the subject that it covers may arise due to the amount of detail needed for explanation.  Being mindful of the fact that spoilers could come into play, it may be better for you to watch, read, and/or play the material before reading this review.  Thank you and happy reading!

Also, if you are new to fighting games or are currently struggling with them, I would advise you to read Struggling Fighting Gamer? 5 Tips to Help Out! in order to help you road map the steps you need to take to compete with anyone!


Getting Started


Emilie de Rochefort and Asuka Kazama as they appear in the Opening Cinematic for TTT2
Finally getting around to GameStop and finally picked up my reserve copy of TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2, desperately ready for a good tag team style fighter since Street Fighter x TEKKEN did not live up to my expectations whatsoever.  Anxiously driving back home, excitement swells within me as I prepare to indulge myself in The King of Iron Fist Tag Tournament 2.

Finally making it back to the house, the very first thing I did was open up the plastic and flip over the cover art to the Williams sister (Nina and Anna) instead of the horrible Young Heihachi and Jin Kazama picture they have shown there.  Sliding the disk into the Xbox 360 after it loads up, I start the game.

First off, I am greeted by a 3MB update, what it is for, I am not quite sure, but I carry it out so I will be able to play online.  Finally getting inside the game I see the opening game cinematic which starts off with Jinpachi in the back of cab.  It seems to be a prestigious arena where The King of Iron Fist Tag Tournament 2 is a spectacle that everyone can see; the announcer is telling everyone welcome and to get ready for the next battle.  There seems to be an entrance similar to how they do in professional wrestling, where you then have Raven and Kunimitsu back-flipping and landing on the stage, their opponents are the Williams sisters, Nina and Anna.  Anna offers Nina a truce, only to be grabbed and pushed towards her opponents before Ogre is seen breaking through the stage; snake arm showing and him breathing fire.  The crowd, despite having something that looks like a mythical beast on the center stage, begins cheering as Angel makes her appearance.  Angel's peaceful demeanor is quickly ruined as she lies eyes on Ogre.  Soon Angel unleashes her energy blast and Ogre breaths fire, they clash in the middle of the ring and create an explosion where the logo for TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2 is shown.

By this point, I am hype and I cannot wait to see what is waiting for me, so I push the start button and get ready to see what Namco has in store for me.  I'll be doing a synopsis over modes, the fighting and mechanics, and my final verdict over everything.


Game Modes Synopsis


This section will give detailed breakdown and summaries of the various modes that are available within TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2.  I will also be giving you my thoughts on the modes effectiveness for its purpose and any suggestions towards them if I have any at all.  There is Online Mode, Offline Mode,

Online Mode
Survival Screen, but this is how it looks right before character introductions when fighting someone.
This mode is the first option and should be pretty self explanatory, as it is for everything pertaining to playing TTT2 Online.  By selecting this Mode, you will be given the option of Ranked Match, Player Match, Team, TEKKEN Channel, and Leaderboards.

Ranked Match is for games that effect the Leaderboards (Which shows the players ranking based on Battle Points, Rank, Ranked Match Wins, Chicken Points, Time Attack, and Survival).  You fight other players for Battle Points, which effect your overall level and the type of opponents you will be going against.  Player Match gives you the ability to fight in rooms with lobbies up to 6 people; also able to choose the option of "Practice" to train online with a friend.  Team tells you information about the team you have joined on TEKKEN.com for the "TEKKEN Federation", such as: Team Name, Team Level, Team Points, the date it was founded, total amount of team members, the highest team ranked characters, the Team Attitude, the Team Conditions, and Team Goals.  TEKKEN Channel allows you to search for replays, as well as watch replays in the Replay Theater (Which also includes: My Replay, Other Replays, All Replays, and Replay Download Log).

I find that Online Mode is actually pretty robust and gives a good amount of options to give the player the best experience possible; however, something akin to the Street Fighter IV's "Channel" which allows you to watch an endless amount of matches of High Ranking players would have been a nice addition (Though, the ability to search by replays by character is especially nice; but would have been even better if you could search by specific teams as well).  The ability to form teams, while good, needs to have more significance and should be able to be done completely through "Online Mode" alone without having to go to the TEKKEN Website (And since TEKKENZaibatsu is the biggest, English speaking website for TEKKEN, they should have mentioned it somewhere on TEKKEN Federation and on one of the marquees that frequently gives out information in the game).  Not to mention the fact online practice mode is beautiful for perfecting things with friends.

Offline Mode
This is the second option available to you and also should be pretty self explanatory, as it pertains to pretty much every game mode for TTT2 Offline.  By selecting this mode you are given the option to play Arcade Battle, Ghost Battle, Vs Battle, Team Battle, Time Attack, Survival, Practice, and Pair Play (Which can also be done online).

Arcade Battle is pretty much the arcade mode for this game; it features Jun Kazama as the final boss.  Beating Jun once would the stage "Heavenly Garden" to turn into "Fallen Garden" and turn her into a new enemy called "Unknown" with vicious attacks, including one to deliver a "Snap Back" on a tag character and make them completely worthless and bring in your next character.  Beating this mode gives you "2 million gold" initially and the ending for the character you defeat Unknown with.  Ghost Battle is pretty much the same as on TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion; They take your friends and various unknown people's data and make CPU's with behavior patterns identical to the actual players.  You then fight these players endlessly to earn gold; pretty cool thing to do if you just want to practice your combos without waiting in long lobbies. Vs is just your standard offline versus mode where you and a friend can play each other.  Team Battle is an offline mode where you can fight the computer or a friend in up to 8 on 8.  Time Attack is pretty much Arcade Mode, but you have to see how fast you can finish it in order for a ranking on the leaderboard.  Survival is you fighting wave after wave of teams in an attempt to see how many you can beat before you are finally defeated.  Practice is just as it says, and has quite the impressive array of options to help with various practice situations.  Pair Play allows 4 people to play on 2 teams of 2; pretty fun if you have friends over at the house and you all just want something to play.

The offline mode is decent, but I would have really liked for them to have included some type of story mode that furthers the story of TEKKEN.  I would have liked to know why teams such as Raven/Kunimitsu exist, and a reason everyone is back.  Now, I know this is probably something along the lines of a King of Fighter's "Dream Battle" that happens (Nothing is cannon) and shows characters that should not exist able and ready to fight, but it would have still been nice even if it had been someone's "dream".  I do not find myself using anything really besides "Arcade Battle" to unlock the achievement (I think they should have had a better boss, I do not think Jun is all that bad... then again, I am just by what I saw from TEKKEN: The Animated Movie), but I would have liked for a more fulfilling boss that was outrageous as some of the previous characters like Azazel, True Ogre, or Jinpachi?

Fight Lab
Combot Training
The Fight Lab is something implemented in order to teach the player the basic functions of the game; this is to give old school veterans a rundown of the current system as well as show newer players the ropes (Since if you are like my best friend, you never read the manual and rather hop in and just play).  It starts off with a Prologue and then runs through 5 stages showing you the mechanics of the game like: Low, Mid, and High attacks; How to tag out and use tag assisted combos; and even how to break throws and basic mix-up game.

The premise behind fight lab is that Violet industries has made a Combot and it is perfected, when he tries to be cool and push a touch-screen computer without looking he accidentally hit "Delete" instead of "Save" and must teach the Combat how to fight again from scratch.  You take control of the Combot and run through different training exercises in order to learn what to do; you have to pass these in order to move on to the next one, forcing players to get a grip of what to do before they move on to more advanced stuff.

As the Combot you are able to upgrade your moves as well as unlock other moves to use from he cast of TEKKEN characters dependent on how well you do on each of the stages.  On top of this this, you are also given an option of "Combot Memory" where you can actually save a Combot model and make a new one if you so choose; there is also an achievement for unlocking all moves possible for the combat to use (As well as buying them with earned Gold).

I think Fight Lab is good, it can be a bit harsh sometimes but players need to know this so they do not get frustrated when they are fighting people who actually take their time out of the day and practice this game.  I also think that you should go through this COMPLETELY before you begin playing online as it covers things essential to the TEKKEN fighting experience.  Something they did not tell you though, that I think is useful is the "Tag Crash".  By pushing your Right Punch and the Tag Button you are able to call out your tag partner in a diving attack when you are on the ground and not in a BOUND state.

Customize
Lili wearing Cat Ears, Goggles, Gothic Outfit w/ cat Paws, Angel Wings, and Wand.  Looking like Lady Gaga.
Customize option allows you to put different items on your character to make them more towards your taste.  Though, this mode does not feature as many options TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion, it does offer a nice amount of touches to make your character unique from the next when playing online.  You have four options: Character, Equip Item, Buy Item, and Register Tag.

Character is merely you picking the character and which slot you would like to use for customization; you are able to save multiple outfits for a single character and they default with 3 costumes to start with (Some of the default costumes are customization, some are not).  Equip Item allows you to equip items that you have bought in the "Buy Item" category, you can also change the colors of different segments of what you have purchased.  Buy Item allows you to buy an item to equip to your character; you have the option of : Head Items/Hairs (And if you choose hairs, you will gain access to Hair [Front] and Hair [Sideburns], Glasses Items, Upper & Lower Body Items, Upper Body Items, Lower Body Items, Upper Body (Other) Items, and Lower Body (Other) Items.

My only real grip about this is that you have varying items per individual and some general items; where as I wish you could use every item for every single character (Except gender specific ones, of course).  Not only that, but I hate how you cannot pick items for their hands/arms, legs, feet, neck, and pick a different hair and items to go on their head all separate; maybe it is too many things to keep up with since there will be four characters fighting all at the same time but who knows.  It is still pretty fun regardless, but I wish all 3D games could step up their customization to the level that the Soul Calibur series has achieved.

TEKKEN Tunes
TEKKEN Tunes allows you to change the music on various stages to music of your choosing from in the game; similar to what you can do in Soul Calibur V.  However, there seems to be additional music from ALL the other TEKKEN games, from the original up to #6.

I cannot wait personally to give the other stages a touch of the classics, especially replacing the Moonlit Wilderness stage with the original music (I really hope they bring back the original stage, cause I believe that both were better than what they did to them in this game).  So, I am waiting for the DLC to give the right atmospheric presence to every stage.

Gallery
The Gallery option allows you to watch endings, cuts scenes, and credits from TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2.  You are given the option of Ending Movies, Other Movies, and Credits.

Personally, I would have loved for them to put the artwork shown in "Equip Items" here from the panels you get to choose from, I am always interested in the artwork for all games and it would have been a nice touch.  Something else it could have swapped from Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds would be a model viewer so you can see all the characters; while you can still do this in "Equip Items", it would have been a nice option to do it here as well.

Profile
The Profile option allows you to view Character Info, Rank List, Battle Log, Local Ranking, and Replay Theater.  The Character Info option allows you to see your Online and Offline Rank for every playable character, along with your Win/Loss ratio and percentage.  The Rank List option grants you the ability to see which character are your personal favorites dependent on their rank and amount of times used, also it shows you their win and loss record for online/offline mode.  Battle Log shows you the amount of times you have played each mode, as well as telling you your wins and losses in those various modes and your highest time in Time Attack mode.  Local Ranking shows the ranking of users who have played TEKKEN Tag under your profile and how they stack up, the only really noticeable thing here is "Tag Usage" which tells you who you paired up and how many times you paired up that specific team.  Finally, the Replay Theater allows you to see replays you have saved of yourself or other players to watch at your leisure.

I think everything presented here is fine, and online at TEKKEN Federation at TEKKEN.com you are given even more info than this gives you ( It tells you how many blows landed, how much damage you did on the ground and from juggles, even how many throws escaped, how many times you switched characters, what stage you played on, and it does this for EVERY match you've played).  Something I thought was stupid was Rank List and character info since it is practically the same thing, but I guess it helps you with specifics faster, I suppose.  Everything in profile is pretty neat, but it would also be nice if they utilized the information given at TEKKEN Federation.

Options
Just your run of the mill Options presented in about every game; you have Game Options, Sound Options, Controller Setup, Display Settings, and Copyright information.  Game Options allows you to change the Difficulty Level, the number of rounds, the time limit, if you want guard damage or not, battle position you default on (And online), and a reset to default option.  Sound allows you to change your Speaker Output, Music Volume, Sound Effects Volumne, Subtitles, and an option to default all settings.  Controller Setup allows you to change your "Type" (Three different settings with various button setups) and a "Button Settings" which allows you to customize the buttons from any "Type" as you see fit.  The Display settings had options for your HUD, Motion Blur, 3D Mode, 3D Depth, and default options.  Copyright is pretty self explanatory.

All these options are pretty standard and I did not see a problem at all with them.  Though, the thing I wish they could have added was an option in display to turn "Team Information" on or off if you joined a TEKKEN Federation team in order to fully view the character panels when you were in versus mode.


Game Play & Online Impressions


Lars Alexanderson and Alisa Bosconovitch fighting on Moonlit Wilderness
Going into this game, I was a bit skeptical about how it would fair when compared to the fun factor of the original TEKKEN Tag Tournament; also I was concerned it would be a "Snore-fest" for spectators like TEKKEN 6 was.  Watching some high-level players play with commentary proved a very fun experience to witness, the combos were solid and entertaining and the action was fast-paced and not at all like the TEKKEN 6 finals were at any of the previous Evolution Tournaments they were featured in.

I feel like the Tag System adds some good variety, the fact that you can pull them off every time you do a combo initially worried me because of simple damage and no meter to restrict it; but the fact that it is very difficult to land a launcher to be able to utilize it at high-level player nullifies that.  Not only that, a lot of times you may not want to tag in your second character dependent on their life (Since using a TA combo actually drains all of their red health, so it is better to use on a character who is fully recovered), how close you are to the wall, and if the initial hit with the first character can actually manage to score you more damage than your custom Tag Assisted combo.  Not only that, if you do a launcher and tag in your partner to finish it, the damage dealt by your partner is treated as permanent damage, that of which your opponent cannot recover. Also, for certain teams (Such as Asuka x JayCee, Panda x Xiaoyu, etc.) you have custom tag throws that only those two selected people can do, then you have a general tag grab that you can do with everyone.

One thing I am griping about majorly is the fact that you can choose to play as a single character rather than two.  First off, this is suppose to be a TAG tournament, meaning you are suppose to be utilizing more than once character in order to win; but besides that is the slight advantage I feel someone has if they use a single character.  It is true that you can do tag combos, take away their recoverable red health (Which recovers slowly for a single character anyway), and you have two people to better deal with situations; however, using a single character boosts their defense and their power, so they do more damage while taking less and can absolutely destroy a character in rage; not only that, they do not have to worry about mastering two characters so if their one character is better than both people's character they can win without too much of a hassle.  Hopefully it will be seen that using two character is more advantageous than using a single one, if not, this is just going to turn into TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion with more characters.

Also, it should be noted that some characters fight a bit differently, have different moves or have additional properties to their moves.  An example of what I am talking is "JayCee" who is actually Julia Chang; she has more of a wrestling type style in this game mixed with her Kung-Fu compared to her previous TEKKEN 6 counterpart.  Not only that, when you pair her up with other characters with similar styles, such as Michelle, she gains an additional move that was taken from her in this game.  Not to mention people like Raven who were given additional moves to help them out.  Another reason some characters were given new moves or properties changed is because some characters like Sebastian, Violet, and Michelle, fight similar to others  already on the roster with slight variations in attack properties and moves (Think Roy and Marth from Super Smash Bros. Melee).

The online in itself is not bad, I have normally 4-5 bar connections because of the setting it gives me and it seems like many people are playing this game so I do not fight the same opponent's over-and-over again (Though, this could possibly happen if you are playing player matches but your whole point there is just to play and get a good grasp of the game or try out new techniques before trying in ranked).  I have not encountered too many rage quitters either.  Though, my friend OtakuDante has complained various times about lag spikes and the potential that people are manipulating lag to win their matches; while I have not come across any such players yet it is very possible you all could run into some, so be careful.  For myself, I have not experienced anything bad and this is a great online experience for me so far, not to mention most players seemed knowledgeable with the basic fundamentals in TEKKEN and experienced players should not be losing to button mashers or those lesser skilled.

Overall, I think the fighting is smooth and enjoyable and more exciting than it was in TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion.  2 Characters instead of 1 adds to the depth and the excitement, especially when having to get out  before a single character gets K.O.'d.  The way Rage works is more acceptable then in TEKKEN 6 by actually having a time limit, not to mention having to use it to Tag Crash makes you give up damage to save you from a K.O. or awkward position.  Having a single character throws all of this out of the window and provides advantages and disadvantages of its own, but it is not enough to actually ruin the fun of the game.  Not to mention the netcode is pretty smooth and I think it is even better than TEKKEN 6 was post patch; I have not experienced too many bad connections (If any) and I am even able to pull off Julia "JayCee" Chang's "Wind Dance" combos that are really specific.  Great Job!


Downloadable Content (DLC)


In order from Left-to-Right: Slim Bob, Miharu, Unknown, and Sebastian.
TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2 already has its DLC lined up, dropping first on October 9th.  You will be getting Slim Bob, Miharu, Unknown, Sebastian, Violet, and Dr. Bosconovitch.  We will also be getting the DLC stages Russia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, and Magic Show.  These will begin dropping October 9th and will continue from then forward, no idea if they will be releasing it as a character/stage or just simply a character.

Not only this though, if you pre-ordered through Gamestop you already have the characters Michelle, Angel, Kunimitsu, and Ogre; not to mention the Snoop Dogg stage that is given for you; that's 10 characters and 5 stages of free content, which is more than I can say for CAPCOM.  Excellent work!

Myself, I am thinking about using Slim Bob and Miharu as my alternate team; since I will more than likely not be straying away from my main team of Lili & Julia (JayCee); it is good for them to bring out characters I actually plan to use, and seeing as I love TEKKEN's stages and backgrounds the most next to BlazBlue's, it is good to see new levels (And unlike most games, the level's size, breakable environments, and whether it has walls or an endless stage makes a difference in counter-picking).


The Verdict


Not going to lie, I was very hesitant about buying this game because I was afraid it was going to be bad, with Dead or Alive 5 on the horizon I did not know if I could, or even wanted to devote my time to learning this game (Also because I trading in TEKKEN 6 because I just did not have fun at the game, despite actually being very good at it).  However, it shows that I could believe in TEKKEN, Harada, and NAMCO to deliver me another great experience that I will not probably get from another fighting game in years; when it comes to Tag Battle The King of Iron Fist will remain supreme.

Even though I wish they added better customization, the ability to use pair play with an online friend (Though, if it would have turned out like Street Fighter x TEKKEN's online, I am glad they did not),the entire list of TEKKEN Federation options on your Xbox instead of online, and making it mandatory to play with two characters (At least in ranked) I am satisfied by what they pulled off.  Also, making sure you have in-depth stat analysis allows you to see why you won or lost a match, and can provide proof if you want to show how badly you beat someone.

If you are looking for a great fighting game and want an alternative to Soul Calibur V or Dead or Alive 5, this game is definitely the one to pick up; hell, in my opinion it is a must have fighter no matter what games you have in your collection.  TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2 lives up to the greatness that was TEKKEN Tag Tournament, you would be a fool not to add this into your collection if you are a TEKKEN fan or just a fighting gamer.

Thank you for reading, Sayonara!