It's been 10 years since the original Tekken Tag Tournament first saw the light of day, but the game has retained a cult following amongst fighting game fans. Namco Bandai now had a follow-up ready, with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 bringing the tag mechanics of the first game to the current generation of consoles. They also have some new tricks to roll out, namely in the form of some new online features.
Tekken Tag Tournament was mostly known for throwing the Tekken storyline out the window and the sequel is no different. This allows for the game to use the full roster of Tekken fighters. Players can welcome back characters like Prototype Jack (Tekken 2), Michelle Chang (Tekken 3), and Alex (everyone's favorite dinosaur with boxing gloves from Tekken 2) to join series favorites Heihachi, Kazuya, and Jin. Overall, the roster will launch with over 50 fighters.
The tag mechanics in TTT2 work the same way as their predecessor. Players select two fighters or two friends can play co-op with each selecting one fighter. Rounds end when one character is defeated with games typically played in a best-of-five format. While tagging out can be done at any time, skilled players will be able to use tags to perform double-team maneuvers and combos. I went into this preview as a Tekken novice, so I wasn't sure I'd see everything I was looking to see. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), I was playing against former tournament fighter Rich "Filthy Rich" Bantegui (sitting in via teleconference), who was more than happy to take me through a tour of the hard-hitting combos TTT2 had to offer.
Bantegui's team of King and Armor King started things off against my pitiful duo of Kazuya and Yoshimitsu. Bantegui tossed me around with Tekken's normal array of throws, juggles, and breaks. The show really began when he showed off combos that included Armor King tossing me over into a King powerbomb and a double DDT from the Kings. I also found myself getting juggled repeatedly between the two partners, as Bantegui demonstrated the ways that Tekken fighters can use the tag system to complete multi-hit combos.
TTT2 will contain unprecedented online features. Online play itself utilizes the net code from Soul Calibur 5. The preview build I tried out was connected through a Verizon MiFi hotspot and still proved to be a lag-free experience. In terms of supplemental content, every single online match will be recorded with players able to watch replays of their matches at any time through the Tekken Channel. Replays will prove informative, as well as entertaining. These replays will display details of how much damage certain combos dealt out and when certain counters were used. Players can either choose to study these replays for future reference or save particularly entertaining ones to re-watch later.
So did I learn anything else from my crushing defeat at the hands of Filthy Rich? With the new World Tekken Federation service, I can say that I did. Almost immediately after my humiliating loss, I was taken on a tour of the website that would house the WTF. The stats from my previous battle were already uploaded in full detail. I could then study Filthy Rich's profile to see his favorite teams, his number of throws used versus throws broken, moves and counters used, and other details that would help me better prepare for a rematch. Data from both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will be saved to the WTF and players can view the stats from each console version at any time. Players can also customize their WTF profiles to include dual-layered team emblems that will show up in the game. The WTF will launch alongside TTT2 as a free service.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 looks to retain everything that made the original so much fun while also including new online components that promise to innovate for both casual and tournament play. The battle begins September 11 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
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