Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition released alongside the console itself giving fighting game fans something to play on Nintendo’s latest system. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 features a variety of different modes for you to explore and different ways to fight. You of course have the standard fighting modes but there are also some special game modes, the online mode and the fight lab as well. You are able to customize your character as well by purchasing, equipping and changing colors around. Namco Bandai even put in some special items specific to the Wii U version such as the inclusion of some Nintendo themed items and a special mode. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 offers quite a bit of variety for newcomers and veterans alike.
The offline mode for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 features a variety of different ways you can play. There is the arcade battle where you essentially play the arcade version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. There is ghost battle where you battle against a series of ghost characters. I actually found this mode to be pretty cool as it is a good way to unlock items in the games. When you win a battle in ghost mode it even unlocks ending movies for characters as well so you don’t have to go through the arcade battle with every single character if you want to see all of the endings. Unfortunately you don’t get to pick which ending movie gets unlocked but it is better than none at all. There is vs. battle as well as team battle where you form a team and fight against another player or the computer controlled AI. Time Attack also makes an appearance where you need to clear a series of stages as quickly as possible and survival where you have to defeat as many opponents as possible with a limited amount of health. Then there is pair play which is definitely a lot of fun. This particular mode is designed for four players and each person controls one of the four fighters. With that said you don’t necessarily need four players to use this mode. It will just be a lot more fun if you have all four characters controlled by friends instead of the game. Each character can be tagged in or out at any given time so you need to pay attention in case your character gets tagged in suddenly. It is a lot of fun to trash talk with friends and also quickly strategize with your tag partner about how you want to knock out the other team.
The online mode contains your standard feature set for fighters. You have ranked matches that you can participate in where your rank will be affected by the outcome of the fight. There is also a friendly match option where your rank remains unaffected by the outcome of the fight. There is also the Tekken Channel which I found interesting as it lets you search for replays or view saved replays. This is a great tool if you simply want to watch how others fight and what strategies they might utilize. For someone who is really into the Tekken series (or even for someone just starting out) this could be an invaluable learning tool by simply watching how others play and react to any given situation. My time spent fighting online with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was a bit mixed and it seems to depend on your opponent. There were times where I would fight against someone on a good connection and the fight ran smoothly. There were other times though where I would face an opponent who would not have a good connection and those particular fights suffered from lag problems. Lag problems in fighting games can be a killer especially if it is a really close fight where whomever lands the next hit wins the match.
For those new to the Tekken universe there is a “Fight Lab” mode as well. This is basically the campaign for the game and gives you a little bit of story while also functioning as a tutorial. You go through this mode as Combot and you are taught both basic and advanced moves alike. After you pass a certain stage you will get to a boss fight where you need to put the skills you just learned to the test. While this sounds really great there is a bit of a problem here. Going through this mode and fighting the bosses is essentially a “trial by fire” experience. The boss fights can be pretty unforgiving and I know there are people who will get really frustrated with this and just abandon the mode altogether. That’s a shame too as it is a fun mode with some funny, over the top dialogue by the CEO of Violet Industries and his secretary. There are some really crazy (in a good way) things in this mode but I don’t know how many people will stick around to see everything. If you are a veteran to the Tekken games this can serve as a way to sharpen your skills and potentially learn acquire some new ones.
Throughout all of these different options the game runs fairly well. It is really weird how the loading and/or transitional screens seem to have framerate problems, however, the actual fights themselves seem to run perfectly fine. I can’t explain it or even really see how that is possible but the most important part of the game (the fights) runs really smoothly. Graphically speaking the game is pretty and is on par with the other versions. The audio sounds good and there is even “Tekken Tunes” where you can change the background music that plays during the fight.
Namco Bandai also found some interesting uses for the Wii U GamePad. At times what you see on the television is what you see on the GamePad. During fights though the gameplay is on the television while some of your character’s move set is on the GamePad. Christie, for example, has her “Rodeo Spin” move on the GamePad and all you have to do is touch the button on the screen and she will perform that maneuver. It is similar to how Capcom did Street Fighter IV on the 3DS. You can always do fights the old fashion way and the GamePad tells you how to do that as well. Other exclusives to the Wii U version include some alternate costumes for the fighters. Jun can dress up as Princess Zelda, Zafina as Samus Aran, Wang as Luigi and much more. Each character has an alternate costume like that and some of the characters that were included are a pleasant surprise. Additionally, while you are selecting your fighter, the GamePad also shows you a brief history of that character. When I have the cursor over Nina, for example, the GamePad gives me her fighting style, origin and a brief backstory. It is a nice little touch that the development team put in and a good way to use the GamePad.
There is also a special game mode exclusive to the Wii U version entitled, “Mushroom Battle”. This is where you fight against your opponent like in any other mode, however, there are mushrooms around to change the course of battle. There are six stages to choose from here which will decide how the mushrooms are utilized. Stage one is simply a standard mushroom battle. Stage four will have poison mushrooms flying towards the smaller fighter on the stage so you want to try and make sure there isn’t much of a size difference between you and your opponent. In stage six the items ebb and flow like a wave so you will need to pay attention to the signals so that you know when an item is about to appear. This whole mode is a lot of fun and definitely changes things up as you have never seen before in a Tekken battle. There were times where I would get a mushroom that would transform me into a giant almost taking up half the screen. There were other times where I would get a mushroom that would essentially turn me into a really tiny fighter and, obviously, your strategies will have to adjust on the fly depending on the size of your character. There is even a star that will appear from time to time which will let you become invincible for a fixed period of time. This mode is a tremendous amount of fun to play and adds to the variety of modes this game has to offer.
There are a few other modes as well such as “Tekken Ball” and “Tekken Supporters”. In Tekken Ball you defeat your opponent by using different kinds of balls. It is almost like dodge ball in a sense where you don’t want to get hit by the ball but if you time it right you can hit the ball and send it back towards y our opponent. You have a health bar just like you do in a normal fight and the first person to knockout their opponent wins. It is a nice distraction but I don’t really know how much of this mode I will play in the long run. Tekken Supporters has you giving your fight money to some of the Tekken characters and, hopefully, getting items for it. This isn’t always the case though and the probability of you getting an item depends on how much money you give a character. It is a bit like gambling and the amount of money you give to fighters will be ranked against that of other players.
There is quite a bit to do in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. If you are a Tekken veteran you should have a blast experiencing everything this game has to offer. If you are a newcomer you should enjoy all of the different ways you can play Tekken and I’m sure you’ll find a favorite mode. The content specific to the Wii U version is done well and adds another layer to an already robust title. There are a few technical issues as I outlined above but overall Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition is a fun experience. If you are a fighting game fan be sure to give it a chance.
- A bunch of different modes that should keep Tekken fans busy for a while.
- Nintendo exclusive features are a lot of fun. GamePad is utilized really well.
- You might run into lag issues online depending on your opponent's connection.
Summary: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition is a robust title that should please both newcomers and veterans alike. Namco's first attempt at utilizing the GamePad is a success and I look forward to seeing what they do next.
- Format: Wii U
- Developer: Namco Bandai
- Publisher: Namco Bandai
- Release Date: November 18, 2012