'Tekken' delivers a low blow
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 22:10
With 41 playable characters to choose from, it is hard to see how a game could get old so easily. Somehow “Tekken Tag Tournament 2” manages to do this. It took about 12 years for it to come out, and it is a non-canon storyline so the writers probably would not have to do as much work when it comes to the story. But Tekken leaves gamers high, dry and empty inside because, like many recent fighting games, more emphasis is put on online gameplay rather than single player..
“Tekken Tag 2” is slightly based on “Tekken 6” but does not follow the storyline of the normal Tekken franchise, which allows characters that have died or are no longer featured in the series to appear in this game. The general concept involves fighters from all over the world coming together to fight to become the King of Iron Fist. The player gets to use all types of people and even creatures to fight against opponents, either one on one or in a team up with another character of their choice. “Tekken Tag 2” was announced in 2010 by the director Katsuhiro Harada via Twitter, saying he had an announcement at Tokyo Game Show. Many fans thought it had to do with another “Tekken” game or more news on the “Tekken x Street Fighter” franchise, but it was quite the contrary. The anticipation rose as memorable and fan favorite characters were announced to be on the roster, even including characters that have not been seen in the franchise for 12 years.
Despite its upgrade to beautiful graphics and an amazing soundtrack, this game falls flat on its face. In addition to standard fighting modes, “Tekken” games usually benefit from added side modes that players can unlock and enjoy. For example, in “Tekken Tag Tournament,” after beating the game a certain amount of times players would receive “Tekken Bowl,” a bonus bowling game that featured characters from the Tekken universe. Ever since “Tekken 3” there was a beat-em-up mini game attached to the main game, but that is not found in this installment. “Tekken Tag Tournament” had such a huge cult following and legacy behind it that the seemingly small amount of effort to make this one memorable is somewhat baffling.
Regardless of this issue, the game does provide some momentary entertainment. Besides team battles, time attack and survival which come with almost every “Tekken” game, there is a new mode called “Fight Lab.” In this mode players are able to build a robot named Combot. The player can adjust Combot’s fighting style to match any character in the game. Combot can have one character’s kick and another character’s punch, for example. This is a very interesting feature that could allow a player to create their own copycat character. This is unlike previous games which feature a wooden training dummy character called Mokujin who changes to the character it wants to portray in between rounds.
One improved feature this time around was the ability to perform attacks with characters in tag mode. Players can either hit the opponent and switch out with the other character, or they can have the other partner assist them. While in the assist mode, heavy damage and a string of attacks can be delivered to an opponent, which gives off more of an arcade vibe. There are different ways a player can perform an attack while swapping out their character. They can either throw their opponent or have the entering fighter attack, or simply hit the opponent and have the character coming in attack them once more, creating a chain of attacks.
The game is far from catastrophic, but its weak points are very visible. It seems as though instead of introducing new techniques, trying to add features or doing something new, they just slapped every character from the previous games into a “new” game and expected that to be enough. The focus on online content these days is understandable. More people want to test their skills without leaving their rooms, gain achievements or even build a team and conquer the boards. But it should not draw away from the time that can be put into actually battling and practicing offline. Not every single gamer in the world likes playing online with other people. A lot of people still play games with local friends, not some random person who has logged up 85 hours of game play and will mutilate their competition in the blink of an eye.
“Tekken Tag Tournament 2” receives 3 out of 5 stars.