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Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U review

The best version of the best Tekken game in years

Tekken has long been a series at which Nintendo fans have glared enviously. Since its debut on the PlayStation in 1995 they have had to sit back and watch as a multitude of games have passed them by, with only a mediocre Game Boy Advance version tossed their way a decade ago. This all changed earlier this year when the first 'proper' game, Tekken 3D, arrived on the 3DS, but Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition is a far more important release. After 17 years of waiting, we finally have a Tekken game on a Nintendo home console and it's a beauty.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 boasts the biggest character roster of any game in the series. As well as all 41 characters from Tekken 6, a bunch of scrappers from previous games return, too, bringing the total number of fighters to an enormous 59. Tekken fans will be delighted to see long-forgotten faces such as Alex the dinosaur from Tekken 2 and Native American fighter, Michelle Chang, from the original game.

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As a game with a fighting system that has evolved over the course of nearly two decades, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is both simple to get to grips with and ridiculously deep. With four buttons, each assigned to attacks with a specific limb, it's easy enough to pick up and start fighting with little or no previous experience. Once you get into the intricacies of the fighting system, however and start learning the strengths, weaknesses and combos of all 59 fighters, you could be improving for years.

It Teks Two, Baby

As the game's name suggests, tag battling is the big feature here. At any point during a scrap you can hit L or R to switch fighters and give your current bruiser a rest to regain some energy. There are also special moves that enable you to hit an opponent, tag out and continue a combo without your foe getting a look in. This level of strategy can be intimidating for beginners, so the new Fight Lab mode is a useful addition. It's essentially an extended tutorial - cleverly disguised as a short Story mode - in which you're taught basic and advanced moves using a Combot, a robot being trained how to fight. Starting with the basic attacks you're soon taught how to use launchers, juggles, tag combos and the like. Fight Lab isn't a mode you'll forget about once the tutorial's over, mind - finish the lessons and you'll unlock the Combot in the main game as a fighter you can customise with moves learned from fighting others.

This is all well and good, but everything we've told you so far features in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 as well. What sets the Wii U version apart are the various Nintendo-only extras that have been slipped in to make things (a lot) sillier. Foremost is the new Nintendo-themed costumes that enable you to dress characters up as Mario, Luigi, Samus, Bowser, Fox McCloud and friends. While these don't have any impact on the gameplay, the sight of, say, a huge bear fighting in a little Mario cap and oversized dungarees is hilarious.

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Tekken It Further

There are also some Wii U-only gameplay modes designed for party situations. As its name suggests, Mushroom mode generates Super, Mega and Poison mushrooms from the Mario games that appear on the stage. As you fight you'll need to try to reach these (or avoid them) to get their powers and grow to ridiculous sizes. Then there's Tekken Ball, a volleyball game last seen in Tekken 3, returning as a Wii U exclusive. Purists might balk at the fanciful extras, but with the serious stuff to keep them happy does it really hurt to include fun extras to appeal to newbies? Ultimately, more players mean a more vibrant online scene - and that's a good thing.

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6 comments so far...
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  1. KairiZero Saturday 1st Dec 2012 at 13:56

    this is going to be my next game i think, I do love my fighting games! now for capcom to release Street Fighter 5..

  2. leftoverlunch Saturday 1st Dec 2012 at 23:53

    first post using my wii u. Tekken arrived in the post today, and it is the best fighting game i have played in years.

  3. imbusydoctorwho Sunday 2nd Dec 2012 at 23:43

    I really did enjoyed the rather short Tekken 3D Prime Edition,so I'll be looking out for this in the sales after Christmas.

  4. retrogeezer Wednesday 12th Dec 2012 at 13:28

    What a complete waste of money. I've been a fan of this series since the original 17 years ago. The review given by Chris is shallow and does not cover how it plays, any online games, items you can buy with gold earned etc. controller issue (as you can only use the gamepad in 1 player mode) although each button is configurable handy for lefties. The sound comes from the gamepad or the tv you can't select both. Like Chris says there is no story mode so you will soon be bored of it as all the characters except one are available immediately. Which when you finish 1 player in arcade mode you are given to select even if you complete it in easy mode. There are no incentives to keep you playing this game. The stages with walls are extremely annoying once you are backed up against a wall, chairs, trees etc. it is very hard to get away from a pasting, if you are lucky enough to get away at least a huge percentage of your energy has gone. It is nigh on immpossible to tag against a wall unless you get a lucky break and hold down R and prerss X for a combo tag. The idea of buying items like guns is ridiculous, if I wanted to play a shooting game I would of bought one. The online feature is very simple, you can't see the opposing players name until the fight has synced and if you have just beaten or been beaten by the same player you could end up playing him again and again and again. If you cancel the game after you have seen the opposing players name you are shown a message that says, last fight didn't finish properly you have been imposed a penalty, nowhere does it state what this penalty is. Although these points sounds trivial spelling on the game is in US-English so cancelled becomes canceled, The graphics are sharp enough but not enough to show off with, whilst the fight is loading the scrolling text jitters and stumbles along not something you expect in a next gen console. This game is a massive let down regarding story depth (rather lack of story), lack of online fighting choices, no player can select the stages or opposing player (a list of who is available to fight would be better), issues with the wall stages. This going back on my shelf until my mates come round for a bit of fun fighting, this is not a serious fighting game. Hopefully Streetfighter can improve on this dramatically.

  5. Charismatichris Saturday 9th Feb 2013 at 22:46

    I have the game and its great but the ONE thing I HATE is that when you arrive on the screen where they are introducing the fighters for the next fight where both fighters in each team standing behind colourful background s they made it so the character that spoke english in the previous games Now speak Japanese. Last time i checked Eddy Gordo and Lily speak English thats the only letdown in and other Terrific game

  6. Elwyn games Sunday 3rd Mar 2013 at 09:52

    I quite enjoyed seeing Link (yoshimitsu) fight with mario (kuma.)

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