Though not the first 3D fighting game, Tekken has a long history with the genre. First released as an arcade game in 1994, it made the leap to the original PlayStation in1995. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the eighth Tekken installment and was originally released in arcades in Japan in 2011. A year later, the game made its way to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and now with the release of the Wii U, the most complete version yet has made its way to store shelves. Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition includes everything from the previous releases and more.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 already included almost every character from the past Tekken games and the Wii U version also adds the time-locked new additions. Also new to the Wii U Edition are the Nintendo costumes and a couple new game modes. With a passing glance, you might mistake the game for a new Super Smash Bros. but, upon closer inspection you’ll realize that it’s not really Princess Zelda on screen but Angel in a costume. For completion’s sake alone, the Wii U Edition is the definitive version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
As with all fighting games, the real question is about the controls. Except that there is no arcade stick, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a surprisingly good fit for the Wii U. Compared to the standard controllers on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the Wii U’s GamePad is more comfortable and effective. It’s well known that the Xbox 360 controller while great for most games is pretty bad for these kinds of titles while the cramped Dual Shock is suited for long sessions. With a more spread out configuration and serviceable d-pad the GamePad is pretty nice. Add the four programmable touch screen combos, and you have a clear winner.
I must confess that from an entertainment standpoint, I prefer Namco’s other 3D fighting series and this is where I have some issue with Tekken Tag Tournament 2. For as deep as this game is and as much content as there is, the game offers very little for the journey. Each fighter does have an ending movie but some are much better than others. True, Namco does refer to the single player as Arcade Mode and not Story mode, but some contextual differences would go a long way. At over 50 playable characters Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a free for all of sorts with Tekken lore, allowing players to create dream matches.
A new addition to Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the Pair Play. The mode allows four players to fight against each other in a tag team format. Where things get a bit tricky on the Wii U is that only one player can use the GamePad and the others are relegated to the other control options for the system. This gives the primary player a huge advantage. If you don’t have friends around that up for that kind of madness, you can always go online. The Wii U Edition does not require an online pass but, there is also a smaller pool of players to battle.
The feature that really should be standard on Wii U games, the small screen option is available in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. With the relative comfort of the GamePad, it makes a good option for working your way through all of the content without monopolizing the TV. As mentioned before, The Wii U Edition includes Nintendo costumes in addition to the Snoop Lion jumpsuits for each character. Unfortunately, these costumes are already designated and can’t be altered. That means if your favorite character has a Toad costume, that’s it, no Falcon for you. There are however, still plenty of accessories to buy and an airbrush is also available.
Rounding out the Wii U Edition exclusives are the two new game modes. The Mushroom Battle drops various mushrooms throughout the match that can grow, shrink or otherwise affect your characters. The second mode isn’t really a new thing but, it’s new to Tekken Tag Tournament. Tekken Ball was first seen in Tekken 3 and is widely regarded as one of the best mini-games in a fighting title ever. The mode is pretty much just like volleyball, but instead of scoring points, you score damage. Neither of these modes are available for online play but, they do support up to four local players.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition, is probably going to be the best fighting game on this system for a long time. Except for a real story mode and an arcade stick, this game has almost everything you could want, even a reversible cover. However, there aren’t a whole lot of people online and if your favorite opponents are on another system, that’s a problem. The fairness of who gets the GamePad can also present an issue, but the huge amount of content and small screen option makes Tekken Tag Tournament 2 a must own for Wii U owning fighting game fans.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Alcohol Reference, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS3, PSP, and Xbox 360.