The lights are on
While it may seem late to the party after the release of its other console counterparts, Tekken: Tag Tournament 2 is no less of a fighting game juggernaut on the new Wii U system this year. With a huge roster of 60 characters and tons of free DLC included on disc, Tekken has yet another share of good times with its first Nintendo entry. It’s one of the most undeniably fun multi-player fighting game experiences and shines as a good-natured testament to the Wii U’s future of 3rd party developers.
Unlike the original Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 features a storyline although not remaining true to series canon. Like last time, it is more of a "dream match", giving fans the opportunity to play as nearly every character in the series up to that point, including some of those that had apparently been missing in the main Tekken storyline, in addition to the character roster of Tekken 6. In “Fight Lab,” Violet is working on a new version of Combot. As soon as Combot is complete, Violet begins its simulation test. After the simulation test, the Combot explodes and destroys the lab. Violet decides to use the other functioning Combot to complete the tests. After Combot completes five tests, Violet kidnaps Jin, Kazuya and Heihachi for Combot's in preparation for its final test and showdown.
The most prominent win for Tekken this time around is its enormous amount of character variety with a huge roster of fighters. They include plenty of old favorites such as Heihachi, King, Puma, Nina, Paul Phoenix, the Law family, and the Jack cyborgs, all of which are subtitled from their Japanese voice-work. Animals are also in it to win it, meaning you’ll be facing pandas, kangaroos, raptors, and bears to complete the tone of comedic insanity featured in the cast. Not entirely without an on-line mode, newcomers can be familiarized to controls with the “Fight Lab” on-line tutorial mode with the (duly named) robot instructor “Combot.” The following modes allow you to freely customize your fighters as will and can produce some awesome results.
Besides its fighters, Tag Tournament 2 delivers a great package of beautifully rendered arenas. The game’s story takes you across the world, going everywhere from the jungles of South America, the nightlife of Indonesia, and the French riverside. Though you may wonder why you are beating the crap out of opponents in a Japanese schoolyard or an ogre’s basement (yes, that’s right!), you’ll probably not care with the sheer detail and breadth of the gorgeous backdrops. Numbering over 60 in all, the fighters are just as well captured, being wacky, colorful, and wonderfully animated down to the female characters’ fine lady, errmm, “outfits.”
Tekken’s gameplay on the Wii U is just as impressive, being cleverly inventive and action-packed. Characters vary in abilities and handling, but nearly all of them feel equal in power with the exceptions of a few cheap moves from the android characters. Most importantly, the Wii U edition fully realizes the Wii U’s control pad and providing easy to use controls for any of the Wii’s controllers. The touch screen is easy to use and effective for quick punches and kicks and though relying on a mere 4 buttons for the original Wii controller, there are a plentiful number of combinations for a large amount of interesting combos and special moves. Even better is the ability for co-op partners to join in for combo attacks or defense in the middle of fights and switch out at any time on command.
To top it all off, the Wii U Edition specifically is a great bargain, featuring exclusive content such as the game mode of using power-ups from Nintendo's Super Mario series including Mega Mushrooms and Poison Mushrooms. Other DLC include the return of the minigame "Tekken Ball" from Tekken 3, an optional touch-based control scheme that fully seems to fully exploit the Wii U gamepad controller and character costumes based on Super Mario, Metroid, Star Fox, F-Zero, and The Legend of Zelda. These Nintendo themed costumes are 100% hilarious and make for great laughs, especially when seeing the outrageous result of little old martial artists in Mario and Luigi costumes getting taken out by Pandas dressed in Princess Peach costumes. In addition, the DLC characters, outfits, and stages from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are also included from the start in the Wii U Edition. Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition is also amongst the first 3rd-party Wii U games that is available in both retail and as a downloadable format for the Nintendo E Shop.
Tekken: Tag Tournament 2 is not only a great fighter in its own right, but is absolutely a terrific enhancement that the Tekken series has not had in years. It’s most likely smoked the competition offered by Dead or Alive 5 for the 2012 season and is a fun ride not usually seen for its genre. If you’re having doubts about what version to get, the Wii U edition is the best bargain you can get for this entry with its loads of free content you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a blast for any play-through with family or friends and should be loved by many a fan of the franchise.
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