Review: Iron Fist Strikes in 'Tekken Tag Tournament 2' (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
You can select from over 50 characters — some a bit odd — to do battle.
Namco's "Tekken" fighting franchise has been running for almost 20 years, yet the company is still finding ways to make it feel invigorating and exciting. Case in point: "Tekken Tag Tournament 2." The new release digs deeper with its option to team up with a partner, while showing an improved presentation and plenty of fighting, both off-line and online.
It's on sale now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at $60, and it will be available for the Nintendo Wii in December for $50.
Once again, the fighting tournament, labeled "Iron Fist," is bringing together some of the world's greatest competitors — over 50, in fact — to duke it out in tag-team action. Throughout each fight, you can call upon a partner to replace you if you're running low on health, or to perform a distracting quick strike to get you back into battle. The gameplay works fundamentally well here with a regular controller, though if you own one of MadCatz' customized fighting controllers for either Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, it's even better.
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The game's single player component is good, not only including the ability to fight AI opponents, but also to practice up in the new Fight Lab mode. Here you customize a "Combot," a combat droid you control, to your liking, learning new skills and essentially becoming a better fighter. What's more, with each fight you win, you earn new tools to add to your "Combot," along with extra accessories to dress the other fighters.
One quick note, though: the difficulty might be too high for some rookie fighters, especially battling the final boss, a vile, twisted shadow figure named Unknown. She'll beat you senseless, even if you're somewhat good at the game.
"Tekken Tag Tournament 2" also comes with robust online features. You can hook up with friends in ranked and unranked fighting matches, or check your progress in the "World Tekken Federation" mode, seeing how your stats compare with each fighter and watching replays of your previous matches. You'll get to study tactics and techniques, applying them for future contests.
Namco has put some unmatched effort into "Tekken Tag Tournament 2," and as a result, it's never looked or sounded better. The character models are very life-like, even though you can also choose weird, obscure characters, like a panda and a miniature T-Rex with boxing gloves. The backgrounds are equally fantastic, and in some ways, interactive, as you can bust through walls and floors. The music is a solid collection of techno and rock tunes that fit right in with the fighting spirit of the game as well.
"Tekken Tag Tournament 2" is one of the most polished beat-em-ups you'll find at retail today. Its rich character section, superb gameplay and numerous modes — online and off — make it a battle worth fighting.
RATING: 3.5 / 4