Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition Review

I’ll start this review with a confession. I’ve never owned a Tekken game. I’ve maybe played a round or two here and there, but never really sat down with the series. I’m in the same situation as many other gamers, Nintendo centric for a good number of years meaning I never had access to the series. With the Wii U, Namco Bandai have finally brought the series to a Nintendo console with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and it’s been worth the wait. This is one of the best ports on the system, and in my opinion is the definitive version to play. There is no reason for people new to the series to play it on another system.

For those of you new to the Tekken series, it’s all about precision use of martial arts. There’s no throwing fireballs or uppercuts that look like they’re powered by rockets, just punches, kicks, grapples and throws. The characters all have unique movesets (so no Fox, Falco and Wolf situation like in Smash Bros. Brawl) and in the majority of matches you control two different characters, switching between them to maintain health or use more appropriate moves. The series requires a lot of very precise inputs for moves and assumes you already know how the combat systems work, which can make it a pretty daunting series for newcomers to get into. Luckily, the Wii U version of TTT2 does go a long way to help ease newcomers like myself into the experience.

First thing to mention is the fantastic practice mode. For someone like me who’s new to the series it walked me through everything from the basics of punching or blocking to more advanced techniques I’d have never worked out through button mashing alone.

The other thing that can be helpful to newcomers to the series, but that has upset some more dedicated fans on Miiverse, is the use of the Gamepad screen. While the game can be played completely on the Gamepad, the more divisive use is that when playing on the TV, the Gamepad will have a selection of quick access buttons for various combos (much like the 3DS launch title Street Fighter 4 did). While this was a huge help for me when I was getting started, I can see how people who’ve taken the time to master these techniques may feel cheated that beginners can use them right off the bat. In my opinion it was a helpful tool when starting out, and easy enough to ignore once I was ready to brave techniques by myself

In terms of performance, the game has looked a little rough at preview events but rest assured the retail version fixed every visual complaint I had. It’s crisp, bright and has that brilliant sense of fluidity that is found on the other HD consoles. The load times for matches can occasionally be a little long, but it wasn’t enough of a problem to bother me too much.

The game also has a couple of Wii U exclusive modes and features. Most interesting for me were the Nintendo centric features, Mushroom Mode and the Nintendo themed costume variants. Mushroom Mode takes the regular one-on-one Tekken format and throws in Super Mario themed items like the Mega Mushroom or Mini Mushroom. By collecting these items your size can increase or decrease, as can your speed and more. The challenge lies in the fact that while becoming bigger raises the strength of your moves, become too large and you’ll attack over your enemies head. The mode is a fun addition and great for a good laugh.

Every character also has a Nintendo themed variant costume they can wear. The costume each character has access to is set in stone which is a shame but it’s still amusing and a very appreciated addition. It’s nice to see Nintendo giving other developers the ability to work with their signature properties.

The game also sees the return of Tekken 3’s Tekken Ball mode, which was absent on the PS3 and 360. The basic idea is to attack a beach ball so that it hits your opponent and causes damage. It’s a simple mode, but the addition is nice and it’s something extra to do if you have friends over.

All in all I’m very impressed with TTT2 on Wii U. My first preview of the game was less than impressive but the framerate and visuals stand up, it has additional modes, Nintendo content and training tools for newcomers and there’s the ability to play on the Gamepad, which makes finding time to train easier. If you’re new to the series and looking for a good entry point, I can’t recommend this game highly enough.  

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