Stuffed Mushrooms, Tekken Style
If you’re a fighting game newcomer hoping for a gentle experience with Nintendo’s new console, Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition is not going to be your sanctuary. While many other fighting series have eased the learning curve and gameplay complexity, the newest Tekken drives that philosophy right through the wall. But with persistence comes the satisfaction that you have improved your skill as a gamer, and that’s the sort of satisfaction you can expect from Tekken’s newest.
Right at the menu screen, before you’ve even selected a character, you’ll be pummeled with choices. Offline, there is the Arcade Mode and Ghost Mode (both of which grant you the opportunity to raise your character’s ranking), Versus Battle, Team Battle (which allows up to eight characters per side), Time Attack, and Survival Mode, which throws enemy after enemy at you until you’re finally taken down. There’s also an incredibly customizable Practice Mode that allows you to test out the hundreds of moves each character has, and fully adjust the A.I. of the enemy to hone your defense and counter against any oncoming attack.
The online modes are more streamlined, with Ranked and Friendly matches, a Leaderboard, and the Tekken Chanel that allows you view replays of other players’ battles. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Wii U Edition maintain the same online setup as the versions recently released on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The community was pretty sparse at the time of this review, but I did manage to get myself creamed a couple of times. As expected, the one match with a strong connection ran lag free, while the one with a poor connection basically left the victory to chance, as both sides experienced some choppiness.
The first Wii U-exclusive mode is called Mushroom Battle. It takes a standard 1-vs-1 and throws various mushroom power-ups from the Mario franchise, and sometimes you’ll see the occasional Power Star for a bout of invincibility. There are six stages to choose from, and each approaches the mushroom distribution differently. For instance, one stage is filled with Poison Mushrooms, and only rarely spits forth a Super or Mega Mushroom. As you can probably guess, Super Mushrooms make your character bigger (with increased attack power), while Poison Mushrooms shrink you down. It is humorous to see a miniscule Kazuya confronted by the calves of Lili because the rest of her body is beyond the limits of the television screen. All this comes with the Mario theme songs playing in the background and authentic power-up sound effect. Still, this Mode is a novelty at best.
Tekken Ball is not related to Nintendo; rather, it’s the return of a minigame from Tekken 3. With three difficulty levels (Normal, Hard, and Devil), you attack an oversized beach ball to launch it at your enemy. The power of your attack move will dictate how much damage a successful ball strike will inflict. It’s still a minor diversion, but at least Tekken Ball feels like a true variation of the standard Tekken combat.
Tekken Supporters allows you to be generous with the cash you’ve earned from combat and offer it to any character in hopes of receiving an item in return. It’s an extra way to unlock all the crazy costumes and accessories to personalize each and every character.
The Wii U takes costume customization to another level with the Paint feature, allowing your artistic talents to be presented to the world by allowing you to draw on specific clothing use the GamePad. You also have access to costumes from the Mario and Zelda series, but they just seem a little too out of place in the Tekken universe. Let’s just say I found myself shaking my head at them more than laughing.
Outside of doodling, the GamePad allows you to input four special moves that can be performed in combat simply by touching the screen. It makes stringing together difficult combinations slightly easier, but it ultimately feels like a tacked-on feature.
The best use of the GamePad is that it allows you to play the game entirely on the controller, freeing up the TV for someone else to use. The only downside is that it is an identical feed from the television, and though the gameplay plays fine, the already small fonts on the menu screens and tip ticker will make you squint when displayed on the GamePad screen. In fact, unless you have to relinquish the television, the Pro Controller is the recommended control choice.
If you’re curious how the Wii U version compares visually to the other systems, it is absolutely pristine. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily superior to the other consoles, but it doesn’t strip anything down. Though the game designers revealed earlier this summer that the Wii U version clocked slower than the other consoles, I didn’t notice any heavy controls or sluggish movement. It may be fractionally slower, but it’s nothing that should steer you away if you’re deciding on which system to buy the game for unless you’re a pro-level fighter.
The music is all things techno, as you would expect from the Tekken series. The only substitution is during the Mushroom Battle, when the remixed Mario tunes chime in. All the kicks, punches, and other moves have an authentic arcade sound—not realistic, but certainly satisfying. Having all the characters voiced in their native language is probably the nicest touch, though.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition adds to the list of the new system’s launch titles designed to appeal to a core gaming audience, and NAMCO Bandai’s latest fighter is a solid choice to get things rolling. I counted fifty-eight playable characters, each with well over a hundred moves to master. Even if you somehow manage to complete everything in the solo offerings, there’s always the online circuit to show off your combat prowess. The additional Wii U content may ultimately be throwaway material, but Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition is still overloaded with countless hours of entertainment.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
The character models and stages look great, and the cinematics are phenomenal. The Wii U version clocks a bit slower, but it’s still fast and furious. 4.2 Control
The GamePad is not the controller of choice unless you need to free up the TV. The controls are extremely tight and precise for pulling off combos, though. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The techno tunes are a little redundant, but the arcade sound effects are nice and the voice work is top-notch. 4.9 Play Value
There is just tons to do in this game. The Wii U version’s additional features aren’t phenomenal, but they’ll give you more to play around with. 4.4 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|