Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Hands-On Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Box Art
System: Xbox 360, PS3
Dev: NAMCO Bandai
Pub: NAMCO Bandai
Release: September, 2012
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p
A New Challenger
by Josh Wirtanen

While in Las Vegas last week, Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada was more than happy to show us a few things about the upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and we were likewise more than happy to get our hands on a very solid early build of the game. After a fairly extensive play session and face time with Harada-san himself, we left with the impression that the Tekken series as a whole was evolving in some very cool ways.

Now, perhaps the most impressive new feature in Tag 2 is the addition of 1v1 matches—and even 1v2 matches—on top of the traditional 2v2 tag matches. Yes, before you select your characters, you will choose whether to play as a single character or a two-person tag team. And even if you decide to play solo, your opponent can still choose a tag team. Additionally, two players can join a tag team and take on a third player or a tag team of two actual players. That means you can have four human players in a single match.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Screenshot

So how does this affect balance? Considering the fact that tag teams can combine to perform Tag Assaults (two-character combos), we were curious as to how fair 2v1 matches would be. Well, Harada-san explained that solo players will be scaled to have their damage output increased and damage input decreased when fighting against a tag team. Additionally, tagging in will leave your characters vulnerable for a tiny period of time, a mechanic that fast-thinking solo players will be able to take advantage of. Thirdly, as in the original Tekken Tag Tournament, you only have to K.O. one member of the team to win the round. By juggling your opponent, you could potentially prevent them from ever tagging out.

To further address our concerns, Harada explained that the arcade version of Tekken Tag 2 has been carefully monitored, and the amount of games won by single-fighter players is very close to the amount won by tag teams. As a caveat, though, he speculated that tag teams might have a very slight advantage in the upper echelon of the fighting game community. I have a feeling the 2v1 mechanic is going to be cause of great debate among fans once the game lands on our home consoles, and it will be interesting to see which players land on which side of the argument.

In fact, 2v1 matches have been so popular in the arcade version of the game that Harada's not sure he can ever see the Tekken series stepping away from it now that it's been implemented. Even though the numbered Tekken games have traditionally not included tag teams, even Tekken 7 will most likely follow Tag 2's lead.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Screenshot

Another exciting feature we got to see a bit of is called Fight Lab. (However, the version we played was said to only be about 10% complete.) The general premise of Fight Lab is to offer players a deep tutorial mode that doesn't feel like a tutorial. In order to accomplish this, the developers boiled down Tekken's core mechanics and used those to build a series of minigames. The example we were given had to do with sidestepping. Rather than simply telling players to sidestep, then rewarding them for pulling it off, there could be giant sushi rolls tumbling toward your character that you would have to dodge. In doing so, you would be learning the sidestep mechanic while playing a fun minigame. (Of course, the sushi minigame was merely a hypothetical example, and we doubt we'll see it in the actual Fight Lab when the game hits consoles.)

And Fight Lab actually has a story behind it. Returning character Violet has created a Super Combot DX, a fighting robot. Unfortunately, this Combot is destroyed, and Violet is forced to train an older prototype how to fight. In teaching the prototype Combot about fighting, the player in turn learns how to play the game. Additionally, doing well in Fight Lab will grant the player new parts and techniques, with which they can build their own Combots. It was explained that new players should be better Tekken players after completing Fight Lab, and advanced users will have built kickass Combots.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Screenshot

So which characters are we going to see in the final build? Well, the arcade version has 44, and all of them will be in the console version. This means we'll be seeing Tekken regulars like Jin, Kazuma, Law, Ling Xiaoyu, King, Armor King, Bob, and several others. In addition, we can expect some brand new faces, bringing the lineup to somewhere over 50. We weren't shown any of the new characters, but we were told to expect some reveals soon.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be available for both Xbox 360 and PS3 in September. Check back at Cheat Code Central before then, though, as we were promised some additional details, as well as some of the aforementioned character reveals, at E3 this year.

Josh Wirtanen
Editor / News Director
Date: April 17, 2012

Game Features:

  • With the largest player roster in Tekken history, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will feature more than 50 characters with expanded fight arsenals and move sets to do battle in new stages set in different countries from around the world.
  • In addition to the tag-based battle that Tekken pioneered, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will feature both one-on-one fighting and solo fighter vs. a tag-team battle, upending the current fighting game standards and making the game accessible for fans and newcomers alike.
  • In Pair Play mode, up to four players can each control a character in the ultimate team battle, while in the all new Fight Lab mode, players can customize the moves and appearance of new training character, Combot.

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