Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (XB360)

If there's any one fighting game series that has given me more joy than the others, it is Tekken. While I haven't always bought the latest one or kept up with competitive play, coming back to it after a year or so to see what has changed and who all these weird new characters are is always pleasant. Tekken Tag Tournament was my favourite in the series; while I enjoyed Tekken 3 immensely, I didn't like the changes brought into Tekken 4.

So, now I get to talk about Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is a bit of a mouthful. Essentially, just like the first one, it is a 2-on-2 fighting game with all the previous Tekken characters included, ignoring plot events totally. Fighting game plots are stupid, so I am vastly in favour of this. It also means my favourite character, Kunimitsu, makes her return, and she has more silly ninja moves than ever.

The 2v2 game-play is as fun as ever, although because of TTT2 inheriting T6's bound system, long-winded juggle combos are even more important than they ever were. In my previous series play I never enjoyed these... while they make perfect sense from a competitive standpoint, I just don't enjoy inputting a precise series of buttons every time I hit a random launcher; it feels robotic. I'd rather play around with the ridiculously huge number of moves every character has. By contrast, Street Fighter IV gives its fighters maybe 50 moves each (counting for punch/kick strength variations, etc.) whereas Tekken gives them upwards of 200 and adds large amounts of stances into the mix to make things unpredictable. The sheer amount of in-game situations possible is mind-blowing and this is what I find interesting in a game. Solved games are less fun!

To let my love for the series shine through, I decided to go for 100% achievement completion. I had tried this earlier on Tekken 6, but I found it difficult to get any online matches (I don't exactly tend to play games shortly after their release date). TTT2's achievements are in the same vein; most of them are fairly trivial, some require on-line vs. play and some are grindy messes. The hardest achievement is definitely getting 1st Dan in on-line mode. That isn't a particularly high rank, but everyone else you come across is probably trying to get there too, and there are many, many characters to learn to beat. I used my time-honoured partnership of Kunimitsu and Lei and eventually got there. However, by far the grindiest achievement to obtain was "become Tekken Lord in offline mode". This took me maybe 25 hours by itself and was not much fun at all. Thankfully I managed to come up with a fairly safe opening which would work against most AI opponents (even the very highest difficulty ones fell for it every now and then) and trashed them quickly. 1000 Gamerscore get!

All-in-all I really enjoyed my foray back into Tekken-land. I'm not a huge fan of the focus on juggling, but the game-play is just as solid as I remember, and I finally get to rock my favourite probably-dead ninja woman again in peace.

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