Review by Galactus21

"What could’ve been…"

What happens when you pit some of the best fighters in the world into tag team combat? Tekken Tag Tournament of course. Unlike previous Tekken games, Tekken Tag lets you fight with more than just one person. You can now freely choose 2 combatants among a nice variety of fighters. The King of Iron Fist Tournament is the stable match within the Tekken series. Once again, these fighters take part in the tournament. This time around, Namco has provided a plethora of playable characters, each equipped with their own unique fighting style. With featured characters like King, Law, Lei, Eddy, and others, this edition of Tekken features familiar faces and fresh new ones for you to master.

Like previous Tekken games, Tekken Tag plays much the same, except now you have the ability to switch in and out with 2 different characters. During the tag between characters, you can come in firing with attacks or just come in with the thought of taking out an ailing character. Although the concept of the game is the same, the addition of tagging allows for a new way to play. However, unlike some fighting games that utilize this mode, when one character is defeated you lose. In some other fighting games, the downfall of both characters will cause you lose. The way Tekken Tag does it makes it more strategic because you have to constantly switch in out and out, so your other character can replenish some of its life.

The combat system is like any other Tekken games. The combat system, while not on the same level as a Virtua Fighter still has plenty of depth. One issue I have with the system though is the lack of speed. The game's combat system has its moment of fierce combos, but there are a lot of strategies. On many instances I was waiting for the right opportunity to unleash powerful combos. Unlike a fighter like Dead or Alive, where big combos are common place, Tekken focuses more on blocking and counter hitting.

Combos in Tekken are fairly complex. Despite that however, there are some fairly simple combos that a player can utilize. This makes it easier for beginners, but also gives depth to those that have time to play regularly. Even then however, the game's combat system requires a lot of learning, which makes it hard for newer players to break into. The combat system has more added depth than previous games due to tag mode, where it allows you to mix things up between characters.

Each character has its own unique set of moves and this allows for a good variation between them. Someone like Eddy will play significantly different than someone like Law. There are a variety of combos that give the system its depth. Some easier than others, but all can be used to give you a nice variety of moves and to switch things up. There are also grabs in the game, where it allows you to perform some form of grab feature. For example, if King grabs a hold of you, he will perform devastating slams.

Another problem with the game is the lack of single player options. The game feels more geared towards multiplayer. This is the case because of the easiness of the arcade mode. Instead of making it challenging, it feels easy. When I first started, I already breezed through the single player. While there may be numerous characters to unlock, it becomes a chore to do so, because of the lack of quality in the single player mode. It makes it easier for newcomers to get into the game, but once they master it, the computer simply does not pose a threat and the game only serves multiplayer purposes.

There are multiple modes that include some traditional ones like arcade and versus. In arcade, you will play through multiple stages against the computer. You will start off by choosing two characters of your liking. Each time you lose and you decide to continue, you can choose new characters or stick to the same ones. After you beat the arcade mode though, the endings were incredibly disappointing. It didn't really enhance the story of the Tekken series. Albeit, the fact that this is a bit of a change from the normal realm of Tekken games. Even then, I felt that Namco could have done a better job with the story, despite the fact that fighters usually do not have strong stories. But for Tekken Tag, the story is incredibly weak, more so than other fighters.

The best part about the game is having a friend to play with. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, playing Tekken in versus mode provides some great battles. Unlike the arcade mode, playing with human players are far more challenging. The A.I in the game didn't provide much of a strategy. A lot of times, I could finish a match easily by spamming one move. Against a human player, you can't be as predictable. Unfortunately, you may not always have a friend around to play with you, so what you are left with is a disappointing arcade mode.

The graphical features in this game were solid. Character models look good, especially considering that the game came out early in the PS2's lifespan. The game also runs extremely well. The tag also flows smoothly. The animation for that part looked crisp. One thing that I had an issue with though is the dull environments. The level design were decent, but nothing to write home about. The fighting animation at times looked great, but other times looked slow and shoddy. The music for the most part felt good, so in a way it makes up for some of the shortcomings in the graphical department.

Not Exactly the King of the Tournament

While Tekken Tag Tournament had its moments, especially when you consider the nicely implemented tag mode, but sadly the arcade's disappointment overshadows most of the game's bright spots. The versus mode is tons of fun. Unfortunately, the arcade mode lacks A.I that would have made it fun. It's funny how A.I can affect a game tremendously. Tekken Tag is well designed and nicely polished, but the computer A.I truly puts a major dent on the game. Tekken Tag Tournament on its own merits is worth renting. However, if you have friends that regularly play Tekken, then the game is a must have. Other than that, a rental should suffice.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/09/07


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