Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Preview (PS3)

It has been almost 12 years since the last Tekken Tag Tournament, a title that released alongside the PS2. Now, Namco Bandai have finally set to bring the next bout to the PS3 on Sept. 11th 2012. Having been so long, with numerous titles using the team based battle system, it begs the question – has it been too long for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 to dust off its buddy system?

Shown at E3 2012, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 had an incredible 46 characters unlocked from the whole franchise. Sadly, the complete roster was not shown, as there were 8 empty spaces for unannounced challengers. The only 2 character select boxes unlocked were – Angel, a winged female who is making her return from the original Tekken Tag Tournament, and Kunimitsu, who also returns with her short ranged Manji-Style Ninjitsu, a quick and deadly combat style she had in the original Tekken Tag Tournament. Even though no official statement was given for who was going to fill up the empty roster slots, story characters like Unknown, and Devil Jin will probably be making playable appearances once again.

On top of the all the characters that have been shown and announced as playable, one character has made an unlikely return, in a new an unique feature for the series. Combot, a robot built by Violet (Lee Chaolan), is now the training dummy used in the new Fight Lab option available for the console release. This mode will take players through a number of set combinations and move-sets as a method of training, as well as giving the option of designing unique Combot of your own. As such, players will be able to unlock, and add moves to their Combot’s command list. When asked if this playable Combot will be usable in modes outside of Fight Lab, we were told that nothing had been announced.

As for the tag system, it will be an evolution of the system that was in place in the very first Tekken Tag Tournament. With numerous modes like the ability to do Pair-Play, a feature that will allow 4 people to pair up and compete against each other in teamed combat. As well as having the standard ability to assist your teammate by canceling out of combos, or regaining health, there will be a number of new features. One of the most simple and most useful techniques is Tag Combo – a mode that tags in your partner just before you launch your opponent into the air. Tag Crash – a technique that calls your opponent in for a quick save when you are in a desperate situation. Tag Throw – A hard hitting combined assault on an opponent, which may contain unique setups for certain team combinations. Lastly, Tag Assault – A move that unleashes a hard hitting attack into a Tag Assault Juggle.

Announced at Namco Bandai’s press conference, Snoop Dogg will be joining the Tekken team to produce a set of unique pieces exclusively for the franchise. The first announcement was a rap video titled, “Knocc ’em Down”, which will be featured on the disk, as well as be on the original soundtrack. Also, a pre-order bonus, a stage featuring Snoop Dogg will be available from retailers like GameStop and Amazon right now.

With all a whole new set of options, moves, and characters it’s difficult to not see this as one of the biggest advancements for the Tekken series in years. Although, while playing the latest build, it was hard to not harken back to the days when Tekken was a simpler game. Tekken has always been about air juggles and combos, but as the system has evolved over the years into  a new beast. This is not to say that this iteration of Tekken is a blemish on an already great track record. It is just that, for this writer, playing this current build just left me more melancholic for the days I used to play the first Tekken Tag Tournament, than looking forward to the release of its sequel.

Stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle for a full review once Tekken Tag Tournament 2 hits store shelves late this summer.