When Tekken Tag Tournament 2 released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a couple of months ago, it showed that Namco still "had it" when it came to creating a killer fighting game – even if the Unknown end boss was one of the cheapest in the series' history. But for the Wii U version of the game, which debuted alongside the console a couple of days ago, Namco decided to push even further with some new additions, as well as some much-needed tweaking and the downloadable fighters already installed on the disc. But does it work?
The answer is a resonant yes. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 works way better than expected on the Wii U, and avoids several of the pratfalls that have befallen other third party ports for the system. Though it's limited in some areas, this is easily one of the livelier efforts we've seen for the system to date. And, thankfully, Unknown takes it a slight bit easier this time around. She's actually…a formidable opponent now. Who knew?
Tekken's fighting action may seem like there's nothing new to it, but it remains energetic throughout each bout. You can either go it alone or team up with an ally (that's your best bet) as you take on opponents, tagging them in for unexpected hits or to rest up someone, should they be low on energy. With over 30+ fighters to choose from (spanning the history of the series – even Doctor Bosconovich is here), you'll have no shortage of fighters to master.
At first, the introduction of the game for Wii U didn't make much sense, because, honestly, who wants to fight with an oblong controller like the GamePad? But it works unpredictably well, reading your moves and button presses like a champ. You can also program extra maneuvers (up to four) on the GamePad's touch screen, such as King's massive body throw. That saves you some time from twisting your thumb around on the pad, that's for sure. The game also supports the Pro Controller, which you'll need if you want to do local versus match-ups. That player doesn't get the full advantage, but, regardless, it's still pleasing.
Tekken Tag 2 also supports online play, and from our sessions with it, we didn't run into any problems at all. Unfortunately, Namco has been rather mum on whether the game will support the online World Tekken Federation service, but we don't see why the company would leave Wii U fans out in the cold. It's bound to happen.
For a debut Wii U effort, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 looks fantastic. The game runs at a fluid 60 frames per second and loads rather quickly, and both the backdrops and fighters look stunning throughout, even when they're performing complex throws or flying kicks. The sound is also noteworthy, with its upbeat music collection and quick voice effects.
But the big draw here would be the extra modes, which are exclusive to this version. Tekken Ball once again makes a return, letting you bat around a beach ball back and forth. It's gimmicky, but some fans will enjoy it. But Mushroom Battle is the standout, where you battle characters as they're dressed up like Mario and Zelda figures, including Bowser and Luigi. Little mushrooms roll around the stage, and can either shrink or grow your character to enormous size, giving you an advantage – or disadvantage – in the fight. More costumes would've been ideal (why no Captain Falcon?), but overall, this is a creative new addition to the roster. Still, it's not quite Tekken Bowling.
Namco has admirably wiped away any doubt that a fighting game can work on the Wii U with Tekken Tag Tournament 2. With better balancing, some humorous new modes, smooth online play and a presentation that doesn't lose any spring in its step, it's one of the bigger go-to third-party games for the system. The only way it could've been any better is if Mario and Link themselves came out fighting. Hey, it worked for Smash Bros…