The week of September 9th – 15th saw the release of Namco Bandai’s latest installment to their long running fighting game franchise, Tekken. With Tekken Tag Tournament 2, dozens of characters are playable in a 2 on 2, 1 on 2 or 1 on 1 affair. My brief time with the Xbox 360 version has shown me how much fun Tekken still remains. Set to be released during the launch window of the Wii U (though they are aiming for launch day!) Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will drop onto Nintendo’s new console with a couple of neat additions, though they are related mostly in terms of gameplay and not with the use of the Gamepad.
One of these new additions are a mode called Mushroom Battle Mode, an exclusive game mode added to the Wii U version of TTT2. When I first heard a mushroom power up sound effect during the TTT2 trailer while the conference was going, I thought someone had accidentally piped in that effect. It turns out that this new mode actually has mushroom power ups, along with a super mushroom, poison mushroom and even a Starman! These randomly spawn within the proximity of each player, gifting them with either minor growth (mushroom), extreme growth (super mushroom), health damage and hard knock down (poison mushroom) or complete invincibility for about ten seconds (Starman). Poison mushrooms seem to home in on the closest player, while the other three power ups wander around aimlessly.
Minor growth isn’t too big of a game changer (totally unintentional pun), though the super mushroom will inflate that player into a ginormous size, dwarfing their opponent with ease. This has its disadvantages at times though, as grapples will not work on the behalf of the giant player, though the opposition will have no issues flipping the giant down to size. Not only that, but many melee attacks will completely whiff, due to the sheer size of that player, so low attacks would be the best way to go. Starman is more or less self explanatory. It’s a silly mode, but I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. If you just want to have a leisure battle between a Rey Mysterio sized combatant against a Giant Gonzalez fighter for nothing but a good laugh, you will find them here.
What wasn’t shown was an announced Nintendo themed apparel inclusion to the already massive outfitting section to TTT2. Not too many specifics were given, but you could more or less count on Link’s attire, Mario’s hat and other Nintendo mascot related gear appearing.
About the only thing that came off a bit odd was a couple of frame rate chugs. This was more or less a near final build, with every character unlocked and other modes available (though only the aforementioned Mushroom Battle Mode was being displayed, for obvious reasons). The frame rate hiccups happened only twice, and it seemed to have happened in the midst of what seemed like a half dozen power ups circling the players, as well as a super mushroom transformation thrown in. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about though, especially since this is a mode that is supposed to be enjoyed more as a slapstick addition, rather than a beefy game mode that will take a majority of the players time.
If you love the Tekken franchise, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 looks like it will be a solid investment, not only for fans of the fighting game genre, but as a launch window release in general. It’s as visually sharp as the Xbox 360 version, both on a television screen and on the Gamepad. It controls quite well, thanks to the typically well designed Nintendo dpad on said Gamepad. As the sole fighting game within that launch window, the Wii U is definitely well represented within the genre.