Hands on - Tekken Tag Tournament 2
(Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii U) 

  • Choose from a massive selection of 50 characters - the largest roster in the series
  • Sharp graphics mean it is set to be best-looking fighting game of this generation
  • Fight in front of rapper Snoop Dogg, who also provides soundtrack for the game

FISH and chips. Pie and mash. Arcade and Tekken.

Some things are just better together - working hand in hand to bring the best out of each other.

Take one away, and often what was once a magical combination becomes empty, meaningless and lacks that vital ingredient.


Alive and kicking again: Tekken is set to explode on to consoles on September 14

All except one...Tekken. A fighting game of such pedigree that not even breaking it from its arcade shackles, and swapping 'insert coin' for 'press start' could drag it into mediocrity.

It kept its soul. It kept its identity and it blossomed, punching and kicking its way into thousands of homes.

This was a tactician’s beat-em-up. A game not bought for its gruesome fatalities or buckets of blood. But one that rewarded you to spectacular fist fights for the long hours spent honing your moves, learning combinations and studying your challenger’s weak points.

The inevitable sequels, spin-offs and (lame) movies soon spawned. Tekken had managed to do what many had failed to achieve. It had transcended the world of video games and had become a brand.

But, like with any good thing, the dream had to end, and slowly but surely Tekken’s impact on consoles blunted – swamped by mediocre copycats that cared more about the size of their characters’ ‘assets’ than gameplay. 

Indeed, it looked like gamers had been treated to the last taste of true, arcade-style fighting. Until now...


Three's a crowd: You'll be able to perform tag throws

Because like a roundhouse kick to the head, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is exploding on to consoles. Its mission…to restore faith in the struggling genre.

It’s off to a good start, offering the largest roster yet in the series with 50 new and returning characters.

Along with returning modes such as Arcade, Versus, Team Battle, Time Attack and Survival, there’s a new mode called Fight Lab for Tekken 'noobs'.

Here, you take control of a Combot who is taught a load of moves through various stages. There’s even a (sort of) story there to keep you playing and to stop it feeling like a boring tutorial.

But the real reason why you’d buy Tekken is for the multiplayer. This lets you challenge your friends in a 2-on-2 tag-team battle, 1-on-1 or 1-on-2.

Players are able to switch their fighters at any time, which lets the resting character gradually recover some life they might have lost.

You can do special techniques such as tag throws, which can be countered if your timing is good enough.

And there are also loads of different items that can alter gameplay – ranging from weapons such as firearms and hammer hats, to superficial KOs. You can customise your character with some accessories, too.

Graphically, the game’s looking sharp. The frame-rate never slows down, colours are vibrant and character models are full of detail. Level design is inspired, ranging from the hilarious to the down-right weird.

One stage, for example, sees you fight in front of rapper Snoop Dogg, while he sits on a glitzy throne surrounded by women – his music (written specifically for the game) playing in the background.


Bear-knuckle fighting: The weird world of Tekken sees you fight massive animals

Another sees you surrounded by pandas and bears wearing tutus, dancing around like ballerinas while some bizarre light show flashes away.

But that’s the aim of this latest Tekken game – it pulls no punches on creativity. It’s striving to reinvent itself, to be remembered, and re-establish itself as the fighting phenomenon it once was.

However, in a world where more and more gamers demand depth, story and multi-layered offerings, it’ll be interesting to see whether the simple beat-em-up genre can hold its own, or if its linear nature is now out-of-date with current gaming expectations.

Come September, we’ll find out if Tekken Tag 2 has done enough to get the beat-em-genre alive and kicking again.

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