A friend (Cary) had asked interest in reading my review before she knew it was a video. I offered to transcribe it for her if she’d rather read it, so here is that transcription:
Alright, so here we have the menu when you first load up the game and we’re going to go through a few of these, not extensively on all of them: Online Mode, Offline Mode, Fight Lab, Customization, Tekken Tunes, Gallery, Profile, and Options.
Tag 2 takes elements from Tag 1 and combines them with elements from Tekken 6 and adds a few of their own. We have tag combos, tag assault, tag throws, rage, bound and various stage breaks like wall break or floor breaks or balcony break. In addition to that, instead of usually having one tag team against another tag team, a player can choose instead to stick with only one character and have that character with regenerating health as opposed to the separate two characters.
Now insofar as my opinion of all of these elements, I felt-now mind you, I know I am a casual player, but I felt that a tag assault or tag combo against the wall felt pretty unfair. I did ask another friend of mine for his general input on gameplay because he would know more about it than I would, and his input was basically that he felt that the movement in comparison to Tekken 6 had been significantly improved. He had felt in Tekken 6 that the easier characters provided greater reward despite being easier to use and the harder characters didn’t have enough-as good reward for using them.
Arcade Battle is essentially the game’s story mode where you pick a character, go through nine stages, and get an ending cut scene after beating the final boss. Such a mode has been customary for all Tekken games. One of the differences in Tag 2 compared to Tag 1 was that when you pick a tag team and you go through the story mode in Tag 1, right before you fight Unknown, you have a couple of sub-bosses that are relevant to the characters that you picked. Tag 2 doesn’t do this. Instead, you will always fight Jinpachi and Heihachi, then Ogre, then Jun, then Unknown. As a casual player who simply tried to beat the game on Easy, it did feel like the difficulty escalated significantly when moving onward to the bosses, and it didn’t really feel worth the trouble of beating Unknown, especially when I found there was an alternative way to unlock a lot of the endings.
As for the endings themselves, I’m a big fan of Jin, so I was interested in his endings, and I was disappointed. I feel like they are the worst endings that he has ever had. Barring that, a lot of them are better, but I noticed a couple of things. There’s a big disparity between the longest ending and the shortest ending. The longest is almost 4 minutes; the shortest is slightly over 30 seconds, so that stands out. I don’t really know if this is better or worse, but it’s something I noticed-that a lot of the endings have special filters on them to give a certain look and feel, and this series usually doesn’t do that.
Ghost Battle has some added incentive in that you can unlock the endings through there if you prefer. When you finish a match, you can pick between 3 upcoming matches. If one of those is highlighted in gold, you can fight that character or pair of characters, and you will have the ending of the first character in that list. You will also earn a couple of customization items and of course some money.
For Online mode, I only played a little bit, just far enough to get my 1st dan trophy, so that was mostly ranked matches and 1 quick player match. I didn’t know when I was first put into a waiting room with Mokujin that I was supposed to just wait there and for someone to come along, so eventually I figured that out, but something to communicate that I think would have been good. Otherwise, I think it’s a good idea to allow a person to practice moves and combos that they might know with the characters they picked or explore things. I would have liked a command list at least because there’s no other features that you would get from a practice mode here in this waiting room, including a command list-you don’t have that. Also, for connections, at first I was willing to try anything because it was Saturday morning, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get many, but then I had one bad experience with lower bars, so I decided to maintain at at least 3 because I felt the lag was bad enough to warrant that.
Something nice that I learned from a friend of mine is that any matches against non-AI opponents will be saved into a Replay Theater so since I only played a few online matches, all of mine are actually saved and I can go through and re-watch them. If I were a more dedicated player and even though I’m not a dedicated player, I would say this. This is useful for learning from your mistakes and trying to study and improve, so I commend this inclusion.
A nice addition to the practice mode is a key to tell you which moves bound, which moves initiate a tag combo, and which moves will hit a side-stepping opponent.
Most Tekken games come with a little extra something such as a Tekken Force mode or in Tag 1, there was Tekken Bowl. In Tekken 3, there was Tekken Ball and in Tag 2 what we have is Fight Lab, which isn’t quite like any of those. Fight Lab is more like a glorified tutorial with Combot. So, it’s kind of disappointing that there’s nothing quite like Tekken Bowl that is included, but what’s nice is that we aren’t stuck with anything like Scenario Campaign either where the game tries too hard to force that mode on you.
Customization feels like quite a step backwards. There’s no option to just buy and then equip an item right away for instance. There’s no-I’ve already picked everything that I like-now I want to add gloves and just add a particular pair of gloves, I can’t do that-at least I didn’t see any such option with Alisa. You know, when I bought a ponytail, and I wanted a particular kind of bangs, I didn’t know that I could buy those bangs only after I bought the ponytail. Another thing is that I’m under the impression from my experience as playing Alisa and reading things online is that you don’t see all of the items that you can unlock that can be equipped. You have to unlock some of them by playing Ghost Battle and for that reason, you have no way to see your progress on unlocking or buying everything for a particular character. That’s something that I would like to do during a game-just, I would buy or equip-I mean I would buy everything for Jin and Devil Jin, for instance. But if there are items that I can only get through Ghost Battle, then I won’t know-heh heh-if I have everything, and I like to be able to set goals and meet them when I play games and with this kind of setup, you can’t do that because you won’t know when you’re done.
A couple of other small notes: The characters no longer have special intro poses that shows them interacting before a match like you did with Tag 1. And there are not really 2nd player outfits. I mean there’s a second panel and for at least Alisa, there’s even a third panel where you can get an alternate outfit. It seems to be associated with a clothing line of some kind, I’m not sure, more like T-shirts is what I see lately. But, for instance, Lili-her first player outfit actually isn’t the frilly dress, it’s a bustier with some pants, and that is not an option. So, those are missing as well. Tag 2 improves I think where Tekken 6 was weakest and has a few other minor improvements, yet at the same time it feels like other parts that were taken for granted have now taken a few steps backwards.