Product Type: Namco PS2 games
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Tekken Tag Tournament (PS2)
Member Name: D1A1
Tekken Tag Tournament (PS2)
Date: 29/03/01, updated on 29/03/01 (251 review reads)
I never owned any of the Tekken games, so this is my first experience of Namco’s Tekken franchise, and although I’ve played other Namco games, nothing has been such a disappointment than this, with the possible exception of the pretty poor Ridge Racer 5. I have a Sega Dreamcast games console as well as a PlayStation 2, so obviously I have Soul Calibur in my collection – another Namco fighting game. Now, a lot of people compare Tekken Tag to Soul Calibur, and most PS2 owners will say Tekken is better, and Dreamcast owners will mostly say Soul Calibur is better. But in my honest opinion, the games cannot be compared with one another! Soul Calibur is at a higher level of game play and graphical realism (and surrealism) than TTT in my view. One of the main reasons for me getting a PS2 is that Soul Calibur 2 will be released on the format, and I can’t wait! Tekken fans will be sure to change their tune when that one arrives!
So anyway, moving on. Tekken Tag isn’t the worst fighting game, and fans of the series and owners of the previous games will probably feel instantly at home with the game thanks to a mostly unchange
d control system, with very few new characters and similar graphics to Tekken 3. In fact, a lot of game reviewers say TTT is basically an update of Tekken 3. I really can’t judge that. What I can judge however is the game itself and how it plays. After around 5minutes play I found the game to be really slow. I mean Virtua Fighter 2 style slow. It’d be interesting if Soul Calibur and TTT had a race? Hmmm… I also don’t like the very static way the characters move around the arena, as there doesn’t seem to be a very 3D ‘8way run’ kind of game implementation here, so it’s very difficult to move away from an opponent other than jumping forward or backwards – I’d prefer to move from side to side more easily. The controls have to be learnt here, and the game isn’t as easy to pick up and play, as I would have liked.
Ok, Visuals. I’ve already criticised the graphics and character fluidity in TTT, and it seems as though the designers have spent more time on the dazzling lighting effects rather than the aspects that count – the arenas and characters. Ok, so everything looks ok, but you’ll soon notice that the arena floors start to jolt around and judder a bit, and the character animation and general polygon count is comparable to the relatively pathetic Mortal Kombat Gold on the Dreamcast and N64 (known as MK4 on N64). The lighting effects look excellent though, but in my view are just over the top. With every throw, punch or kick, even when your character moves, the most elaborate shining light effect takes place, and often looks pointless. However, the arena stage design is fairly good, and the various snowing effects and arena skies look decent enough. If only Sony could be bothered to enforce a 60hz rule for all PS2 games, like many DC games have been: this results in much smoother graphics and faster frame rate. Maybe Tekken 4 will surprise me in a better way.
The sound i
s good, and although the music can get very annoying (especially at Yoshimitsu’s snowing stage), the overall standard of clear sound is high. I’ve noticed that the PlayStation 2 is capable of very impressive sound effects, thanks to Dolby Digital sound (or something like this). Each character has a phrase or two that they say whenever the battle ends, but this sounds very muffled and is quite hard to make out – similarly to Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn (again!). This doesn’t really matter all that much though, but I think Namco could have made slightly better use of the PS2 superior sound capabilities.
The best thing about Tekken is the amount of characters to choose from, and with the hidden incentive to play through the game to unlock some more, sometimes very powerful or special, characters. There’re 20 characters to start with, and around 10 extra to unlock as you progress through various game modes. Everyone has a favourite character, so I’d say Yoshimitsu is mine – simply because his excellent flea move is about the only one I can master properly, and that aluminous sword looks really quite impressive, Gun Jack also seems to have very effective weapons (his arms), and is another one of the most used characters. Just in case you want know all the characters available, here’s a list: Heihachi Mishima, Bryan Fury, Ganryu, Armor King, Anna Williams, Michelle Chang, Baek Doo San, Jun Kazama, Gun Jack, Julia Chang, Eddy Gordo, Hwoarang, Ling Xiaoyu, Yoshimitsu, Nina Williams, King, Lei Wulong, Forest Law, Paul Phoenix and Jin Kazama. There is an additional 10 characters to unlock, so I won’t spoil it for you!
The game is all about Tag team fighting, and so you nearly always have to pick two characters in whatever game mode you’re playing. Now, if you’ve played Dead or Alive 2, which is both on PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast, then you’ll know that this game features an excellent,
really effective and easy to use Tag team mode, but in Tekken tag, you always have to select two players – in DoA2 there’s just one mode for Tag battles. This may seem good for some people, but I prefer the DoA2 method, as tagging gets really boring after a while, especially when Tekken Tag’s feature is actually quite poor in comparison. There’s the usual Arcade, versus, Survival and the single character (yeah!) One-on-One modes, but the action all seems to happen so very slowly. There are other modes available including a fairly pointless, but nonetheless, quite fun Tekken Bowl mode, which really does prove that this is not a true next generation game (you’ll be asking yourself ‘is this really PlayStation 2?’). The game box back cover states that Tekken tag has ‘the most advanced animation ever to be seen in a videogame’. They obviously didn’t see Dead or Alive 2.
To be fair though, this is a good game for those who like this kind of game, but if you want something that’s easy to pick up and start playing straight away, and something that’s a little bit faster, then I strongly recommend Dead or Alive 2 – it’s on the DC and the PS2 so you won’t have to get a whole new console. The game case is fairly ordinary, with one of the character’s faces covering most of it. I guess I prefer the weaponry fighting games as opposed to the mainly ‘non-weaponry’ games, like Tekken, and indeed Dead or Alive 2. Soul Calibur is a better game in my view, and is the only real reason for me getting another Namco game – if only Tekken had been as good!
Overall, if you’ve played through Tekken 3 so many times that you find yourself sleeping whilst playing it, then don’t get TTT, it’s basically the same game – so I’m told, of course, I don’t recommend the game based on it’s own merits, simply because of the reasons in my o
pinion. If you want to play a four player game then you’re going to have to get a few more pads and a multi tap, so think carefully whether you’re really getting Tekken Tag for the multiplayer features or not. In my view, and I don’t really care if you don’t agree (it’s my opinion!) this game should only get around 5/10, as it is an average fighting game, and if Dreamcast hadn’t been here for Tekken Tag to be compared to Soul Calibur, then maybe the generation jump would seem more impressive. It’s got to be 3 stars – 3 stars meaning average, but I don’t like it.
No wonder various online and offline stores are giving the game away free with every PS2. Look past the famous name, if you can, and see a game that doesn’t excel, as it should do, and one that deteriorates straight after the FMV start up intro. No 60hz…
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