Blog - Editorial
Written by Jayce Diaz Friday, February 04 2011 13:38
Longtime fans of the series are well aware that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is currently in production, and with any luck, could be in our arms by this time next year. However, much of the nostalgia and praise we hold for the original Tag had to do with the timing and position of its original release, among other factors.
So I present to you, dear reader, a few reasons why Tekken Tag Tournament 2 won't live up to its predecessor.
I remember the launch of the original Tekken Tag in arcades, as well as its eventual release as a launch title for the PS2. Things were much different back then, both in the Tekken universe, and our own. For starters, let's look at Tekken 3, the entry that made the series accessible to everyone (due in part to button-masher-friendly character Eddy Gordo).
Tekken 3 presented major changes to the game, as well as its back-story. The smoother, faster gameplay and emphasis on side stepping completely changed the way Tekken played and felt. The new environments and music (still one of the best fighting game OSTs around) were just as memorable as the game itself. Most importantly, the character roster had done something no other fighter has done – It was almost a completely new set of faces. Counting the two hidden characters in the PSX version, only about 30% of the playable characters were from previous games – the rest were completely new to the series. This practice is so rare, that to this day we still see characters in games that by all rights should not be included, but are kept in because of the tournament scene. This is why no one dies in Soul Calibur, despite the weaponry and evil magic surrounding the story. To put it bluntly, Tekken 3 looked, felt, and played differently than either of the past entries in the Tekken series.
This change is exactly what made the original Tekken Tag so successful. Not only did it update the new roster, but it also included nearly every fighter to date. Old and new clashed together. Jin could fight his long dead (back then) father, and Alex could fight Roger! It was a giant celebration of the two different generations of Tekken, mixed together and brought to the future with the then-mysterious PlayStation 2. It was as if someone prettied up Tekken 3, added new modes, and doubled the roster to include everyone you ever loved. The soundtrack was incredible, and the environments were breath-taking (NPC's roamed in the background, a first for the series). Tekken Tag brought two worlds together, while ushering in the next generation of fighting games.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 can do no such thing.
Since the first Tekken Tag, not one main character has been removed. In fact, in the five games since, almost every fighter from Tekken 1 and 2 have returned, their ages nixed and recalculated to somehow keep them looking younger and younger. Fifteen years passed between Tekken 2 and 3 alone. By all accounts, characters like Paul and Bruce should be nearing 50 at this point.
Another problem is the apparent reluctance to add new characters. Between Tekken 4, Tekken 5, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Tekken 6, and Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, only 14 new characters have been added to the roster. While this may sound like a lot, remember that Tekken 3 beat this number in just one entry.
Knowing all this, you have to ask: What's going to stop Tekken Tag 2 from feeling like nothing more than an extra mode that should have came packaged with 6?
Think about it. There is no "old meets new" character list. The graphical leap this time around in negligible at best. And Tekken 6 feels exactly like every other entry since Tag. There is no big change to embrace. What's going to make this game really stand out?
Still, some notable changes and additions are coming our way. Rumors claim that the soundtrack is being "inspired" by Tag 1, which is definitely good to hear. Double team grapples, attacks, and counters are being added and emphasized. And they're even introducing new playable characters like female wrestler Julia Chang, J.C., JayCee... Crap. That's not even a new character, is it?
The main attraction here is the "Tag" mode, which has been gone for over a decade. While the long-missed feature will definitely keep the game feeling fresh for some time, I wonder if Tag 2 will have the longevity that the original had. Tekken is one of my favorite game franchises of all time. That said, I can't help but feel like this game has a chance of becoming about as memorable as every Tekken Force mode since Tekken 3.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Want to throw in your own two cents? Do so in the comments below.