I… I’ve played as a dinosaur in a fighting game. LIFE: COMPLETE. Anyhoo.

Just because a fighting game has a huge roster of characters doesn’t necessarily make it a good game. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the exception to that rule, for the most part. I say “for the most part” because making a perfect fighting game is impossible. People like different styles. Some like 3D stages and slower paced action, while some light pulse-pounding combo-stringing light-speed combat that Arc System is so famous for. More characters, fewer characters, it doesn’t matter if the game’s poop. So today, I’ll be giving myself (and you) a preliminary stab with the double-edged blade of 3T2.

Namco-Bandai is known for their 3D fighters, first of all. I’m sure many of you have heard of Soul Calibur, Tekken’s weapon-fighter cousin. In Tekken, combat isn’t only about stringing in big whoppers of combos; it’s about response time and positioning, then opening a can labeled “Ten Hit Combo” on your foe’s sorry arse after they commit to an unsuccessful attack.

Controls are straightforward, thus easy to pick up. Standing still (or crouching) causes your character to block all height-appropriate attacks, as opposed to implementing a block button or having retreating spur defensive action. There are four attack buttons, each controlling one of your character’s limbs. Any unused buttons can have dual presses mapped to them, making certain painful combos easier.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

The Tag button is necessary for players who wish to embrace the Tag Tournament aspect of the game, however. One tap, and you can have your critically injured character turn tail and run, only to be replaced by your burly, full-health backup buddy. Alternatively, you can fight solo with a stronger character. Up to you. Solo fighting has always been my gambit.

Dupe characters are an issue, I should note. The only  issue, now that I think about it. With a roster of 50+ fighters, it’s inevitable that some will share fighting styles. This is the first Tekken game I’ve ever owned, and I already had the dupes figured out after I finished playing practice mode with my couch buddy. It was an excellent hour of infinite life ass-beating. Ah yes. But am I bothered? Not particularly. It’s not like I want to have every single character be my main.

Modes of play next. I stick exclusively to offline mode, so don’t expect any info on how good the connections are. Okay? Okay. Tekken doesn’t really have a plot, save for the Combot tutorial story, but that doesn’t really matter. All the quality is in the content. What it does have is Arcade Mode, Ghost Mode, Team Battle, Time Attack, Survival, and Pair Play. I’d explain them all, but it’s… kind of a lot. Basically, if you’re sweet on a certain character, there are a lot of ways to apply them.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Several things that I adore about Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Easy to pick up, fully customizable controls, myriad fighting styles for all types of fighter-fans, amazing visuals and motion blur, fantastic hair and clothing physics, consistent difficulty scaling, and just… fun. 3T2 is really fun. I mean, this is just a preliminary review, so playing a bit deeper into the game could make me turn on a dime when I find out that the A.I. can predict every move you make by Hard difficulty, but hey.

For now, it’s fun. And yes, you can play a velociraptor with boxing gloves.

Jordan Mallory of Joystiq uses the phrase that I regrettably forgot to: “It’s basically the best thing ever.” Yes, yes it is. Between the in-game cash customization, the silly tone, and the sheer diversity of looks and combat styles, my biggest issue is that I have now idea how I want to blow my own mind each time I play. So there you have it. Check out the Joystiq review here: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/11/tekken-tag-tournament-2-review/

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