Beat-em-up games are always tough to make a definitive verdict on. The differences between the likes of Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and Soul Calibur often come down to little more than scenery, button combinations and characters. At least to casual gamers, that is.
One series that has always stood out as a revolutionary, especially on consoles, was Namco Bandai’s Tekken. It was one of the first beat-em-ups that successfully managed to offer a fluid 3D fighting experience, gamepad specific control schemes and a whole host of other stand out features that won over casual and hardcore gamers alike during the early to late 90s.
It was also the first in the genre that introduced the concept of tagging in 2000’s Tekken Tag Tournament, which allowed players to switch between two characters at the player’s choice. The concept, despite being deemed unnecessary by purists, went down extremely well thanks to the new tactics it introduced to a relatively played out format.
12 years on, Tekken Tag Tournament is back. This time with even more characters than the original’s, quite frankly massive, roster, a much improved online multiplayer system, added tag combinations and the slickest Tekken gameplay to date.
The only thing it really lacks is a proper storyline. Fight Lab mode, which sees you take Combot through a series of challenges, comes close, but, while fun, only ever feels like an extended tutorial. While it would’ve been nice to get one, it’s not the be all and end all, as single player is by no means the emphasis on this title.
Multiplayer, however, very much is.
The newly formed World Tekken Federation, which acts as the online hub for all multiplayer activity runs seamless and, in our experience, almost completely lag free, meaning you can enjoy all of the joys that playing offline brings, but against real people. It really is one of the most impressive online experience on any current gen game we’ve seen.
And even if you’re not much of an online gamer, there’s still enough single player modes, customization options and unlockables to keep you coming back for more.
If you're planning to buy one beat-em-up this year, make it this one.
+ Same old slick Tekken gameplay.
+ Tagging combos are awesome.
+ Seamless online experience.
+ Ridiculously big roster of characters and customization options.
- Relies heavily on online modes.
- No sign of a proper story mode.