Fun fact for you today. It’s taken nearly 18 years for a Tekken game to appear on a Nintendo home console. No, I’m not counting Tekken Advance. That’s not the same thing. But patience has paid off, and perhaps one of the greatest Tekken games of all time has arrived on Nintendo’s shiny new box.
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me say this by now, but since Tekken Tag 2 was already released several months ago, this review will focus on the differences between the already-released versions and the Wii U version. If you want a quick refresher on why I think Tekken Tag 2 might be the greatest fighting game of the year, I encourage you to read my initial review before continuing on. It’s okay, I’ll wait.
But yes, children, the Tekken franchise has finally made its way to a Nintendo console, and from the moment the release was announced fans were coming up with ideas for unique ways that players can use the GamePad to their strengths.
The Wii U Edition of the game sports many of the same features as the other console releases. You can still jump into any of the arcade, survival, time attack or practice modes. You can still fire up the Fight Lab in order to learn the intricacies of the fighting mechanics and figure out why you’re getting your ass handed to you, and you can still customize characters to your liking to look even more intimidating or harmless and hilarious. The Wii U Edition even manages to maintain much of the same high-quality visuals that the console versions do, although the occasional low-res texture does still pop up.
The GamePad brings with it a few unique features to the already great game. Players can press a quick section of the screen in a pinch in order to pull off certain special moves. It should also be noted that the same effect can be accomplished by holding the left trigger and hitting one of the four face buttons. This whole mechanic isn’t as smooth in practice as you’d think, since the high-speed combat of Tekken usually requires constant concentration on the fight instead of what’s in your hands. I suppose one could use muscle memory in order to perfect this technique if they really wanted.
The game also features a handful of custom Nintendo-themed alternate costumes for every single character in the game. It’s hilarious to see Panda fighting as Princess Peace or your custom Combot fighting in full Ganon armor. A few of these objects have also made their way to the customization mode. Players can also now draw custom designs in customization mode using the GamePad, which is sort of neat.
The Wii U Edition also brings about the return of one of the fanbase’s most favorite modes, and an all new one inspired by Nintendo. The Wii U Edition sees the introduction of Mushroom Battle, and the return of Tekken Ball.
Mushroom Battle is probably exactly what it sounds like. There are different mushrooms floating around all over the place. Some of them make your fighter bigger, others smaller. You can use these mushrooms in order to gain an advantage or disadvantage. Get bigger and your hits will do a bit more damage, but become too big and your blows will fly right over your opponent’s head. Likewise for being small, hits will do more damage to you, but it’s easier to dodge certain attacks. It’s a neat little mode that won’t make a big different to a competitive circuit, but it’s something to get people to play together at parties or something.
This game also marks the return of Tekken Ball, the deadliest game of volleyball you’ve likely every played. Players take turns hitting a ball back and forth, and take damage if the ball hits the ground on their side of the court, or a fighter gets hit by the ball. The goal is to play until your opponent is knocked out. Again, it’ll never be a big deal to the competitive crowd, but all of these extra modes provide nice little distractions to the overall serious tone of your typical fighting game community.
If nothing else, the game runs just as smoothly as the console versions, which is surprising given the supposedly slower processor. The loading screens stutter a bit, but I suppose no one ever got angry at loading screens dropping in framerate.
Online is just as smooth, thankfully. Although it took quite a while in order to actually get into a match. This problem happened occasionally on the other console versions, but the wait time is longer on Wii U. To be fair, this is probably more because the community isn’t that big yet. Although, I question whether it ever will be. People on the professional level with the fighting game community will likely never see the Wii U as a serious platform for a serious game, and Tekken has a bit of a high learning curve for players that haven’t been into the game before, so Tekken on Wii U might have a difficult future.
Regardless, if you’ve been dying to play a game in the series and have only owned Nintendo consoles all your life, Tekken Tag 2 on Wii U will hold you over. Just don’t expect to be taken seriously among the rest of the fighting game crowd.
This review is based on a Wii U copy of the game provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.