Yeah, I felt I had to do this. Given I am (was?) a huge Tekken fan and played semi-competitively, I have to throw something out about the latest installment.
TTT2 is the only game in the main Tekken franchise I haven't yet bought - this will change soon - but I've played it to death against my friends and experimented extensively with many of the characters. This absolutely doesn't give me any insight into how the game stacks up at the competitive level, but I have at least played it and it presents several talking points.
I have about 7 journal tabs open, so I might as well knock this one out quickly.
First thing first: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a lot of fun. It's a decent fighting game for parties and friends. There's a large collection of characters, some of them new, with new attacks and many characters are entirely re-invented; a far cry from the original Tag Tournament game which barely introduced anything new.
Therefore, I consider it a valid addition to the Tekken franchise, not merely a cash-in while we wait for the "next real game." It's certainly fun, and has a character customization feature a la Tekken 6's.
If you like Tekken or fighting games in general, TTT2 is worth the cost. There's not much to say here, there has never been a trashy Tekken game.
However, it provides me a launchpad for discussing a few issues prevalent in gaming that I feel needs to be discussed.
The first thing that's annoying me in TTT2 is the "Rage" system - this has been in previous games (T6/T6.1DR) and its very nature makes me, well, enraged.
When you (T6) or your team-mate has taken enough damage, you gain "rage" which means that your attacks do considerably more damage - it is a "catchup" mechanic.
Another example of a catchup mechanic is something I'm sure you've noticed if you play any racing games: if you're winning, notice how the computer controlled racers suddenly get impossibly faster and make zero mistakes, to always keep you on the edge of your seat? Meaning that, despite your skill or how well a race is going, a single mistake can cost you a win and make you ultra pissed off?
Now, let's get this clear: catchup mechanics are fucking stupid and don't belong in any game ever. Especially not competitive games.
It's less absurd in TTT2 than it was in T6 (it means that you need co-ordination and strategy between the two players on a team, and means a single player is unlikely to dominate two opponents by themselves), but I have a special place of hatred in my heart for anything like it.
Let's look at T6 for a moment here. In Tekken, rounds go by very fast; damage is simply very high, especially when you factor in counter-hits. Too fast, honestly - the longer a "match" is, whatever game or sport we're discussing here, the more a skill gap becomes clear. The more it all averages out.
This is a common complaint about Tekken in general - people who pick up the games with ZERO experience can absolutely defeat players who have got quite a lot of experience under their belt. This is less true with actual competitive players, for the record. Let's get that clear. Aside from bad luck or confusion due to erratic behavior from the beginner, a "master" will generally thwomp a "noob" without effort. Regardless, longer round times in Tekken really should be the norm for competition.
The Rage system means that a simple slip-up or instance of bad-luck can cost you the match, despite you being the superior player. It's the culmination of everything wrong with the "catchup" mindset. In a game where an effective juggle -> okemi can decimate an entire health-bar (fuck you, Heihachi), ANY form of damage increase is unnecessary and can actually lead to a situation where a player is winning, dominating their opponent throughout 80% of the round, but the opponents gets one lucky launch on them while under the effect of "Rage" and the increased damage on the juggle instantly kills the enemy.
Let's imagine a basketball game. The Clippers are 35 points up. They're winning, because they're the better team (hi Lakers fans!). With such a lead, and only a minute remaining in the game, the Wolves manage to get the ball after an opposing player accidentally knocks it out of bounds.
No problem, right? 60 seconds to go, massive lead to the Clippers, nothing can possibly go wrong for them. At best, what, the Wolves can get a three pointer or two? A free throw? Ah, but the ball has been replaced with a volatile mass of toxic biochemicals. The Wolves manage to get into the paint, set up a good layup and fucking pow the ball explodes and kills everyone wearing a Clippers jersey the instant it hits the ring. Because, catchup mechanic.*
Okay, I'm taking the piss. I'm allowed to be facetious. I understand the Rage system is part of the overall strategy in a game like Tekken, but it can seriously fuck off. If someone is winning, it's because they are better. If not, then fix the game, because it's broken. Don't give the person losing a "chance" to catch up, they already have equal chance to other person because the game is fucking fair. They started off under the same rules and wearing the same gloves. They're losing for a reason. If anything, the Rage system unbalances the game even more by giving S-tier + characters even more damage potential for their unstoppable juggles.
Maybe a pro-player can argue against me quite validly, but I personally don't like the system. I feel it's akin to making players do more DPS in WoW the worse their raid is performing. To making shittier players have auto-aim in Counter-Strike. To giving a player with less chips an extra two cards to make a hand in a poker game.
As a result, it actually makes it worse for casual/beginner players, because it's exploitable and, even if it is not, and is a valid part of the game's strategy, it's just an extra layer of confusing shit to deal with. Since when did "losing" become a winning strategy? Gah!
The biggest problem here, however, is not the Rage system but the low amounts of health by default in most Tekken games. This is extremely frustrating, and perhaps is the single biggest criticism of the franchise - even from a winner's perspective. Catchup mechanics are just a major annoyance, whether in fighting, racing or FPS games.
Though that's not to say that the opposite is better - Modern Warfare, I'm looking at you with your "kill streak" bullshit.
Anyone have any thoughts on the matter? This is just a random journal to distract from the more serious journals I have in the waiting. Just some fun.
However, seriously though, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is well worth the purchase, even if you're a casual player. If you're a fan of the franchise, buy it and play around. Lots of characters, lots of variety, it's just fun. Go nuts.
* -- More realistically, the Rage system applied to basketball would mean that scoring would be increased by 50% because you were initially losing. This is still bullshit, and not fair. Sorry, but things can be fair and still result in someone getting crushed and fucked over.
For those who care, I play Jin, Asuka and Jun - I'm very excited to see Jun re-invented (again). Though I know she's not a high-tier character, I still love her. Jun was literally the first Tekken character I ever played, on the demo of Tekken 2 when I was roughly eight years old. Even to this very day I use the moves I learned when my balls hadn't yet dropped to win matches.
Tekken has been a part of my life since then, something I always kept up with, and the "Tag Tournament" games have always been wonderful, because they let me revisit characters with huge nostalgic value.