E3 2012 is finally in the books. I’ve been going to E3 for ~10 years now and this was the first time that I really did not care to browse the show floor much. I spent most of all 3 days at the Namco booth in front of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. This year was, by FAR, the largest booth Tekken has ever had at E3. Giant 40 ft screen showing top players playing the game on a stage with a badass DJ, awesome center stage based on the TTT2 Arena stage, Ferrari and Lamborghini with Tekken skins, girls of Tekken cosplay etc. Outside of the venue, buses were covered in Tekken skins and there was even a giant Tekken Tag 2 banner on the Convention Center itself. Namco is obviously pushing Tekken harder than ever before, and with good reason. Tekken Tag 2 is shaping up to be the biggest Tekken release ever. A big thanks to FilthieRich for getting members of the Tekken community involved in the event as well. Here are my thoughts on the event and the game.
As a tournament player, I don’t really care one way or another about his involvement. As a marketing move though, this was brilliant. They brought him out in person on Day 1 of E3, showed off the new Snoop Dogg stage in the game, and debuted the music video that featured USA’s top Tekken players. At first I was like ‘THIS is their announcement? No new characters etc?! Lame!‘ – Then I realized, it wasn’t meant for the fans of the series. Having Snoop Dogg that involved with the game brought in TONS of MEDIA coverage FOR the game. Every media outlet was talking about Snoop Dogg being at E3 for Tekken Tag Tournament 2. If Namco had just said ‘heres 2 new characters!’ the general gaming media would have just overlooked it. Sure enough, day 2 and 3 the booth was packed with people trying out/covering the game, so I think it was a great idea.
I spent some time running through Fight Lab. It seems like its designed to be a basic introduction to the juggle and sidestep system of Tekken. Not sure how much deeper it will go in the final build, but its interesting and should give brand new players some insight into how the juggle system works. Its definitely a system that you could add on to and make super deep so I’m interested to see how far they actually push it. If they integrate some kind of combo tutorial system PER CHARACTER as well that would probably help immensely. Something like – general open stage combo, wall carry combo, and wall combo per character.
A lot of people have been asking me about the graphics and I feel like its a step up from Tekken Hybrid. Jaggies aren’t nearly as apparent as they were on Hybrid. It wont be arcade perfect, but it looks pretty damn good. From the Tekken booth you could see the Dead or Alive 5 big screen and TTT2 was much more attractive. There were some frame rate drops on the new stages in certain areas, but I assume they just havent finished working on them yet.
The Snoop Dogg stage looks to be about the size of the Arena stage with walls. If you’ve seen the videos you know its a pretty flashy stage reminiscent of the High Rollers stage from Tekken 6. It looks like Snoop Dogg stands up from his seat when someone gets juggled so thats pretty cool. Overall, its a good looking stage. The Brazil stage looks MUCH better than Tekken 6′s jungle stage. Sand from the floor gets on the characters. The top level is pretty large and it has the one breakaway wall that goes downstairs to the Fight Lab stage (kind of weird that Brazil/jungle leads to Fight Lab, but whatever) its one of my new favorites.
Kunimitsu and Angel
I’m not going to go into detail about the moves the characters have since thats been covered plenty, but I will say that Kunimitsu is a very interesting character. I thought they were just going to make her a cheap clone, but she really feels like a full new character with a lot of unique tools. Her ub+3 is a jump that also sidesteps. Her u+3 lets her jump over someone completely. She has a backturned low, a command dash and a bunch of evasive moves, on top of a lot of the moves she had in TTT1. Angel at first glance is more of a clone character (Devil Jin), but she has tools like safe twin pistons (that launches crouchers on regular hit btw), a new command dash, and new strings that make you change the way you approach the character offensively and defensively. After the few days we had, it was clear that there was still a lot of potential for both Kunimitsu and Angel.
In the build we had access to a lot of the menus were greyed out, however we did see some interesting things in there. For one, there is something called “Tekken Tunes”. Under Offline Play, there was the option for Pair Play enabled but we didn’t have controllers to use it. In the Pause menu there is now an option for “Character Select” (credit goes to Aris for spotting this one)
Solo Mode Should Not Be Banned Initially
Whoa, where did this come from. Its already been banned in Korea and soft-ban in Japan right? I still believe there is potential for this mode to be tournament viable, ESPECIALLY if Namco modifies it with some minor rebalancing before console release. The largest complaints from most people seems to be that the damage boost for solo is too high and the multiple netsu/rage activation. With Namco introducing new characters for console and requiring Tekken-Net for all arcades, I think another patch to the game is going to be a requirement. Personally I don’t feel like the multiple rage activation is a major problem since you can turtle them out, but I would suggest the half life rage activation be lessened in duration (if 10 seconds now, maybe 8?). When going against a solo player, teams should be using more tag buffered combos and less Tag Assault combos. This way you reduce more of their red life and prevent them from getting rage more often. They may also have to consider different % dmg modifiers per character in solo mode. Whatever the case though, if patched, I think solo mode has potential for tournament play still.
When we had the location test for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 a lot of us felt like it was more or less Tekken 6 Tag. With TTT2 Unlimited, we got a rebalancing and solo mode and it felt more balanced and interesting. Now with these new characters and stages, it looks like the game is shaping up to become the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 that EVERYONE wanted.
At the end of day 2 of E3 we got to talk a bit with Michael Murray. I asked him if the additions to console will be patched into arcades and he said that its possible if they want it, but that he doesn’t know if the demand for characters like Kunimitsu/Angel is as high over there. I also asked about the extra spots on the character select screen and he avoided the topic by saying they could just be space for random boxes and combots or something. We’ll have to wait and see I guess.
We got to play Kunimitsu and Angel at E3. We know Ancient Ogre and Michelle are on the horizon. We still have Evo and Comic-Con before the games release, so I expect we’ll be seeing more and more characters leading up to the release of the game. The next couple of months are going to be awesome.