Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review

Just picked up Tekken Tag Tournament 2 from Data Blitz the other day on launch. There has been a lot of good feedback from many gamers the world over about its netcode. Well, those gamers are in first-world countries so their connections are much better than ours over here in the Philippines, where our major telecommunications providers won't even interconnect with each other because of their business interests. Fighting game network code has not been so great for many games now, but the most recent releases like VF5FS and Persona 4 Arena have proven that it really is possible to have good online matches with fighting games.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 represents the next big evolution in online network play for fighting games. It comes with a ton of extra features just for online mode, include a detailed statistics-collecting website that connects with your game to let you know more about your own personal progress. It's a step in the right direction for the genre. While it is true that fighting games as a whole face a big challenge when it comes to inviting new players, part of their appeal really comes from learning how to play. If Starcraft and League of Legends can get away with having a high learning curve, then surely fighting games should be able to as well. TTT2 does provide some good training features which should help new players learn the game, but the effort will still come from the players themselves if they want to become good at it.

So the other night, my online pass for TTT2 finally worked. I finally got to try this game's netcode, and I'm happy to report that the hype for TTT2's online play is well deserved. As you know I'm playing from the Philippines which isn't really the best when it comes to online connections. But surprisingly Tekken Tag Tournament 2 works very well online even here! It's slightly better than VF5FS in terms of handling latency, and it's right up there with Persona 4 Arena, too. So have developers finally figured out the magic formula to make network fighting games work? TTT2 seems to indicate that they have. It will probably take a few more days of play to be certain about this, but I do know that when I logged off last night from PSN after several matches, with my Lars/Christie team (and note that I don't have a lot of experience in Tekken---i just used some basic skills....)....I really enjoyed myself playing. It was a very good experience. I'm glad for Namco and it's great that they aren't treating their players like ATM machines when it comes to providing DLC. All their DLC is free for players that pre-ordered, and supposedly if you don't preorder the secret characters will unlock eventually (not sure about that, but I do know they promised never to charge for their extra characters).

It's really unfortunate that Capcom didn't have this same level of post-release success with SFxT. With their DLC fiasco and all the controversy leading up to the launch of their game, I guess Namco was just smart enough (from a business perspective) to capitalize on their mistakes. Gamers can be harsh with their opinions on company business practices with their game releases, but in this case, Namco proved that  there's no harm in working for the best interest of the players.

I guess the only thing that detracts from TTT2's launch is that horrible IGN review that came out this week. It was really unfair and to say that the game is 'too hard to learn for most players' is just not right. Have they played Starcraft online? That isn't a fighting game but it can be downright brutal, and most players who don't practice a little will get their clock cleaned in 2 minutes. It's part of the territory when it comes to the fighting game genre to know how to play them.

Let's hope TTT2 will sell well despite that lousy review from IGN so that Namco's business guys can get some affirmation that they did a great job with how they handled this game's release, and how they listened to the players with improvements to the online game, and their approach towards DLC. Supporting games like Tekken is probably the only way to stop most game developers from DLCing every bit of content in future titles. Case in point, with Resident Evil 6, most of the extra modes are paid content that will come out post-release. Most probably it's done content that they just want to release to pad out their profits....*sigh* This type of practice just has to stop; vote with your wallets!