Fighting games have a pretty bad history when it comes to online multiplayer. Over the past few years the online modes have fluctuated from somewhat playable to downright unacceptable. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 breaks this mold entirely.
It’s easily the best online mode for a fighting game at launch.
This is the third time a Tekken game has had online functionality. It first started with Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection for the PS3 as DLC in 2007. The setup was pretty simple but it did a somewhat decent job for its time. It wasn’t anywhere near the same as playing offline though, and that’s quite a problem. Input delay and random lag spikes ruined more matches than not, even if you played someone relatively close by.
Tekken 6 released two years later and its online mode sometimes felt like a step backwards, especially before it was patched. Even after the patch it still had tons of problems.[drop]Namco listened to the feedback and optimized its highly praised netcode from Soul Calibur 5 specifically for Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
The online mode is even the very first option listed in the game now, which just goes to show you how seriously they are taking it this time.
The setup should be familiar to anyone who has played a fighting game before. You can test your skills in Ranked matches or you can play unranked Player matches with lobbies and spectator support.
There’s also a Replay Channel that lets you watch matches between other players much like Super Street Fighter IV.
Having played online for more hours than I’d like to admit, I have to say that I’m extremely impressed. I have yet to have a situation where I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve been able to punish attacks consistently and my combo timing hasn’t noticeably changed at all. Even throw escapes, which is something that’s already difficult to do offline, is possible to do on reaction.
Although it’s not perfect, it’s extremely impressive for a 3D fighter.
In Tekken Tag 2 you can create games or search for games based on various criteria such as Region, Language, and Voice Chat.
One of the best settings by far is the option to limit your opponents based on your opponent’s connection quality. Almost every match I’ve played over the past week has been a 5 bar connection because of this setting.[drop2]This lessens the chances of laggy matches and, as a result, my experience has been almost nothing but positive.
I’ve had a few matches where the connection dropped down to 3 or 4 bars mid match, but it wasn’t a frequent occurrence.
Some of the other customizable settings are pretty basic. In Ranked matches you can set limits to the ranks of your opponents. In Player matches you can modify the number of rounds in a match and change the time limit.
You can even set a win limit in lobbies so that players are forced to rotate after a certain amount of consecutive wins.
My favorite option is the one that allows you to play Practice Mode online with a friend. This is a feature I didn’t expect Tekken Tag 2 to have and I’m happy it’s there. The only other game to include such a feature right now is Street Fighter x Tekken, although Dead or Alive 5 will have the same option when it releases later this month.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s netcode is definitely a step ahead of the competition. It’s leagues better than previous Tekken titles and might be the best netcode for a 3D fighter yet. I can actually see online tournaments being a viable form of competition for this game. Obviously it’s still too early to make definitive claims so early but it’s still quite impressive.
Expect a full review of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 sometime soon. I’ll just say this now though, it’s really good.