Tekken Tag Tournament 2's Fight Lab Will Make a Fighter of You

Learn the serious business of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 with the seriously silly Fight Lab.

When I was seven, I thought I might be best in the world at Chun-Li. Several years of online matches and adept friends have since set me straight, but back in the early '90s I had none of either. For all I knew, I was unbeatable at Street Fighter II and excellent at all fighting games.

That is the opposite of true, it turns out, and the current golden age of fighting games that began with Street Fighter IV has been the knockout blow to my delusions of adequacy.

In my defence, and as noted by resident fighting game savant Maxwell McGee, the genre tends to underserve inexperienced players. If it is to continue to grow, he wrote, it needs to better accommodate newbies and inexpert button bashers--and that begins with better training modes.

Dodge the sushi, ignore the bears.

The latest generation has made some inroads here, with Street Fighter X Tekken and BlazBlue's modes among the best efforts. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 stands to do likewise with Fight Lab: a peppy training suite with an encouraging dose of fun.

Here, you are given control of bucket-headed cyborg Combot, fighting under the tutelage of Violet. ("Don't just be a fighter, be an entertainer like myself!") The mauve-maned Lee Chaolan alter ego talks you through the basics of timing, aerial combat, and the like, coaching you gradually through longer chains and into the bound moves that smack an opponent to the ground mid-juggle.

You initially face off against a knight character in gold armour. Jingling coins ping out of him as you land blows, and a successful bound smackdown shatters his golden get-up to reveal nothing but red pants underneath.

The sense of silliness is compounded by the bears (Kumas) and pandas (Pandas) in ballerina gear doing a saucy fan dance in the background. If the effect is distracting, you can call it an exercise for honing concentration in the game proper.

Customise your Combot with other fighters' moves.

The tutorials progress into time-limited drills: skill-specific tests akin to minigames, whose daftness belies the fact you're methodically learning the fundamentals of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. A lardy man in a yellow jumpsuit pelts you with sushi and pizza, and you can only damage him with aerial combos. A knitted giant panda can only be damaged with bound moves. Likewise, Kuma (or a close cousin) in a tutu and fairy wings can only be seen off with a combination of your new techniques, training out the habit of button mashing or slapdash timing.

Combot's moveset and appearance can also be customised as you go, meaning players who clear Violet's brawling academy will graduate from Fight Lab with a customised character that can be used in offline and non-ranked online play.

Fight Lab is a welcome stab at accessibility in a necessarily technical genre, and if all the talk of accommodating Johnny-come-lately grinds the gears of those who learned the hard way, look at it like this: if post-arcade-era players have gotten soft and lazy, great tutorial modes can pick up the slack.

By training newcomers to a respectable standard, the genre gets the best of both worlds--a bigger, broader audience without having to compromise on tough, technical action. And I get to feel, as in the heady, pre-online days of Street Fighter II on the SNES, like I might be excellent at fighting games.

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Discussion

0 comments
SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Well written article and sounds great. Making me sway back into the "will purchase" camp!

kreegan64
kreegan64

I'm a newb level button masher of fighting games, and I want to find out how to get better, why? because I bought midway arcade treasures and can't even beat mortal combat 2 or 3 on their easiest levels, and if that's not a slap wake up call to reality of how much I suck, then I don't know what is.

joeKangaroo
joeKangaroo

As long as I don't have to play through a crappy single player mode in order to unlock characters to THEN play them in arcade. The endings are the best bit of Tekken imo.

ryogapower
ryogapower

as much as i love tekken and was once top 500 online on tekken 5, the news that this includes tekken 6's bound combo means i won't be buying, i'm sad to say :(

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

I am always glad Tekken tries out different things besides the arcade and versus mode. They always done this even if it is silly modes. I end up liking the game more because of it. Whether it was tekken bowl, Beach ball, The beat em up minigames, collectables costume pieces. The always have awesome extras. This game will be no different. Day one buy for me.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

learning launchers and combo's isnt going to make a noob any better. what tekken and other games need to put is a way to show people crushes and frame +/- on moves, punishers, bdc and other essential movements etc....anyone can do an aerial combo....but throwing a launcher not knowing its frame properties will end up being punished by vets...

 

nice attempts, but if you want people to be better at fighting games, they have to break down fighting games to things other than a moves and combo lists

pqwoei
pqwoei

Can't wait to get this with Dead or Alive 5!

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Fight Lab sounds like it might be what I've needed all along. I love beat-em-ups but I really do kind of suck at them. I can't wait to get back into Tekken with the kind of family feuds that put Eastenders to shame.

Jyakotu
Jyakotu

I'm glad Namco finally added some type of Training program for beginners of the series. Tekken is a very technical fighting game and spamming the same moves over and over won't help you. Nope, you need to learn how to sidestep, juggle, and more. I am so hyped for Tekken Tag Tournament 2.!

KickAsstley
KickAsstley

Got to say, I wasn't really interested in this game at all until reading this preview, but this sounds like a lot of fun, and might actually help me stop being terrible at fighting games. Consider it preordered!

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @jsmoke03 No, but it will help them understand the game a little better. Most newbs aren't gonna want to know what crushes and frame data do. Combos however is something they see and like. Trust me I know several newbs. I don't disagree at all with your point. Is just that most newbs don't wanna be better. They just wanna enjoy the game.