Japanese gamers got a special pre-TGS treat this week, with the arcade version of Namco Bandai's Tekken Tag Tournament 2 released in select arcades around the country. We headed out to some Akihabara arcades to see the game in action and played a few rounds with local gamers. Below are our quick impressions, but a caveat--all of the menus we saw were in Japanese, so we unfortunately don't have a lot of fine detail yet about this anticipated sequel.
What we do know is that the game boasts an impressive character roster, with 44 available in the arcade version. The majority of Tekken favorites make a return, as well as a few surprising characters. Leading the list is Jun Kazama, the mother of series favorite Jin, who has been missing from the franchise for several games. While her official status in the Tekken universe has simply been "missing," she makes a welcome return in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, although we weren't able to find out (yet) what the story-based details are for her comeback.
In our arcade matches, we tried out classic characters such as Lei Wulong, Xiaoyong, Jack, and even newer entrants such as Lilli and Alyssa and found them to control much like in the most recent Tekken game, Tekken 6. Jun, however, seems to have somewhat of a new moveset, as some moves we distinctly remember from previous games (such as the original Tekken Tag) weren't responding. That said, the Japanese players we matched up against were fierce and relentless, so we didn't get much breathing space to experiment during our matches.
Our hands-on with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was brief today, but the impressive visuals did catch our eye. Interactive stages are back, with at least one stage we played featuring a breakable floor that characters could fall through. We're hoping to play more of this sequel later this week as the Tokyo Game Show kicks into gear, so expect more reports from GameSpot in the coming days.