By Greg Newbegin
I mentioned in my preview of Tank Tank! Tank! that there were two Wii U titles available to play at the Namco Bandai booth (and yes, I'm very jealous of all of you that will be heading off to EB Expo to play the many Wii U titles that will be on display at THAT particular show) - the second was the Wii U Edition of the recently released (and recently reviewed) Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
Originally, I was going to avoid this title, and focus more time on new, more flashy titles, but I soon realised that the Wii U edition of TTT2 was a lot more than simply a system port... So I gave it a shot - it was a short wait anyway.
Essentially, much of the game is as per Trent's review - sure, it's played on the GamePad (or Wii U Pro Controller), but it plays the same. Select one or two characters, battle, win, move on. However, there are unlockables and bonuses not available in other versions... And these are VERY Nintendo focused, which is a first for the series.
I played a mode that was much like a standard Tekken battle - I only selected a single character (Heihachi), from which I was able to select a costume (incidentally, I was able to select the costume on the GamePad, where I could see each costume as a button on the screen). I did choose the Mario costume, and I muyst say - Heihachi looks suitably ridiculous. In fact, it almost ruined it for me...
Almost. When the game started, and things began to play out, I found myself enjoying the bout just as much as I usually do a Tekken title. The controller buttons and analogue sticks responded appropriately, there was the right kind of feel in terms of character control, and the move set was unchanged. One thing I found a little bit off-putting was the fact the four special moves were mapped to soft buttons on the GamePad. It wasn't super easy to press these buttons on screen in the midst of battle,but it still seemed to take the complexity out of pulling off a special move, and that kind of takes away the "special" if you ask me. Still, in general, it played the same as a regular Tekken title (as it should), and that made me happy.
However... this particular mode also included a bunch of Nintendo powerups - all that appeared in my fight were mega mushrooms, which supersized the character that collected the power up for a limited time, giving them a size and power advantage over their opponent. This was really quite an interesting addition, but I found my game was soon over, and I was shunted off - yes, only a single bout was allowed per player.
Do these power ups carry over into the core TTT2 gameplay? No - this was a specific mode on display called "Mushroom Battle." Will players spend a lot of time in this separate mode? I guess it depends on what they get out of it - perhaps you can only unlock Nintendo-themed costumes by playing this mode.. But then again, once you've unlocked these items, do they carry over into the main title? This much is unclear. Still - it was a lot of silly fun to play, and if available for online battles, Mushroom Mode might make this version of TTT2 a little beefier than others.