2/13/12 - AOU, TTT2, and you
Post date: Feb 14, 2012 1:58:50 AM
Last week it was announced that TTT2 would be receiving an upgrade to be announced at AOU 2012. As TTT2 isn't canon and Bana Pass/Tekken-Net is an integral part of arcade TTT2, as well as console TTT2 to be released "Holiday 2012", it was presumed that there would be no "major" updates apart from probably new costumes, customization, balance changes, and such. That was until Harada replied on twitter that upcoming update would be "more" than BR (source).
Looking at the transition from vanilla T6 to Bloodline Rebellion (BR) brought significant balance changes such as lower wall damage by speeding up wall slump, an overall reduction in damage potential, as well as engine changes such as the inclusion of motion blur. It also brought two new characters, Alisa and Lars, who (all things considered) were decently balanced and fit well into Tekken.
Now I love the idea of balance changes and overall fixes, such as a character wide reduction in airborne combo damage. Inclusion of a few more maps would be nice as well, the "training" map is a great use of stage gimmicks and I'd like to see a few more two gimmick maps, rather than the one gimmick per map that we tend to see now. What I don't like is the idea that we'll probably being seeing two new characters in the next major update. I'm all for keeping Tekken decently complex (and a massive list of characters certainly does help) but I don't believe that this is needed so soon.
At 42 characters TTT2 is the largest lineup in Tekken history. Looking at special moves and throw, excluding "normals", that comes to roughly 7350 attacks to learn how to defend against (and many times punish accordingly). Although recognizing attacks is only half the battle, the other half is spacing, character strengths & weaknesses, stage positioning, health management and now "rage meter management". If Namco's trend of adding two new characters per major patch, we're looking at an additional 350 special moves to learn and even more strengths & weaknesses. When a major part of a game's learning curve is simply the amount of characters and the sheer number of unique special moves, adding more is not the solution to grabbing newer players.
As SFxT was originally being shown off, there was the potential to be a mass exodus in the FGC, this compounded even further with the introduction of hundreds of gems (many of which to be DLC) that could be used to give newer players a fighting chance. To be fair, in hindsight, it was a bit of over-reaction from the FGC, although Capcom is still working on making gems more workable for tournaments. All of a sudden TTT2 looked really good when compared to its main competitor. This was the perfect time to strike. "Hey guys, you're always welcome here at camp Tekken, check this out!" proclaimed Namco. "That's pretty cool," replied the FGC, "I think I'll give TTT2 a try," and that literally should have been it.
Don't get me wrong. I love TTT2, just as I loved BR, just as I loved DR, just as I loved TTT. I personally like how nearly all of the cast is tournament viable and in a large scale tournament will be fairly unpredictable what characters you'll be fighting against. This is even more the case as different partners can help reduce or cover the deficiencies of your main/point character. What I am saying is that with the added rage meter management, the addition TA! (on top of launch~5 if someone's never played TTT), B! (from T6), and W! (new to those who played TTT and before) the game has a decent amount of mechanics to learn and master, two new characters (as well as the three more added in TTT2) aren't helping the problem out. All of which makes the game, in effect, less accessible.
Now I must commend some of the people at Namco for trying to help beginners, the "Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Beginner's Guide" (a booklet that introduces system and attack/guard basics to complete beginners for post Tekken 6 mechanics) is definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the console release of TTT2. We'll see though.