In general, the arcade style fighter is a sub-genre plagued by inaccessibility. However, the newest blockbuster fighting game, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, could have been the first fighting game on the market to be thoroughly accessible to all players with disabilities. However, because of one glaring flaw, some disabled gamers may never have the opportunity to enjoy Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
I am speaking of gamers with fine-motor disabilities. This game should have been one of the most accessible fighters on the market for this group, because it not only includes dozens of characters with different strengths and weaknesses that will fit any play style, but also includes fully-remappable controls that even allow players to assign advanced combos to single buttons. This means that even if a player’s fingers cannot input multiple buttons at once, they can still perform punishing tag throws and lightning fast reversals.
However, even with this feature, the average player with a fine-motor disability will still struggle because the player’s movement is dictated by the D-pad, not by the more accessible joysticks. What is worse, there is no way to change this. As a result, when reviewing the game, I had to use my fight stick to progress through even the first chapter of the game’s fight lab mode, because it required specific movements, such as side stepping, which, when done on the D-pad, required a high amount of accuracy.
But because these kinds of quick movements on the D-pad are only required when in fight lab mode, playing the standard arcade matches should be a little bit easier, though movement will still be a challenge, especially on the PS3, where the D-pad is broken into four distinct buttons.
It is also a shame that players with fine-motor disabilities might miss out on the fight lab portion of the game, since this portion not only functions as a thorough tutorial on how to use the controls effectively, but also as a sort of creature-your-own-character experience.
If you’re like me, though, you won’t need a tutorial. You’ll just hop on the ladder and mash buttons until you figure out different characters. And this is still an effective and fun way to play Tekken, especially given the game’s penchant for hyper-responsive controls.
Gamers with auditory disabilities should definitely check out Tekken Tag Tournament 2 because the game includes nothing that would hinder such players from fully enjoying this game. The ironic thing is, because Tekken is very much a Japanese game, most of the characters speak in Japanese or other foreign languages, which are already subtitled when you first turn the game on. To change it so that the English speaking characters also have subtitles, all one has to do is go into the options menu and change the subtitles option from “On” to “Full.”
Similarly, there are very few barriers within this game that would bar players with sight disabilities. The only one worth mentioning is the dreaded mirror match, since the fighters are basically identical except for a slight change of color. But because there are so many fighters and because the computer tends to use non-standard costumes when playing the arcade ladder, in most cases it will be obvious which version of King you are using and which version of King the computer is using.
On the whole, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a reasonably accessible game. Both players with auditory and sight disabilities should be able to enjoy this title thoroughly. The only disappointment is that it seems like the developers at Capcom went half way to making this game accessible to players with fine-motor disabilities, including some features that make it massively more accessible than other competing fighter titles. But the reality is, without the option to use the joysticks for movement, players will either have to rely on a fight stick, or struggle through with the D-pad.
Please feel free to leave comments below the article that address your particular accessibility challenges with this game. If you feel there is a major omission in this review, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “revision” in the subject line. Please include specific details regarding anything we may have missed. If necessary, we will update our review based on your feedback.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Visual Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: PS3, XBox 360
ESRB Rating: T
GameInformer Score: 8.5