While fighter fans continue to sit around flexing their fingers in anticipation of the upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2 game, Namco Bandai tosses their own can of gasoline on the embers of media hype with Tekken Hybrid, an HD and 3D remake the original Tekken Tag Tournament, as well as Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue; a playable sneak peek at their upcoming masterpiece. And if that wasnít sweet enough, they toss in a full copy of Tekken: Blood Vengeance; a stunning CGI feature film included on the Blu-ray 3D disc. So whether you want to relive old memories, prepare for new ones, or just enjoy a kickass movie, Tekken Hybrid is your one-stop destination for all things Tekken.
For many Tekken fans, Tekken Tag Tournament is still considered one of the best installments in the franchise and this HD remake is an awesome tribute to that game with great updated visuals and all the original content including fighters, their moves, awesome CG movies, energetic music, and the incredibly addicting Tekken Bowl mini-game. Best of all, the entire roster and the mini-game is unlocked from the beginning allowing you to jump right in and start playing your favorite characters without going through all that unlocking rigmarole.
While it has always been traditionally easy to button-mash your way through most Tekken games, Tag Tournament adds the challenge of putting you in charge of two fighters. The round ends if either character is KOíd, so you need to monitor your stats and switch out your fighters at just the right time, allowing the resting fighter time to recover strength in order to win most of the battles; especially in the later rounds. Itís a surprisingly deep system that will take a bit of practice, but in the end, Tekken Tag Tournament ends up playing more realistically than a lot of tag team wrestling games. While there is full support for up to four local players, there is no online option Ė not surprise considering the PS2 original didnít have it either, and adding net code to this legacy title would have required more effort and cost than they could have recouped in sales.
I had forgotten how much fun and how completely addicting Tekken Bowl was until I started playing this new HD remake. Much like the fighting game, each character has their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to bowling, so you need to put some serious thought into selecting your two-person team, usually creating a combo of strength and accuracy between the two fighters. With the recent rash of motion-controlled bowling games it was refreshing (and relaxing) to sit back and bowl ten frames from the couch with a DualShock.
For fans looking forward to the new Tekken Tag Tournament 2 game, the Prologue sneak peek gives you just enough of a taste with four playable characters; Devil Jin, Alisa, Xiaoyu, and Kazuya, and a few of the gorgeous new stages from the upcoming game. This demo does what a demo should and leaves you want more. The new fight moves and animations are so fluid and the tag throws are insane. Combined with next-gen visuals and sound, this fighter is going to rock the PS3 when it releases.
The final component to Tekken Hybrid is the movie. Blood Vengeance obviously takes up most of the real-estate on this Blu-ray disc since both of the games require hard drive installation before they can be played. We all love the cutscenes in Tekken games. For many of us, they are the primary motivation for playing through each characterís single-player story mode. Blood Vengeance does its best to create a feature-length film in the same style as these cutscenes, and while the plot wanders and flounders at time there is no denying the awesomeness of the visuals, the fighting, and the epic climax. The movie opens with an explosive faceoff between Anna and Nina Williams then settles down to focus on the main cast, who just so happen to be the playable characters in the Tekken Tag 2 demo, and a few surprising guests and cameos.
Technically, the HD remake of Tekken Tag Tournament looks good for what it is and stacks up there with the rest of these HD reboots the PS3 has been seeing lately. While not nearly as good as some of the more recent Tekken titles, the difference between this and the PS2 original is night and day. Perfectionist will find plenty of nits to pick with some of the character models and background updates, but the animations look great and the framerate is solid and once these characters are in motion you wonít have time to analyze the pixels. The 3D effect works pretty well in the game with minimal ghosting, but it is much more appreciated in the Blood Vengeance movie Ė truly one of the better 3D Blu-rays in my collection.
The audio is exceptional in the film with a powerful DTS surround mix and great LFE that had my subwoofer shaking during some of those fights. The HD remake of the game didnít get much of an improvement, and while the sounds and music content are all intact, it falls a bit flat on both spatial surround and overall quality. You can easily tell the difference when you start playing Tekken Tag 2 Prologue and hear just how far sound has come since the original.
Debuting at $40, Tekken Hybrid isnít a bad deal considering you are getting a feature film, an HD remake of a complete game, and a fantastic preview of a new one. Still, you have to be a pretty major Tekken fan to invest in this unique bundle that smacks of marketing hype Ė not that thatís necessarily bad. I think combining a movie and a game is pretty brilliant. I have a sneaking suspicion the price will drop to $30 soon enough making it an even better deal, so unless you are in a hurry, you might want to wait for a sale.
Regardless, Tekken Hybrid offers a fantastic movie full of action, suspense and great fighting, a cool HD blast from the past remake, and a glimpse of the future of Tekken that will delight all Tekken and fighting game fans, and you canít forget about Tekken Bowl; a game you will certainly be breaking out at you next gaming party.