Tekken Hybrid Review
After dominating Tekken 6 (like a boss), I was kind of eager to see what Namco had next in line for the ongoing fighting series. Yeah, it relies heavily on the tap-tap combos, I get that. Some of the characters – looking at you, Paul Phoenix – can’t be taken seriously, but there’s still something ludicrously fun about it. While next year will obviously bring big things for the series between the release of Street Fighter x Tekken and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, we have Tekken Hybrid, a decently priced sampler platter that gives you plenty to feast on this holiday.
The package consists of three main parts – Tekken Tag Tournament HD, a Tekken Blood Vengeance movie, and an interactive demo (of sorts) for the upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2, co-titled Prologue. Let’s review each one separately, shall we?
First, let’s look at the movie. Tekken Blood Vengeance is right about on the same level as the animated Resident Evil: Retribution movie. The plot is a silly mess (as expected), but never to the borderline point of, say, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. That said, the fight scenes actually look great, and the character modeling is top notch. Furthermore, the film kind of pays a service to fans and gives hints as to who could be included in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 next year. Plus, I’ll say it, it looks incredible in 3D. Besides, it’s not nearly as cheesy as, say, the live-action Tekken. (Though I’d still watch that any day of the week, provided the right amount of alcohol was involved.)
Now, moving on to Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue. This is essentially a heavily loaded demo, featuring various stages from the sequel and four playable characters. Sadly, none of them are King, but you do get an idea of the character balancing, how smoothly you can “tag” a partner in and out, and, most importantly, how amazing the new models look. This thing is awesome in 3D, though it can be a little distracting when all you want to do is get a close look at whoever you’re pounding your fists into. But no matter. Namco’s got some great tech going into this new engine, and it’s definitely worth a look – even without online play.
Finally, there’s Tekken Tag Tournament HD. There was some slight disappointment with this game at first, as it requires a separate install (like Prologue) and doesn’t support 3D. However, after getting into a few matches, we forgot about those little issues and focused on the fighting action that hooked us so well back in the original heyday of the PlayStation 2. The backgrounds and characters look wonderful in HD, and you’ll see a few familiar sights, such as the cool Sky stage or the rainy street, where the lights pour down and illuminate the action. The soundtrack has been retained and simply rocks. The gameplay is great, too. If you didn’t like it then, you probably won’t now. If that was the case – why are you reading this again?
One notable inclusion in this package that I can’t overlook is Tekken Bowl. This was a huge mini-game that made its way into the original TTT and returns here, looking better than ever. It’s hilarious watching these guys line up and try to knock down Heihachi-modeled trophies, especially when you’ve got a panda scoring three strikes in a row. This is an ideal party game that deserves to take up some of your free time.
Still, Tekken Hybrid isn’t quite perfect. It would’ve been nice to see more characters in Prologue, and, again, the lack of online play might be a deal breaker for some, especially considering that both Tekken 6 and the downloadable Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection featured it.
Regardless, for $40, you get a lot of fighting goodness here. While Blood Vengeance is hardly a memorable video game movie, it’s a fun ride. Also, it’s good to have Tekken Tag Tournament back, especially in HD. Prologue really gives you an idea of where the future of Tekken is headed – even if the gameplay is slightly stuck in the past. Tekken Hybrid is a pretty good snack that’ll hold you over till the madness that hits us next year. “Chicken!”