REVIEW: Tekken Hybrid
is a 3-in-1 bundle that is quite unlike any other fighting game release to
date. The single Blu-ray disc contains all of the following: A remastered HD
edition of the hit Playstation 2 version of Tekken Tag Tournament, the full CG
movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011), and an
early playable version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2... all for the budget price of
Blood Vengeance and TTT2 Prologue have a "3D"
option, for that small percentage of you who own a 3DTV. Both games also
feature trophy support, and there are 48 to collect in all.
Tekken Tag Tournament HD presents noticeably updated
textures and a
resolution that runs flawlessly at 60 fps. I actually never imagined Tekken
Tag HD would end up looking quite this sharp in 1080p.
Needless to say, it looks entirely different from the 1999 arcade
version and is a noticeable step above the groundbreaking PS2 version. Even though
the character models and animations are very outdated (11 years old), some of the
upgraded hit sparks could actually pass in a current-gen fighting game. Excellent!
Tekken Tag Tournament
in all of its former glory, and then some.
All of the PS2
version's modes and options are present, including the fan-favorite Tekken
Bowl Mode, Pair Play Mode, Theater, and Music Player. The lack of an Online Mode for TTT HD
is indeed disappointing, but at the same time, I can understand why Namco didn't
go through the trouble (firstly, because we probably won't have to wait much
longer for the console version of TTT2).
Tekken is a unique kind of fighting game, in the sense that every sequel
has upgraded the controls & gameplay system. While Tekken Tag's
gameplay was amazing for its time, it can be compared
to that of an "old" racing game. A superior sequel to a classic racing game obviously
has the tighter controls, options, and variety... just like the later
installments of Tekken.
With vastly smaller, less dynamic character movesets, TTT's gameplay is a simplified
guessing game and certainly can be deemed "old school". Any legit Tekken player would tell you that TTT1 is a less
technical gameplay experience than you'd get from any newer installment
like Tekken 5: DR or Tekken 6 (both of which you can currently
play online). Even though I still play it and consider it a fun game, I'd call TTT's gameplay a bit "stiff" by today's
standards. (Don't get me wrong... I would've loved to rack up some win streaks with
those easy 2- & 3-hit "half life" combos). I suppose Namco wouldn't want "returning
players" to get too reacquainted with TTT's dated controls
and combo system by playing online, since
TTT2 is right around the corner and plays a lot more like Tekken 6.
Alas, I think the lack of Online Mode is possibly by design.
In any case, if you have some local friends that will still throw
down in Tag, then there are surely some good, nostalgic times to be had with TTT
HD. Getting together in
the same room to play a fighting game? Now that's old school!
An early playable version
of Tekken Tag 2? Sold.
Don't call it a demo.
. . Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Prologue is the title of the "early, fully playable version of TTT2". Prologue
features 4 playable characters, including: Kazuya,
Xiaoyu and Alisa Boskonovitch.
Each character has two outfits, including one Tekken Hybrid exclusive
outfit straight from Tekken: Blood
Vengeance. There are also 4 stages to check out (chosen at random). A Character Model Viewer is also included, which
allows you to view the in-game character models and stages using a free camera.
On that note, TTT2Prologue's graphics seem unpolished and there
is quite a bit of aliasing (jaggy edges), which is most noticeable on the darker
stages. Motion blur is in full effect and looks decent, but there's also an
occasional graphical "blurriness" during win sequences... and let's
just say it's not very flattering to the visuals. Overall, I was hoping Prologue
would look look a bit sharper, but hopefully Namco cleans up the rough edges
before the home release of TTT2.
Besides the Character Model Viewer and a bare bones Options menu, there's nothing
else unfortunately. A Practice Mode and a Command List would've been nice....
I guess Arcade Mode set on "Easy" will have to suffice as our
Practice Mode for now (it works pretty well, actually). Anyhow, those of us that have been anxiously waiting to get our hands on TTT2
have been relieved... for the moment at least... since TTT2 Prologue is
really a "tease" more than anything else.
Blood Vengeance contains
its fair share of awkward & WTF moments.
Now onto the final piece of this package, Tekken: Blood
Vengeance. After the horribly disappointing live-action Hollywood Tekken
movie (2010), Blood Vengeance seemed like it was going to finally
redeem the series on the big screen. Unfortunately... "Alisa and Xiaoyu's
Excellent Tekken Adventures" would've been a more appropriate title for
the movie. The
kooky, childish storyline revolving around the cute female duo took up way too
much CG time.
The visuals are downright beautiful, but arguably "wasted"
due to the movie's lack of action scenes, cool "Tekken-esk"
moments, and character variety. This movie had tons of potential, but due to the
director's odd storyline direction, setting, and pacing, it didn't quite
live up to the hype.
Director Dai Sato claimed that he
wanted to make the film "something that first-time viewers or people new
to the Tekken franchise could relate to"... but seriously? Why not
please the long-time Tekken fans first and foremost?
Also, why introduce a new character (Shin) when there are already over 40 in the Tekken
series that they could've used? And why build him up as a prominent
character, just to have him die a melodramatic, pathetic death at the end?
Bad storytelling. . .
On the bright side, the
Japanese scenery in the movie is beautiful; the fight scenes are entertaining; and the
overall animation is excellent, especially those close-up facial expressions.
The bonus features are decent, the highlight of which being a sit-down interview
with producer Katsuhiro Harada and the director of Blood Vengeance, Dai
Sato. A few interesting topics are brought up in the "Special
Discussion," as Tekken producer Harada asks Dai Sato some of the
questions that most Tekken fans would likely ask as well. And in a
way, it almost seems like Dai Sato is making a sort of "excuse" for
his odd angle on the Tekken storyline.
I definitely don't agree with the director's
interpretation of Xiaoyu & Alisa as being "weaker" characters....
Xiaoyu has been kicking all kinds of ass since Tekken 3, and Alisa is a
cyborg with chainsaw arms and cybernetic wings with jets.
Yeah... "weak" isn't really the first word that comes to mind. I'm surprised Harada and the Tekken team didn't have more to do with the
film... especially since it's apparently made by "Namco Pictures". In
the movie appears to be someone else's take on Tekken, and not from the
perspective of an honest Tekken fan or someone who is familiar with prominent events in the Tekken storyline.
I wouldn't call it a failure... but I could go on all day about how much better
it could've been.
For those that want to spend a little extra on Tekken Hybrid, the Limited Edition contains
an artbook featuring artwork from the game & Tekken: Blood Vengeance, 2
full length music CDs with fan-favorite tracks from TTT & TTT2,
and PlayStation Home content such as Tekken themed costumes and
accessories. Namco is even offering an Extreme Edition on their official
store, which comes with an exclusive, top-quality Namco Fight Stick by
Mad Catz, limited to 1000 copies.
is a reasonable package and pretty much a must-buy for any Tekken
fan, anyone who doesn't plan on putting some quality time into TTT2 Prologue
or TTT HD may just want to wait for the upcoming console release of Tekken Tag 2.
The full length CG movie is a generous add-on "bonus" to the package; but as a stand
alone movie, it falls short.
Being able to play the TTT2 gameplay engine early is well worth
the price of admission for most Tekken players. I find TTT2's
combo system to be incredibly fluid and fun; Tag Assaults add an entirely
new level of complexity and there are countless combos to be discovered
(even with only 4 characters). There's no excuse not to
be a master of Devil Jin, Devil Kazuya, Ling and Alisa before the
official release of TTT2!
On a side note, I'm not a fan of the "re-designs" of Devil Jin and
Devil Kazuya from Blood Vengeance, but thankfully their TTT2
character models are selectable.
Overall, I was hoping for a bit more out of Hybrid, but all in all, it's a
solid collection and also one of the most impressive uses of the spacious
Blu-ray format to date. I'm actually pretty impressed with Namco for putting
this out, especially since they're
already busy patching arcade TTT2, working on console version of TTT2,
finishing up Tekken 3D: Prime Edition, planning Tekken X Street
Fighter, and planning Tekken Wii-U. In any case, get ready for more Tekken!~TFG