Touted as the “ultimate” Tekken package, Tekken Hybrid is a PS3 compilation BluRay featuring a High-Def remake of the 1999 released Tekken Tag Tournament, a preview of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and a full feature-length movie about the Tekken world.
Before the player can begin, both Tekken Tag Tournament HD and TTT2 need to be installed to the harddrive as neither titles can be played from the disc before you can get on with the kicking and punching – though you will need the disc in the drive if you want to play the game at any future point.
On booting TTT, there is a massive nostalgia feeling, but perhaps disappointingly (or undisappointingly if you’re on the lazy side) everything in TTT is unlocked from the start, game modes being available are Arcade, Local VS, Team Battle, Time Attack, Survival and Practice. In the original PS2 version the player had to work at unlocking the additional characters (giving a choice of thirty-two fighters eventually) and the sublime Tekken Bowling (a ten-pin bowling game Tekken style). Here the player can simply jump into these from the start, so the reward for dedication to the game is lost. There are trophy awards that will take a while to get through, but it’s not really a substitution. At least they’re not being offered as DLC extras.
One big omission from the remake is the lack of online play, a real shame given how fluid the game moves and responds. For any PvP action you’ll need to have a mate round for local battles, but at least you won’t have to worry about lag.
This fluidity blends in well with Tekken’s fighting engine, allowing the player to control the limbs of their chosen warrior using the four face buttons. Some might say there’s less finesse to Tekken than say Virtua Fighter, but perhaps this just makes it more accessible. There are still plenty of long combos to master and juggling is an art form, but with the number of characters in the roster, it makes sense to concentrate on one or two with a fighting style you get on with.
TTT has accepted the HD upgrade gracefully, and although detail is still a little lacking in the textures, the higher definition models make for a smoother looking game. The higher resolution is particularly noticeable in the background where details such as graffiti on buildings are readable whereas before they were a bit of a blurry mess. Some arenas are more detailed than others, and it’s still not at the polygon level of some of the current gen 3D-fighters, however, this is a game that’s over ten years old now, so think of it more as a Botox treatment than a complete transplant.
The TTT2 preview is pretty limited in scope, and seems like a tack-on to pad out the Hybrid package a bit – if you own a 3DTV you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the added depth given via this feature, but you’re not punished for lacking this gear. There are four playable characters to choose from: Alisa, Devil Jin, Kazuya and Xiaoyu, across two stages in arcade mode. For the more voyeuristic, there’s a model viewer allowing you to get up-close and personal with the two female characters and their opponents, just so you can appreciate Namco’s attention to detail.
The step up in graphic fidelity for TTT2 is a little disappointing, and it definitely isn’t living up to its arcade brethren currently (and maybe not quite up to Tekken 6 levels). It should be noted however, that this is only a beta representation, so little really can be gleamed from this demo as to the final looks; hopefully there will be more shine when the full game arrives very soon. There’s certainly far more going on compared to the original TTT however and it still has that familiar Tekken fighting feel, so the preview contains a promising future.
The final item in the Tekken Hybrid package is the feature film Tekken Blood Vengeance. The less said about the movie in this package the better – whilst it looks decent enough, the story really isn’t up to very much and it really starts to drag towards the end. If you can make it all the way through then you’ll be doing well.
With the three items on offer here, the “ultimate package” moniker really isn’t justified for this collection. In reality Tekken Hybrid is simply a remake of the classic PS2 launch title released in 1999. The TTT2 preview is little more than what most people would call a demo and the movie, is little more than fluff (Schindler’s List it’s not). For this to be an ultimate package, it would have been nice if at least Tekken 1-3 were included, even if these were the less feature rich arcade ports. That said Tekken Tag Tournament is exceedingly well polished and plays as brilliant as it did all those years ago just with a bit more shiny-shiny.
Tekken Tag Tournament feels fresh and sharp, even over ten years later, but it’s a pity that everything in the game comes unlocked as there’s less incentive to play the full roster of characters in order to open up the hidden characters or Tekken Bowling, but there will be those (lazy) people pleased by Namco’s choice. It can be easily picked up for under £20 now, so if you can’t wait for TTT2 to arrive or you were a big fan of the original, it’s definitely worth a look.