Combining the past, present, and future of the Tekken series, Tekken Hybrid has finally been released to celebrate the franchise. This Hybrid is also pretty efficient as it includes Tekken Tag Tournament HD, a smidgen of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and the animated movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance all on one Blu Ray disc. Even though it is hard to get excited over all of the aspects of this release, it is a good reminder of one thing: Tekken is sure damn fun to play even after a little over a decade.
That’s right: a little over a decade. Tekken Tag Tournament was released over eleven years ago, but has returned here in glorious high definition and this new touch up has me impressed. Visually, it immediately looks sharp in its new coat of pretty HD sauce and loads ridiculously fast, but the controls are the most important. Kicking, punching, grabbing, and every other way to kick ass is still as fluid, responsive, and familiar as ever. I wasn’t sure how things would hold up on the gameplay side, but I was generally surprised on how enjoyable the combat still is after all these years. Jin’s Laser Scraper is still a killer way to start a lengthy juggle and Eddy Gordo’s annoying backflips and breakdancing still aggravate so everything falls into place just as you remember it. Given how highly regarded the original TTT is, this is a great thing.
Besides the regular Arcade mode (which does the smart thing and unlocks all of the fighters from the get-go), series’ staples like Time Attack, Survival, and Team Battle remained in tact, but the most thankful inclusion is bowling. Remember how it was funny to bowl with a panda and a robot man? Yeah, that’s still fun. Even though I think it was probably just originally thrown in there just for pure ridiculousness, it’s actually a decently fun diversion that can keep you away from Arcade mode for a few hours. I spent far too long trying to improve my bowling score, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Disappointingly lacking any sort of bowling bears, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue consists of the other half of the game part of the disc. What seems to be a glorified demo of the eventual Tekken Tag Tournament 2 proper, it’s hard to give it any sort of judgment as it just seems like a little treat on the side. There are only four fighters to choose from: a horrendously designed Devil Jin, an equally atrocious Kazuya, Ling Xiaoyu, and Alisa Bosconovitch and each remain basically unchanged from 2009’s Tekken 6. Or from what I could tell at least because of the shocking lack of any sort of viewable command list. I was astonished at this important omission because it discourages playing as one of the characters you aren’t familiar with. Luckily, I know enough about Devil Jin to become deadly so it wasn’t all bad, but others won’t be as lucky.
However, once I peeled away my rustiness at Tekken and blindly remembered some of my combos, I grew pretty attached to TTT2P. Combat is still the series’ strongpoint and having a tag system works in the game’s favor. Although the game does a horrendous job at explaining it to you, swapping characters mid-combo allows for longer, more satisfying juggles and bounds, giving that elusive Tekken juggle-based euphoria other games struggle to capture. I wasn’t too strong with my tag combos and grabs (again, due to lack of direction), but it definitely got me more excited to get my hands on the eventual release of the full game in 2012. I guess it did its job then, right?
How awesome does a Tekken movie sound to you? That was a trick question because it doesn’t actually sound awesome at all. I gave Tekken: Bloodline Rebellion a shot and sat through the whole thing. “Endured” might be a more fitting description because the whole production is rather poorly put together. Lip synching is horrendous, the plot is infinitely confusing, and the dialogue is cheesy and hammy (only needing bread to become a bad dialogue sandwich). Even though the bad heavily outweighs the good, there are some over-the-top fighting scenes that were the lone causes of my pulse rising above the normal sitting (and almost sleeping) rate. There are about three or four good combat scenarios that were genuinely exciting, but it didn’t help dig the movie out of its already deep hole.
Even though Tekken Hybrid was made for Tekken fans, I’d struggle to recommend it to most of them, at least at its current price. The HD-ified Tekken Tag Tournament and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue are great entries in the franchise, but the game’s asking price of $40 would have it hinge heavily on the movie. Given the film’s quality, it makes it extra hard to plunk down the cash for this package regardless of the strength of the games. A rental would easily satiate your need to play a fragment of the new Tekken along with feeding your nostalgia for the old. It did get me more excited to play some new, future installments in the franchise, although I’m not stoked to watch any sort of motion picture with the Tekken brand on it any time soon.
+Tekken Tag Tournament‘s fighting stands the test of time
+Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue is a neat taster of the game to come
+Bowling is still wacky fun
-A little too expensive for what you get unless you are really into all parts
-The included movie is bad, except for some intense fight scenes
-No viewable move list for TTT2 Prologue
Final Score: 7.5/10