Tekken Hybrid PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer Namco Bandai – Genre – Fighting – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Being released within the PS2’s launch window, Tekken Tag Tournament is now over ten years old, so with a sequel on the way, Namco Bandai felt it was time to do what is popular these days and put together a HD upgrade which, unlike the PS2 version, doesn’t look like somewhat of a blurry mess on a lot of modern day TV’s. Tekken Hybrid features not only Tekken Tag Tournament HD, but is also comprised of a CG film and a sample of next year’s Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

Tekken Tag Tournament wasn’t canon in the series storyline, so dead characters came back to life, allowing you to assemble pairings that would otherwise have been impossible, Jin and his dead mother Jun for instance. The tag team element itself was fresh to the series, granting a twist to the otherwise familiar fighting mechanics.

It’s still focussed on ten string combos and the fighting, whilst pleasantly brutal, lacks the fluidity of the likes of Dead or Alive and Soul Calibur. Years later, it’s even more noticeable, though the version in Tekken Hybrid is the definitive PAL version, not only looking sharper but also running noticeably faster and lacking the big black borders that all too often plagued European conversations, and that these days are thankfully a thing of the past.

In terms of visuals, it hasn’t received an incremental upgrade, though it still looks competent enough , this lack of love is nevertheless disappointing and is further displayed with the lack of online play, which in this day and age is a bizarre omission to say the very least.

The tag team elements function much as you’d expect, though unlike other games, it only takes the KO of one team member for a round to be lost or won, so strategic switching of your characters is a must. You’re able to freely switch between your two chosen characters with the press of a button, at which point the character not taking part in the fight will slowly recover their health. You can also put together bigger combos with timely switching of your teammates and tag team manovoures are possible, which see the duo attacking in tandem with each other.

For many the main attraction of Tekken Hybrid will be the included Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue, which, in spite of its fancy name, is actually a simple demo, albeit with trophies. It offers four characters, Ling Xiayou, Alisa Bosconovitch, Devil Jin and Devil Kazuya. Unsurprisingly it features mechanics from both the original Tekken Tag Tournament, as well as the newest iteration of the series, Tekken 6. Fresh additions include Tag Assault combos, which sees both characters of a team attacking together at the same time, whilst, similarly to the Dead or Alive series, it’s possible for characters to be knocked into other areas of an arena, where the fight will then continue. If this taster is anything to go by it appears as if fans are in for a treat come release time.

If any fighting game has got the story to make an engaging film it’s Tekken, with its dysfunctional Mishima family plot point. Tekken: Blood Vengeance is a aesthetically lovely CG film that disappointedly doesn’t really focus on the Mishima’s until later on, instead it’s centred around Ling Xaioyu and Alisa Bosconovitch, and the story is reasonable enough in the cheesy way that the game is and actually far outweighs the fighting with its presence, somewhat unexpected for a film based on a fighting game, though when fight scenes do turn up they’re largely visually spectacular and dramatic affairs.

Until its sequel comes along, Tekken Tag Tournament is still the only Tekken game that provides two-on-two fighting and, for this reason alone, Tekken Tag Tournament HD, whilst far from the most lavish of HD upgrades, is still a welcome one. That it comes with a demo and film makes Tekken Hybrid all the more of an attractive prospect for series devotees.