Tekken Hybrid review for PS3

Platform: PS3
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Medium: Blu-ray
Players: 1-2
Online: No

We?ve seen a lot of HD ports over the past year, especially in regards to PS2 titles making their way over to the PS3. Some of these have been great successes, like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, while others have been pretty awful, like the Splinter Cell Trilogy. Tekken Hybrid, while featuring a few new items to talk about, is mostly comprised of an HD port of the original Tekken Tag Tournament, and unfortunately I?d rank its overall quality just a bit above the Splinter Cell release.

TTT was a pretty great game for its time, which was a decade ago. It capitalized on the tag fighter approach being used almost exclusively by Capcom and SNK, for titles like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or King of Fighters. TTT took a number of Tekken characters and allowed you to pair them up, battling it out against the AI or human opponents in teams, with the ability to switch between characters at will. It had a strong fighting engine behind it, and was one of the better launch window titles for the PS2.

That said fighting games have certainly come a long way over the course of the last 10 years. And while Tekken Tag Tournament looks pretty good in HD, it doesn?t look great. There?s only so much you can do with the outdated character models, the lighting makes everything look plastic toy like, and the background has some weird split effect that I found completely distracting.

And while the fighting is fluid, and the framerate is great throughout, I?ve grown use to the way these fighters handle in Tekken 5 and 6, so going back to old move sets take a little bit of adjusting to. And the tag system has since been outdone in other fighting games, most notably Capcom?s Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that released this year. So basically, everything feels dated and it?s not particularly exciting to revisit.

On the plus side it does have Tekken Bowl, which is just as odd as I remember it. On the negative side, there?s also no online play, which seems like a glaring omission. It might be for the better considering how poorly Tekken 6 worked out of the gate, but in comparison to Street Fighter 3: Third Strike and numerous other competitive retro ports it just seems lazy to not include the option.

So what else do you get?

For starters, you?ll get a playable demo of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, with four characters and a model viewer. And as far as demo?s go it does make me a little excited for TTT2. There?s not a whole lot to report though, it?s clearly still in an early stage, but it looks gorgeous and handles great. It?s actually tough to go back to the original TTT on the same disc after playing the demo.

The other feature is a Tekken CG movie called Blood Vengeance. I?m not a film reviewer, but I can easily say that the movie is pretty awful. It ditches a lot of the story elements found in the Tekken series up to now in favor of two schoolgirl style characters and their interactions. It?s a really strange direction to take any kind of Tekken narrative, and it?s not until the tail end of the film that you actually get any real Tekken style action out of it. It looks pretty great though, the animation is high quality compared to stuff like the Resident Evil CG film from a couple years back, but you?ll have a tough time sitting through the entire thing.

So overall, I?m not too enthused with Tekken Hybrid. TTT is fun enough, but feels awfully outdated compared to modern fighters. And as a port, it lacks the necessary bells and whistles we?ve come to expect from similar releases. The Tekken Tag Tournament 2 demo is nice to have, but it?s certainly not worth a $40 price tag (or any price tag really). And Blood Vengeance is a waste of everyone?s time. So yeah, I?d say despite your fondness for the license, you could safely skip Tekken Hybrid.

Grade: C-