Tekken Hybrid is a comprehensive slice of fan service. Comprising a remastered classic, a slight but stunning teaser and a watchable action flick, the compilation package is the perfect celebration of Namco's fighting classic. It's unlikely to appeal to everyone, but those that consider Heihachi and Kazuya household names will feel right at home here.
Growing up during the original PlayStation era means we've developed an affinity to the Tekken franchise over the years. The original title was one of the early standouts for Sony's system, bringing an eye-opening arcade experience to the living room — and settling a number of family disputes along the way.
Tekken Hybrid is a game for the fans. It's hard to imagine that anyone without a heavy investment in the series would get much out of this compilation, which comprehensively bundles an HD makeover of PlayStation 2 classic Tekken Tag Tournament, a prologue demonstration of the upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and a 3D-enabled version of the CGI movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance.
It's a love letter awkwardly arranged onto a single Blu-ray. The games are hidden as installs under their respective heading on the XMB, while the movie — which ultimately headlines the package — nestles comfortably in the video component. Frustratingly, while the games install from the Blu-ray, similar to a PSN title, they can't be played without the Tekken Hybrid disc inserted. It's smart of publisher Namco Bandai to incorporate some form of DRM, to avoid people installing the games and then sharing the disc with friends, but it's a concern of convenience nonetheless.
Tekken is known for its outlandish introduction movies, and Tekken: Blood Vengeance feels like a feature-length version of those. Unsurprisingly the flick was directed by Youichi Mouri, the man responsible for the opening movies of both Tekken 5 and Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion. The plot centres on the stories of teenage hotties Xiaoyu and Alisa, and spills into the ongoing Mishima bloodline feud.
Tekken's never been shy about over-emphasising its baffling plot, and Blood Vengeance does nothing to get you up to speed. The movie hops about without any real consistency, relying on your understanding of the franchise as a whole to keep you up to date. It's part of the reason that the picture feels like such fan service — casual viewers will not understand the appeal of a schoolgirl riding through Japan on the back of a panda, but Tekken fans will.
The quality of the CGI is varied, but on the whole good. The movie champions its 3D effect pretty prominently, featuring numerous slow motion shots that linger on objects flying out of the screen. There are a number of exceptional fight sequences — the three-way Mishima brawl is particularly memorable — but nowhere near enough for a film wearing the Tekken brand.
The film instead focuses on the burgeoning friendship between Xiaoyu and Alisa. The movie lingers a little too heavily on the characters' sexuality at times, with drawn out skirt shots and multiple shower scenes, and there are moments where you'll wonder whether the directors would have preferred to produce a softcore porn movie as opposed to the action flick on offer.
The movie also has a bizarre fixation with the same locations, giving it a disappointingly low-budget feel. Ultimately it's fine for what it is, and Tekken fans will derive some pleasure out of the plot's short running time and the smattering of behind-the-scenes bonus videos included on the disc. However it's the game component of Tekken Hybrid that's likely to command your attention for the most time, and thankfully it doesn't disappoint — assuming you're already a fan of the franchise.
Tekken Tag Tournament HD is a sumptuous remaster of the classic PlayStation 2 title. The tag team aspect is as delightful now as it ever was, and the high definition visual upgrade breathes new life into the graphics. There are still clear signs that you are playing a ten-year-old title — character models lack the definition of more recent Tekken releases — but the image is clear, the controller response is good and the framerate is smooth.
Some environments look better than others. Fighting in the rain-slicked streets of Tokyo makes for an impressive backdrop, while rural settings show their age. The actual brawling is a little less ambitious than in more recent Tekken releases, but the character roster is good and there're plenty of combos to familiarise yourself with if you haven't played Tekken Tag since its initial launch.
The only real disappointment is the lack of an online component. Tekken Tag Tournament HD includes all of the modes from the game's original release — including Arcade, Vs, Team Battle and more — but there's no support for leaderboards or online multiplayer. Thankfully there is a full roster of trophies, and Tekken Bowl makes its long-awaited return.
Rounding out the package is Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue — a demonstration of the upcoming arcade game currently only available in Japan. Prologue is a demo, but it's quite comprehensive in its offering. You get four characters from the movie and a couple of costumes. There's even another roster of trophies to unlock.
Visually Prologue is a mixture of disappointment and amazement. Coming off the squeaky clean image quality of Tekken Tag Tournament HD, Prologue's washy sub-HD resolution can be a bit disappointing. Thankfully the game makes up for its shortcomings through lashings of motion blur and more advanced character models. Being a glorified demo, Prologue has its limits, but it's a welcome sweetener that finishes off the Tekken Hybrid compilation nicely.
Fan service doesn't get much stronger than Tekken Hybrid, and while the package has its shortcomings, they are more than made up for by the breadth of content on offer here. Available for a slashed price point, it's hard not to argue with the value proposition that Tekken Hybrid provides — and if you're a fan of the series you won't want to. It's the best present a Tekken fan could wish for.