Tekken Hybrid Review

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Tekken Hybrid

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While the CG flick is a bit hit and miss in places, the HD revamp of Tekken Tag and the playable teaser of its sequel should keep hardcore fans more than satisfied until the full version of Tekken Tag 2 shows up.

We like

  • Tekken Tag is still fantastic after all these years and packed full of content
  • Tekken Bowl!
  • Tekken Tag 2 demo plays like a dream

We dislike

  • No online mode for Tekken Tag HD
  • Tekken: Blood Vengeance is a bit naff in places
  • The demo left us wanting more

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Namco’s Tekken series looks set to become quite a ubiquitous property over the next 18 months or so, with multiple entries in the series in the pipeline for all major platforms. For starters, we’ve got the excellent-looking Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the distant Tekken x Street Fighter, plus all-new outings for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS. Frankly, having been a fan since 1997, I can’t remember a time when fans had it this good. The focus right now, however, is Tekken Hybrid; a tidy little bundle featuring a meaty teaser of things to come, an absurd CG flick centering on a Japanese schoolgirl and her robot chum, and nice whiff of nostalgia to round it off. In other words, Tekken Tag 2 Prologue, Tekken: Blood Vengeance, and a HD revamp of PlayStation 2 launch effort, Tekken Tag Tournament.

Kicking things off with the latter, Tekken Tag features every character in the series up to and including Tekken 3 (hey, it is over a decade old, remember), though even by today’s standards it’s still a pretty substantial line-up. Here you can expect series staples such as Kazuya, Heihachi, Paul, Law and Xiaoyu, as well as forgotten combatants like Kunimitsu, Ogre and Unknown. Technically the game is quite a few steps back from the likes of Tekken 6, and harkens back to the days where bouncing your foe to perpetuate gravity-defying juggles was unheard of. Sure, giving your victim a battering in mid-air is still part and parcel of the equation, but you won’t be able to pull off those health-draining combos seen in later instalments.

This isn’t always a bad thing, as you’ll be turning to your attention more to your arsenal of bread-and-butter combos, specials and grapple techniques. Indeed, timing becomes just as instrumental in getting the upper hand on your opponent as it always did, though instead of timing juggles and ‘bouncing’ them for another round ala Tekken 6, you’ll be looking for an opening in your enemy’s attacks to land a clean blow. It’s satisfying and there’s still a fine degree of strategy involved as you mix up attacks, plus advanced fighters will still get a kick out of escaping throws or ‘chickening’ reversals. Of course, the Tag component really adds a new tactical dimension to the tired and tested Tekken paradigm, and it soon becomes apparent your partner is more than just a second health bar. You can tag in an out and any point, sure, but you can also spice things up by smacking your opponent skyward, tagging your partner in, and getting off a small juggle before they land. This also extends to throws too, with King and Armor King in particular possessing jaw-dropping tag grapples.

As such, the guts of the Tekken brand still works fine, though given the lack of evolution in gameplay things invariably feel a little limited compared to recent games. Characters possess fewer moves and techniques, and veteran players may find themselves having to reacquaint themselves with their character’s trimmed repertoire. This has its advantages, as I personally found myself adopting some of my fighter’s more forgotten moves to compensate for the lack of Tekken 6’s offerings. One area that Tag is conspicuously lacking in – and may be difficult for newcomers to accept – is the lack of interactive stages. Yep, there’s no mashing your opponent up against a wall here or stomping them through the floor; instead, stages seemingly rotate on an ‘infinite’ playing field ala the PSOne days, resulting in you feeling quite detached from your surroundings.

Of course, Tekken Tag isn’t just limited to you taking on the computer, although it has to be said the varying difficulty levels result in a decent enough challenge. But nope, multiplayer is what keeps series' heart beating, and Tag is chock full of modes to tuck into. Aside from your bog standard Versus mode, you can also take part in Team Battle and the fan-favourite Tekken Bowl. The latter is just as it sounds: a bowling game with Tekken characters. You pick a fighter, line up your shot, select the amount of force you are going to put behind the throw, and lob the bowling ball down the alley. It’s simple in execution, but oh-so ... (continued on next page) ----

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  • Related game: Tekken Hybrid

    Release date (US):
    November 22nd, 2011
    Namco Bandai
    N/A - N/A
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