Ah, there’s nothing better than kicking back and enjoying Tekken Tag Tournament! What’s even better is enjoying it in it’s remastered HD version. Tekken Tag Tournament HD is part of the “Tekken Hybrid” package which also contains a pretty mediocre demo the Tekken Tag 2 and a new CGI movie called Tekken Blood Vengeance. This review will only be brief and deal with a game we’ve already played tons of on our dusty PS2 consoles.
First, what’s good about Tekken Tag Tournament? Well, until Tekken 5 dropped, it was pretty much the best offering of Tekken available. It contains everyone (sans Angel, Dr. B and Gon) from previous games including hidden characters like Eddy Gordo’s alternate Tiger outfit. Kunimitsu, Jun, Prototype Jack, and Ogre were all here and looking better than ever. The roster may pale in comparison to Tekken 6’s freakishly huge cast of characters, but it is still pretty acceptable even by modern standards. That’s pretty impressive for such an old game.
If you’ve never played a Tekken game before, it’s all pretty straight forward. You have four attack buttons (one for each major limb). To jump, press up. To block, hold back. Want to perform a throw? Easy, just hold two attack buttons down. The controls for Tekken have always been very user friendly, which allows many first time players to pick the game up and immediately have sme success provided they haven’t chosen some of the trickier characters on the roster.
Juggles are extremely prevalent in Tekken and, in Tekken Tag, they are almost insanely over the top and silly as some hits will send your characters rocketing almost off the top of the screen. Tekken has always prided itself on being one of the most realistic fighters in terms of actual fighting (so there are no bladed hats or hadoukens), so the wild nature of Tag’s juggles feels a little out of place to say the least.
The “tag” aspect of the game comes from chosing two characters that you can freely alternate between during matches. Whenever one of your characters are knocked out, you will lose the round. This isn’t like Marvel vs Capcom where all characters need to be taken down. In Tekken Tag, only one character must be defeated. There’s a fair amount of strategy here as you’ll be jumping back and forth between characters frequently.
There are no unlockables in Tag HD, which is great. Namco understood that we didn’t want to go through all of that unlocking again for a game we’ve already played. Everything is available right out of the box with absolutely no restrictions at all.
Tekken Bowl is also present. If you have ever wondered what a bowling game would be like with Tekken characters then… well, here’s your answer. Tekken Bowl relies on precise button presses to roll your ball towards the pins at the end of the alley. You choose which characters to use in this mode, and they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Generally a character that is harder to control will be able to roll the ball faster and with more strength, so you have to decide if you want slow and accurate or fast and risky. It’s a fun little diversion, but it can’t stand on it’s own well.
The only significant ugprades to the game are in the graphics. The game essentially looks the same as it did on the PS2, except everything is now in high definition. Character models look much crisper now. There is not blurring of textures and no pixelation, so everything looks much better now. The graphics are far from current generation, but Tekken Tag certainly looks better than any actual PS2 game. Graphically, it’s sort of in limbo between PS2 and PS3 quality visuals.
There’s not much else to say. This is an old game and it hasn’t been changed much aside from going HD. If you liked Tekken Tag, you’ll still like it just the same. If you’re a Tekken fan who has never played Tekken Tag, then the HD version could be worth your while. It all comes down to how soon Tekken Tag 2 hits consoles, so I can’t really say whether or not this is a good investment for those who haven’t played Tekken Tag. Still, it’s a solid fighting game and can certainly be enjoyed by many.
+ Game looks much nicer in HD.
+ Large character roster even by today’s standards.
+ No unlocking of characters required.
– Juggles can perhaps be a little too over the top at times.
– Music and sound effects sound awfully dated.
– No changes at all beyond the graphics.