Street Fighter X Tekken. Two of the most popular fighting game franchises in gaming, coming together for the first time. Revealed in 2010 at San Diego Comic-Con with Ryu and Chun-Li facing off against Kazuya and Nina, fans were immediately enthralled by the possibilities. Capcom revealed six more fighters -- Ken, Guile and Abel from Street Fighter and King, Marduk and Bob from Tekken -- at Captivate in April, along with details on the game's tag team combat and four-button control option specifically for fans of the Namco series. We got a glimpse of four more combatants at E3 today, Sagat, Cammy, Hwoarang and Julia, along with a Dino Crisis-themed battle arena... complete with a boxing raptor.
Be warned: My experience with fighting games is minimal, so please fans, forgive this layman's rundown.
Street Fighter X Tekken is basically action chess, with a wealth of combat techniques and branching attacks. You're constantly juggling a range of variables beyond basic punching and kicking, with charging super moves that can be canceled mid-stream as a fakeout or, if your charge gauge is filled enough, executed early for a surprise. It's daunting to a newcomer, the sort of game you could never simply pick up and play adequately against a pro, but the range of strategic options is what makes both series' so enduringly popular.
All Tekken fighters can be used with either the standard four-button punch/kick control scheme or an expanded roster of three apiece, mirroring Street Fighter's controls. The new characters behave as you expect them to from their appearances in past games.
Sagat's Tiger Uppercut, for example, is the same Z-pattern stick movement topped off with a punch, the twist in SF X Tekken being that the attack can now be charged. Hold down the punch button and he'll pause mid-strike, gathering energy for a more powerful attack. Hold the charge for long enough and you'll perform a full-on automated combo attack, though the risk of course is that you're completely immobile and vulnerable as you charge. The four newbies and the previously announced fighters all have these charge attacks.
This is at the heart of the E3 reveal, these four new characters. Cole MacGrath, electrified star of the Infamous series, was announced as a fighter for the PlayStation Vita version of the game, and we can confirm that that's as far as his participation goes. No console for the Colester, barring future DLC. Capcom isn't talking yet, to no one's surprise.
A new fighting arena also popped up during the play session, a riff on the Dino Crisis series. The maw of a T-rex gnashes its teeth at the fighters from the background while a smaller raptor wearing boxing gloves makes like Rocky Balboa, but it's all just set decoration to distract you if you happen to be getting pummeled. I spent a lot of time looking at that T-rex. He looked back, his eyes seeming to say, "I hear you, brother."
Street Fighter X Tekken is shaping up to be exactly what fans of the series would want: lots of variety, lots of fighters to work with and new tweaks to the combat system. Plus, with the tag team dynamic it is entirely possible to put together a Bob and Sagat duo. Bob Sagat. "Full House" achievement, anyone?