Street Fighter X Tekken takes a tried and true formula and puts a fresh new twist on it, sprinkling just the right amount of Tekken mechanics into a revamped 2D fighting engine.
- Smooth integration of Tekken characters and mechanics
- Varied cast of characters
- Great multiplayer implementation
- Clunky menu system
- Distracting Gem effects
- Uninspiring Super Arts
Street Fighter X Tekken Review:
In 2005, Namco published a game called Namco X Capcom, which featured characters from Street Fighter, Tekken, and various other games from the two developers. Fighting game fans were thrilled when news of the game was first leaked, but were quickly disappointed to find out it was a tactical role playing game rather than a fighting game.
Though news of a potential crossover fighting game had been hinted at every so often thereafter, it wasn’t until 7 years later that this dream would finally come to fruition; however, initial screens, gameplay, and announcements of Street Fighter X Tekken were met with a lukewarm response, with players questioning what it seemed to share with Street Fighter 4 as well as the viability of the new Gem system. After much tweaking and adjusting, the game is finished, but, does it live up to the hype?
At A Glance
Though the game looks similar to Street Fighter 4 from the get-go, players will realize that this game is much different after just a few matches. Street Fighter X Tekken borrows the tag-team feature from the Tekken Tag series, allowing you to choose 2 characters to play as interchangeably during the fight. The round ends if just one character’s life is depleted, making vitality management a big factor. The tag system is complemented by several new features including Switch Cancels (canceling an attack with a tag midway, allowing a character’s partner to continue a combo), Cross Arts (a powerful attack delivered by both characters that uses all Cross Gauge), Quick Combos (combos designed to help novice players perform complicated attack sequences), and Pandora Mode (a comeback mechanic in which a partner is sacrificed for an increase in damage).
Borrowed from Street Fighter 4 are EX Special Moves and Super Combos (called Super Arts here), both of which deplete your super meter (called Cross Gauge). Gone are Focus Attacks and Ultra Combos. The game also has several modes including the familiar Trial and Tutorial modes as well as the new Scramble Battle mode, where all 4 characters battle onscreen simultaneously in total bedlam.
Capcom Knows Crossovers
Capcom has done an amazing job in fitting the Tekken puzzle piece into the Street Fighter jigsaw puzzle. Tekken characters have been redone to operate within the 2D fighting engine while still remaining true to their 3D roots, and familiar attacks have been given new properties to compensate for these changes. Jin and Kazuya can Special Step and Mist Step respectively, a maneuver new to Street Fighter, but a staple of their fighting style in the Tekken series. Law retains his Dragon Charge stance as well as his Junkyard attack strings.
Many Tekken characters are given various tools to deal with projectiles, which the Street Fighter cast is in no short supply of: Xiaoyu can quickly transition into her Phoenix stance to avoid Guile’s Sonic Boom, while King’s Jaguar Step passes through Ken’s Hadoken without incident. Just the fact that you can pit Ryu against Kazuya is enough to give hardcore fighting gamers a much deserved nerdgasm.
The New Stuff
A new feature added to Street Fighter X Tekken is the Gem system, by which characters can be augmented with special powers such as increased power or speed by equipping various Gems. Gems fall into 6 categories: Attack, Defense, Speed, Cross Gauge, Vitality, and Assist. Each Gem has a certain condition that must be met to be activated, such as landing 3 normal attacks or connecting with a Launcher attack.
Gems can be used in a variety of ways: Defense Gems can be used make up for a player’s poor blocking skills, Speed Gems can be used to help out slower characters such as Kuma or Zangief, Attack Gems can be used to further reward aggressive players, and so on. Unfortunately, activating a Gem means your character is endowed with a distracting and rather annoying glow corresponding to the Gem activated, taking away from the action onscreen. This could have easily been alleviated by having characters glow only briefly upon activation or even omitting the glow altogether, since an activated Gem is already indicated towards the Cross Gauge. No further indication was necessary to signal Gems in use.
Possibly the best feature of Street Fighter X Tekken is the new 4-player tag mode in which 2 players must work together against an opposing pair of players to achieve victory. The best duos will play as one, sharing the Cross Gauge and finishing each other’s combos with well coordinated Switch Cancels. This feature adds an element never before seen in a Street Fighter game and is guaranteed to breathe new life into an already robust competitive scene.
A Few Blemishes
All of this doesn’t mean the game is flawless. The menus are rather clunky compared to other recent fighting game titles and can be tedious to navigate. The Training Mode is not up to par with that of previous Capcom titles. The recording feature isn’t as intuitive as Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, and does not allow for a quick Training Mode reset (normally done by pressing Back + Start), which makes practicing not as smooth as it should be.
Creating Quick Combos is particularly difficult, though the Quick Combo system itself is unnecessary and the pre-set combos can be performed unintentionally if not manually turned off. The flashy character select screen gets old after awhile and could have been supplemented with an alternate character select screen option like the one found in the PSX version of Street Fighter Alpha 2, which got straight to the point with minimal graphics and loading time. In addition, many of the Super Arts seem to follow the uninspiring formula of connect initial hit, then transition into cinematic sequence of attacks. A large number of Super Arts (Tekken characters especially) follow this formula, and there are few utility Super Arts to be used.
Awesome X Fantastic
Street Fighter X Tekken takes a tried and true formula and puts a fresh new twist on it, sprinkling just the right amount of Tekken mechanics into a revamped 2D fighting engine. Players are sure to find a character that suits their style in the large cast of characters, and Tekken fans will be pleased to find that their favorite characters play similarly to their 3D-style counterparts, often sharing the same command input found in Tekken games. The core gameplay is top notch and is sure to please even the most hardcore fighting gamer. This crossover series has been long anticipated and the wait was well worth it.
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Editor's Note: Street Fighter X Tekken was reviewed using a PlayStation 3 copy of the game; however, we also played the 360 version, and found no differences. If further investigation reveals any differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.