Review: Street Fighter X Tekken
Street Fighter X Tekken has been an attractive game to us for quite some time now, and it's certainly something to get excited about. But does it pack enough punch to be considered an instant hit?
- Worth The Time?Yes, it's both a fresh and rewarding game.
- Things LovedThe stylistic and awesome visuals, the refreshing feeling to the game, the great character roster, the game is easy to get into and very accessible to newcomers, the game provides plenty of resources for newcomers to learn how to play, two-versus-two battles are fantastic, the teammate mechanics work really well, characters from Tekken have made a surprisingly good transition to Street Fighter's style, the arcade and trial modes are very enjoyable, the game is great fun to play, the concept art is nice
- Things HatedThe online connectivity is unstable, the Gem system is unlikable and doesn't even feel relevant if you're playing casually, characters can regenerate health too quickly when tagged out, the countdown timer can be a serious turn-off by negatively affecting comebacks as matches last long and it still goes down during special moves, stages can be a bit big, Pandora mode can be a mixed bag, the game's depth is in question, some of the stage music is annoying, a lot of in-game content is locked and has to be bought
- RecommendationIf you're looking for something solidly fresh in the fighting genre, then Street Fighter X Tekken is a great option. It's difficult to recommend it for purchase outright, but if you're a casual player that is enthusiastic about fighters but just wants to play with friends then this should be on your wishlist. If you're more hardcore, then definitely give this game a try, but it might be best to give it some time and see how it plays out before committing to it.
- Name: Street Fighter X Tekken
- Genre: Fighting
- Players: 1-4
- Multiplayer: Online (1-2 players)
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Price: R529
- Reviewed On: PS3
Capcom are known to be completely in-love with the idea of cross-overs, but it seems that this time they went a bit bonkers. Street Fighter and Tekken are two fighting games you’d never see sitting at the same table, but I suppose that’s what makes this idea so unique and fun. Credit to Capcom, fusing two games and universes together, that couldn’t be more different, was undoubtedly a gutsy move on their part, but fortunately, and rather surprisingly, the result is actually pretty decent. There’s a freshness about Street Fighter X Tekken that definitely makes it welcome in the fighting genre, and it’s quite an ambitious title that aimed to offer an experience fitting for not just casual and hardcore fighting fans, but fans of all skill levels. Furthermore, it had the challenging task of bringing the best elements from both Street Fighter and Tekken together while still favouring the former in gameplay and style. Just so you know, we’ll have to wait and see one day how Namco Bandai do with Tekken X Street Fighter, the still-to-come fighter that focuses more on the Tekken fighting style, but that’s a story for another day.
Admittedly, right off the bat Street Figthter X Tekken appears to be pretty standard in terms of content. The game didn’t seem to be bursting with content, and my initial feeling was one of being disappointed. Thankfully I soon discovered that the Arcade and Trial modes do a great deal to compensate for this, although the game does feel bare-boned in the end. Arcade mode takes you through the story, based on the first character you choose, and it’s actually really entertaining with its awesome cutscenes and its lighthearted feel which you’ll get to experience through the characters’ quips before and after battle. I was particularly happy with the final boss fight, as for once in a fighting game it wasn’t a frustrating and cheap affair, although that could depend on your difficulty setting. After Arcade you’ll get your standard Versus mode that caters for up to four players, an in-depth Training mode, Challenge mode and of course customisation and Network features. Challenge mode opens up three gameplay choices in the form of Trial, which is an awesome mode that you’ll go to in order to polish up your techniques, Mission mode, in which you’ll defeat CPU opponents under special conditions, and Tutorial mode, where you’ll learn the basic rules of the game. Finally, Network allows for up to two players and lets you play online, view replays and check rankings, while the customisation menu lets you edit characters.
The game does a great job of providing players with resources to learn its mechanics, through its Training and Trial modes, as well as offering the ability to watch replays of skilled players and actually spar with a buddy online. It’s a great thing because if you’re a newcomer you’ll have plenty to go on, and won’t be left in the dark or feel inadequate. Unfortunately, online connectivity is not completely stable, and lag is entirely unpredictable, which can make for a frustrating experience, and make the online feel almost like a lottery in this regard. It seems to vary from player to player, with some experiencing things as almost unplayable and others getting minimal lag. Either way, for now it’s a bit of a letdown, and a bad stain on an otherwise exciting game. Hopefully all it will take is a patch or two to improve this or fix it entirely. In the mean time, there’s a lot to get used to, a great character roster to try out and playing with buddies will always provide the most entertainment. Not to mention that it will take you quite some time to play through the enjoyable Arcade mode with a variety of characters.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a 2D fighter that features two-on-two combat, with each player using two characters and being able to swap between them at any time in battle, either by using the designated button input or during combos. You’re able to play one-on-one fights with each player controlling both party members, or get a friend to actually play on your team, or even play two-on-two fights supporting up to four players, which are great fun. Fights can get pretty tense due to the fact that if one party member falls, the entire team loses no matter how much health the still-alive fighter has. However, when you swap out, your resting character will regenerate health up to a point, so it’s important that you manage your team well. However, a complaint I have is that characters can regenerate a bit too much health too quickly when tagged out, and this causes problems when it comes to the length of matches. But Capcom has done a great job with the two-party system, and you’ll really have to be effective in combat to dish out the most damage during combos, as the game focuses quite a bit on juggling combos. If you’ve played Super Street Fighter IV, then you’ll probably be familiar with many of the game’s mechanics, but there are some new features that do well to differentiate the experience.
The gameplay is similar to Street Fighter with its six-button layout and special meter that is used for super moves and EX moves. While the action is fast-paced and really fluid, it’s not quite like Street Fighter due to some minor input delay, which caters for the Tekken cast. But Street Fighter X Tekken focuses a lot on your special meter, as it’s built up rather quickly and can be used for one of the game’s most important features, namely cross-cancelling. By using designated button inputs or some of your special meter you’re able to attack your opponent and bring your partner in mid-combo to dish out the pain. It’s important to learn how to use your characters, because you’ll find that keeping it simple by only switching out when your character is low on health will weaken your combat effectiveness and put you at a disadvantage in the late game. On the subject of super moves, they only cost two blocks of your special meter, while all three blocks can be used for a double special involving both your characters. The game is great fun to play, and mixing up the tools at your disposal is enjoyable, making for quite dynamic fights. With regards to what’s new, arguably two of the game’s most daring features are its new Gem system and Pandora mode, which both do well to cause some controversy.
Firstly, Pandora mode is like an all or nothing gamble, made available in your last moments, that sticks you with one fighter from your team and gives you ten seconds and an unlimited special meter to defeat your opponent with, otherwise you automatically die. The idea sounds intense, and in some cases it can be rewarding, but for the most part it’s a mixed bag because for one specials run down the clock so you can pretty much kill yourself even if you play your cards right, and two it can turn fights cheap. Moving on to the Gem system, which is the biggest addition to the game, I found it to be quite unlikable in all honesty, and both a hassle to customise and rather irrelevant in casual fights. The system is used to add modifiers to your characters, in the form of Boost Gems and Assist Gems, with the former giving bonuses to attack, defense and speed, when certain conditions have been met, and the latter giving passive boosts that automatically trigger at the cost of your special meter. Then you get certain Gems that only benefit Pandora mode, which is discouraging. The hassle comes from the fact that you can’t create your own preset of gems to apply to any characters you want, you’re limited to two gem sets per character and you have to modify individual characters’ gem sets, which is tedious.
Those two features aside, a good thing about Street Fighter X Tekken is definitely that it manages to effectively cater for casual players without completely alienating hardcore fighting fans. It’s a very accessible game that feels easy for the casual crowd to get into. Even if you’re just an average player, you can still feel competent after a bit of practice. And it does go pretty far to help out casual or less experienced players, even allowing you to set quick combos that map complicated inputs to a single button. However, there’s a catch to using these shortcuts, as they have various costs attached such as draining your special meter or reducing your damage. I’m still mixed regarding how I feel about this system, and I didn’t really want to use it, but I suppose that it might be a good thing for players who need the extra assistance and have difficulty with inputs. I do admire the fact that Street Fighter X Tekken took some solid steps towards opening up the fighting genre to a wider audience, but it does suffer from some mishaps due to some of its design choices, and its depth is in question.
I’ve briefly mentioned some things about the countdown clock, and it’s an important complaint because it often harms the fighting experience. Sure you can set the round time to infinity, but there’s a competitive reason time is limited. Now, the issue is that in Street Fighter X Tekken I’ve had more time overs than I’ve had in any other fighting game in recent history, and this is down to a few reasons. But I’m not completely sure whether it’s because matches just go on too long or if I don’t know the game that well yet, but it’s quite irritating that the clock can cause such annoyance and harm comeback potential. One of the biggest reasons for this is that super moves don’t freeze the timer, and some of them go on for long so you can drain time. Also, if time runs out during a super then damage stops being dealt, which is really frustrating if you manage to land one in the dying moments of the round. Another reason for this can be blamed on certain stages and some character’s walk speeds. They both work hand in hand. Some stages are a bit too big while some characters walk too slowly, and this can encourage run-away tactics as well as eat up time. It’s clear that there’s a little bit of unbalance here.
However, there’s plenty to love when it comes to the character roster and gameplay, which is what’s ultimately important. Naturally it will take time to get any idea of how the balance is looking, but right now it feels awesome to mix Street Fighter and Tekken characters together, with the latter turning out surprisingly great. Capcom somehow managed to make the selected Tekken characters feel right at home in this game, whilst still keeping true to the characters at heart, and that’s something to admire. You’ll definitely spend a lot of time just trying out all of the different characters and trying to find out what your favourite team is, and there’s plenty of diversity and reward in this. It’s easy to say after playing this that the Street Fighter and Tekken rosters actually complement each other rather well, and it does make me more excited, personally speaking, to see how Tekken X Street Fighter will turn out.
As with any new fighting game, it’s quite hard to rate in its early stages when gamers are still learning it and getting to know the ins and outs of the game. And in the end only time will tell if there is a competitive future for this title. Due to this it’s hard to predict whether this game will run out of steam or if people will find things in it that they really like and grow to appreciate. Or whether the opposite will happen. But as it stands now, it’s really fun to play and a solid effort on Capcom’s part. However it’s just hard to tell whether this game is deep or not, because it feels a lot more casual. And one of the things that really got to me was that a lot of the in-game content has been locked, most likely to be released as future downloadable content. For example, both customisable colours and new gems have to be bought, and apparently there are a bunch of characters on disk that are locked, which is just pathetic, but expected of Capcom these days. Although that doesn’t make it right. In the end, I do very much enjoy playing it, respect its freshness and understand the challenge Capcom faced with a game such as this. And the game does do a lot right when it comes to appealing to a wider audience.
Graphically, Street Fighter X Tekken is great. It’s pretty much a similar style to Street Fighter IV, packing loads of personality, heavily stylized character models and flashy super moves. Stages are vibrant and dynamic, but some of them didn’t really impress me as much, visually, as some of the standard Street Fighter levels. But there’s no denying that this game is awesome to watch in motion, and sounds fantastic. I did have an issue with some of the stage music though, as certain arenas have irritating music that are painful to listen to. Regarding how the game performs on the PS3 and Xbox 360, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the two from a technical perspective, especially when it comes to the online play, but it’s evident that the PS3 version has a more steady frame rate and less screen tearing than the Xbox 360 version. If you’re deciding which version to get, I’d probably suggest the PS3 version since it contains additional characters for free, giving you a bigger roster to choose from.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a fun, fresh and rewarding game that the fighting genre probably needs. It’s a surprisingly decent game, but there’s a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding it right now and there are a lot of things that could be improved on or changed for the better. Only time will tell whether this game has a competitive future ahead of it, but for now it’s an entertaining title and a solid effort to offer something new, although it is flawed. It’s easy to have a good time playing it, especially with friends, and it’s definitely worth trying out, but just don’t expect it to blow you away and you’ll be fine.