Street Fighter X Tekken Review

Gaming

Street Fighter X Tekken
Publisher: Capcom (Tekken characters licensed by Namco)
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PS, Vita, PC, Xbox 360 (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Price: $59.99Available Here

Overview
While there are many fighting games on the market today, Street fighter is probably the most well known.  One of the few franchises that reaches the same level of popularity is Tekken. Therefore, when the announcement was made that these two great series would collide,
it was met with great celebration and excitement on the part of fans who loved both franchises. Finally, they would be able to pit their favorite characters from each series against one another.

This combination of licenses obviously presented problems. Both games have very different fighting styles, and they are also very different graphically. Street Fighter is set in a 2D landscape, while Tekken is built on a 3D fighting game engine. Instead of trying to force each style of gameplay into each other, Capcom decided to design the gameplay to be similar to their Street Fighter franchise, meaning that while it features sets of characters from Street Fighter and Tekken, it is set in 2D and has projectile moves such as the Hadouken. Namco Bandai is currently a developing a sequel to this game titled Tekken X Street Fighter, which will base its gameplay on the Tekken universe.

So, did Capcom succeed in balancing these two very different games? Is Street Fighter X Tekken able to overcome the challenges mentioned above and succeed as a cross-genre fighter? Or is it destined to become one of those fighting games that falls by the wayside, confined to the bargains bins at Gamestop? Read on to find out.

Story
Video games are unique in that the story usually comes second to gameplay. In Street Fighter X Tekken, this uniqueness becomes all the more true. When choosing the story mode, there is a cutscene that explains what the story is all about. I couldn’t really get into it  but for you dear reader, I shall try my best to describe it.

There was a meteor that fell to Earth, but the meteor was actually a strange object, in the shape of a box. While no one could understand what its purpose was, all acknowledged that it had a special property: when people were in conflict around the box, they would gain special powers. As a result, the box was named “Pandora.” One organization of people wanted to steal the box so they could use its special powers. Of course, there were those who wished the box to be left alone. Which explains why people are fighting in the entire game.

All in all, I found the story to be rote, uncomprehensible and just simply awful in the worst way. While it explains why there are some new features in the game, and why there are two different groups of beings fighting, I think it might have been preferable to merely have an explanation beforehand, instead of bothering with even trying to have a full fledged story.

Nevertheless, I really can’t fault Capcom for the story. Fighting games have never really been known to have any semblance of a story that made sense. Therefore, it would be unfair to fault them for not having a good story in this game. However, it is important to note that you should not buy this game for the plot. Luckily, the gameplay more than makes up for any faults in the story.

Gameplay
As mentioned, Street Fighter X Tekken is very similar to the Street Fighter series.  You choose two characters from either Street Fighter or  Tekken and they are controlled with a 6-button system (although Tekken characters can be controlled with a 4 button system).  A gauge known as the Cross Gauge will fill up when attacking, defending and taking damage.  Depending on the fullness of the gauge,  different powerful combos can be exectued, like EX Attacks, Cancels, Super Arts and various Cross techniques. When a player is weak, he can tag in the character in reserve and regain health.  Characters can also be tagged in as a result of performing a certain combo, like a Cross Rush.  Some combos even allow both characters to combine their attacks, although that requires a stocked Cross Gauge. When one character’s  health bar reaches zero, that team will lose.

Street Fighter X Tekken introduces two new gameplay mechanics: Gems and Pandora mode.  Gems are upgrades that can substantially change combat.  In addition, gems can tremendously help gamers who are new to the fighting genre.  Each character, Street Fighter or Tekken, can be equipped with up to three gems. Each gem either has stat boosting abilities, or can make certain moves easier to perform.  They are classified into 6 different categories: attack, defense, speed, vitality, assist, and Cross Gauge. If a player is having trouble with a particular control for a certain character, like an EX Attack for example, one gem can be used to make the controls to start that attack easier.

Pandora Mode gives players a risk/reward gameplay element.  When one of the characters on-screen has less than 25% health, he can be sacrificed.  In turn, the remaing fighter gets increased strength and a full Cross Gauge.  However, if this fighter can not win the match by the time Pandora Mode runs out, he will automatically forfeit.

Street Fighter X Tekken has a variety of multiplayer options.  4 player matches, Scramble mode (where four players fight fight simultaneously in pairs of two), online training modes and the Fight Request feature are all a part of the multiplayer experience.  And multiplayer is, as usual, much better than single player.  Playing against a live opponenet is just so much better than a computer.

Overall, the balance in Street Fighter X Tekken is top notch.  Every single move, while powerful and totally cool, an also be defended against.  Pitting the characters from each franchise against each other was very fun, as was going online to beat up others.  Due to the variety of characters , the game feels totally different than Street Fighter, but it still retains all the great features that Street Fighter has.

Although the tutorial is better than the one in Ultimate vs Marvel Capcom 3, it is still not a great experience.  It will give new fighting gamers a tiny bit of help to hone their skills, but it does little besides display the controls needed to pull off a certain move.  Whats more, Capcom did not even voice the tutorial, forcing people to read blocks of awfully constructed dialogue.

Visuals and Audio
Graphics in the game are outstanding.  The backgrounds of each fight are particularly noteworthy.  Rather than just bland, stationary blobs of art, they are full of little details and funny goings-on.  In addition to the whimsical backgrounds though, character models, fighting moves and cutscenes are also beautiful.  I did not notice a small amount of freezing after the loading screens and once a fight was over, but these do not detract from the experience.

The soundtrack is well suited to the gameplay.  Voice acting for each of the characters was also spot on.  Other than that, there really isn’t much to say about the audio.  While I enjoyed it, I didn’t hear anything too special.

Overall
In conclusion, Street Fighter X Tekken will appeal to a wide variety of gamers.  Although it is certainly not a universal game, hardcore fighting nerds as well as newcomers will have a great time playing, just so long as they don’t play each other.  While the basics are fairly easy to master, seeing the whole scope of the game and coming up with a preferred strategy (as well as some backups) will take a little bit of time for newcomers.  The new features, like Gems and Pandora Mode, add some features that are great to play around with and base strategy on.  Marrying these two amazing series together was truly an awesome idea, and I am glad that it just didn’t turn out to be a gimmick, but rather, a well exectued game.

Nevertheless, a weak story, an annoying tutorial system and an overly complicated user interface do make the game a little less fun to experience.  That being said, the complex fighting system is a joy to control, and I had a smile on my face while I was playing Street Fighter X Tekken.

8-5-capsules-out-of-10

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