Ever since it was announced, Street Fighter X Tekken had people both optimistically cautious and others who were downright confused about Capcom’s latest crossover title. Many questions were raised about balance, and how Capcom would treat Namco’s otherwise 4 button fighters in their offering of the crossover (Namco’s Tekken X Street Fighter is on its way) . The main point of contention was the 2D plane that Street Fighter offered (opposed to Tekken’s 3D plane) , and how the Tekken fighters would defend against projectiles. Despite the odds put against them, Capcom has delivered another memorable crossover fighter that will surely satisfy both Street Fighter and Tekken fans.
Perhaps the biggest question regarding SFXT, is how exactly the Tekken fighters feel and play in Capcom’s engine. Though it may be a 6 button fighter, the Tekken characters perform almost exactly as you’d expect. Doing Kazuya’s lightning kicks and uppercuts felt seamless as I tried to recall my Tekken knowledge. Though that’s not to say there won’t be a learning curve for Namco fans. There’s still your traditional super combo inputs, and some of the more exotic Tekken manoeuvres have also gotten the traditional Capcom input treatment. (down-forward down-forward as a prefix) Thankfully as an avid fighting fan, but definitely not a pro, Capcom has taken a step in simplifying the combo system.
The boost combo system allows players to perform various combos with ease. A large part of Tekken would arguably be ridiculous combos, and thanks to the boost system, it helps the game truly feel like a cross of styles. You can initiate a boost combo by progressing your hits from light to heavy. (for example light punch-mid punch-heavy punch). It feels fast, intuitive, and it’s punishing for your opponent. You can also add one more heavy attack to the end of the combo to initiate a “cross rush/launcher”. Your opponent will dangle in the air, allowing enough time for your partner to tag in and continue the combo. There’s also a pandora system, that allows you to sacrifice your tag partner for 10 seconds of unlimited special bar, and increased strength. You’ll have to finish your opponent before the 10 seconds is up, or you’ll lose the fight by default. It’s a great last ditch tactic.
Aside from the new combo and pandora systems, the rest remains standard-fare for capcom games. You have the option to tag, do regular and tag special moves or even have 2 partners enter the fray at once. Though, a brand new gem system mixes the combat up a little more. Gems are practically buffs that apply to your fighter under certain circumstances. For example, if you land a combo you may have a gem proc that gives you a small damage buff for a set period time. All of the gems have different conditions for activation and different buffs. There’s gems that may initiate auto blocking for a set period, or even gems that increase your special bars filling rate. Though it may sound confusing and potentially game-breaking, good players won’t have much more trouble beating down their opposition than before. The effects all seem pretty balanced, and the effects of the gems don’t last particularly long.
The action feels a lot faster than a regular capcom fighter. There’s a lot of tagging (as the fight ends when one character is knocked out), constant brutal close range combos and the animations are exceptionally fluid. Backgrounds are bright, alive and vibrant. When you combine the background with the foreground fighting, it’s just a smooth, beautiful battle to behold. The same can be said for online play, mostly. In my tests online, all connections to other players felt solid and responsive. No dropped games or hitching frame-rates were experienced, either. However, during online combat the sound effects are often dropped. You won’t hear any fireballs or brutal combos land, instead the channel is all but muted – forcing you to listen to nothing but the soundtrack. Hopefully this is fixed down the line with a patch, but I’m surprised it shipped with such a weird bug.
What’s also disappointing is the standard selection of modes. You’ll have your arcade mode, to see the events of the somewhat lacklustre story. Practice and Tutorial modes are present, and this time they do a far better job of teaching newer players the ins and outs of a Capcom fighter. You’ll have the option to paint different characters to your liking, but you’ll still be buying your costumes with real money. On the PlayStation 3, you’ll be able to fight with local partners in all modes, however this feature is missing in action on the Xbox 360. A few more modes akin to SFIV3D’s collectable figures would have helped break up the action and add some novel persistence. It’s not a particularly big deal, as the fighting’s so good, but a fun distraction would be welcome.
Street Fighter X Tekken sounds like something an 11 year old would dream up, and Capcom have done an extremely good job at pleasing the said inner child. There’s something awe-inspiring about seeing Ryu and Kazuya clash fists, but what’s more awesome is how -good- the gameplay turned out. The more approachable combo systems and increased speed of the combat really help Street Fighter X Tekken shine, and without the former in the roster SFXT’s systems alone would make a fresh fighting game. With that being said, I look forward to Namco’s entry, and the undoubtedly great soundtrack it brings with it. If this review hasn’t sold you on SFXT, perhaps this picture will.
What you’ll like:
SFXT is a successful combination of both franchises roster and play-styles
The combo system is easy to use, and helps you look like a pro
It’s a fast moving, fluid fighter with popping visuals
What you might not like:
Gems are hit and miss, they’re novel, but they aren’t needed
Sound effects are bugged when playing online
Lackluster modes and story