Review: Street Fighter x Tekken

9 03 2012

As previously mentioned, this looks to be a very populous year in terms of fighting games, but the premier offering thus far has to be Capcom’s new crossover title, Street Fighter x Tekken which pits two of the world’s most enduring fighting franchises against each other in a once-in-a-lifetime dream battle.

SFxT represents the first of a pair of games which is the result of a collaborative effort between the two companies, and this game represents Capcom’s interpretation, and thus much more closely resembles traditional Street Fighter gameplay than Tekken’s 3D environment. That said, the Tekken characters have all made an impressively faithful transition to the 6-button 2D style and an entire 50% of the game’s cast of about 38 characters are all “new” to the 2D battlefield. On the whole they have done a great job porting the Tekken cast to the Street Fighter system while still retaining many of their signature moves and overall style of each of the characters, and several modifications to the Tekken warriors’ arsenal have been granted to allow them to integrate well and be competent and powerful in the new environment. The cast of characters on both sides are well represented, but mostly defaults to the flagship cast over truly unusual inclusions, but I suppose that should be expected for the first meeting of these two historical franchises.

I was instantly attracted to the Tekken characters because they represented effectively new blood to the Street Fighter format and had incredible depth to explore. However, beginning players may be frustrated using the Tekken characters at first because most players lack knowledge of those characters’ “game plan” to be effective in the 2D arena. Losing repeatedly to Hadoken, Shoryuken, and j.FK will be very discouraging but learning the individual tools to counter and dismantle the older-than-time strategies of the Shotokan and other SF veterans is one of the game’s internal Everests; a difficult climb but a satisfying challenge to master.

In terms of general gameplay, I feel that it is best described as a hybrid/middle-ground between SFIV and MvC3. Basics like footsies and positioning are still integral to play, but lengthy and damaging combos increase the lethality of openings and opportunities. This helps to reinforce the marriage of the two different game styles, with the fundamentals of Street Fighter and the “dead in 2 combos” high stakes of Tekken. Seasoned players of Street Fighter will comfortably adjust to the game, yet it is different enough to warrant new approaches and perspectives and also has an incredible depth of new mechanics to explore and master. There are several aspects of play that warrant some of the game’s nuanced aspects, like utilizing switch mechanics effectively, but these too will quickly become second nature to perceptive and dedicated players. I find this middle-ground gameplay refreshing and compelling; it features both strong fundamentals to reward tactical, disciplined play as well as the flashiness to entertain and freedom to experiment.

SFxT’s included modes may be among the most robust offerings yet from Capcom. The ability to play with 4 players simultaneously in tag-team format is a great inclusion and is natural to the game’s basic play rather than a forced addition, and also is a blast. The online modes also seem to be servicable, and even includes features such as saving replays.

Sadly, it appears that the 360 version of the game is notably inferior in several areas, first of which being the exclusion of 5 console specific characters on the PS3, second being the inability to do team-play locally on Xbox Live.

Overall, SFxT is shaping up for me to be one of the most enjoyable releases of the past many years, cherry picking some of the great aspects from recent and historical releases into a new format that scratches the right spot. It is a game that deserved to be decent and it definitely “crossed the line.”

As for the DLC debacle…that is an article for another day.


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