March 5, 2012
Ignoring the very loose storyline, Street Fighter x Tekken is very much about how these two behemoths meld together. Although since this is Capcom's baby, it's expected that those who're used to the world of Street Fighter will fit right in - they will have no problem picking up their favoured combatants and feeling at home.
Characters like Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and M.Bison all have their moves, which date back to the old days of Street Fighter II, but there are few little extras thrown in for good measure.
Tagging is still a core component to the gameplay, as it has been since Street Fighter IV and the more recent Marvel vs Capcom 3. By tapping the two medium buttons, you'll perform a quick-swap, but there's also the capacity to perform Launches and other more fancy moves too.
Veterans of those aforementioned titles will notice that everything does seem a bit simpler though, perhaps to accommodate for the Tekken audience. Performing an Ultra, for example, no longer needs the same button input. In the case of Ryu, it just requires one quarter circle, followed by each of the punches. Capcom has also introduced the concept of Gems, which act as buffs or in some cases, fail safes.
There are two different types of Gem: Boost and Assist. The first, allows your character to be boosted up, if a set criteria has been met. An example of this could be, having ten attacks blocked. In this instance, you might have your damage output increased by 20 percent. There are others though, such as Gems which give health back, or allow you to take less damage. These are fine, and add to the level of strategic play that's to be expected.
Assist Gems, on the other hand, are a very different proposition. They are designed to help players who're new to the game, but using them comes at a cost. For example, the Assist Gem "Easy Input", which allows special moves to be performed using simplified button commands, reduces your damage output by 10 percent. There are others for "Auto Block" and "Auto Throw Escape" too, which will reduce your Cross Gauge. It's nice that these were included for novices, but it's easy to see that some more experienced players will weigh up the pros and cons.
Many of the different special elements feel rather simple to perform, and they're outlined in Dan Hibiki's tutorial mode. Here, he'll guide you through counters, and using the Cross Gauge effectively and using combinations.
The easiest, and most effective, for a newcomber is perhaps the Cross Rush. It allows you to string like-minded attacks together, ending in a nice crescendo before your team performs a tag. Attacks must be performed in order of strength, going upwards, for this to work. But there are also things like Cross Assault, which brings in both characters at the same time - you control both. There's plenty of depth here for those who're willing to put in the time, that's for sure.
The newest, and perhaps the most daring addition, is Pandora mode. If your on-screen fighter is below 25 percent health, you can sacrifice his life to give a massive boost to your other character. It only lasts for 10 seconds and if you don't win within this time, you lose. But their damage output is considerably increased and if it's tight towards the end, it could be the difference between winning and losing. It's easy to see this single gameplay mechanic making duels even more tense.
Everything is rendered with Capcom's new-style fighting graphics, which are akin to those witnessed in Street Fighter IV. All of Street Fighter characters look as they have done in the past few games, but it's great to see how the Tekken characters have transitioned with such ease into their new environment. Putting the nitty gritty of the gameplay mechanics aside, the Tekken characters feel right at home, even if the majority of them don't have the fancy fireballs and mental moves that Street Fighter fans have become so accustomed to.
The online is also back in full force, this time allowing for co-operative fighting. Instead of everything being a one-on-one affair, you can now bring your friend along for the ride. It allows you to control one fighter each. It makes the whole thing a bit more social and it's a welcome addition. There's also a rather fun new mode called Scramble, which allows four people to fight at the same time.
Street Fighter x Tekken is a very strong fighting game and Capcom deserve a ton of credit for being able to integrate such a different fighting world into their universe with such ease. Despite their differing styles, the Tekken characters don't feel out of place and you never know, it could be a first step towards bringing those two very different fighting cultures together. The multiplayer innovations are also very welcome, but some of the decisions made to help entry-level players may be frowned upon by Street Fighter veterans.
Street Fighter x Tekken was reviewed on the PS3.