With all the crossovers Capcom has done in the past, I’ve always wondered why a combination between it and fellow fighter stalwart Namco had taken so long to come about. With Ono being himself and suggesting crossovers from Nintendo to Mortal Kombat, it’s safe to say that Tekken was last on the minds of a lot of people. The last time these two met was in Namco X Capcom, a Japan-exclusive that didn’t make the two sides beat themselves senseless in a way you’d think. Keeping up with that “X” (read: Cross) tradition they started then, both companies agreed to a two-game series in their respective styles. Street Fighter X Tekken has had me excited since that first tech demo two years ago, and now it’s out in the open, despite controversial trappings and bad business decisions.
Despite the recent mess it’s waded into however, Capcom has once more solidified itself as the lone king of the crossover.
The Story - A mysterious box known as Pandora has crash landed in Antarctica, after a fall from outer space. Containing a strong, unknown power, a group of fighters from every inch of the planet find themselves in a race to claim the box for their own purposes. All the while, two military organizations – the Mishima Zaibatsu and Shadaloo – have also joined the hunt, their leaders vying for control of Pandora.
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Title: Street Fighter X Tekken
Platforms: XBox 360, PS3, PC (May 11)
Release Date: March 6, 2012[/toggle_box]
- Tekken Transition - The game controls in a similar fashion to Capcom’s other six-button offerings, but for those that wonder about the translation to 2D for the Tekken folks should not worry: the move to 2D is flawless. You’ll notice that the character specific 10-hit combo strings have been removed from the fighters’ arsenal, along with many of their moves in favor of Street Fighter-style special attacks and Super Arts. However, they haven’t been completely neutered as some of the best moves from their natural habitat made the cut with no problems in the transition. While you can’t hold diagonal down and hit kick to land Law’s Somersault, making the half-moon motion instead shouldn’t be a problem for someone used to playing with a fightstick. I have to admit, it’s always satisfying to chain Kazuya’s Slaughter Hook into his Roundhouse Triple, something impossible to do in the third dimension. If Tekken were to ever go 2D, this is how it would be made.
- Cross - Yoshinori Ono said that the “Cross” in the title meant the two sides were literally out to tear each other up. Point well taken. The fighting is visceral, with a combo-heavy feel reminiscent of early generation Marvel-Capcom crossovers. While the game is using a modified version of the Street Fighter IV engine, it’s much more fast-paced, and many times more offensive. In addition to staple combos and specials, character teams can now perform a “Cross Art” super move. In these, both partners take turns with combo-laden attack, with the second teammate ending the assault in his or her specific Super Art. These look fantastic, as flying camera angles offer a dose of insane cinematics to the attacks. In addition to this, “Cross Assault” has you use both characters at the same time. While interesting, don’t expect to see this used too much competively. As the CPU controls your other character, the move eats up your special meter, making it useless if you don’t have a human partner.
- Four Can Play – Capcom came through in a major way with it’s multiplayer offerings. For those who distance themselves from the online sector, you can grab three buddies on the couch and duke it out in some surprisingly lag-free fights. You can also activate Scramble Mode, which has all four characters onscreen at the same time a la Smash Bros. On top of this, you can also hop on Training mode with four players, either in person or online. Either way you do it admittedly brings a bit of the arcade spirit back to the home consoles. It would have been a head-scratching disappointment to see these options excised from a game like this, and it makes me hope that future crossovers carry these features.
- Forever Alone – No Problem: There’s a surprising amount of single-player content to be had for those that shy away from the online scene. On top of a tutorial explaining the game’s new mechanics, the Trials from SFIV make a return to teach players some damaging combos. In addition, a mission mode has been added, providing different rules to win in an increasingly difficult fashion. In addition, each main team has their own interactions in-game, prompting many playthroughs of Arcade mode to see them all. While this all may not warrant the $60 price tag, it’s still a leap ahead from past games that lacked one-player content on launch.
- GEMS! – One of the more controversial choices since announced, the Gem System has you activating particular stat increases during combat by completing certain tasks. Get hit with a certain number of normal moves, you’ll activate a gem boosting defense. Some add more power to your attacks, and others will add speed. Despite earlier convictions against the system, the gems are actually not that invasive to the gameplay. You can tailor the gems to your liking for certain teams, and having a decent deck can cause your opponent to rethink strategies on the fly, making for some interesting fights.
- A Vibrant Beatdown – As stated earlier, the game uses a modified version of the Street Fighter IV engine, so many aspects of the graphics are similar to its predecessor. The character models are the same coming from the Street Fighter side, while the Tekken characters retain many of their stances and looks from their native 3D plane. What I enjoyed most is how each hit is not without some colorful flourish – the feeling of doing some heavy damage is always present. Additionally, Capcom’s taken a page from Namco in terms of stage design. Not only is each stage much more vibrant and active than IV, some stages are tiered with different floors as in Tekken. While you can’t crash through them during battle (a missed opportunity), you’ll move from floor to floor after each round. It’s a nice touch, and provides a bit of hype and anticipation in seeing the fighters move from one spot to the next.
- Stories, Tales Missed - For a series that has built up some decent lore for the past 25 years, you would think it’d be time for Capcom to actually put some semblance of a story mode into a Street Fighter title. While the story is told through before and after cutscenes and between round dialogue for each main team, there’s a missed chance here to really delve into the tale of the crossover. It doesn’t necessarily have to tie into the two main games, despite the obvious notion that they exist within the same timeframe. The outline for some elaboration and character progression is present and waiting to be expanded, so it’s a bit frustrating to see such a squandered opportunity.
- Didn’t I Just Fight You? - As much as I enjoyed Arcade Mode, I found myself wondering if the game was in some sort of causality loop with it’s supposed “random” team selection for the CPU. Three different runs through Arcade had me fight Rolento/Ibuki, Chun-Li/Cammy, and Heihachi/Kuma in the same go. Mind you, they weren’t in the exact same order as the last time, but for a game sporting 38-character roster, this was a little frustrating.
- Muted Online, In More Ways Than One - I’ll say this right off the bat – while containing some varied online modes, online fights are anything but buttery smooth. There’s a noticeable lag during battles, complete with stuttering character frames for those with even the best connections. On top of this, the audio is absolutely terrible during a match. Sounds are either muffled, or drop in and out entirely and frequently to the point of distraction. How or why Capcom decided to release this in its current state is baffling, as they know fully well half of the gamers picking this up will hop online from the get-go. The developers have stated that a fix is on the way, but have not posted a release date as of this writing. Additionally, the once-promised local online co-op has been removed from the 360 version of the game, citing “time and resource issues.” The excuse is distant at best, as other games on the console support the same feature.
- This Is Not How You Color Edit - I was stoked to hear about the color edit option, for the sole purpose of making the entire cast look like the Third Street Saints. Disappointment set in when I fired up the mode. For any individual character, you can switch between their P1 and P2 costume colors for certain pieces of clothing, and generic black and white. That’s it. And what’s even more annoying is when a character already has a black or white color as their main shade, you’re offered the same color(s) as an alternate, taking up a space that could have gone to a different color. I may sound nitpicky, but myself and other fighting fans love having an option to customize our characters to our liking. And when games such as The King of Fighters have done color edit miles better, this just looks lazy.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a fun game. The controls are tight, the multiplayer options are robust, and seeing the two biggest franchises beat the holy Hell out of one another will go down in gaming history as another crossover game only Capcom could pull off. Additionally, the Gem system works, and puts many of its critics to bed with non-invasive stat-boosting. Now that being said, SFXT is unfinished. While the gameplay is straight, the online play needed more time to iron out horrendous lag and sound issues that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Color Edit is neutered, and the lame excuse for the lack of couch co-op online is a load. If you’re going to play this, give it a weekend rental for yourself and invite some friends over. Otherwise, wait for a price drop. It’ll make the sting of the $20 on-disc character pack much less painful.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here.[/box_light]
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Replay Value: 7
“Great“ – Many strive for greatness, and fail. Not this game, it looked greatness in the eye and lived to tell about it. We recommend purchasing it.[/toggle_box]