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Street Fighter X Tekken Review


See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 03/22/2012 at 06:42 PM by Jon Lewis

The World Warrior vs. the King of the Iron Fist – Who will win?
RECOMMENDATION:

For fighting game fans, or fans of exciting combo engines.

If you were to ask a fighting game fan if they wanted to see the combatants of Street Fighter and Tekken go at it five years ago, they would probably say "Definitely!" then quickly add, “But it will never happen.”

How wrong we were, for the highly anticipated crossover is here and it is awesome. Capcom's take on the long awaited matchup is likely one of its most ambitious and intense titles to date. Fighting game fans have reason to be excited, because Street Fighter X Tekken is technical, competitive, and extremely fun to play with friends and rivals alike.

At its core, the game looks and plays very similarly to games in the Street Fighter 4 series. The character models and art style are pretty much taken directly from those games, but enhanced to look crisper within the new engine.

Unlike the Street Fighter 4 series, this game utilizes a two-on-two-system. Not only does this mean that players select two characters to take into battle, but this also means that you can team up with a friend to take on an opponent, or another team of players. This looks to be one of the best and most strategic modes in the game. Devising a strategy with a teammate definitely provides an extra level of depth not found in other fighters. Imagine having a match where you and your partner have to discuss team tactics, determining who tags in when, and what combos benefit the team. With a roster of 38 characters (or 43 if you are playing the PS3 version), that's a lot of strategy. 

The Street Fighter characters play very closely to their Street Fighter 4 counter parts, but there are other fighters who are seeing this generation for the first time, like Rolento and Poison. The shoto characters, like Ryu, Ken and Akuma are all very strong, but ranged characters like Dhalsim and grapplers like Hugo are a force to be reckoned with. Particularly, grapplers are very deadly because of their raw power and ease of use. That said, this game complements multiple play styles, so a certain type of character doesn’t appear to overwhelm another, at least for now. My favorite character, Chun-Li was mostly intact (compared to her SF4 incarnation), and thanks to the new engine she has combos and abilities that she never had before. She was easy for me to pick up because of my previous experience with her, but there was plenty new to learn, especially since she was a character that experienced some input remapping. For example, her lightning legs are no longer performed by button mashing, but rather half-circle forward with kicks. It’s effective and fits the faster pace of the game.

The Tekken cast will throw off Tekken veterans at first, because despite being from Tekken, they still run on a Street Fighter-like engine. Certain combos and timing for chains is similar to the Tekken source material, so after a few hours in training mode, Tekken veterans should be able to get a hang of their favorites. By choosing to learn characters like Xaioyu and Julia, I found that learning the Tekken fighters to be not only fun, but doing so helped me understand some of the new systems in the game. Tekken characters specialize in specific target combos and juggles so learning those techniques can help your overall game. Not all players will find comfort with the engine however, and those looking for a more Tekken-like experience may want to wait for Namco’s Tekken X Street Fighter.

One of the major new additions is the gem system. Players link up to three of these gems to a character. Gems allow you to customize your characters with boosts to different stats like attack and defense. They're activated under certain conditions, such as attacking your opponent with 4 normal moves. There are also assist gems which make some aspects of the game easier, like throw-teching and move inputs. While these sound broken, each assist gem comes at a cost of meter and is generally more geared toward newer players. I found that the boost gems are much more beneficial. 

Unfortunately, gems have to be customized prior to battle, making easy access to them a hassle. In a tournament setting, gem setup could really stall match progress and ultimately they will likely be ignored unless Capcom decides to implement a quick selection feature. There are certain gem pre-sets available, but most players will want to play with customized sets.

This game hosts several other new features that integrate the tag system like Cross Rush, which is a combo attack that ends in a launcher that calls in your teammate. Techniques like these make the combat play out a lot differently than the Street Fighter games. At first, players will probably try to play the game like it is Street Fighter 4, but after getting a feel for the engine they’ll realize that it is indeed its very own entity. The combat is still very reliant on spacing and timing, but juggles, wall bounces, and extended combos are all here in full force. Fighting gamers turned off by the slower nature of games like Street Fighter will likely find this to be a lot more fun.

Just about every mode that you have come to expect from past fighting games is included, so expect Arcade Mode, Trials, Online Matchmaking and Replays. New to this game are Missions, which are battles that have to be won by completing certain conditions. There is also a mode called Scramble Battle, in which all 4 players fight at the same time. It is extremely hectic, and best enjoyed in a party setting.

As a nice bonus, there are also ways to customize your game to your liking. The color edit mode lets you simply change the color palette of your favorite character. While minor, this feature is very welcome. However at the moment there aren't many color options so your choices are limited. 

Online handles well in some areas, and below par in others. While it's great that most matches have minimal lag, there are some glaring and surprising issues. The first is matchmaking, which takes a bit longer than expected, especially compared to the speedy matchmaking found in the Street Fighter 4 series. When in a match, there are sound bugs where the sound effects of some attacks will just drop out. In a game like this where players sometimes time their combos or links with sound, this is a glaring flaw. While this issue will likely be fixed in a future patch, it is still very annoying to deal with. 

Another major issue with this game at the moment comes in the form of glitches and infinite combos. While a lot of these glitches are minor, like getting Akuma to stay frozen in the air, some glitches cause a juggle state, which inevitably leads to an infinite combo. Also, aside from glitch infinites, there are also legitimate infinites with some characters like Xaioyu, which aren't terribly hard to execute and are ultimately game-breaking. Glitches and infinites severely harm the overall meta-game and while it's safe to say that these will be patched, the fact that this game has so many issues at launch shows that it may have needed a few more months dedicated to polishing up the experience.

Fighting games aren't known for their story but Street Fighter X Tekken revolves around an item called Pandora's Box. This item falls down from space and gets the attention of fighters around the world because it holds mysterious powers. Characters like Ryu, Ken, Kazuya, and Nina along with the rest of the 38-character cast go after this power for various reasons. Specific team combinations have special arcade mode cut scenes and endings which are pretty interesting for a fighting game. That said, the bread and butter of this game still lies in the Versus mode.

Street Fighter X Tekken is an extremely fun game, I can't stress that enough. It provides something very different and satisfying compared to other fighters. Not only can you enjoy it in a traditional player-versus-player fashion, but the addition of two-on-two really brings something great to the meta-game. It's a fully featured game that has a lot to offer, and I can definitely see it being a highlight at this year's EVO Championships (and maybe even the next few years).

The online issues, glitches, and infinites add up to a lot of unacceptable negatives, but the bottom line is that fighting fanatics should still give it a shot and hope most of them can be patched. This crossover is definitely worth it.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.

Side By Side - PS3 Version Reigns Supreme


Unfortunately for Xbox 360 owners, they will be getting the short end of the stick. The PS3 version is by far the best version of the game, for a multitude of reasons.

PS3 owners are given five extra characters in the form of Infamous' Cole, Namco and Capcom mascots, Mega Man and Pac-Man, and the Japanese Sony mascots, Toro and Kuro.

For the Xbox 360 version of the game, one HUGE issue lies in the fact that you cannot go online with two players as a team, while on the PlayStation 3 version of the game you can. The fact that this feature doesn't exist is really unfortunate and hopefully there's a chance it'll be patched-in sometime soon.

If you have the means, I would recommend the PS3 version, based on these issues.


 

Comments

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/22/2012 at 10:35 PM

You know your fighting games, JD. Knowing how much I love Street Fighter Alpha 3 with its huge cast and juggle goodness, would SFxT scratch that itch for me? Or do I just need to dust off my PSX copy of Alpha 3?

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

03/22/2012 at 11:46 PM

From what ive been hearing in the community, this game has a similar feel to some of the SFA3 and even CvS to some extent. I'd give it a rent at least and see how you like it. I think that you would like it but the community seems kinda split on the game atm. Best way to find out imo is to try it.

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