If you’ve read any other reviews on gaming websites about Street Fighter x Tekken, chances are you’ve seen nearly every reviewer mention just how much Capcom loves crossovers in their introduction. I’ll presume you’re tired of it too, so here’s the rundown. Whether you’re new to either the Street Fighter or Tekken franchise or a long-time fan, Street Fighter x Tekken caters for everyone. It’s perfectly fair to be skeptical of Capcom (especially in light of recent events), however they have delivered an excellent blend between the two worlds, seemingly appealing to a larger demographic of gamers with each new release wearing the Street Fighter title.
New tutorial mode – The new tutorial mode is a welcome addition to the series, a feature previously omitted from former titles such as Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV. Coached by fan favourite character Dan Hibiki, tutorial mode allows players to grasp the basics of the game whilst learning more advanced techniques (such as cross cancel and super arts), and explains its new and original elements such as gems, launchers and Pandora Mode (I’ll explain more about them later).
This new teaching tool allows newer players to gain a greater understanding of the complex mechanics of the game, instead of simply picking up the controller and mashing away at buttons (I am guilty of this). With all the new inclusions to the game, the tutorial mode is almost a necessity and one can only wonder how it was excluded from recent Street Fighter titles.
Greater depth – The Xbox 360 version of the game sees 38 characters in total, with the PS3 containing five more exclusive characters at 43. Fan favourites such as King, Yoshimitsu and Jin all make an appearance on the Tekken side, and classic Street Fighter characters such as Ryu, Ken and Vega return along with the presence of newer fighters such as Abel and Rufus.
Further adding to the depth is the ability to ‘customize’ your characters before battle, with Capcom allowing players to edit the features and attire of fighters, with extra and special colours available as free add-ons. The ‘customize’ menu also allows users to alter the previously-preset quick combos of characters, as well as your battle profile for online play and gem units, which I’ll explain shortly.
New fighting elements – Capcom has included a range of new fighting elements that have a drastic, yet strategic effect on the game. Several Tekken-esque features have been added to the Street Fighter engine to show that the game is truly a crossover rather than a simple ‘versus’ title, with the addition of tag team battle and the gem system having a huge effect on gameplay. By focusing Street Fighter x Tekken on tag-team battle, players are given the chance to switch out wounded fighters for their healthier ally, yet the tag team can also be utilised strategically to advantage players in battle and increase damage dealt to opponents.
This can be achieved through a variety of new techniques implemented by Capcom, such as ‘Cross Arts’ and ‘Cross Assaults’, where players can launch a series of attacks using both characters, and even control and attack with both at the same time. The inclusion of the gem system further adds an additional element to gameplay, with players able to equip chosen characters with either ‘Boost Gems’ or ‘Assist Gems’ to gain a competitive edge in battle. Boost gems simply boost your chosen fighter’s statistics during battle, through increasing damage output, movement speed and a range of other effects. Assist gems again simply assist the player in a variety of ways, with ‘Auto Throw Escape’ lets players escape throws automatically and ‘Super Easy Input’ allows special moves to become easier to complete. However, assist gems come at a cost, often decreasing attack during battle or the player’s cross gauge significantly.
Greater accessibility – Through a mixture of new and simplified techniques, easier difficulty and achievement system, SFxT is accessible for hardcore gamers and fighting game rookies alike. Pressing every button on the controller is no longer necessary to inflict deadly moves upon your opponent, with Capcom introducing techniques such as ‘Pandora mode’ and ‘Super Charge’ as a means of simply strengthening regular attacks, amongst other easy to learn, hard to master maneuvers.
Difficulty levels are also far easier than that of Street Fighter IV, with Arcade Mode on easiest difficulty able to be completed in a matter of minutes, with boss battles proving no trouble in comparison to that of Seth in SF IV. Achievements for the game have also been made more accessible, making players really work for the added Gamerscore, yet providing several easy unlocks.
Arcade mode too short – The typical short Street Fighter backstory cutscenes tell the player that the two universes have come together to fight for a ‘Pandora box’ that seems to possess mythical powers and can be used to further the human race. While this is all well and good, I’d really love to see a full-fledged storyline sometime soon.
I’m a sucker for a good story and think Street Fighter crossing Tekken opens up a world of possibility regarding great character backstories – the game is fun, but its replayability is limited and a strong story or mission arc would’ve been a perfect addition to the game.
On-disc DLC – If you haven’t heard about the controversy regarding Capcom’s decision to include downloadable content on the game disc itself rather than an external, added purchase, you’ve been living under a proverbial gaming rock. Later this year, 12 additional characters are set to join the already-large array of characters in SFxT; however, these characters should have been included in the game, used to further replayability and depth rather than Capcom’s profits.
Omission of local co-op online play (Xbox 360 version) – Apparently, due to resource and time issues, Capcom were unable to include the feature of being able to play with a friend on the same console online, and have no plans to patch the issue. Not good enough considering they somehow had the time to include it in the PS3 version.
It seemed like a strange idea when announced and Street Fighter x Tekken is ultimately a formula that works. With a vast array of fan favourite characters, new customizable modes and greater accessibility than ever, it’s certainly a great place to start for newcomers to the series. Of course, the game has its drawbacks, but its innovative features and distinct difference between usual Street Fighter games will be enough to keep players interested and certify its worth.