Review: Street Fighter X Tekken

It’s been a long time since Street Fighter X Tekken’s announcement in mid-2010. After many demonstrations, teasers and even a reality show to produce hype for the game, it’s finally out and does its job being a crossover game featuring fan favorites and having a solid fighting system.

This has been a dream for fans of fighting games to have Street Fighter and Tekken characters legitimately fight each other and it finally came true. As part of the X (Cross) project between Capcom and Namco, players can play SF favorites like Ryu and Guile as well as characters from Tekken like Kazuya Mishima and Julia Chang within the 2D plane that Street Fighter has been known for. The story that’s meant to bring them together is outrageous but it’s nothing that doesn’t hurt the game in any way.

Ever since Capcom vs. SNK 2, Street Fighter X Tekken is the latest in Capcom’s crossovers using a more traditional system. So if you played any Street Fighter entry, you will notice some necessary traits such as jumping, crouch blocking, and crossup attacks. What makes Street Fighter, CVS2, or any fighting game for that matter are distinctive mechanics that that make each of them unique.

For Street Fighter X Tekken, it’s propelled by a detailed tag team battle system. Players can control up to two different fighters from both Street Fighter and Tekken properties and clash it out against their opponents. Unlike the Marvel vs. Capcom games where players are required to defeat each member of an opposing team, Street Fighter X Tekken only needs one member to lose all their health; similar to that of Namco’s Tekken Tag Tournament series. The tag system also influences the combat mechanics. Where Street Fighter IV and its updates use the timing specific link combos to an extreme, Street Fighter X Tekken shines light on the much easier chain combos that can be performed by pressing light to medium to heavy punches/kicks in order. This allows one of the teammates to tag out and allow the other to finish it off with something damaging. Players can also perform team special attacks including cooperative super moves and initiating Cross Assault where both teammates gang up on the enemy to add attack pressure.

In addition to the main techniques, there are two special elements special to this game. The customizable gems are major additions where characters can equip attribute bonuses (Boost Gems) such as damage and speed enhancements or provide aid (Assist Gems) like auto blocking at the cost of the three bar Cross Gauge. Depending on the many gems in the game, there are certain conditions that must be met like blocking a certain amount of times. Ever since the announcement of gems, it’s been considered controversial due to it would provide an unreasonable advantage. On paper, it’s definitely odd but when actually playing the game, the gems are pretty balanced and sometimes unnoticeable.

The second addition is the special Pandora mode. Only activated when the active character is below 25% of health, Pandora sacrifices that character to power up the other with infinite Cross Gauge. The downside is that players have only 10 seconds to take down their opponent or else they lose a round. It can definitely turn the tide of battle much like Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s X-Factor but improper Pandora activation can allow the enemy to avoid being hit.

Many of these techniques will be helpful to new players; however it won’t instantly make them amazing pros.  For high level play, it’s still necessary to understand such things as prioritizing moves in situations, executing combos, adapting to specific players and matchups and even remembering frame data. Luckily, the game mechanics feel right together where learning advanced techniques is encouraging. The biggest problem though is that the game only explains things on the surface, especially in the tutorial, which can discourage new players who might not be able to analyze the little details which are absolutely necessary. If you can withstand the improved but still less desirable learning curve, the game has enough depth for competitors to enjoy.

While the more serious players will represent the backbone of the game’s longevity, there will always be players who just want to have some casual fun and luckily Street Fighter X Tekken has some modes. The game supports up to four players where each controls a character and must use teamwork to win. Four players can also participate in a special party mode called Scramble Mode where it’s an all-out battle with everyone in the playing field.

The online modes are a slight improvement to what was in in Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition with the modes people would expect including ranked matches and Endless Battle. There are also replays where players can analyze their own or their favorite players’ performances. In terms of quality of online play, it’s pretty solid and less laggy than SSFIVAE due to the implementation of rollback netcode. The code allows players to enjoy inputting their moves instantly but unfortunately sacrifices sound which goes on and off depending on connections from both players. In some cases, it’s not that much of a big deal especially when there is a performance advantage.

The production values are pretty acceptable for a fighting game. There is so much visual flair in the game where it’s necessary to take a look at all the detailed stages. The player models look a bit too much like plastic figurines though but they are not much of a distraction. The voice actors for both Japanese and English dubs sounding pretty good and the music has some memorable tunes even if it’s the least interesting soundtrack in Capcom’s recent history.

Closing Comments:

Street Fighter IV was the game that got people playing fighting games again, but Street Fighter X Tekken will be the game to hook them for years thanks to fluid and more exciting gameplay. Any issues are minuscule compared to where the game excels. With no plans for a “Super” or “Ultimate” version of the game, at least in physical form, the DLC will be the future of this game but as of this review, the main package is solid and everyone should try SFXT out.