Game Rant's Curt Hutson reviews Street Fighter X Tekken
After the Street Fighter X Tekken announcement, fans of both franchises were unsure of how to approach Capcom's newest crossover - since the two fighting games are distinctly different. However, after spending time with the game, those fears can be put to rest as Street Fighter X Tekken finds a way to retain much of what made each game great - while adding new features to keep it fresh and exciting for modern fighting aficionados.
With a myriad of modes and exciting new game mechanics, Street Fighter X Tekken makes itself available to fighting fans old and new.
Booting up the game, players are greeted with a a tutorial option - accepting this optional training mode will walk players through all of the mechanics that are new to the game, essentially easing gamers into a complex, but fun, system. Players can proceed through each tutorial continuously or individually choose what subject they'd like to learn about. As a bonus, the whole thing is overseen by Street Fighter's Dan, the comic relief of the series, making training a much more enjoyable experience.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a two-on-two tag-team style fighter in a 2D environment. Players have the option of fighting together on the same team, which allows up to four gamers to play at once. Fighters can switch out when needed and each have their own individual health bars, but sharing in defeat if even one fighter goes down -- this makes tagging a crucially strategic element. Additionally, how players choose to switch out is equally important as there are several options that can turn into some truly righteous combos.
At its core, the game sticks closely to the fast-paced and flowing style of Street Fighter, while adding in a few elements from the Tekken series, complete with a six-button scheme and three-barred energy meter used for special attacks - such as super arts, EX special moves, counters and quick tag-team combos. While generally each character can play the same in terms of executing counters, throws and the like, each has a series of special moves that will require some time to perfect and memorize. These special moves can be dumbed down for players who wish for simple button combinations, making it accessible to those that can feel disenchanted by an overly intricate fighting system, but at a cost -- such as a hit to their meter or attack power. The tag elements work seamlessly with the fighting system, allowing players to get creative in how they deal out damage, and adds one especially interesting feature to the game: Pandora Mode. Members who wish to sacrifice themselves can give their partner a leg up in a fight in the form of a short, but very powerful boost in strength -- it's a leap of faith that can potentially turn the tide of battle.
The biggest, and possibly most dreaded, are the inclusions of gems. Gems gives players an edge in the form of boosts, which do everything from buffing a character's strength to reducing damage, and assists, which make executing moves easier. Those worried that gems will unbalance the game will be comforted to know that gems each have their own conditions that need to be met in order to execute them, such as a time limit or even a specific cost to balance things out. If a player uses a gem to make inputing moves easier, for example, they will suffer a 10% decrease in attack damage while in use. Gems add to the strategic elements of the game and allow for unique customization to accent the strengths or counter the weaknesses of a player, while still keeping the playing field level - and merely serve to assist as opposed to taking the place of actual skill.
Street Fighter X Tekken features many different modes that keep it fresh and offer new challenges. Arcade mode is fairly straight-forward, beginning with short and often hilarious character intros and ending with equally entertaining banter - most unique to the particular team players have cobbled together. During this mode there are beginning and ending cutscenes that introduce the characters and conclude their tale, touching up the experience with minor story elements. Additionally, arcade mode is like its namesake - allowing players to interrupt a game and challenge each other. Not unlike dropping a quarter into a machine - which gives it a more authentic Arcade feel.
Challenge mode, which consists of several smaller modes, is where fighting fans will actually learn to play the game. First is Tutorial Mode, which is where new players and seasoned veterans should make a pitstop to learn some new tricks. Trial Mode allows players to go through 20 character-specific trials and tests them on their ability to pull off certain moves and combos. Mission Mode sets battle conditions that your character must work through while battling with the AI.
Players that still don't feel like they've got it all down can spectate in the Replay Channel to view replays of high ranking players and learn how the game can be mastered. Additionally, players have the option of watching replays of specific characters, the most recent replays, or even their own saved replays. Examining the best fighters introduces new strategies to those still learning the ins and outs of the game and is an excellent training tool.
Ranked matches are available for those who want to challenge other players online, in addition to a pair of battle types that keep online fighting fresh as well as a Briefing Room that allows friends all over the world to practice with each other. Unfortunately the online experience was a tad shaky. Even with a strong connection, searching for opponents players might face a long wait and lobbies were sometimes difficult to join. While the core online components could use some polish, there is so much available to a single player that many won't mind waiting patiently until Capcom smooths things out.
Street Fighter X Tekken combines two beloved fighting franchises into one beautiful package. Boasting an impressive roster and containing all of the richness, style and humor of both series, combined with its unique accessibility to all types of players, this smart fighter breaks new ground for the future of its genre.
Street Figher X Tekken is available now for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Game Rant played the Xbox 360 version for this review.