Street Fighter X Tekken Review

Street Fighter X Tekken, Capcom’s latest fighting game jumps into the fray with a roster boasting characters from both the Street Fighter and Tekken franchises. With this version being developed by Capcom, it’s Capcoms mechanics that take centre stage, but can this mashup appease fans of two fighters so distinctly different?

Firing up Street Fighter X Tekken (SFxT), it’s evident that the game takes a multiplayer focus over singleplayer. The only singleplayer offering is Arcade mode, well, and training too. Whilst it’s not uncommon in the genre, recently games like Mortal Kombat, Blazblue, and Soul Calibur, have attempted to offer more sizable singleplayer offerings. SFxT however doesn’t shy away from making it clear that if you’re not going to be able to get much out of this game, if you’re just looking for a single player experience.

Even the singleplayer modes offer ‘arcade fight request’, allowing you to be interrupted by online challengers. This featured in SSFIV too, and it’s nice to see it return here. Arcade mode itself is pretty bare-bones, featuring a half-animated cutscene introduction, and ending, however the specific character endings are simply walls of text. There’s no significant story, and what is there doesn’t take itself very seriously, some of the character endings are intentionally comical.

As far as the roster goes the game features around 40 characters, split between the Street Fighter and Tekken casts, there are also additional characters available exclusively on Playstation 3 (Megaman, Pacman, Toro, Kuro, and Cole from Infamous). These 5 feel somewhat tacked on, and considering they are platform exclusive, they’re not going to be tournament eligible… as a result their exclusivity won’t have much value to more dedicated players. That aside, the games core roster features a good chunk of characters you’d expect from each respective franchise, with characters Ryu, Ken, Sagat, Bison, Chun Li, and so forth on the Street Fighter side, and Law, Paul, Kazuya, Jin, King and so on the Tekken side.

Tekken… lost in translation?

The Street Fighter cast have been pretty much transferred over, directly from Super Street Fighter IV, their animations are the same, character models, moves available. There framedata has changed here and there though, sometimes making links and such a little easier, you also don’t have to worry about hitconfirming tricky combos into Ultra, either anymore – since you can get into your characters super combos safely, off of anything. The Tekken cast however are quite different, whilst they all have the same style of jumps, normals, and often special moves, most of the cast have a series of specific strings, or target combos that they can use. This basically enabled Capcom to retain a little bit of their style from Tekken, and put it into this otherwise very Capcom-fighter but overall Tekken players aren’t going to feel very familiar with the games mechanics. The Tekken characters do change the game however. Characters like Heihachi have strings that mix up high, low and overhead attacks, ordinarily a Street Fighter player would have to perform a complex set of links to perform a combo like this off, but since Tekkens strings can be input without much thought towards timing, Tekken characters can apply pressure reasonably easily without having to worry too much about refining their execution.

That isn’t to say that the mechanics aren’t balanced however. I mentioned Heihachi had a combo which throws in an overhead, this is true, however if used as a blockstring – it’s unsafe, and leaves opportunity for reversal. So whilst the easy-to-get to grips with strings lend themselves to newer players abilities, you’ll still need to spend time mastering the game and individual characters in order to play a really solid game, with either SF or Tekken characters.

One thing that both sets of characters have in common are chains. They each have standardised chains and tag abilities. What this means is that you can press light punch, medium punch, heavy punch, and then heavy punch again and this will automatically combo, and launch your opponent into the air, tagging in your second character, and allow for a follow up. Obviously you need to be careful when you use this though, as these chains aren’t necessarily safe, so your opponent can punish you if you’re not using them appropriately, but they serve as a safe way to tag in so long as you can ensure the launcher is going to connect. Ordinarily if just tag out on its own, you leave the character coming in to take a few hit / combo, so it’s good to get used to using chains, and other more advanced mechanics like tag cancels too.

All in all the games combat mechanics feel reasonably well refined. Although it becomes apparent that, that isn’t, entirely the case. Several infinite combos have unveiled themselves for some of the Tekken characters, mostly linked to their strings / target combos. I assume this is the result of Capcom working with mechanics they’re less familiar with; they have however stated that these would be fixed with a patch, along with a few other issues which I’ll touch on soon.

Dem Gems…

SFxT also features an extensive set of features to customise your character and playstyle . The gem system enables you to equip stat bonuses or assistances, which need to be activated in game through the fulfillment of certain criteria. It remains to be seen whether these will be balanced additions to the game, and due to the time it takes to configure a gem loadout, gems aren’t likely to see much use in offline tournament. There’s also a palette customisation feature allowing you to customise the individual colours of different parts of your characters. Unfortunately many of the colors have been reserved for DLC, although Capcom have confirmed that at least the first set of colors will be free.

Visually the game matches Capcom’s Street Fighter IV artstyle, with slightly weird looking character models… but overall it they’re all pretty detailed, and well modeled towards what Capcom intended, with slightly exaggerated features, similar to cartoon characters. The games stages are vibrant, colourful, and dynamic, with over the top, but never distracting sequences playing in the background. Sound is mostly what you’d expect, the soundtrack itself is pretty solid and I enjoyed some of the stage music, and none of it managed to stand out as annoying.

For multiplayer, SFxT offers the same versus, and online multiplayer offerings you’ll be familiar with from previous Capcom games (SSFIV), with some welcomed additions. Most notable are the co-operative modes. On SFxT either locally or online you can team up with a partner and play on the same team, against up to two other players. There are two modes of doing so, ‘scramble battle’ sees all four characters on screen at one time, this is a little more chaotic, and honestly. I doubt it’ll really be taken seriously by anyone, although, it can be enjoyable, especially as a sort of party mode. Alternatively there’s the more, traditional mode, which simply allows each player to play one of the characters as they’re tagged in and out, as usual. Neither of these options radically changes the game, but for me, it made it a much more social, fun experience. It’s a blast to refine strategies together as a team, then work together online against other individuals and teams, for the win.

Alongside the partner options, there are all the regular modes you’d expect. Such as ranked match, which uses a similar Battle Point system to what you’d be familiar with from previous games, and endless battle which enables you to create a lobby for up to 8 other players to fight in. There is also replay capture and playback functionality, and Capcom intend to add replay analysis features later, in a patch.

In regards to latency (lag), the games netcode does a good job of keeping both players in sync with eachother, and I was able to play with people in America (I’m in Europe) in an almost lag free environment. Unfortunately at times the game would glitch out inexplicitly, with characters teleporting around, and animations not even being displayed for moves input, but this was very, very rare and usually resolved itself. The match quality was usually very good, better than SSFIVs, most of the time, although a little less consistent. There was however an issue with the games sound, which would regularly lose synchronisation – again, it’s something Capcom have stated intention to resolve with a patch, and whilst it was an audible annoyance, it didn’t really effect the quality of the experience significantly. If it was running smooth, it didn’t really concern me too much if the sound effects were a little out of sync, I just turned my set down.

Overall I was quite happy with the package, one thing you need to bear in mind, don’t bother with this game if you’re looking for a singleplayer experience. It has next to nothing to offer you, but if you’re looking for multiplayer(either local or online) Street Fighter X Tekken is a fantastic offering, with a large roster of characters, vibrant stages, and a refreshing set of modes. Although right now there are a few issues, particularly with the game balance thanks to some infinite combos, Capcom have assured users that these will be resolved with the next patch, and I’m sure Capcoms continued support will benefit the game and community.

Verdict

Street Fighter x Tekken is a fantastic multiplayer fighter that’ll likely have you coming back for a long time, but stay well clear if you’re looking for a singleplayer game. 8.9/10

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