Street Fighter X Tekken Review
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Many videogame franchises spark sometimes bitter rivalries between gamers, such as Battlefield vs. Call of Duty, Halo vs. Resistance, but no rivalry in the gaming world is as intense as that of Street Fighter and Tekken. These arcade fighting games have developed a long, bitter feud between players as to which game is better, and which character could kick whose behind in a match.
Street Fighter X Tekken has finally arrived! Now gamers will have a chance to show off who has the maddest skills in the arena. So, let’s take a look at how this new arcade fighter from Capcom stacks up.
A mysterious artifact inside of a meteor is found after crashing in the Antarctic. The box-shaped artifact, codenamed Pandora, feeds energy to those prone to aggression, making them more powerful. A race to retrieve the artifact is underway and you’re in the thick of it.
Capcom’s Street Fighter X Tekken (Street Fighter Cross Tekken for those that are unaware) returns to its roots with fast-paced action on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. As soon as you pop in the disc and fire up the game, it asks you if you would like to take the tutorials to learn the basic combat skills necessary to progress through SFXT. Those more experienced may go ahead and skip over it to get straight to the action, but it’s recommended that players that are less skilled (e.g. button mashers like yours truly) go through these tutorials to familiarize yourself with the combat. Button mashing, while more tolerable in previous Capcom games isn’t much welcomed here. However, spending about 45 minutes with the tutorial, you’ll gain enough skills to move on to the Arcade Mode and sharpen those skills even more.
Arcade Mode carries on the general story that brings these two worlds together. It’s set up in a typical ladder-type system where you typically match up against two enemies in a tag team fighting match. Occasionally, you’ll run into boss levels where you’ll be running into a singularly more powerful character on their own. In the PlayStation 3 version, these can include exclusive characters such as Mega Man or Pac Man (among others) that you’ll encounter. You can team up with a friend in pair play for some two player tag team action in Arcade as well.
Another feature that can be enabled or disabled while playing Arcade Mode is Fight Request. This allows you to get some fighting action in while waiting for a match to come along so you’re not waiting around with idle thumbs in some online lobby.
However, if it’s the story that seems intriguing, prepare to be disappointed. Only certain character combinations will get the full detail with cutscenes, with other character combinations leaving you wondering what you’re fighting for. By the time you make your way up the ladder, you’re left even more confused than when you started.
Unfortunately, the game’s Arcade Mode isn’t much more than a good bit of practice against the AI to prepare for the multiplayer arena, with a bit of fluff added to break the monotony. My first playthrough as Ryu and Chun-Li left me wondering exactly what was going on, and why there was a wooly mammoth chasing a hovercraft down in the background at one point in the middle of a match. While it looked cool, it would have been nice to know what the story was while I was playing it.
Versus Mode is another mode which pits you against a pair of AI opponents of your choice for a single match. You can also jump into a Scramble match that allows you and three of your buddies to face off against each other. However, if you’re feeling more competitive and want to hit the global arena, Network Mode is where you’ll be spending most of your time.
Network Mode is pretty straightforward. Simply hit Online Battle and select between Ranked Match, Endless Battle, or Scramble Battle. Ranked Match has you playing against another player with the results going towards your global ranking. Endless battle is a King of the Hill type matchmaking, where the winner continues to play against a number of challengers as long as they continue winning. Once you’re knocked off of the top, you go to the bottom of the list and wait to play again. Unfortunately, in a departure from how other games handle it, only the next player in line can view the ongoing match. This leaves you staring at a proverbial wall for what can seem like an eternity, which can get pretty boring.
If you want to study from the pros, you can also view replays from the Network menu. There are a number of categories to choose from. The Elite Channel allows you to view the top matches played, while the Character menu allows you to view matches involving specific characters. You also have a channel that allows you to see the latest replays as they come in. The Elite and Character channels, however, are best if you want to study the top competition, or see matches involving your favorite characters. Knowing your enemy is important, and watching replays are a good way to get to know them, but be mindful that someone just might be gunning for you as well.
Also available to you are the Training and Challenge modes. Challenge Mode gives you a good way of learning the basic controls and combinations available to a given fighter, whereas Training allows you to practice your mad combo skills against an AI that doesn’t fight back. This is a good opportunity for players, both basic and advanced, to work on getting those 100 hit combos down if so desired.
Capcom has made a few changes from their previous installment, Street Fighter IV, including the use of Gems. Gems are divided into two primary categories, Boost and Assist. Boost Gems, as the name implies, increase character attributes when certain conditions are met. Attributes such as Strength, Defense and Speed, as well as the rate at which your Cross Gauge fills can be augmented with these Gems. Assist Gems do not affect your attributes, but rather make your life easier by simplifying moves. Assist Gems can allow you to use a simplified button combination for special attacks or even automatically block opponent attacks at the cost of one bar on your Cross Gauge.
Also new in this rendition is Pandora. This ability allows you to sacrifice your partner to give your character a massive boost in strength, a full Cross Gauge, and a boost in Vitality. However, using this power comes at a greater cost; Not only will your partner sacrifice themselves for you, but if you can’t take down your opponent before Pandora ends, you fall and lose the round.
Visually, Street Fighter X Tekken follows the same vein of Street Fighter IV, using fully rendered, toon-shaded characters for the fighters, against 3D backgrounds while you’re fighting on a 2D plane. In short, the game graphics are simply stunning to behold. The action is super smooth and quick with absolutely no jitter in those moments during a super attack or Cross Art combos where you would expect it the most. However, it is interesting to note that the load times before a match are obscenely long. On average, they can go from 16-20 seconds, and even the characters on the loading screen start to look bored while they stretch out and hold their action figure poses. It would perhaps go by faster if there were an option to install the game on the PlayStation 3, however, there isn’t.
The music of Street Fighter X Tekken is something that you can really get into. Although the main theme makes me think of the 90s X-Men cartoon, most of the selections that they’ve created for the game are upbeat and add to the adrenaline rush of playing an arcade fighter. The same can’t be said about the voice acting, however, as the English voice actors for most of the characters make you cringe every time a word is uttered. Fortunately, language selection isn’t all or none, so you can select the English or Japanese settings for each individual player if you so desire.
Street Fighter X Tekken has a lot of interesting stuff going for it. Excellent gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a fantastic sound make for a very tight fighting game. However, a story so loose as to be incomplete and incomprehensible at times makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place. Long load times and subpar English voice acting annoys and detracts from the overall experience as well. Altogether, a great effort by Capcom, but they could have done better.
Street Fighter X Tekken receives a 4.0/5.0
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