Game Review: Street Fighter X Tekken
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
The worlds of Street Fighter and Tekken have collided. In an effort to attain the mysterious Pandora, Capcom and Namco’s warriors have taken the fight to a merged universe! The cast of Tekken take step into the 2D plane for a rare occurrence, and the Street Fighters team up with a partner. Some teams, such as Ryu and Ken, are natural and expected, but players are expected to mix things up a bit. The gender-confusing Poison with a gaseous bear? Bob with Sagat, leading to a team that can only be named as “Bob Sagat”? Capcom may have successfully merged the two worlds for this title, but the dark secret uncovered may destroy their reputation with fans in the long run.
First and foremost, this is one of two titles that will crossover the casts of these two universes in a fighting game. Street Fighter X Tekken is developed by Capcom, and therefore plays akin to many of their titles; it’s 2D with 3D graphics, there are six attack buttons (three punches, three kicks), and by performing button combos, unique moves are unleashed (both light attacks for a throw, both medium to swap partners, and so forth). The big twist that will inevitably affect all players is that you chose two characters at the beginning (or, if you’re playing with a friend, you each choose one). When one of the fighters falls, the match is over; strategy kicks in here, as you need to swap out before you fall, let the other fighter take a backseat, or pull a desperate attack that takes out one fighter on his last legs and gives a power boost to the remaining one, for a few scant remaining seconds.
On a technical level, the fighting system is largely great; the controls aren’t simplified, allowing for a fair amount of variety and technique that harkens back to the six-button controls of most Street Fighter titles, and it’s a system that works. The Street Fighter cast is largely unchanged, and the Tekken cast plays how they would limited to a 2D plane. Poison, one of the characters in the cast who’s only had one previous playable title in very limited release, is a fun new fighter that might get a few good hits in, beyond the infamous backstory. If you wanted to pit Street Fighter characters against Tekken characters in a Street Fighter-stylized game, this is what you want.
Obviously, there is one huge complaint about the game (and the game industry as a whole), discovered by early adopters and those willing to take a peek behind the game’s curtain, as it were. Between the two home console versions, the Sony title has an extra five characters. Three of them make complete sense, Cole (from Infamous, a Sony-exclusive title) and two mascots for Sony wouldn’t show up on Microsoft, and that’s okay. Megaman and Pac-Man, on the other hand, have been platform agnostic for years, and wouldn’t stand out on a Microsoft console. For the future Vita version, an additional 12 characters have been confirmed as bundled with the game at launch; while that’s not truly damaging, as the Vita title will be in gestation longer (and could benefit from the time to polish off more characters), various bits of the characters and code have been found on the Xbox version. Capcom has already confirmed that these characters will be part of a paid download down the road.
Effectively, Capcom will be wanting Microsoft players (and home Sony players) to pay extra for stuff that’s already on the disc. It’s a damaging indictment towards the monetization of gameplay and console-exclusivities; players aren’t deciding between Street Fighter X Tekken for the Xbox 360, Street Fighter X Tekken: Championship Edition for the PlayStation 3, and Super Street Fighter X Tekken Turbo Revival for the Vita in name, but they definitely are when it comes down to characters. More costumes and gems will be available too, but at the onset, whole play styles will be locked until players spend more Microsoft Points.
Without tackling the moral and other ramifications of having so many versions of rosters different between the various titles of the game, Street Fighter X Tekken seems to have too much going on at one time. A tag-team Street Fighter, or a game focusing on Street Fighter heroes fighting Tekken heroes? Too simple. Combine them, and you have something “good enough”. Adding in the gem system, though, and you’ve got what should be relegated to an extra mode. Heroes VS. Heralds mode in Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3 worked in one fashion, as it was limited to Free Post-Release DLC in it’s own mode; ignoring the fact that no Achievements or Trophies or content was unlocked from that mode, you played it because you actively wanted to play that mode. Additionally, Xbox 360 fans cannot play with a partner on the same console against online opponents; it’s listed in the manual, Mortal Kombat did it, but for various reasons, Capcom retracted that capability in the Xbox title.
This is a Street Fighter game with a bit too much thrown on it’s plate, and a Capcom game with too much negative backlash for most to give the title a fair shake. In a vacuum, people picking up the Xbox 360 version (the iteration reviewed) will be treated with a game with a good amount of fighters, an overzealous fighting engine, and a general appreciation for both fighting game worlds. Still, it’s impossible for someone who keeps up with gaming news to play a game in a total vacuum, and the viewpoint that the title is “unfinished” or “part 1″ is additionally inherent. As it stands, it’s a good game that doesn’t exactly get everything perfect, and will only get better and cheaper with time. Give it a year, and when the inevitable Street Fighter X Tekken: Complete Edition is released for less the cost with all the DLC bundled, and you have a game worthy of a fight fan’s collection. As it is, this is a preview of what the Vita version will have all at launch, and while it might be a fun demo, it’s a demo.
- Gem system is unnecessary
- Tekken and Street Fighter fans will find nods to aspects they like
- On-Disc DLC is a major sticking point
Final Score: 6 out of 10