Street Fighter X Tekken Review
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At the end of the day, Street Fighter X Tekken is still a great fighting game. It has its issues, namely the online multiplayer component and the underwhelming menus, but there's still good fun to be had.
- Core fighting gameplay is top-tier
- Visually pleasing art style and flashy super moves
- Solid PlayStation 3 exclusive content
- Online multiplayer component can be a mess
- A little too many mechanics layered over each other
- Too much time spent going back and forth through menus
It seems that by now, it doesn't need to be said that Capcom is atop the fighting game genre. Now thriving, the genre was revived, so to speak, earlier this generation with the release of Street Fighter 4. However, prior to said game’s release, there was a noticeable lull in the genre compared to a decade ago. The teams over at Capcom corrected this by making sure that – save for the annual “Super” or “Ultimate” increments – each new game felt different from the last (e.g. Street Fighter 4 to Marvel vs. Capcom 3).
This time around, Capcom has done nothing short of changing up the pace enough to make Street Fighter X Tekken feel like its own beast. Aside from the fact that the roster has been gutted, and then sewn back together with characters from another universe – Yup, sounds like Capcom – the game actually brings to surface a rather large variety of gameplay mechanics that I just haven’t seen before in a fighting game.
So many in fact that this is one of the most troubling parts of Street Fighter X Tekken. It feels like the team at Capcom thought it necessary to run through a checklist of new ways to make the fighting feel different, all the while losing track of what made Street Fighter 4 so great: simplicity and balance. New mechanics like the Cross Cancels and Cross Assaults, which allow players to counter enemy attacks or have both your fighters out alongside each other, are just two of the many new ways that combat can get too hectic.
Most of the great fighting games out there have the “easy to learn, hard to master” motto embroidered into their gameplay architecture, but with Street Fighter X Tekken, it was hard not to get lost in the sea of new mechanics added to the mix. Even hours after completing all tutorials, I still found myself reading up on how to use the many different systems used in a fight. I felt lost, but most of all, I felt that the core fun of nailing your combos was buried under a mountain of digressions due to all these new mechanics.
The newly added Gem system allows players to customize characters by equipping their respective fighters with up to three gems that can do anything from boost your damage, block attacks for you, and even allow you to move faster. There are even a few gems that tinker with the very fabric of the fighting system, allowing you pull off certain move inputs easier, or with less effort. Added to allow less experienced players to compensate for their weaknesses, this gem system can just as easily be used by pro players to find and exploit certain strategies that may seem overpowered to some.
Ignoring the fact that this gem system potentially nulls all tournament-level competition, it’s even more of a pain to actually equip your fighters with them, as you’ll have to wade through menu screen after menu screen before a fight for each character you want to customize. It can be quite irritating, especially when you’re playing with a few buddies who want to experiment with different gem strategies.
However, don’t get me wrong: this is a Street Fighter game, and it does look and feel like one—for the most part. The game looks great with a slightly altered art style from SF4, and even manages to make the Street Fighter and Tekken characters look like they’re from the same universe, at least in terms of bodily proportions.
Street Fighter players will feel right at home when using characters from both universes. The Tekken characters have been heavily adapted to the “quarter circle forward” type inputs that Street Fighter fans know and love. So if you’re a Tekken fan walking into this one, don’t expect to pull off any button combinations that you might be familiar with – you’ll fail miserably.
There are a few noteworthy Tekken influences, however. The 2v2 “tag in, tag out” architecture that the game is built around feels straight out of Tekken Tag games, as does the ability to juggle your enemy in the air while chaining various punches and kicks. If you’re coming at this from a Capcom fighter background, you might ... (continued on next page)