Developer – Capcom
Publisher – Capcom
Platforms – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, PC
If you don’t remember, Street Fighter X Tekken is the first part of a collaboration series between Capcom and Namco, which pits both flagship fighting game franchises against each other. Each developer is building their own version of the game using their own signature fighting engine.
The roster features most of the franchise mainstays. There isn’t much room for totally new characters when you’re doing a crossover like this. The Street Fighter camp will be happy to see that Ryu and Ken lead the charge, along with some new favorites like Juri, Abel and Rufus. The Tekken characters are led by Kazuya and Nina. Heihachi and Jin (with his awesome Super Art) also make the cut.
Everything about the game screams Capcom fighter. The sound design is as over-the-top as the characters and the visual style really has that arcade action feel to it. A “play me or die” kind of aura.
Let’s get to the story first. Obviously, Street Fighter X Tekken is the product of an alliance between Namco and Bandai. The narrative isn’t what came first in this game. It’s all about the roster and the gameplay. In order to foster a game like this, a weird, highly corny and highly unreasonable story had to be concocted. And it starts with a meteor careening into Earth’s atmosphere.
This meteor lands and fizzles somewhere in the Arctic Circle. You know, where Santa lives. Sadly, he does not make a roster appearance.
Contained within the meteor is a mysterious box that scientists dub Pandora’s Box. And what good can come from opening Pandora’s Box? Well, you battle through the story to find out.
The Arcade mode takes your tag-team duo made up from the entirety of the roster through various stages, battling specific theme match-ups like Heihachi/Kuma. Each rival match-up has its own playful interaction between the teammates, as well as interaction with opponents sometimes. Create an unorthodox match-up and you’ll get the usual taunts instead of the light jabs between teammates.
If you manage to defeat the final boss, you get a special ending cinematic. Well, that’s if you pick a valid team combo. Try a Zangief/Rufus team if you want to see what I mean. Beat the final boss without the right team and you’ll instead be treated to a lame cutscene that explains almost nothing. Oh and you get some narrated text at the end that tells you a few post-campaign tidbits about one of your fighters.
Street Fighter X Tekken lightly follows SoulCalibur’s lead when it comes to character customization. Each costume comes with sections that can be dyed different colors. Expect to see costume packs in the coming months.
This fighting game also allows you to augment each character’s strengths with various gem sets. You can socket various gems (up to three) to your character. These gems activate special effects when certain conditions are met. For example, you might block twenty times in one match (turtle stance) in order to activate your red gem that boosts your attack damage. Land a big counterattack when you’ve got the gem advantage.
The tag team battle system allows for near instant tag switches that leave your entering character vulnerable to counterattack. However, this can be avoided by using a launcher combo or simply a launcher outright. If these blows hit, you safely tag mid-combo and can follow up with the entering character on the offensive.
You can also tag with a Cross Art maneuver, which takes up a full Cross Gauge and deals roughly 30% of a character’s health bar. These moves are pretty flashy and satisfying to land. Each character can also use a vanilla EX attack, which comes with its own animation. It’s really just half of what you see when you land a Cross Art.
The game has a simple system meant to introduce newbie fighters to proper combination techniques. Launcher combos are easy to perform and they look awesome when you land them. Simply press a light attack, then medium attack, then end it with a couple of heavy attacks (for most characters). This deals a good chunk of damage and launches the enemy into the air. While the enemy is launched, your teammate tags in to continue the combo (or whiff horribly).
Also, there’s the Cross Assault ability. This allows you to two-on-one the enemy for as long as the Cross Gauge is active. After the beatdown ends, your partner will be tagged in while the initial character regenerates health in the background.
These tag attacks are important to learn. When a character isn’t on the field, they regenerate their red health. Proper tag tactics could effectively allow you to double your team’s health this way. Street Fighter X Tekken has very quick health regeneration.
The final power you’ll likely learn is called Pandora Mode. If you’re familiar with Phoenix from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, then you’re halfway there. Pandora Mode is available once you are at low health.
You sacrifice one of your characters in order to send the other into a berserker rage that increases your killing potential. In Pandora Mode, your health bar is nonexistent. Feel free to wail on the enemy as they jump away to the far corner. Instead of a health bar, you’re given a short countdown timer. Once it reaches zero, you’ll lose the match. This is meant to be used as a last resort.
One thing that’s great about Street Fighter X Tekken, especially to the couch button masher in all of us, is that it offers a simultaneous two-on-two mode called Scramble Mode. In this mode, you aren’t subjected to the confines of benchwarmer for half the fight. It’s a battle royale that ultimately results in some spectacular matches.
Each team has a combined health pool that diminishes as the team is assailed. Each character has a special attack that can be charged to a Super or EX version without regard to the Cross Gauge. Assign a Ryu teammate to Shinku Hadoken duty and you’ll have your opponents weeping. That is, unless the other team manages to interrupt you.
Scramble Mode is the most fun I’ve in a four player mosh, aside from the Super Smash Bros. series. Sadly, the title doesn’t support two player co-op online. Have your friends over instead.
The online offerings are typical of what we’ve seen in recent Capcom fighters. There’s a replay feature that lets you rest your fingers and learn from the best. There are unranked matches, as well as ranked ones to test your mettle. The game has a bug, which sometimes causes the sound to cut out online. Other than that, the experience is smooth enough for most fights.
The game has a title and icon system similar to Call of Duty titles. Fulfill random achievements (like beating the story mode with a certain character or just busting face in general) and you’ll be rewarded with new ways to express yourself during loading screens.
Altogether, does Street Fighter X Tekken shine as a casual fighter? Hell yes. This is the game to break out when your friends are drunk and you need something to do.
Time will tell if this crossover reaches the same heights as the Marvel vs. Capcom one. For now, it’s an easily accessible fighter with characters that most every gamer is already familiar with. It’s a solid buy no matter your skill level.