It’s the answer to the question that has been playing on every-one’s mind since the 90’s. It’s 2D X 3D, Shotos X Mishimas. It’s Street Fighter X Tekken (SFxT) and it’s here to blow your mind. Street Fighter first hit the scene way back in 1987 but it wasn’t until 1991 with the release of the Street FIghter 2 that the phenomenon appeared. Hot on its heels was the first king of the 3D fighters Tekken, and so the debate ensued: which was better? This question would not be answered until over a decade later and now because of the rivalry we have the first in the “cross” series. Only time will tell in the 2v2 showdown and the victor will claim the crown of best fighter.
Aside from the obvious bid to bring two behemoths of the fighting genre together there is something of a story peppered ever so slightly around the edges. This “story” is based on a box the eerily resembles the cosmic cube descending from space and landing in the antarctic. This box is dubbed “Pandora” and all hell ensues as those who come in to contact find the urge to bludgeon the very last breath out of each others overtly muscular physiques. As fighters amass around said box they become imbued with the strange fluorescent liquid that resides within the box bestowing power on all of those it consumes.
This story is the front end to the first of the offline modes on offer and lies within arcade mode. Sadly the endings in the arcade mode are abysmal and struggle to reach beyond the generic black screen with scrolling text and label it a suitable ending. That being said many of those who chose to play fighting games are not bothered about arcade mode but rather it’s abilities to play locally with friends as well as the ability to train and guide the player towards bettering their play. The offline modes are extensive and allow up to 4 players in a standard tag match, or in the increasingly fun scramble mode. In scramble mode all the players fight at once in a smash bros/street fighter type game mode where each player has the ability to bound about the screen and beat the living tar out of the competition. This game mode allows for countless hours of fun and has to be one of the highlights of the game. There is also a tutorial mode for those just picking up the game and a set of challenges and missions for each character to help them learn new combos and show them other possibilities.
The online has sparked somewhat of a debate in the gaming world as there has been several issues with sound drops and issues with playing with a friend locally online (or lack there of) on the xbox 360. Outwith that the game boasts a rather extensive online system with an online training mode to practice with your partner, an endless lobby system to invite friends to, ranked matches and a replay channel to boot. The online does have a few issues and can be a deal breaker on some fronts but if you are able to see past the issues you will find a rather robust and smooth online game that does a lot to handle lag to prevent the online play suffering. The aforementioned replay channel is somewhat spectacular in the sense that it allows you to follow your favourite players and create your own channel to view lots of different videos and it even updates you when there are new replays to be watched.
The fighting system feels like a cross between the tag combos of Tekken Tag and the fighting mechanics and style of Street Fighter 4 with a whole load of extras mixed in to try generate the hype of the marvel series. The buttons are that of the 6 button layout with 3 punches and 3 kicks and combinations of these buttons can tag, cross assault and cross rush. Each of these different combos can deal a devastating amount of damage if used correctly and have flashy explosions to add that extra punch. There is also a juggle system in the game that allows the player to cancel moves with tags and continue combos that previously would not have worked. Finally there is also 4 button based combos for the Tekken players that act like links in the street fighter series as well as the already present chains in SFxT that allow players to tag in new characters.
Outwith the in-game mechanics there is the gem system that allows a degree of customisation to each character. Every player has 3 gem slots per player in their team. These gems can add extra damage, defense health regeneration and several other attribute bonuses that are activated under specific criteria. On top of that there are also different types of assist gems that aid the newer people to the series with tech throws, auto blocking and easier inputs at the cost of damage or meter. Other ways of customising your character is through the colour palette which is rather bare at the moment but you can change colours of all your favourite characters from the massive 38 player cast. These colour swaps are rather lacklustre as you struggle to go beyond the colours used in the alt colour for 2 player and black/white incarnations that are available through customisation.
As previously mentioned the roster is massive and manages to hit most of the right spots if not all. There are many favourite spanning across all the Tekken games and many faces from both SF3, SF2 and other from the large back catalogue of Street Fighter games including an appearance from Poison of the Final Fight series. Personally I can’t stop playing with Law/Rolento and struggle to pick between such a diverse cast.
Capcom plan to keep their game in the spotlight for years to come and have an extensive list of post-release content on the horizon ranging from more colours for the customisation, different gems, more quick combos and alternate costumes. There is also a collection of 12 characters to be released when the game makes an appearance on the PS Vita. These characters have sparked quite some debate as they have already been found nearly completed on the disc and videos were uploaded online. They have since been released but many consumers are disgruntled by the fact that these characters were not playable on release. That being said Capcom plan to support the game in to the distant future and hopefully we will be able to see the roster continually expand and evolve as the year progresses.
Overall SFxT boasts the 2D fighting style of the street fighter series with the flare of the Tekken series. With a whole host of mechanics to boast and a character roster to match you will find plenty of combinations and possibilities to immerse yourself in. All in all the game has both its ups and downs and it can occasionally be pretty frustrating but you get over the issues as you learn new and interesting combos to take down your Tekken/Streetfighter enemies.
7 deadly blows to the face out of 10