Street Fighter X Tekken – The PS3 Attitude Review
It has to be said that there have been a lot of Street Fighter games over the years. Actually, including all the reskins and remakes that fans have been treated to recently, we count at least eight Capcom fighters on PlayStation 3 alone. Bearing that in mind, is Street Fighter X Tekken a worthy addition to this established series, or simply more of the same?
Fighting game crossovers are nothing new; in fact, this isn’t even the first between Capcom and Namco. That was Namco X Capcom on PS2, which was never released outside Japan. Seven years on though, fighting game fans worldwide can finally discover for themselves who would win in a fight between Street Fighter’s Ryu and Tekken’s Kazuya Mishima.
Street Fighter X Tekken includes 38 characters from both the Street Fighter and Tekken universes (19 from each), making for one of the most diverse rosters ever seen in a fighting game. From veteran combatants such as Street Fighter’s Guile and Tekken’s Nina Williams, to newbies like the former’s Juri and the latter’s Bob, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with the line-up.
Being a tag-team fighter, you’ll always choose two characters to play as at the start of each match, which can be switched between at any time during gameplay. The game’s Tutorial mode does a great job of teaching beginners the standard gameplay, and the addictive Trial mode is still on-hand to help you master various moves and combos (with 20 trials per character!).
The basic controls remain largely the same as previous Street Fighter titles, so returning players will feel right at home. However, there are a number of new gameplay features to keep things interesting. To kick off, Street Fighter X Tekken introduces something called the ‘Gem Unit’, which is a fundamental part of the game, as it makes fights much more tactical.
Gems bestow a variety of temporary abilities upon your character, such as increasing damage or simplifying the input for Special Moves. Only three Gems can be equipped at a time, so it’s important to think carefully about which buffs you want for a specific fight; this is especially true in Mission mode (see below), where effective Gem selection could mean the difference between victory and failure.
Another new feature is Pandora, which forms the basis of the overarching story. This mysterious force grants you with extraordinary power for a limited time, but at the cost of sapping all of your partner’s power. Oh, and if you fail to defeat your opponent before Pandora wears off, you automatically K.O., forcing you to carefully weigh up the risk whenever you use it.
As you’d expect, Arcade mode allows you to play through the story by defeating a string of opponents. Every character in the game has a specific partner, and the two fighters (for example, Street Fighter’s Ryu and Ken, or Tekken’s Jin and Xiaoyu) share the same story and even speak to each other in battles. You can also choose two random characters for the default story.
Players up for a major challenge can try tackling Mission mode, in which you must defeat your opponents within certain parameters; for example, using only a certain type of move, or starting the fight with only a quarter of your health. This can be likened to Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower, except there are only 20 of them, and they’re all really hard.
Once you’ve had your fill of Arcade mode and completed (or, more likely, been defeated by) all the challenges, it’s time to take the fight online. If you just want to play for fun, you can participate in Endless and Scramble Battles (Street Fighter’s name for player matches). You can even play online with a local partner, with each player controlling one character in your tag-team.
However, if you really want to show the fighting community what you’re made of (and appear on the leaderboards), then you’ll want to play ranked matches. You begin on rank D, and gain Battle Points for wins and lose them for defeats. Reaching certain BP totals will increase your overall rank, but (you’ve guessed it) it will decrease if you lose too many.
It’s a tried and tested ranking system, and ensures that you have to constantly be at the top of your game. You’ll need an awful lot of BP to reach max rank, so it’s definitely a feat that’s only for the truly dedicated. As has become the trend with recent fighting games, you can also save replays of your fights and share them with the rest of the world.
As well as the 38 regular characters featured in the game, the PlayStation 3 version also includes five exclusive characters that are not part of the Street Fighter or Tekken franchises. Mega Man and Pac-Man represent Capcom and Namco respectively, as well as Cole from inFamous, and Sony’s feline mascots, Toro and Kuro; bringing the total number of fighters to 43.
The PS Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken will include a further 12 characters (which include Blanka, Guy and Sakura from Street Fighter, and Bryan, Christie and Lei from Tekken), to be made available to PS3 players, for a price, upon the game’s release later in the year. That will bring the full PS3 roster to a massive 55 characters!
As we all know, Capcom are notorious for releasing alternate versions of their games with extra content. It therefore made for a refreshing change when the company announced that Street Fighter X Tekken is currently planned as the only version of the game on PS3, with all future characters, costumes and other content to be released as DLC on the PlayStation Network.
Capcom caused a minor scandal when it was discovered that all of the game’s future DLC is already included on the disc, but locked out. If you ask us though, Street Fighter X Tekken released with a very generous amount of playable content, so we don’t mind having to wait a few months for more (it’s certainly preferable to spending a full $60/£40 on Super Street Fighter X Tekken, at least).
If you’re still seething from Capcom’s cheeky DLC dealings, then the game’s incredible visuals will surely get the company back in your good books. Street Fighter IV looked phenomenal when it was released three years ago, and Street Fighter X Tekken looks equally impressive today. The characters have never looked better in either franchise, and the 11 stages are alive with activity and colour.
The brutal sound effects bring you even further into the action, and the soundtrack is as catchy as ever (and even includes a handful of licensed songs). It’s also a nice touch that you can manually swap between the Japanese and English voiceovers for each individual character. As with previous Street Fighter games though, not all dialogue is voiced, which is disappointing.
Street Fighter X Tekken is an extremely interesting experiment and, for the most part, it’s an absolute success. The characters from the two franchises complement each other remarkably well, and there’s enough content here to keep Street Fighter aficionados playing for months. Interestingly, it’s also relatively accessible to new players, so don’t be afraid to jump in.
Tekken fans will have to wait for Namco Bandai’s response in Tekken X Street Fighter, which is expected to be released later this year. However, in the meantime, Street Fighter fans can rest easy knowing that Capcom has set the bar extremely high. If you’re not a Street Fighter fan then it won’t do anything for you, but for everyone else, Street Fighter X Tekken is a must-own title.