Street Fighter X Tekken, it has an odd ring to it really. It’s a bit like having your trifle as a dressing for your main course, not something that you’d really put together. Often in life things that shouldn’t work just do, you can’t explain why, but then that’s part of the excitement.
Unlike other games in Capcom’s vast catalogue of fighting titles, this isn’t really a versus title. Instead the ‘X’ implies a lot more than just a bunch of characters fighting it out in the usual 2D battlefield. Although Street Fighter X Tekken is based on the solid Street Fighter franchise, it hasn’t just thrown in some Tekken characters for good measure; there have been some huge changes.
The actual basic action is more in keeping with the Street Fighter fighting style, with six attacks consisting of light, medium and heavy punches and kicks and from there, a huge list of direction and button inputs to pull off all of those familiar special moves. With the Tekken franchise not being so reliant on projectiles the fighters have been balanced out accordingly, again hosting all of the same control inputs to pull off their moves but to bridge the gap between the two very different games there are quite a few new additions, like the improved ability to juggle your opponents, which grants you the chance for a few sly hits as they fall through the air.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a tag fighting game, with you selecting two fighters from a huge list of fighters from both titles with the likes of Ryu and Ken, Dhalsim, Guile and Sagat to King, Nina, Yoshimitsu and Law, allowing you to mix them all up to create the perfect team. Though very different in approach, both titles boiled down to performing huge combos and this game grants that by the bucket load, with a staggering amount of single and team combos, easy to perform Boost Combos to a Cross Rush, a vital move that is pulled off with a simple 4 hit combo that launches your opponent into the air at the same time as tagging you opponent in. Timed well and you can get a few juggle hits in there as well.
Keeping the action on screen refreshingly clutter free, along with your health bar there is also the Cross Gauge. This three tiered bar essentially allows you to pull off some brutal and gorgeous looking special moves that charge with every punch thrown and received. With one bar charged you can pull off EX Special moves, a more powerful version of the standard special move that glows golden, while two bars grant the ability to pull off a Super Arts move. Rather than remembering combos you can simply charge you moves up via a Super Charge by pulling off the standard special and holding the attack button, your character will then start to glow, charging their move from special to EX, holding it even longer to charge to a Super Art. With a fully charged Cross Gauge you can unleash the hyper looking Cross Assault where both partners appear on screen to batter your opponent, with you able to do whatever you fancy whilst the computer character pulls off combos in the background. The other full gauge move is the ultimate Cross Arts, which again brings both partners onto the field, each taking turns to carry out their personal Super Arts move with devastating results.
There is also the last ditch attempt Pandora mode; if you are getting a beating and can see no way out, you are able to sacrifice your last slither of power to grant your tag partner a massive boost in strength and a constantly recharging Cross Gauge. Timing is vital through as this is only short lived, so if you don’t win the battle in time even with this power boost its game over and a shallow sacrifice for your partner.
There are an awful lot of new moves and inputs to get your head around, even for the hard-core Street Fighter or Tekken fans, so Capcom have included a few training options. The training mode is a very in depth and easy to follow training guide with Street Fighter fave Dan teaching you all of the basics and a few new moves to boot. There is also an online Briefing Room mode that will allow yourself and a friend to train with each other, sparring in a free environment and chatting about how to pull of certain moves or the best combos you can find.
An interesting and exciting new addition is the Gems system which is being touted by Capcom as something that will not only revolutionise the way you fight but will also be fully supported in future DLC. The Gem system is quite a refreshing way of mixing up and creating a lot more original fighters out there. Most hard-core fighting fans will know every characters strengths and weaknesses; well with equipping three Gems you can alter the way in which you play, creating a very personal fighter. With over 50 to choose from there is something here for everybody with newcomers able to use Assist Gems that can grant the constant ability to escape throws or make it easier to perform special moves, through at a cost of less damage output. The more accomplished fighter can utilise the Boost Gems, which increase a variety of stats like damage output, damage reduction or speed increase. However it’s not as simple as just adding some Gems and reaping the benefits as each one requires a set rule to accomplish before setting them off, mostly requiring a set amount of blocks or special moves to be performed, so think carefully before choosing.
For such an epic gathering of fighters the story is a little disappointing. A mysterious asteroid falls to earth and crashes on the Antarctica and fighters from around the world converge to harness the power of what is being referred to as Pandora. You can play as any tag team for a basic story or go for an official tag team to get a fully animated ending and true boss fights, fighting through a well animated variety of locations, though some feel a little random, such as the skateboard park or finding yourself on the back of a truck being chased by a mammoth.
Online allows for the usual versus modes and endless battles plus a new Scramble Battle that offers up a little extra mayhem to the usual fray by allowing four fighters to go at it two vs. two on the same screen, it’s messy but it’s a lot of fun. Sadly online comes with a surprising amount of lag, with even a high speed wired internet connection struggling, skipping animations and cutting out music and sound effects. This is something I really hope is fixed with a day one update otherwise it really tarnishes this otherwise excellent game.
Street Fighter X Tekken is something we only would have dreamt of, with two separate companies, each fighting for a piece of the same fighting pie. It seems strange for both to have agreed for their characters to go up against each other, however it’s also a fanboys dream come true. Sometimes having trifle as a dressing for your main course does work.
Rating: ExcellentReview Policy(version tested: Xbox 360)
Street Fighter X Tekken is available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You can order the Special Edition here (PS3) and here (Xbox 360) or the standard Edition here (PS3) and here (Xbox 360).