The Street Fighter games are regarded by many as the premier 2D fighting game series of all time, and the same can be said for the Tekken franchise in the 3D category. Fans of both games have wanted to see a crossover for many years now but the closest has been 2005’s Namco X Capcom, which featured characters from both franchises but was an RPG game in lieu of a fighting game, so didn’t really deliver what people were after.
Fast forward to today and fighting game fanatics finally get the game they’ve been waiting for almost a decade to play. Developed by Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken sees characters from both series duking it out in a battle for ultimate supremacy.
For starters, Street Fighter X Tekken is built using Capcom’s revered Street Fighter IV engine. This means all of the Street Fighter characters will appear exactly the same way they did in Street Fighter IV. As for the Tekken characters, they’ve been animated to match the look of Street Fighter IV. Most of the Tekken characters such as Kazuya and Jin look great in this game, although not all have translated well to the new 2D look, with Law, Kuma and Nina for example looking a bit off compared with their original Tekken counterparts.
In terms of the roster itself, there are a generous number of characters at 38 – 19 from each franchise. The roster is sure not to disappoint fans of either Street Fighter or Tekken, and the PS3 version adds five other characters not featured in the Xbox 360: Cole McGrath from inFamous, Sony mascots Toro and Kono, Pac-Man, and even a unique model of Mega-Man. Capcom has also announced that an additional 12 characters will be released as DLC at a later date, including Blanka, Sakura, Lei and Christie.
Gameplay-wise, Street Fighter X Tekken only offers the two-on-two combat seen in Tekken Tag Tournament. This may disappoint some gamers who were keen to play the traditional one-on-one format, especially as you only need to knockout one opponent in order to win. It’s not as exhilarating as playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where you have to defeat every opponent in order to secure victory.
Street Fighter veterans will feel right at home playing this game as all of the move sets are relatively unchanged from Street Fighter IV. However, Tekken characters play a lot differently from when we last saw them in Tekken 6. Some of the combos from Tekken 6 have been transported here, although the characters have been given new Street Fighter-like moves as well. One of my favourite features of the game is the new tag-team special moves; they’re really a sight to see and deal a lot of damage to your opponents if they don’t block/avoid them.
Another new addition to Street Fighter X Tekken is the special gem system. Gems are items that aid you in battle; different gems have different specialties, and you can customize in the main menu which gems you’d like to have. Some of the gems boost your power while others help you block attacks more easily, and there are special conditions you have to meet in order to activate each gem’s power. I thought the gem system was unique and made matches in the game highly unpredictable. The only time I hated gems was fighting end bosses Akuma and Ogre, who used them a lot to great effect.
Unlike in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there’s actually some sort of story in Street Fighter X Tekken. Most people don’t really care about the story in fighting games, but I was expecting something more interesting considering this is the first time Street Fighter characters have fought against those from Tekken. As it happens the story couldn’t be more paper-thin, as a box unimaginatively named ‘Pandora’ falls to Earth and crashes into Antarctica. For some reason, all the characters are excited about this and want to check it out for themselves. Some of the characters have honorable intentions, while others just want power; in either case, the story is weak and because of this the character endings are not that great.
One other missing feature in Street Fighter X Tekken is that you cannot view character endings again, read character bios or unlock artwork or other bonus content when you complete the Arcade mode. This is disappointing since in most other fighting games you unlock a host of content as a reward for completing the game. Criminally, there are no alternate costumes available either. If you want more costumes, you have to pay for them as DLC.
Street Fighter X Tekken truly shines as a multiplayer experience. Whether you’re playing the game offline or online, you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun provided you’re playing against someone of a similar skill level. My brother and I played a ton of matches against each other and most of the matches were really close. It’s this level of competition you don’t always see when you’re playing games from other genres. The PS3 version is better equipped in this area than the Xbox 360 version, as two players can go online and play against anyone around the world as a co-op team, while only one can play at a time in the Xbox 360 version.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a fun crossover fighting game that fans of the genre won’t be disappointed with. The large roster of characters is sure to please fans of both franchises, and the fast-paced gameplay is as exciting as fighting games get. The only things letting the game down are the lack of unlockable extras and the weak storyline; if you’re able to overcome these, you’ll be sure to be playing Street Fighter X Tekken for hours on end. I can’t wait to see what Namco Bandai has in store for us when they release the 3D-based Tekken X Street Fighter sometime next year.
Lasting Appeal: 8.5