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It was never really a question if a cross over game between Street Fighter and Tekken would come out, it was more a question of when. Luckily for fans of both of these series, that date was ComicCon 2010, and just a little over two weeks ago, the game released to the public. My personal opinion about this game is that I think that it is an absolutely outstanding game with strong mechanics and a very large roster, yet there are a few things that seem to hold the game back from changing the gaming sphere the way that Street Fighter IV did in 2009. The fact of the matter is that the Capcom formula of releasing big name titles (especially fighting games) repeatedly, and also making small changes only to essentially re-release the same game months later, is starting to grow stale. At this point, we get into a discussion of who Capcom is catering towards, the general population, or the fighting game community? While the general populous have reacted a certain way towards Street Fighter X Tekken, if you look at any FGC (Fighting Game Community) stream on TwitchTV, you will see that the praises for SFxT are enormous. But regardless, coming from someone who is relatively good at fighting games and really drew close to the community after the release of SFIV, I will say that Street Fighter X Tekken is a very good game that I believe has the potential to become one of the first games where a tag team option is relatively reasonable, yet the single player mode is still incredibly deep.
The character list is pretty large, so finding your perfect team may be a challenge
The gameplay in Street Fighter X Tekken is a bit of a meld between traditional Street Fighter games (where there are 3 punches and three kicks), and the Marvel Vs. Capcom series (where if you press light, medium, heavy, launcher, you will launch your opponent into the air and can tag in your partner (it auto tags them in, in SFxT)). This makes combos fairly easy, as you can actually switch between punches and kicks to combo as well. What I mean by this is that if you press light punch, medium punch, heavy punch, heavy punch in succession, you will launch your opponent into the air (assuming they do not block), and your tag team partner will rush in, which you can use to increase your combo. In addition, you could do light punch, medium punch, heavy kick, heavy kick, and that would launch your opponent as well, because it is the same series of light, medium, heavy, heavy (it does not matter if you use punch or kick). You can also do a launcher by pressing heavy punch and heavy kick at the same time, and the reason that I say this is because, for the most part, you will need to learn how to effectively tag in your partner, because if you don’t, you may find yourself losing a lot of matches that should have been won. If you cannot get a launcher, you can press medium punch and medium kick at the same time to do a “raw tag”, but if your opponent is good, they will be able to combo the tagged in character, as there is a lot of startup on a raw tag.
Ryu charging up a hadoken to become a Shinku Hadoken
Another interesting gameplay mechanic applies to the fact that most all of the super arts are now QCF (Quarter Circle Forward) and three punches, or similarly input, as opposed to SFIV where the ultras were two qcf’s and three punches. Now these super arts differ from character to character (some characters super arts are half circle back and three kicks, while others are 360 with the stick and three punches), but one thing that every character has is that they have a move that if done with a regular button press will start to charge up, and after a few seconds become a super. Now I know this probably sounds really confusing, so let me give you a quick example using Ryu. Ryu’s super art is QCF and three punches, and is a fireball called Shinku Hadoken. Now if you do qcf and light punch, you will get a regular hadoken, but if you hold down the light punch, you will notice that Ryu will start to charge the move. After a few second (if you keep holding the light punch button down), he will go into his super animation and let out a Shinku Hadoken. The upside to this is that when you do it, it does not take away any of your meter (you need two meters in order to use any Super art “raw”), and you only have to press one button rather than three. The downside is that it takes a far longer amount of time in order to charge it, and you can be easily punished if you just try to charge for your super meter the whole match. But due to the fact that the supers are only one qcf (for example) instead of two, it makes it much easier to combo into super, because the dexterity needed is far less.
The last gameplay quirk that I want to mention is the use of gems. When gems were originally announced, there was much uproar, and it seemed like SFxT would never be a competitive game due to the fact that gems could ostensibly make it so that terrible players could beat the best players all based on the gems that they chose. For those who don’t know, there are multiple types of gems that you can equip at the start of the battle (attack gems, defense gems, speed gems, auto throw tech gems (my favorite)), and these gems activate when certain requirements are met. For example, let’s say you have two attack gems equipped. When you get a three hit combo (or something similar to that), your character will start to have a red outline, and attack power will be increased for 15 or so seconds. After that 15 seconds is up, your gem is spent, and you only have three per match (which replenish after every round and each of your two characters gets three). In short, the gem system actually works quite well, and it is balanced enough as to where the good players will still stay good, while players that may have been on the cusp of greatness in SFIV or SSFIV have a means of getting better.
This is Zangief with three speed gems equipped. Notice the green glow around the character.
If there is one thing that I absolutely hate about this game, it is that the online load times are absolutely abhorrent. For those who played SFIV or SSFIV, you have a brief understanding that the load times in that game were quite good, and the ability to find a match was spotty, but possible. You can find a match in this game, but it takes a good 30 seconds to a minute of a blank loading screen before you are matched with a partner, and I ran into a few matches where I had quite a bit of lag with those opponents. For a game that is largely reliant on the fact that people will be playing online, I feel like the times are quite jarring. I will still play the game because it is very fun, but it just seems like a step backwards from where they were in previous iterations.
There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding this game (largely due to the on disc DLC), but if you take it for what it is, Street Fighter X Tekken is a very strong fighting game that, while it has its bugs, is a very enjoyable experience. I can see myself playing this game for quite a while, and I think that with the ability to take two local players online fighting on the same team (at least on PS3, it is being patched in for Xbox 360), it adds a level of accessibility to players who may be new who have friends that are quite good, because the new player can team with their experienced friend and largely do well online. The wait was long, and even the minor bugs and issues cant take away from the fact that Street Fighter X Tekken is a very enjoyable game.