Review: Street Fighter X Tekken (Xbox 360)
- Release Date (NA): March 9, 2012
- Publisher: Capcom
- Genres: VS Beat 'Em Up
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Whoever decided to mix together both a 2D and 3D fighter must have been thought of as either a madman or a genius. How can it possibly work? How can you merge a 2D fighting game with a 3D one? Well, Capcom has managed to do exactly that.
The first thought of many fans will be: "How can Street Fighter work in a 3D arena, or how can Tekken work on a 2D plane?" The answer is simple. This is SFXT, not TXSF, so it plays and feels like a Street Fighter game. There is no side step from Tekken and you cannot move 360 degrees around the stage. Any fighting game fan knows you don't buy a fighter for it's story, and SFXT is no different. The premise revolves around Pandora's Cube, an object of immense power that has crash landed on Earth. Naturally all the fighters want to get their hands on it to become the true world warrior. The story was created around the game's newest mechanic and is obviously only there to provide thin justification for why everyone is beating each other to a pulp.
Since the game is built using the Street Fighter IV engine, the characters control pretty much the same way as they did in SFIV. The Tekken characters also use the same 6 button layout as SF -- light, medium and hard punch/kick, with combinations of each used for throws and specials. At first this may seem strange to Tekken fans who are used to the 4 button layout, but you will quickly learn that all the Tekken characters have been Street Fighterized. Most of the favourite moves and combos are there, but many are not. An example of this is Jin Kazama. He has nearly 100 moves in Tekken 6, but in SFXT he has 24 according to his Command List. The SFIV formula is intact, with Supers and EX Specials making a return. The Super Meter is now called the Cross Gauge, but still has 3 levels and basically does the same thing. A new addition to the movesets are quick combos. Each character is able to use 2 quick combos which are great for linking into a tag combo. These are fully customizable and come mapped to L3 and R3 -- which can be a problem in an intense fight as it is so easy to click the sticks in the heat of battle. Luckily all the controls are remappable so I moved the L3 one to R3 and left L3 blank as it is the main control for movement. The last thing I want to do is spam a combo when I am trying to jump.
The mechanic that the whole story concept is based around is called Pandora Mode. Essentially this is the ultimate comeback technique. When your character reaches 25% health or less, you can activate Pandora Mode. Doing so will instantly kill your character, but buffs your tag partner with a full and infinite Cross Gauge. Sounds great, but there is a catch; the buff only lasts for about 6 seconds and if you don't win in that time you automatically lose the round. A very risky move, but one that could potentially win you the round when you are on the verge of defeat.
Pandora mode Activated
Every fight involves 4 players, 2 each side, all with their own health bar. To win a round you only need to deplete one character's bar. This adds a lot of strategy to when to switch in and out. The character not in battle also regains some health while not currently fighting. A first for SF is the Scramble Mode, literally a 2 on 2 fight but without the tag. 4 players on screen duking it out. This can be done 1vs1 with CPU AI for the second player on each team, or 4 player 2vs2 with each player controlling a character. It is very messy and really hard to keep up with what is going on, because your inputs become reversed as players jump in front and behind you at the same time. It is also very laggy with up to 4 connections in play at once.
There are 11 stages to battle on, some multi-tiered, but you fight on one level and then move to the next level for round 2. They are very bright and colourful, and some are really wacky and out there. Also the stages feel much wider than on Street Fighter IV. Combined with having double the characters each round, this can lead to a lot of time outs if you have 2 decent fighters battling it out. I have been playing this game a fair bit and I would say that at least 3 of every 10 fights or so end with time outs. This is a real problem as you cannot turn the timer off when fighting online. I think Capcom really needs to take a look at this. Regenerating health on the tagged out character, plus wider stages plus double the fighters in every match makes 99 seconds simply not enough time for a fair win. It is much more satisfying to hear KAAAY OH!
The Endless Battle
Endless Battle is a lobby with up to 8 players. The first two players battle, and the winner stays to battle the next person in the lobby, while the loser gets bumped to the bottom. In this mode you can either play 1vs1, 2vs1 or 2vs2, but there are always 4 characters in a battle. I won a few 2vs1 myself using Ryu and having an AI Sagat. It felt good! Capcom stated in the game's manual that we can play couch co-op, i.e 2 local players on one 360 can go online and fight 1 or 2 more players in a single fight. This turns out to not be the case though, and only the PS3 version can currently do this. 360 can only play online co-op. This will possibly be fixed in an update patch. The netcode is also not as good as SFIV. Whilst fighting online the background music and sound effects regularly cut out completely, and when fighting in a battle with any more than 2 players, whether actually fighting or spectating, the lag really kicks in. If playing against any region other than your own you may as well forget about it as the fight will not be smooth at all. Hopefully these issues will also be addressed via a title update.
Trials have returned, with 20 stages available for each character. Starting out easy, they become difficult around number 12 or so. A brand new edition for the series is Mission Mode. There are also 20 of these and they are HARD. They come with strict rules of how to win, such as win a round using only normal moves, and then they get really tough; Mission Number 4 "The Four Kings" requires you to defeat Balrog, Vega, Sagat AND Bison all in a row, without losing and without health regen... I am stuck on mission 4 myself!
Gems are the controversial buffs new to the series. Any combination of up to 3 gems can be equipped to any character and they come as either a boost or assist type. They add effects such as Cross Gauge refills faster, EX moves are 10% more powerful, damage is reduced by 5% etc. All gems come with prerequisites to activating, such as land 3 special moves or block 3 attacks. In theory you could make it so that all 3 activate at the same time -- at the start of a battle fire off 3 "hadoukens" and you're buffed to the max! I think Capcom have done well to make it a bit more interesting, but with a bare bones arcade mode online is the only real reason to experiment with the gems. There is no option to fight with gems turned off, on or offline. This leads to characters flashing different colours within seconds of a fight starting and can be a bit off-putting.
Further customization is available with players being able to change the colour of their character's costume. There are 8 settings altogether, including the regular stuff like Hair, Skin and Clothes. Only colour can be altered though so don't expect any wild outfits as seen in the likes of Soul Calibur. Titles also return and we now have the ability to set a message, for example: I was raised on Street Fighter!
The replay channel is back, with players being able to save and upload their favourite fights. You can also download and watch the highest ranked fighters, usually found in the Elite channel. It is possible to save up to 50 videos at any one time, allowing for plenty of opportunity to showcase your skills, or lack thereof! The game has shipped with a roster of 38 characters, with another 12 (already on the disc!) to be released at a later date when Capcom decides it wants more of your money. This is the largest number of characters for a Street Fighter game at launch. If your favourite character that you have used for many years isn't in the retail roster, like Blanka, then you can do nothing but wait until Capcom says they are ready for you to pay to unlock him from the disc. Whatever your stance is on on-disc DLC, there is no denying that this feels unfair.
Street Fighter X Tekken is a dream come true for many fighter fans. Capcom manages to combine two of the most popular fighting franchises and does it well. The sheer amount of possibilities when it comes to tag combo strings is amazing, and the new additions such as quick combos and Pandora Mode freshen up the SFIV formula. Capcom have done their best to lighten the learning curve with an online training mode for newcomers, an offline training mode, a 20 stage tutorial mode, and one button press quick combos. Capcom have stated that there will only ever be one disc version of SFXT, so any changes and updates will come from Xbox Live downloads.
+ 38 character roster
+ Addition of quick combos
+ Mission Mode
+ Online co-op Training Mode
- On disc DLC
- Online lag
- Dodgy BG music and SFX when online
- Time Outs happen way too often online
The artwork and menus are stunning with animated VS menus and great orginal stages.
Simplified controls are a welcome addition for both the hardcore and newcomers. Now it is much easier to pull off 30 hit combos and the tag aspect makes them visually impressive.
With 38 characters to master (and another 12 to come), various online modes and a ranking system, SFXT has the potential to last until the next SF installment as the fighter of choice.
out of 10
(not an average)
SFXT is an interesting crossover, it plays well but whether or not it takes the crown from SSFIV is yet to be seen. I would have scored it a 9 but the online lag and sound issues, as well as the on disc DLC made me deduct a point.