Street Fighter X Tekken review for PC

Platform: PC
Also On: Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: DVD-ROM / Digital Download
Players: 1 – 2
Online: Yes

Street Fighter X Tekken is, essentially, Super Street Fighter 4 with the inclusion of Tekken characters and tag-style teams.  There is also a heinous storyline involving a mysterious box – Pandora – from outer space, Shadaloo (Bison?s company vying for world domination), and Mishima Zaibatsu (formerly Tekken Corp).  All parties are trying to get their hands on the Pandora?s box (heh), and as such, have to fight their way through both game universes? rosters… hence the crossover.

In arcade mode obvious allegiances actually have their own personalized dialogue.  For example, if you pick Ryu and Jin you get fairly generic intros and mid-match banter between them.  HOWEVER, if you pick Ryu and Ken, they have obviously been developed by Capcom as a natural team and their story specifics have been woven throughout the game.  Don?t get me wrong, the story isn?t really a story (it?s a fighting game developed in Japan), but the attention to detail and individuality is still fun.

Probably the biggest departure from traditional SF and Tekken is the gem system.  They?re kind of like loadouts, used to upgrade your defense or offense.  Honestly, I kind of thought it was a bit of a burden, slowing down the flow of the game by adding an extra layer of needless complexity.  At the same time you can?t ignore ?gemming? because you?ll get pummeled by every other player who takes the time to choose wisely.  This is a personal/subjective thing; everyone I played with seem to appreciate being able to hedge their bets when playing a technically better player while I was just too impatient to learn the ins and outs, and paid for it in match losses.

Combat is…  whew… well… there is a lot – A LOT – to digest and not just because the roster of fighters combines two games.  If you?re a fan of either Tekken or SF you could be playing SFXT for a long time.  If, on the other hand, you?re a fan of both Tekken and SF, you?re gonna want to clear your schedule indefinitely.  Obligatory car analogy: while most cars have 5 gears, SFXT is more like a 18-wheeler with 12 (ten forward, two reverse)… and it really only builds speed when you start getting into the higher gears.  There is so many different mechanics to take advantage of that at first you?re going to be hurting because of it, unless you?re a pro already or played through all of the tutorials.  It?s almost a caricature of itself — like an exaggerated Super Turbo Ultra EX online casinos TAG Edition.

For example, you have EX moves and Super Art moves, but because it?s a team match, you can chain them together in either Cross Assaults or Cross Rushes.  In fact, the amount of ways you can combine ass kickery gets kind of confusing: I can never remember which Cross allows you to have both players on screen at the same time to dish out combined attacks, and which one applies combos back to back.  Add in Juggling, Cross Gauge depletion, and the fact that game?s combo timing is akin to Tekken?s (not nearly as strict in precision as SFIV?s) and things get out of hand very quickly… in good way.

I?ve heard there are a few issues with the PC version, but the only problem I had was when I enabled vsync; without it my frame rate never dipped below 60fps.  Of course, this frame rate caused some screen tearing on my 60Hz display, so I enabled vsync to keep it in check.  However, instead of locking at 60fps (which is what I expected) it locked at 30fps. Now here?s the weird thing: The game ran at half-speed like it was in slow-motion.  Needless to say, by comparison the tearing wasn?t so bad.

My online experience wasn?t as bad as the general consensus, but I did have to turn off the auto-join feature while playing arcade mode.  Not that it caused problems, but I couldn?t enter a match before being hauled away to play a new challenger online.  Actually, I think I had an easier time finding matches by playing with the auto-join on than actually going into the multiplayer section and trying to select a match with any specificity.

It?s hard not to recommend SFXT to fans of the genre.  There?s so much here to learn and so many new things to exploit that it?ll take a long while before you?ve mastered it.  Conversely, that?s also its biggest hurdle; while its tutorials and gems make it an easier stepping stone for newcomers, it can also be quite overwhelming.  SFXT has managed to incorporate all the best elements of both Tekken and Street Fighter, increasing its depth twofold, while somehow still managing to make it more accessible than regular SFIV.  If the sheer amount of stuff doesn?t scare you away, you?ll be appreciating SFXT for a long while.

Grade: B