Street Fighter X Tekken
I must say outright that I used to be a big fighting game fan. Not quite at any sort of official competitor level (although I was pretty competitive while playing them), but let’s just say I’ve tried a ton of fighters. Everything from the cult classic Tobal 2, which was a Japanese version I had to have a special adapter for in order to play, to my favorite weapon-based fighting series, the Samurai Shodown franchise (also known as Samurai Spirits in Japan).
I was also a fan of some of the earlier Street Fighter games, although I must admit that I sort of began losing interest in it when Street Fighter 3 came out. Even though it’s lauded by many as the pinnacle of the series, there was just something about the bizarre new characters, such as the corny-looking one armed Oro, or the humongous, over-the-top wrassler Hugo. I just didn’t get them nor find them interesting, and they certainly didn’t fit the usual Street Fighter lineup in my opinion.
I also admired the Tekken fight game series for quite some time, beginning with the original, up until it really came into its own (along with a substantial graphics overhaul), technology-wise, in Tekken 3. That particular game also featured some super-intuitive gameplay mechanics as well as fully 3D environments where you could side-step attacks, parry, counter, and flip all over the place. It was the closest thing to playing a Kung Fu flick as any game had ever come, and I used to play it literally for hours on end until whoever my unfortunate opponent was, tired and bowed out. Ah, those were the days.
Suffice it to say that I was pretty darn excited when I’d heard about a Street Fighter vs. Tekken style game announced years ago. My initial optimism was slightly dampened when I learned that it would be by Capcom and so would feature only 2D gameplay as opposed to the 3D greatness I’d become accustomed to, and deemed superior. Being able to outmaneuver your opponent and attack them from different angles and such was just a lot more realistic and offered more considerations (and rewards) for tactical-minded combat.
Well, when May of 2012 finally arrived and I got my hands on a fresh copy of it upon its release, titled Street Fighter X (spoken as “cross”) Tekken, I was further dismayed by the fact that the game featured tag-team style combat alone; it couldn’t be played with one character fighting another single character, only team matches. I never really got into tag-style fighting games, not even the Tekken Tag Tournament spinoff series. To add to that that I had a pretty crappy gaming PC setup at the time, and the game lagged big time at around 12 – 13 FPS, and it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the exciting experience that I’d imagined it would be.
Fast-forward a few years and I’ve been upgraded to a beast of a machine (from CyberpowerPC), and playing Street Fighter X Tekken is a whole new can of whoop-a** gaming. So much so, that I have even come to appreciate its tag-team based gameplay. Here’s a breakdown…
Street Fighter X Tekken is jam-packed with most of my favorite Street Fighter characters, from classics like Ryu and Sagat, to more recent additions such as Street Fighter Alpha’s Cody. It also has the majority of cool Tekken warriors such as Jin and Lars Kazama. For gaming geeks like myself, particularly fighting game geeks, this sets up some sweet dream matches that I’ve often fantasized about (I know—that sounds pretty uber-geeky but bear with me). The stoic martial artist Ryu vs. the equally ascetic pugilist in Jin. Or how about the mighty Akuma vs. the dastardly Heihachi Mishima? A grappler’s paradise featuring the brutish Zangief vs. the mask-wearing wrassler King? The possibilities were now fully within grasp, and with Street Fighter X Tekken, I’ve been able to play these contests out and it’s been a blast.
Street Fighter X Tekken features some of the slickest gameplay I’ve ever experienced in a fighting game, with solid game mechanics and fluid movement and combos. After playing around with the game’s helpful training mode for a bit, I was able to pull off most of the special moves in no time. Street Fighter X Tekken also offers a surprising amount of depth however, so delving deeper into its fighting system does require some time in order to truly master its complexity.
Switching between your fighters is a cinch, and some of the partner-assisted combos are very unique and fun to watch once you learn how to implement them. There is also a novel gem-based system where fighters are able to trigger bonuses to such things as damage output, defensive boosts, and other capabilities. These can be obtained when certain gameplay standards are met, such as successfully hitting your opponent five times in a row, or evading special attacks. This system is a welcome addition, and further enhances the layers of strategy, as gaining the right bonuses at the right time can change the outcome of battles.
Street Fighter X Tekken’s graphics are probably the best I’ve seen in a 2D fighting game. I was never that impressed with Street Fighter 4’s overly garish art style. It just seems way over-done and gave some of the characters a highly deformed look. Street Fighter X Tekken, on the other hand, strikes a fine balance between a highly-detailed, hand-drawn look (with a more narrow brush style) and more lightly exaggerated anime stylings. The effects are also bright and colorful without being too ridiculous looking, and I never tire of pulling off super-moves, especially when taking your opponent out with that final crushing attack.
In all, I’d consider Street Fighter X Tekken to be at the top end of the fighting game genre. It’s the greatest modern day fighter I’ve played, and coming from an old-school fighting game veteran, that says a lot. It features fast-paced, highly intuitive gameplay, rock-solid core game mechanics, and spectacular graphics and sound. It’s one of those rare gems of a game that took a chance, rolled the dice by combining disparate, potentially incongruous elements, and seamlessly integrated them into one hell of a gaming experience.
While all of the Street Fighter 4 fanboys are busy salivating all over themselves, and camping outside of the upcoming Street Fighter 5’s camp tent, I’ll be loading up my copy of Street Fighter X Tekken and playing it until my fingers get sore.
Yes, Street Fighter X Tekken does feature some ferocious graphics and gameplay and therefore require a beastly gaming PC to play, at least if you want all of the bells and whistles, and none of the FPS loss. So what are you waiting for? Time for an upgrade:
Also, get over to CyberpowerPC’s website to find more great deals as well!