E3 2011: Street Fighter X Tekken Hands-On Preview – Two Tribes Go To War
Written Sunday, June 26, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Both Street Fighter and Tekken hold very special places in our hearts. Both at one time or another have competed for our fighting game affections, so Street Fighter X Tekken has us very excited indeed, as it sees the coming together of two of the greatest versus fighters of all time. And like its accompanying stablemate Tekken X Street Fighter, Street Fighter X Tekken will be one of those games that will settle long-running disputes between friends as to which is the superior fighting franchise.
Utilising the distinctive ink-blotted Street Fighter IV art style, Street Fighter X Tekken has restyled the Tekken fighters on its roster to fit in with the game's aesthetic and altered each fighter's move set to complement the established Street Fighter template, without losing their Tekken essence. Consequently, playing Street Fighter X Tekken will be instantly familiar to anyone who's ever played a Street Fighter game, which surely must be everyone. However, there's a slight twist to this particular iteration, as SF X Tekken has you selecting two fighters for tag team battles, enabling you to tag in your back-up combatant mid-combo to string together some rather spectacular team-based, multi-hit moves.
Tekken fans will be able to revert to the traditional 4-button, one button-per limb control setup should they wish, but truth be told, it's more interesting using Kazuya Mishima or Nina Williams with the Street Fighter IV configuration, simply because if you want to play Tekken, you can play Tekken. When have you ever had the chance to play as Tekken characters in a Street Fighter game? Never! Surprisingly, the likes of Craig Marduk, King, Kazuya, Nina et al seem like a natural fit for Street Fighter, with Capcom doing a superb job in tweaking each character's style and move set, so that they seem at home in Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile and co's colourful, inky world.
Those silky smooth controls from SF IV and Super SF IV have also carried over to Street Fighter X Tekken intact, and although we're playing with awesome, tournament grade and no doubt astronomically expensive fighting joysticks in Capcom's E3 booth, it's obvious that the game will be every bit as playable on a standard controller. Hell, we've even grown accustomed to the Xbox 360 controller with its nasty d-pad over the years, able to roll out a dragon punch and throw hadoukens with the best of them, so playing SF X Tekken will be much the same as SSFIV, whether your weapon is an arcade stick or control pad.
Characters confirmed for SF X Tekken's roster so far include Ryu, Kazuya, Chun-Li, Nina, Abel, Bob, Ken, King, Sagat, Marduk, Cammy and Guile, and as Capcom has newly unveiled characters Hwoarang and Julia Chang on offer, we decide to try the new duo out, pairing Julia with Ken for starters. Yes, we're one of those scumbag SF players who always picks Ken, but what can we say? He's the man. Julia Chang isn't too shabby in a scrap either and she's great at launching across the screen with her diving kick, which is particularly useful for opening opponents up for Ken to tag in and perform some of those ever-reliable special moves. Cue the next match and it's time to get Hwoarang in on the action with Sagat, both of whom share the common ground of being able to connect with devastating kicks. It's also interesting that the presence of fireballs doesn't seem to upset the balance either, with the Tekken cast perfectly capable of holding their own against fiery projectiles.
As far as tag and super move mechanics are concerned, filling a segment of the three-sectioned bar at the bottom of the screen, you're able to tag in during a combo by quickly double-tapping with two heavy or two mid attacks, or unleash an EX attack, both of which expend a single segment. As usual, filling all three sections of the bar allows you to ready a super combo, which are just as tide-turning as always, and of course they're as satisfying to pull of as they ever were, especially if you finish a round on one and fill the screen with an orange explosion of sun. Victory conditions involve only a single knockout, so tagging in and out is especially important to preserve your fighters' vitality, which slowly recharges while they're off-screen. We're somewhat careless at first, neglecting to tag at all, unless we jabbed the requisite buttons purely by accident, but soon using the tag moves becomes second nature.
Street Fighter X Tekken is shaping up brilliantly, but then we never thought for a second that it wouldn't be up to scratch, as Capcom obviously knows this fighting schtick inside-out. As far as wish-fulfilment goes, there's no doubt in our minds that Street Fighter X Tekken will delight fans of both the popular fighting franchises, and with new backgrounds, new gameplay mechanics and a healthy dose of cosy familiarity, it ought to find a place in your collection alongside Tekken 6 and Super Street Fighter IV. And we'll certainly be waiting with bated breath for more character announcements from both sides, as Street Fighter X Tekken prepares to hurricane kick or tsunami kick – depending on your personal preference of course – its way towards release next year.
Street Fighter X Tekken is pencilled in for a Q1 2012 launch.