Gamescom 2011: Street Fighter X Tekken Hands-On Preview – Here Comes a New Challenger!
Written Saturday, September 03, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
We've lost touch with our roots. That's just one of the thoughts whizzing through our minds as we go hands-on with Street Fighter X Tekken for a second time at Gamescom, sampling some of the newly announced fighters using one of Capcom's chunky pro joysticks, unable to pull off any of the moves we'd usually be able to effortlessly reel off with a standard controller. Time was, we'd be in our local arcade, twirling that joystick like a seasoned veteran, but now, we're so accustomed to the d-pad that the stick seems like a bridge too far. Or something. Yet, our ineptitude with the control method of choice doesn't dampen our enjoyment of Street Fighter X Tekken, which is every bit the intricate fight game that Super Street Fighter IV is. Possibly more intricate in fact.
With new fight games, come new mechanics, so if you're thinking that Street Fighter X Tekken is just Street Fighter IV with some new characters and a bit of Tekken thrown in for good measure, you couldn't be more wrong. It might look like Street Fighter IV, but that's pretty much where the similarities end, as SF X Tekken is a different animal. First and foremost, this is a tag team fighter, so knowing when to swap your characters in and out is integral, to give one of your team a chance to recover some vitality. You can also do cool quick switch tag moves, that strike your opponent and snap seamlessly into a tag out, which not only looks good but also confounds your rival. Doing it repeatedly however is not so cool and a bit cheap.
Plunging into the character select screen, we pick two of the newer additions to the roster in Yoshimitsu and Poison, while our rival chooses the ever-reliable face of Street Fighter, Ryu and rotund Tekken brawler, Bob. Little realising that using the joystick is an acquired skill, we hopelessly flail around trying to execute special moves, only successfully managing to perform tag switch outs, which fortunately look slick, almost rescuing us from complete embarrassment. Yoshimitsu and Poison make for a decent combination though, and Yoshi's slicing sword complements the pink-haired dominatrix's horse whip nicely. With round one in the bag, a short cutscene shows the pugilists jumping down to the lower level of the stage for round two, where there's more frantic jumping to and fro, launching whip-based flame attacks and green samurai sword slices as the twosome switch back and forth.
For our second bout, we opt for a mix of the familiar and not so familiar, picking old favourite Ken and hilarious novelty Tekken character Kuma, a new addition to the roster who's a massive grizzly bear. You may remember him as Heihachi's pet, Paul Phoenix's nemesis and a hopeless romantic striving for the affections of Panda. Ahem, yes. It's odd, but Tekken's weirdness translates perfectly in Street Fighter X Tekken, with Capcom's own take on the characters slotting seamlessly into the Street Fighter style. Kuma looks fantastically cartoony in SF X Tekken, like a savage teddy bear. Back to the fight, and we're taking on an all-Tekken team of Nina and Hwoarang, making for a bizarre match-up of high-kicking Tekken characters, a bulky bear and a shoryuken master.
We already know more than enough about Ken though, so we'll focus on Kuma, who's slow and heavy, but his massive arms and paws pack a hell of a swipe, while his stumpy legs are almost completely useless. Still, with some button mashing, we manage to lead Ken and Kuma to victory in the first round before having our big ursine ass handed to us in the second and third rounds. Bah! Not even Ken can save us. A few more protracted fights later, and we're further convinced that Street Fighter X Tekken is still shaping up to be potentially every bit as indispensable as Street Fighter IV or Super SF IV.
If you're thinking it's more of the same however, or an exercise in Capcom trying to shake down its legion of loyal fight fans, the good news is that you're way off. The tag mechanics lend a whole new dimension to proceedings, adding an extra layer of strategy, whereas the expanding roster of both old and new characters keep things fresh and interesting. And if you're concerned that the Street Fighter big boys will upset the balance against the Tekken posse with their fireballs, you needn't worry. Bear in mind that the non-fireball chucking fighters in Street Fighter can hold their own against the likes of Ryu, Ken, Sagat and co, so the Tekken lot are no different in that respect. Don't forget too that Capcom knows its fighting game onions, and will be working to ensure that Street Fighter X Tekken is suitably balanced when it launches. Truth is, the game already feels pretty complete as it is, which bodes very well for Street Fighter X Tekken on the whole.
Street Fighter X Tekken is coming in 2012. You can watch the fights we talk about in this preview with some off screen gameplay footage later today.