Street Fighter X Tekken Hands-On Preview – Opening Up Pandora’s Box
Written Wednesday, September 21, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
With Japan being Capcom’s hunting ground, the Tokyo Games Show for the Japanese publisher was a relatively big showcase for their products. Taking one of the centre spots for the publisher then was their number one franchise, Street Fighter, and further to our hands-on with Street Fighter X Tekken from Gamescom a few short weeks back, Capcom not only brought four new characters with them, but they were also showcasing their new ‘Pandora’ mode too.
The four characters that took centre stage for Capcom at TGS were Tekken’s figurehead, Heihachi, and the young, but agile, Lili, with Street Fighter stalwart, Zangief and Final Fight and Street Fighter bit-player, Rolento rounding up the four new characters.
As one of Tekken's headlining characters, Heihachi is possibly the biggest character reveal at TGS and also the most obvious – as if they weren’t going to put the grey-haired badass in there! Controlling much like you’d expect, making use of his typical non-pigeonholed fighting style, he’s strong, technical, but fairly cumbersome at times. Lili meanwhile is your typical agile Street Fighter-style school-girl, despite obviously coming from a Tekken background. More suited to fighters who choose the likes of Sakura or Juri from recent iterations of Street Fightrer, Lili is all about chipping away with small, but fast and consecutive attacks. A personal favourite of mine out of the four, and no, that has nothing to do with having more upskirt shots than a night out on the town with Jordan.
Rolento on the other hand has a green staff that allows him to fight slightly further back than say Heihachi and co, whipping out the grenades when you activate his Super as well. With a decent enough reach and some pretty powerful attacks, he could become a bit of a fan favourite when the game ships next year. The less said about Zangief though, the better – does anyone actually like the slow, clunky albeit rather strong Russian wrestling style of this stereotypical behemoth? I guess so!
Street Fighter X Tekken’s Pandora mode was undoubtedly Capcom's major addition to the title they were looking to promote though, something that will suit Street Fighter and Tekken veterans more so than SF and Tekken n00bs. It’s purpose, according to Capcom, is to give the Tekken characters – and ultimately, Tekken players – a support that is more akin to their fighting style and the tempo of the franchise. It’s essentially a last-ditch effort to turn the tide of the battle when your back is against the wall.
How it works is simple, when you have less than 25% health on one character your health bar will begin to flash, using a simple down-down then two medium button press, you’ll sacrifice the current character on screen to give the second character a short burst of infinite EX meter. I say short, because activating Pandora will also kill off your second character after a short while too, so you’ll only ever activate it when you are literally on the cusp of defeat.
So what’s the point of it then? Well, in one-sided battles, there often won’t be a point for the person taking a beating to activate it and if anything, it’ll just quicken up the inevitable… although, it does make for a rather visually stunning end to the battle, as it turns your remaining character on-screen into a black, white and purple rage state with glowing red eyes. It’ll often be used then in close battles, where one player might have to take a big gamble to win a fight that they should have been destined to lose.
By placing that emphasis on using it when you have 25% or less health, it doesn’t tend to upset the gameplay in any way, shape or form, but if we’re being completely honest, facing off against Capcom UK PR guru and resident Street Fighter nut, Leo Tan, we never got to a point where one of us had to use it legitimately – in short, I suck and he kicked my ass on numerous occasions. Its purpose to make Tekken-combo-masters feel more at home may welcome a new ilk of player to the franchise, whilst at the same time won’t alienate any current Street Fighter fans. It’s the best of both worlds, innit?
Street Fighter X Tekken is scheduled for an early 2012 release.