Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Street Fighter X Tekken

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

In the months since the release of Street Fighter X Tekken on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and subsequently on PC as a Games for Windows – LIVE title, Electronic Theatre has made no secret of the disappointment brought about by the videogame. After three solid Street Fighter IV outings Capcom had rejuvenated the beat-‘em-up genre in a way that no other franchise could, and yet here at the very top of their game they deliver a lukewarm revision of the new formula with a handful of new characters taken from another widely respected franchise. Here on PlayStation Vita however, that bar has not yet been set, and the competition Street Fighter X Tekken faces is far less aggressive.

With regards to the home console and PC editions of Street Fighter X Tekken it could be argued that simply adding the additional characters by way of a downloadable content (DLC) pack would have resulted in a grander experience, regardless of the cost Capcom would have attached to such an update. On PlayStation Vita no such pre-established package exists; there is no previous Street Fighter IV title upon which to build, and certainly no iteration of the Tekken franchise has yet made its way on to the high-definition (HD) handheld. So what we have here is a more complete package, the feeling of a cohesive whole rather than a hastily stitched together rehash.

Before beginning the videogame true Street Fighter X Tekken offers players the opportunity to partake in a training mode, and even those familiar with the experience on other formats would be well advised to do so. The step-by-step process does well to deliver both the basics and the greater commands available to players in the videogame presenting an overview of the fighting system far greater than most training modes manage. With small adjustments to timings (presumably designed to aid players with the PlayStation Vita’s awkwardly diminutive face buttons) and the offer of touch inputs (which, for the heavy attacks at least, are actually presented quite well) the Training option is certainly a well implemented companion to the core gameplay modes.

Of course Street Fighter X Tekken does provide a very similar fighting system to its home console brethren; it is after all a new iteration of the same videogame. Aside from the offer of new characters and adjusted timings there’s relatively little to tell the different editions apart. That however, is more of a blessing than a course, as Street Fighter X Tekken’s greatest strength on PlayStation Vita is that it delivers a fast and fluid fighting system in the palm of your hand, even if that may not be the most rewarding design around. From the dynamic switch between combos and cancels, Cross Gauge use commanding EX revisions and Super Arts, Street Fighter X Tekken some how seems to perform better on PlayStation Vita than it ever did with a control pad.

The videogame offers the typical assortment of gameplay modes found in a beat-‘em-up, with Arcade and Challenge modes may not be the most comprehensive assortment of single-player presentations, especially in light of Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive 5’s fantastically presented story modes, but they do offer a welcoming traditional experience. Burst Kumite mode is an endless mode that sees you compete against your own previous scores. It’s an interesting addition to the formula clearly designed to reward experienced Street Fighter X Tekken players.

Multiplayer gameplay is offered in both ad hoc and online varieties, with the former providing a much more stable experience. Online gameplay can be a very hit-and-miss affair, offering a similarly lag ridden competition akin to that of Dead or Alive 4; it’s shocking that in the six years since this release developers still feel the need to include such poor quality online gameplay in their beat-‘em-up titles when the constant drops in framerate and missed inputs results in an almost unplayable mess of a brawler. Ad hoc gameplay is significantly better however, with the matches between friends on local systems being as reliable as is they were side-by-side on the same console.

While there’s no denying that Street Fighter X Tekken is a step down from its home console forebears in terms of visual clout, it remains an impressive presentation. Fidelity suffers in the animation and minute detail, as opposed to a complete downgrade of polygon count and texture quality as seen in the PlayStation Vita rendition of the critically acclaimed Mortal Kombat reboot. And as such what we are left with is the best looking bear-‘em-up available on PlayStation Vita, if not the finest quality the system is capable of. As a showcase of the videogame’s tailoring towards the handheld console Street Fighter X Tekken does make use of all of the hardware capabilities, with the augmented reality feature being a throwaway piece of design that hints at greater things to come in future Capcom releases.

Given the bitter taste left by the home console and PC outings it’s quite surprising that Street Fighter X Tekken turns up on PlayStation Vita in such good form. Whether it’s the added development time or the lack of competition is not known, but whatever the truth may be it’s a welcome turn of events. Street Fighter X Tekken directly rivals Mortal Kombat for the beat-‘em-up crown on PlayStation Vita, and just as it was twenty years ago, whichever title you choose for your fighting videogame thrills you are unlikely to be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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