Every fighting game fan remembers where they were when two of Japan’s biggest fighting franchises announced the biggest crossover of all time! The likes of Ryu and Chun Li facing of against Jin and the Mishima clan was something of a dream. Fast forward a few years later and Street Fighter X Tekken is rarely spoken of and pretty much shunned by the fighting game community. The fact that Capcom went back to release another edition of Street Fighter 4 just proves how unpopular SFXT has become.
The World’s Finest
As a fan of both, I can say that Street Fighter and Tekken are the best selling 2D and 3D fighting games respectively for good reason albeit different reasons. Street Fighter is known for its diverse cast of characters ; each offering their own distinct style of how to play the game. As a Vega player, I would approach a match against powerhouse Zangief much differently than I would against the more agile Cammy.
Tekken is a different kettle of fish but equally as good if not better. Gamplay-wise it’s more close-quarters but with an overwhelming number of attacks and option’ much like a game of chess. Merging the styles of Street Fighter and Tekken was always going to be difficult and while this game isn’t terrible; what we have ended up with is a poorer game than either Street Fighter or Tekken.
On the surface Street Fighter X Tekken is your typical Street Fighter: based on the Street Fighter 4 engine, played on a 2D plane with the traditional 6-button layout but with an additional layer of Tekken thrown in. The Tekken cast have had their 80+ movelists trimmed to match Street Fighter’s characters.
Some of those characters fit in better than others and some characters, like Lili, even suit the wackier style of Street Fighter than their own game. It’s when the game attempts to add Tekken elements with Street Fighter where things start to go south. What it actually does is eliminate the good things that make each franchise stand out.
The best of both worlds?
In an effort to make the game more accessible and to incorporate Tekken’s more string-orientated style; Capcom introduced the “Cross Rush” an identical combo string for every character and I mean literally the same combination. Not only did this particular combo string become overly useful, to the point where its ever-present in any match no matter what the level, but by giving everyone this overused combo; characters lost their individuality as everyone fights like everyone else hurting what makes Street Fighter what it is.
One thing that Tekken is known for is its infamous lengthy juggle combos compared to Street Fighter’s shorter combos and true to form; SFXT incorporates Tekken-style juggle combos but Tekken is a lot more than that juggles. Tekken’s lengthy juggles evened out by its heavy “metagame”. “Metagame” is a combination of mix-ups, guessing games, Okemi and other technical jazz. Essentially, it’s the player who wins the “metagame” that wins the right to perform a juggle combo. It’s a game where you have to work for your heavy combos as generally only slower, riskier moves will put your opponent in a juggle stage. High risk, High rewards.
In the traditional Street Fighter games combos can start from easy-to-hit quick, light attacks but are usually shorter. Low Risk, Low rewards. In their own way both series’ have a fair risk/rewards system. However Street Fighter X Tekken combines Street Fighter’s simpler “metagame” with Tekken’s lengthier combos and ends up feeling rather lopsided. Low Risk/High Reward. Combos being so easy to perform alongside the fact that they are even longer than Tekken’s means they’ve become very prominent and repetitive to the point where the game becomes one dimensional and boring.
The game borrows Tekken’s juggling but using Street Fighter’s smaller movelist makes for weaker metagame. The guessing game here is so limited and to be fun the Tekken-style gameplay needs it. To make matters worse most Street Fighter attacks are traditionally designed and animated to poke horizontally meaning a lot of these attacks weren’t animated to look like they can juggle opponents and as I said these combos are quite prominent.
In an attempt to combine the best features of the two fighting game series’ Street Fighter X Tekken ends up produces a dinky experience. It’s Tekken without the options to allow for heavy “metagame”. It’s Street Fighter without the unique character styles and match ups. As a video game casual fun can be had from this but as the serious fighting experience we were expecting it is very poor. The trailers were more exciting than the actual game. SFXT was supposed to be the best of both worlds but your typical Street Fighter or Tekken is much better than this.