Get Ready For The Fight Of Your Life!
This game was a long time coming for fans of the fighting genre. For years kids on the playground would argue over which was better – Street Fighter or Tekken. I always went with Street Fighter because that was the one I grew up playing, and I liked how the game functioned.
If you’re unfamiliar with either series I’ll give a brief history of each.
Blood On The Asphalt
The original Street Fighter released in 1987, but didn’t quite take the world by storm. Well, not until 1992 saw the release of Street Fighter II with an expanded roster, better graphics, tighter game play, and some awesome music. After Street Fighter II hit the arcades and market nothing was the same for the fighting genre. Its quirky characters, special moves, and smooth fighting mechanics were a recipe for success, and this is shown by the dedication of the fans, like myself, who have supported the series for over 20 years.
The first Tekken game hit arcades in 1994, reaching consoles the next year. It was one of the first 2.5D fighters to emerge in the early 90’s. If you’re not familiar with the term “2.5D” it just refers to a game with characters and backgrounds rendered in 3D that move on a 2D plain. Unlike Street Fighter, Tekken took itself a bit more seriously with its characters, martial arts techniques, and story. Tales of espionage, treachery, and fighting to save, or rule, the world were heavy motifs.
Mama Said “Knock You Out!!”
So, getting into the review proper, we’re going to take a look at what we’re met with on the main menu once we get into the game. The first thing you’re met with is a pop up asking if you’d like to visit the tutorial, and this tutorial is exactly what anyone who’s new to fighting games needs to take a look at. This is probably one of the best tutorials to ever grace a fighting game as it covers the basics of your high and low attacks, blocking, throw escapes, and a laundry list of other things that go on in SF X TK. It’s also presented to you by Dan Hibiki, who happens to be the best fighting game character in the history of fighting games. Saikyo forever!
Being unfamiliar with the Gems and Pandora systems, it really helped me get a grasp on what these new mechanics did. I’m not really a fan of either, but that’s coming later.
Aside from the tutorial, if you’re on PC, which I am, the game will prompt you for a benchmark if you try to hop into some Live (online) battles to make sure your computer is up to snuff for hosting a game.
Gonna Take You For A Ride
This game’s roster is massive, weighing in at 38 characters to start with. Another 12 are available via DLC, and the Playstation 3 and PS Vita versions get five exclusive characters. That equates to 50 for everyone but the Sony players, who get 55.
The Street Fighter side is a great mix of Street Fighter II, III, and IV fighters. Fan favorites like Guile, Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, and Blanka are all there. I think it’s a bit disheartening that there’s no E. Honda as he would’ve completed the original line up of SFII fighters, but it’s not something that’d turn me off of the game completely. Over all, the Street Fighter side of the cast is varied and meshes well with the Tekken side.
The Tekken side of the pack is largely similar with familiar faces like Kazuya, Jin, Heihachi, King, and Lei Wu Long. I was a little put off by the lack of Eddy Gordo, but apparently he’s disappeared somewhere in the Tekkenverse. Suffice to say, it’s nice having access to all these Tekken legends to play around with, especially for someone like myself who hasn’t kept up with Tekken since the third one. I played the fifth and sixth ones, but not to any great extent.
Over all, the roster has a great mix with huge potential for finding your perfect duo. Right now, my favorite team up is Kazuya and – well, just about anyone else, usually Abel.
King Of The Iron Fist
The arcade mode is exactly what you’d expect from just about any fighting game. It shares the ability to have Fight Request turned on so that someone can come along and fight you during your session. I never cared for this personally as I tend to use arcade mode more for practice than anything, and if I wanted to be fighting other players, I would just hop online and go to it. The only thing that seems to be missing are the classic Street Fighter mini-games like BMW Bashing, Barrel Busting, and Brick Breaking. Wow, say that three times fast. I dare you.
I was pretty impressed with the story, which revolves around a mysterious comet colliding with Earth, leaving a box dubbed “Pandora” in the Antarctic. This, of course, leads to everyone and their mother coming out of the wood work to either abuse its power, try to stop others from abusing its power, or trying to destroy it altogether.
When you get to your final fight in the arcade mode, your duo has to face off against a singular enemy. Sometimes it’s Akuma of Street Fighter, sometimes it’s Ogre of Tekken; either way, it’s not an easy fight.
After beating the boss, you’ll be treated to a little, but generic cinematic, followed by the credits, and then the ending for the leader of your team.
One thing I should mention about the arcade mode is the ability to go through with a buddy at your side. So cool.
Going online with SF X TK seems to be a pretty good experience. You get some pretty standard game types such as Endless Battle, where up to 6 people fight to be top dog of the lobby.
There’s also the usual Live Battle where you can tackle someone online. You can even hunt people down as a team. It’s not too complex, but it’s good stuff.
All Dressed Up
One of the things I liked about the last Tekken game I played, was that you could customize your fighter’s appearance. Colors, costume pieces, and even your preferred stage. It seeped its way into SF X TK in a way. In this one, you can customize your fighter’s colors. Skin to scars to clothes to hair. Whatever you want to do!
Another great thing is the addition of Swap costumes, wherein the fighters can dress up as someone from the opposite game’s cast. Ryu gets made up to look like Ogre, Kazuya gets the M. Bison treatment, and, my personal favorite, King gets to be Alex from Street Fighter III. You can even customize the colors of the swap costumes.
There is a drawback, though, so it isn’t all fun and dress up. The swap costumes are DLC, so unfortunately, unlike the old days, there’s no unlocking them without some pocket change handy. You can buy them separately, bundled by SF or Tekken, or all-in-one. I happened to get the game and all of its DLC due to buying the game via Steam sale the other morning. Definitely worth the $20USD.
That said, we’re about to get to the ugly side of the DLC.
Like A Rhinestone Cowboy
Two of the new features this game adds are the Gems and auto-combo systems. I’m not a fan of the Gems. It seems like something they tossed in for the new players to help them when they’re struggling, which is ok to an extent, but when you’ve got someone who knows what they’re doing and using one to Throw Escape or Super Easy Command inputs, it just gets tedious and annoying. To me it feels like a crutch more than something that can improve gameplay. To make it worse is that the best ones are locked behind a DLC wall. I may not be a fan of the mechanic, but that’s just fucking stupid.
The auto-combo system seems to have been added for the same reason – help the new guys out. I’m actually ok with this one, well, more-so than the Gems, anyway. Still, some of the combos are locked behind a pay wall, which is, again, fucking stupid. Sometimes it’s fun to kick off a combo out of nowhere like that, but then again, if you know what you’re doing, as with the gems, you won’t need these anyway.
Bleh. Either way, these two mechanics are great for beginners to help them survive a bit longer, but these shouldn’t be considered anything more than training wheels.
Take It Outside, Boys
So, I’ve come to this point of the review and realized that I haven’t even touched on the actual fighting. Well, what can I say? It’s awesome. It’s a wonderful mix of Street Fighter and Tekken. Tekken characters seem to be very much at home in the SF universe with their Target Combos, or Dial-A-Combos, if you’re an old Mortal Kombat III fan.
As with any fighting game, knowing your match-ups will help you stay alive a lot longer, but sometimes things just go down hill. I swear the CPU has it out for me whenever I’m doing well and sends Lei and Christie after me like a pair of rabid, shaved bears. Lei is a push-over, but Christie is a monster; her legs take up a third of the screen for fuck’s sake.
Anyway, the fighting is fluid, fast, and fun. When someone takes a hit, you know it hurt. I can’t really find much more to say about the actual fighting, it’s just great.
Yes! Yes, put another quarter in dammit!
It looks like Capcom and Namco go together like chocolate and peanut butter, because this is one of the best fighting games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. This game is definitely worth the price of admission if you’re a fighting game fan. If you’re new to fighting games and need help finding your footing, the tutorial in this game is awesome and I’d recommend it to anyone. The fighters are varied, the visuals are flashy, the music is pumping. This game deserves a look from any one who’s a fan of the genre.
Now, like I said, I got the game and DLC bundled together for a meager $20USD. Unfortunately, the normal cost on Steam is around $60USD, which is high, but I’d still recommend it without hesitation.
Well, that’s all from me for now! The first of the Halloween reviews is coming later tonight, so stay tuned!
You folks take care, have fun, and I’ll see you next time!