Street Fighter X Tekken PS3 review
This is less of a dropping of nunchucks and an open-armed embrace between two diametrically opposed fighting series, and more like the cast of Street Fighter bundled the Tekken guys into a burlap sack and are holding them hostage for their own sick tag-team tournament.
Fans of each franchise were worried that SF’s nimble characters and quarter-circle specials and Tekken’s sandal-wearing grapplers and four-button combos wouldn’t gel. Well, Capcom gets around that by making SFKT a full-blooded Street Fighter game with bows from the likes of Law and Yoshimitsu, rather than an attempt to fuse the two, appealing to both sets of fans and likely enraging both, too.That’s not to say due time and attention hasn’t been given to Tekken’s shock-haired, projectile-shy lot. The thirty-eight characters are divided almost down the middle (but for Pac-Man’s shoehorned appearance on the Tekken side) and though their fighting styles are plenty different, controlling them isn’t.
Again – this is a Street Fighter game, so you’ll be using stick rolls and zigzags to execute specials, not jabs. It’s impressive that the projectiles don’t dominate and wrestler types like King can live with rubber freak Dhalsim. Without scrutinising the binary code, that might well be a result of a roster-wide speed increase that gives even Hugo and Heihachi some agility, while projectiles are rather pedestrian compared to a Lili high-kick.
It isn’t the pan-franchise roster that defines this game though – it’s the tag-teaming. Here’s where the already studied SF series gets a massive injection of new mechanics and tactical depth that’d give Sun Tzu a nosebleed. Teaming up not only doubles your health bar and gives you the chance to team up radically different fighters to create the (mythical) unbeatable combination, it opens the door to new techniques like cross arts (both characters unleash their specials in a UMvC-rivalling fireworks display), cross assaults (both characters attack at once, keeping you in control and dishing out mega-damage) and launchers (combos ending in a heavy attack that chuck your opponent skyward and switch your players in safety).
Using a launcher straight after a successful block performs a cross cancel, which is especially useful for getting low-health fighters away safely. And then there’s Pandora – which the game’s story, such as it is, focuses on that’s perhaps the most interesting new component.
If your fighter’s got less than 25% health remaining, you can sacrifice them to make your other pick stronger – giving you a time limit to make the most of your glowing neon powers and finish the fight before it finishes you. Pure and simple SF it ain’t, but this fistful of tag-team options moves the series forward with compulsive joy.