Sunday, March 11, 2012

Street Fighter x Tekken (Xbox 360): "An Official Review"

I realize that a lot of my friends, and followers got an ear full from the ranting I did about "Street Fighter x Tekken". I sincerely apologize for that unprofessional banter, but I still stick by what I said in the previous review/rant. With that being said I would like to take the time, and breakdown the details of the game for you. In the following paragraphs I will go over the various modes that are available in "SFxT" as well as features of the game. This will be followed by graphics, and audio descriptions as well as details on the controller functionality. I hope that you can forgive me for the unorthodox path I took with my previous rants of "SFxT", and that this review will help you in your decision as to whether the game is worth buying or not. Without further adieu Ladies & Gents, I present to you my review of "Street Fighter x Tekken".

The Street Fighter games have a history of doing mix/match-ups with various other fighting, and comic book character based teams. Over the years fighters from the Street Fighter universe have fought against/alongside the "X-Men", "The King of the Fighters", "SNK", and even characters from other Capcom fighting game franchises. Out of all the fighting games games out there the Street Fighter series has been in the versus fray more times than most. Over time Street Fighter games have evolved and changed, and in the process have gained/lost certain features. As I watched the evolution of the Street Fighter franchise I knew that sooner, or later the fighters of that universe were destined to fight against new rivals. Honestly though, I had no clue it would be against another fan favorite, the "Tekken" franchise.

In "Street Fighter x Tekken" the developer borrowed some things that were old, and some that were new. Sticking to the basic visual appearance that was "Street fighter IV/Super Street Fighter IV", Capcom tried to tackle something that had yet to be accomplished. They took the 2D world of the "Street Fighter" franchise, and mixed it up against the warriors of the 3D "Tekken" franchise. This clash of fighting game titans unfolded in an epic way that had most fighting game fans (including myself) excited about the possibilities at hand. This brutal brawler of a game combined a roster of 38 characters from both fighting game worlds. Some of the characters were classic in nature (Ryu, Ken, Jin, Heihachi ...), and could be found in the earliest installments of each game series. Other characters were more recent (Ibuki, Poison, Hugo, Lili, Raven ...), and could be found in later installments of each series.

This crossover of epic proportions not only had the roster to back up the hype, but it also included a decent selection of singleplayer/multiplayer modes. The singleplayer in "SFxT" featured a story driven arcade mode in which you controlled a tag team of characters from the available roster. You could mix, and match the team but in order to watch the actual story unfold you would have to choose the preselected teams. Street Fighter x Tekken is a game that takes the tag team fighting mechanics to new heights. There's definitely a lot more to learn about controlling your team than there is into learning about the various modes of play. Aside from the expected "Arcade" mode you can also learn the ropes of fighting with the available "Challenge" modes. When you first start up your copy of "SFxT" you will be prompted to go through the "Tutorial". This isn't mandatory, but it's definitely a good idea to complete it. You can access the "Tutorial" mode anytime by going through the "Challenge" menu.

The "Tutorial" mode isn't the only mode you'll find under the "Challenge" menu. Capcom has added a new feature/mode called "Mission" in which you have to complete certain matches with preset criteria. These special matches will put you up against a pair of opposing fighters that must be defeated in a certain manner before time runs out. The matches can be quite difficult at times, so using your "GEMS" to your advantage will definitely help. Aside from the "Challenge" modes, Capcom has also included a training mode for those who wish to improve their skills. If you have ever played "Street Fighter IV", or "Super Street Fighter IV" then you'll recognize the layout, and options available in the "Training" mode. It's pretty much all the same except it deals with the new gameplay mechanics that are present in "SFxT".

The online in "SFxT" is currently broken due to a new netcode that Capcom decided to use. They stated that this new netcode was created to compensate for the complex action that takes place within the game. They also stated that the audio cuts out, because the game is trying to balance the online gameplay and the audio thus dropping the sound as a result. According to Capcom patches are in the works, but that has yet to be seen. With that being said, The online multiplayer modes are what drew me to the game. I'm a gamer who enjoys mixing it up with random players online. Street Fighter x Tekken features the ranked, and non-ranked matches that "Street Fighter IV/Super Street Fighter IV" veterans are used to seeing/playing. Aside from that the game also has a totally unique mode called "Scramble" that allows up to four players to play at one time. In essence it's a sort of "Super Smash Bros." mode with a Street Fighter twist. The unfortunate thing about this mode (for Xbox 360 players) is that the co-op is broken, and Capcom will not be fixing it.

Street Fighter x Tekken is all about customization. As great as that sounds though, the currently available options are limited because Capcom intends on releasing the additional options as DLC. Currently you have basic "GEMS" customization options (unless you pre-ordered the game), basic color edit opitons (black, and white only), basic combo setup options, and a decent selection of titles/comments. The game is marketed as a money maker for Capcom, and you can definitely expect a lot of DLC arriving in the coming months. In fact most of this DLC will be related to extra costumes, extra colors, GEMS and extra combos. If you are like me then you'll likely question Capcom's decision to put an extra dollar/points value on content that should have been readily available with the game.

I previously mentioned that GEMS were a part of "SFxT", and they truly are. Most gamers try to shrug them off as boost items that hardly effect gameplay, but I beg to differ. Gems in "SFxT play a huge role in the fighting that takes place. You have various GEM types (Boost, Support) that offer extra offense, or defense boosts when triggered. There are even GEMS that make it easier for inexperienced gamers to play. Every fighter in the game can have two sets of GEM setups with a total of up to 3 GEMS in each. In order to activate a GEMwithin a fight you must meet a certain criteria. This ranges from getting hit a certain amount of times to blocking a certain amount of hits. There are a wide variety of triggers for the GEMs, and each must be met in order to activate the effects associated with each GEM. Utilizing the effects of the GEMS within each fight they can either make or break you. If you don't have a good combination of GEMS setup then it will likely interfere with your chances of victory. If your opponent has a GEM setup that boosts his/her defense/offense then your match could easily end in failure.

The controls in "SFxT" are quite complicated to say the least. This is the reason I strongly suggest that any player wanting to become better at this game to complete the "Tutorial". In fact you may need to go back to the tutorial for reference occasionally. There's definitely a lot to learn when it comes to controlling your team of fighters. This time around you have a wide variety of combo oriented moves, and special move variations. You'll even encounter some new team oriented moves that are associated with the tag in feature. My memory is a bit fuzzy on all the terms to be honest, but the "Tutorial" within "SFxT" explains it very well. MY best advice would to be to pay good attention to the "Tutorial".

The graphics within "SFxT" are next-gen quakity for the most part. The character design is similar to what you'd find in "Street Fighter IV/Super Street Fighter IV". Each character is highly detailed, and stays true to their previous appearances within their respective fighting games. I did notice that there was a sort of ink-like shading present on each fighter. Capcom did a decent job of creating the "Tekken" characters. If you have played any of the previous "Tekken" games then you'll recognize them here. With that being said all of the characters from the "Tekken" side have a more toned down appearance that keeps true to the "Street Fighter IV/Super Street Fighter IV" appearance. I would say characters like Heihachi, and Paul Phoenix are the most comical looking out of the roster of "Tekken" fighters. In fact Heihachi reminded me a lot of Dr. Wily from the "Mega Man" games. As far as menu appearances go they are also mostly next-gen in quality. The color edit mode however looks as if it were made for a retro console. If you are curious about CG scenes, "SFxT" does have them, but they honestly do not compare to those you'd find in a "Tekken" game.

In conclusion I was honestly disappointed in "Street Fighter x Tekken". The fact that the game was delivered as a bare bones title with the intent of being a DLC heavy game only added salt to the wounds. I thought content such as extra colors, and extra combos should have been made readily available from the disc. This just shows how greedy Capcom has become with their latest game releases. What really got me down about this game though was the fact that it was released with a broken online multiplayer. I had purchased the game in hopes that the online would be it's strongest point. Sadly I was mistaken. I have seen a trend lately with various game companies who have become so greedy that they are willing to capitalize off of a game that hasn't been made well. Capcom has jumped on this bandwagon, and in doing so has lost my support for their fighting games. If I were you I wouldn't waste a cent on this game. It fails in some seriously significant ways.

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