When the news broke of Street Fighter X Tekken‘s existence, fans of Capcom and Namco’s celebrated and adored fighting series welcomed the game with open arms. I’ll be the first to admit that I experienced love at first sight; I spent nearly 40 hours in the first week of its release alone. I was sprung and I wasn’t the only one. Editor-in-chief Jeffery Wilson penned “Street Fighter X Tekken is a sweet combo” and went on to say “ it’s one of my most anticipated games, even in this early stage.” I agreed. Instead we received a console game with numerous mechanical issues and a shameful DLC controversy.
I quickly realized that Street Fighter X Tekken is a game that tries to fill many voids…and sadly misses each mark. First up, the Gem System. This ability-granting set up was supposed to create a strategic meta-game, but was met with disdain by core fighting game players due to balancing issues. Capcom, on top of that, added quick combos and multiple assists to aid newcomers–again it never took off. The incohesive mix felt quite rushed and unpolished.
Now, nearly six months later, we have a portable Street Fighter X Tekken. There’s an incentive to pick up the PS Vita port; you’re given access to all the console DLC characters along with alternate costumes for the entire main cast and the ability to play PlayStation 3 owners. Not only that, but buying the PS Vita game unlocks all the DLC characters in the PS3 version as well. That may not seem like a huge deal, but it certainly sweetens up the deal, especially if you’re planning on doing the double dip.
The game plays almost exactly like the console version, but with added touch controls courtesy of the OLED screen and rear touch panel. The rear touch panel idea is terrible to say the least; you’ll find yourself touching it by mistake and unleashing accidental kicks and punches that lead to punishing counters. Thankfully, the touch controls can be turned off., which makes for a far more enjoyable experience (especially since that means you no longer have to hold the PS Vita uncomfortably).
Street Fighter X Tekken‘s visuals are impressive, and the PS Vita’s OLED display really enhance the game’s vibrant art style. That said, some of the visuals had to be toned down on the pocket-sized portable. Stage backgrounds aren’t as detailed here as they are in the console version, and lack significant animation. The character models, however, make up for this, with their heavy shadows and silky movements.
Online play is inconsistent. I found it responsive at times, and depressingly laggy in other instances. Connectivity improved when I duked it out with PlayStation 3 gamers as opposed to a PS Vita. Street Fighter X Tekken‘s has your standard online game modes including ranked matches or the more casual endless battle lobbies.
It’s Street Fighter X Tekken‘s many mechanics that keep it from being an elite fighting games. Take the poorly balanced Gem System, for example. Any knowledgeable player will probably use the Vitality Gem (which recovers health) paired with the Power Gem (which increases damage). Fight a Kazuya with two power gems and watch how quickly he depletes a health bar. Nina can perform combos that do 60% damage to an opponent and that’s just with one power gem. These issues plague the console version and make their way into the port. Capcom is working on a Street Fighter X Tekken v2013 update that’s supposed to correct some of these issues.
Pandora mode is absolutely useless. Here’s how it works: You kill of your partner once your health is low enough and receive a dramatic strength increase for 10 seconds. Most competent human players will know to just cower away until Pandora mode’s time is up and then beat you.
Despite some complaints, Street Fighter X Tekken for the PS Vita version did reinvigorate my interest in the game. I am interested to see what Capcom does to make this a viable fighter because at one point in its development it appeared to have potential to be an all-time great. This one is only for the fans of both series, especially when there are better offerings on the PS Vita with Blazblue and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.