That’s Street Fighter Cross Tekken, not Street Fighter X Tekken as you’ve probably been calling it all these years. Mixing the best of both of gaming’s most prestigious fighters, Street Fighter X Tekken is one of those games that just shouldn’t work; its two core ingredients sounding as incompatible as salt and vinegar crisps dipped in chocolate. Yet somehow, the end result is irresistibly appetising.
This is the first of two releases based around the two universes, the home team here being Street Fighter, pulling Tekken’s cast of characters into SFIV’s stylised cel-shaded world. The character roster is the highlight of course, a mishmash of genre favourites from across the last 20 years, including fan-favourites Ryu, Chun Li, Kazuya, Yoshimitsu and co. Witnessing Chun Li engage in a kick-off against Nina Williams, or seeing Ryu square off against Kazuya must be the two most mouth-watering prospects the genre could ever possibly offer – and it’s pulled off sensationally here.
In colliding the two universes however, the gameplay mechanics behind SFxT manage to share far more in common with Capcom’s other genre mash-up Marvel vs Capcom than either of its two featured titles. Fighting feels familiar (albeit slightly dumbed down) thanks to similar controls and pace, but it’s now based around a two-man tag team able to switch in and out of the ring at any moment.
Nonetheless, combat remains impressively deep and tactical thanks to the game’s new gems system, a mechanic that combines customisation with strategy. Each gem buffs a particular trait and is only activated under certain requirements, meaning pro fights can become extraordinarily strategic, but at the same time it’s even more accessible than Street Fighter IV ever was. Capcom has done an incredible job at making the fighting intuitive – it’s far less technical, with additional options for Quick Combos that make it easier than ever for newcomers to pull off hard-hitting attacks.
Neither the throwaway nonsense fans were expecting, nor the super-confusing mess that some hardcore fighters have proved themselves to be, Street Fighter X Tekken is an utterly unexpected side-step for the two series. Successfully combining the entry-level Tekken with the hardcore-heavy Street Fighter, this is an impressively deep and rewarding brawler that will satisfy, entice and, more importantly, excite both respective fan bases.
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