Street Fighter X Tekken (PS Vita) Review
Shortly after launch one of the first great games hit the Vita and that was Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It took the console version of the game which was already excellent and added extra content and touch functionality, hugely impressing us.
Since then Capcom released Street Fighter X Tekken on PS3 and 360, mashing together the two franchise in Capcom's game engine. (A follow-up Tekken X Street Fighter will be released which focuses on Tekken tech). Now Capcom are bringing SFXT to Vita and given the success of their last port we expect great things here...
Before we look at the game on Vita, and what has changed, here is what we had to say about the original console game.
The core gameplay in Street Fighter vs. Tekken see's us take control of two characters from a huge roster in a tag team battle. We move and block with the left stick/pad and attack or tag with our right hand/shoulder buttons (NOTE: Tekken fans will be pleased to know those characters have familiar 4button controls available). As with previous Street Fighter games there are various levels of kick and punch available to us. The fights take place in a 2D plane however special moves, of which there are plenty, bring us out of that mode and into a 3D style environment usually accompanied by some impressive graphical touches.
As with many recent fighting games our survival is based on the health meter at the top of the screen and once either of our characters has theirs completely depleted the round is awarded to the other team. Also a familiar touch is a meter at the bottom of the screen which increases as we successfully land hits, unlocking more powerful attacks as it fills.
Further enhancing the gameplay are Gems. These power ups are chosen pre-match and split into two categories, Assists and Boosts. Assists make particular actions easier and Boosts have the impact, as one example, of increasing our damage so even in a match between two sets of identical characters the potential is there, through Gems, to make the gameplay style of each slightly different.
Tag team combat is key to Street Fighter vs. Tekken as the use of two characters lengthens the fights but also allows us to combine both in various ways. We can simply tag out at random or through techniques such as Cross Assault attack with both fighters at the same time, or even switch mid combo if we wish. It is also worth noting that when tagged out of the game a characters health will increase a little. Choosing characters for the tag battles also has an impact on the gameplay style as we can combine (juggle) their abilities to create new and unique attacks specific to that combination of fighters.
For the main single player campaign we get a fairly basic story about a box falling from the sky... yes the box is called Pandora... and we take our two fighters through the game in various locations across the globe to defeat rival factions and try to obtain the box and its contents for ourselves. Pandora also lends its title to the ability our characters have to sacrifice themselves, passing any remaining health to their team-mate for a short time enhancing their abilities.
Multiplayer begins on the local console and allows us to play with up to three other players in 2vs2 tag matches as well as opting for Scramble Mode in which all four fighters compete in the same "ring".
2vs2 Tag and Scramble are available online too as are ranked matches, leader boards and replay viewing and sharing. We also get the option of enabling Fight Requests in the campaign/arcade mode where players looking for a game will connect and challenge us and we can tailor those challenges and online fights to our liking, setting regions, skill levels and the like.
Added to all this are training modes, an online store for added DLC and a huge number of unlocks from achievements and power-ups to badges which display to our online opponents and taglines to go with them. Want to be called "The Hero" and tell people "everything about me is cute"... no problem.
So what about the Vita version?
The first thing that seperates the Vita version from the home consoles is the number of playable characters. We have moved up from 38 on Xbox to 43 on PS3 and now 55 on Vita. The game also makes use of the hardware in Vita, giving us the chance to use the camera for augmented reality pics of our favourite characters. This is in addition to using the front and back touch panels for extra controls (user configurable) and character customisation/sharing. (Vita users also get 38 free alternative costumes)
Capcom have also gone above and beyond by allowing us to compete not only against other Vita players but against PS3 players too. Then for those who have the PS3 version already the two systems will share DLC and data from the Vita can be transferred to PS3 via save data link.
Graphics and Audio on the Vita are good. We don't feel they are quite up to the standard of Marvel vs Capcom but that may be down to limitations of the graphics style rather than the console/game. That doesn't mean they are not impressive though, there is plenty of background detail here while characters are animated well and the overall polish is evident. Audio too is good, though not spectacular. Essentially a decent representation of the home console equivalent.
One of the stand out aspects of SF X Tekken on Vita is how close to the console equivalent it is and how much it feels like a Street Fighter game, starting with the traditional Capcom style intro sequence featuring slow motion battles between key characters before entering a menu that experienced gamers will find familiar. From that menu those who haven't played a Street Fighter game for a while, or ever, should head into training to grasp the basics in free combat or set tasks as mastering the combat early benefits the enjoyment of the main game as well as our success online later. In Street Fighter X Tekken button mashing only gets us so far... and try to take that approach online ends only in certain defeat.
For the single player modes the initial experience is short-lived, we battle through a handful of rounds quite easily with our chosen fighters before moving on to the more challenging characters and end of game boss. Then that's it... what needs to be realised is that for single player experience Street Fighter X Tekken is very much about mastering our gameplay style and unlocking the vast range of items which are opened by progressing.
Multiplayer and online is what the game is really about and Capcom have blended the Vita and PS3 games well, allowing us to play those on PS3 from our Vita which is fantastic. When starting the arcade/campaign mode we simply set Fight Requests to On which allows us to be challenged by people across the world as we progress.
For multiplayer the core gameplay remains the same as single player and Capcom have found a good balance across the characters with each feeling unique. This then opens a wide range of options for very different team styles when we begin choosing from the two franchise groups. That alone would be enough for most developers but here we go a step further with the addition of Gems which benefit novices and experienced players equally.
Special moves and combo's are plentiful in Street Fighter vs Tekken and really add an element of showmanship to the presentation. Not only that building up our Cross Gauge and then executing a powerful combo also gives us a real sense of achievement, especially when it takes down a human player. That said, and this is again an aspect of the original review, we would have liked the option for a gameplay mode which removes the extras completely for a traditional... or classic... Street Fighter 2 esq battle experience. Additionally the skirmish mode (2vs2 at the same time) is still a bit messy to watch and play.
Back to the positives we have a game where the characters and controls from Tekken have been implemented well despite the differing styles. They never feel out of place, even when fighting characters who have the ability to shoot fireballs and the like then in addition to this the revised controls they use also feel well suited to the game. So much so that we found ourselves seamlessly moving between characters during fights even when there was one from Street Fighter and another from Tekken. The potential which is opened by combining the various fighting styles is key to Street Fighter X Tekken's success though as it, along with Gems, Cross and Pandora enhancements give the game a hugely customisable and unique feel which feels completely fresh each time we enter battle.
An epic fusion of two classic fighting games which takes the exceptional basis of Street fighter 4 and evolves it into something new and exciting. Adding the Vita functionality only enhances this for another must own game on the Sony handheld.