Street Fighter X Tekken

By Our Powers Combined

Scott X Vince take on Street Fighter X Tekken. Get the skinny on Capcom's latest brawler from two very different perspectives: the casual player and the tourney fighter.
Author: TPS Staff
Published: April 6, 2012
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At face value, Street Fighter x Tekken looks a lot like one of those “Statue of Liberty” plays you used to see in movies or sports-centric episodes of after school family programs in the 80's and 90's. You've seen it, the part where the plucky team of underdogs beats the more legitimized team of strictly disciplined players with a gimmick so foolish and ill-conceived that it actually works. Of course, casting Capcom in the role of the “plucky underdog” is kind of an obfuscation of the truth, but in some circles, SFxT has been derided as a foolish gimmick from the moment it was announced. While casual fans were thrilled at the idea of pitting characters from fighting's two biggest properties against each other, the hardcore enthusiasts could barely contain their contempt as Capcom revealed more and more about the game's mechanics.

Confine a game as dependent on movement and spacing as Tekken to a 2D plane? Emphasize chain combos in a predominantly “link and cancel” affair like Street Fighter? Either you have no idea what these things mean and don't care, or you do and find them preposterous. No matter which camp you fall into though, you likely scratched your head when you heard about SFxT's gem system. It's a mechanic unlike anything the fighting game genre has ever seen, allowing players to choose load-outs of 3 gems for each of their two team members in order to customize their abilities. As you fulfill certain criteria, which vary per gem, they activate and bestow temporary buffs to your characters. Effects range from things as subtle as damage or speed increases to more obvious ones such as automatic blocking. Due to the potentially game breaking nature of the system for competitive play, many serious players simply wrote the game off. Lots of links like this got tossed around and many a “truly outrageous” jokes were made.

So between all that, the bringing of a tag system to a traditional Street Fighter title, and Capcom's production of the contentious internet reality show “Cross Assault” (designed to hype the game up a week prior to release), Street Fighter x Tekken was the most divisive fighting game in history before ever hitting store shelves. Recognizing this, our very own Scott Rodgers came up with a novel idea with which to approach the review. While he loves him some fighting games, he fancies himself more of a casual player. Realizing that, he invited me along for the ride to give my perspective as someone who follows and participates in the thriving competitive scene surrounding the fighting game community. We have now come together to form Scott x Vince, and by our powers combined, I present to you our conversational review of Street Fighter x Tekken!

Scott Rodgers, Managing Editor: Do you remember where you were when Street Fighter X Tekken was announced? To be honest, I don't, but I remember being a bit floored that Capcom had agreed to do the game with Namco Bandai. Of course all of my hype and excitement went towards SFxT because Tekken X Street Fighter just doesn't appeal to me as much. As more news started coming out I watched fans on forums go through every possible emotion. The gems system caused a lot of angst and then the ill-fated Cross Assault restored faith while being a trainwreck for the fighting game community and PR people everywhere.

But we're here to review SFxT, Vince, and I think the two of us bring some interesting perspectives. I am a casual player and I mostly play against the computer and with friends. I've never counted a frame in my life and I just want to have fun doing awesome moves. This game seems as though it was tailor-made for people like me with the gem system having things like easy combos and bonuses for hadokens. I know some of these are looked down upon by players like yourself, but overall I think the system is well balanced and the customization brings a lot to the table.

Vince Ingenito, News/Reviews Editor: Well, it's fair to say that my perspective is a bit different from the average player's. Living in San Francisco, and contributing to has led to me having drinks, doing interviews and playing sets with many top competitive players, as well as some of the key people responsible for Cross Assault. I've been playing fighting games for about 25 years, and for most of that time, I was approaching it just like Scott. I was the king of my block, a "legend" among the four people I regularly played against. That began to change when I discovered the organized competitive scene during the final years of Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Street Fighter III: Third Strike. Certainly, moving from the suburbs of New York to San Francisco has turned my experience of fighting games on its head.

Especially with the coming and going of NorCal Regionals 10, SFxT's first major tournament outing, its competitive future has been the topic of much discussion. Some people think grapplers such as Zangief and Hugo are too strong, others feel they will fall to the bottom of everyone's list as people's play styles evolve. Depending on who you watch, Tekken characters either seem out of place and underpowered, or unorthodox and dominant. More than a few people feel that time outs are too prevalent, and no two people seem to feel the same way about gems. The one thing everyone agrees upon, and it's universally the first thing they say about SFxT, is that it's a lot of fun. Hearing that from sponsored players who play matches with hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on the line is no small thing.
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