The Gamer’s Corner: Punch, Kick and Rumble!

Courtesy of Capcom

“Street Fighter X Tekken” is the first of two crossover fighting games between the two franchises. As a Capcom-developed game, “Street Fighter X Tekken” focuses on introducing “Tekken” characters to “Street Fighter’s” gameplay. At the same time, many interesting new mechanics are incorporated into the familiar gameplay such as the “Gem System” and “Pandora Mode.” The result is a very exciting and fast-paced fighting game that is aimed at hardcore fighting game fans.

Anyone experienced with “Street Fighter IV” will feel comfortable with “Street Fighter X Tekken” since it feels very similar to the former both visually and mechanically. Unlike “Street Fighter IV,” you tag between two fighters of your choice in each fight, and when one dies, you immediately lose the round. As a result of that unusual rule, you really need to be proficient in tagging between your two fighters in order to find success.

There are 38 different characters to choose from, which is split evenly between the “Street Fighter” and “Tekken” casts. There are also five exclusive characters on the PlayStation 3 version of the game, including Cole from “Infamous” as well as “Bad Box Art Mega Man” and Pac-Man.

What is surprising about the roster is how well the “Tekken” cast is adapted into the “Street Fighter” gameplay. While the characters on the “Tekken” side feel more aggressive and are somewhat easier to perform basic combos with, they don’t feel overpowered. With half the roster filled with new characters and styles to learn, the “Street Fighter” gameplay feels reinvigorated.

One of the most debated aspects of “Street Fighter X Tekken” is the “Gem System,” which provides buffs to your characters when meeting certain conditions mid-match. Some hardcore fans view the “Gem System” as dumbing down the gameplay for a casual audience, and honestly, it does feel very gimmicky.

While I’m not pleased with how it is executed, especially since you have to sort through a lot of menus when setting it up and modifying it, the one good thing about the system is that it is very flexible. While there are certainly some combinations that are better than others, given the large variety of gems, there are plenty of options when matching gems to your playing style.

The other controversial gameplay change from the classic “Street Fighter” is the new “Pandora Mode” you can activate when near death. By sacrificing your character, you can power up your partner for 10 seconds. It is risky since if you don’t defeat your opponent in that time, they win automatically. “Pandora Mode” is conceptually interesting but doesn’t feel well integrated.

“Street Fighter X Tekken” falters a little bit in its lack of interesting fighting modes or metagames to keep you invested. All the modes present work well enough, but they aren’t exceptional in any regard. There is a basic Arcade mode with some story cutscenes attached, a versus mode and finally, a basic online component. While the modes of play are lacking, there is a good amount of training tools in “Street Fighter X Tekken,” which is always welcome. There are tutorials on every mechanic, a functional challenge mode, the return of trials mode from “Street Fighter III Online Edition” and the standard training mode.

The core gameplay of “Street Fighter X Tekken” feels very fresh and fun as “Tekken” breathes a new energy into the basic “Street Fighter” gameplay. There could be a greater amount and variety of content, but “Street Fighter X Tekken” delivers an exciting fighting game experience for hardcore fighting game fans.

Rating: 4 out of 5