[Summary 8 out of 10]:
A mysterious object falls out of the sky, and a bunch of people want it. Cue all the fighting.
What It’s Like:
Like many fighting games, the story is a bit paltry, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of reason behind the fighting part of the fighting, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? Who really plays fighting games for the story aspect? We do it because it’s there, and it’s a damned good way to hone our skills.
There’s not really too much difference in this game at it’s core than other fighting games. You pick a character, you fight against other characters. Except in this game, you get to pick two. That’s right! Choose your two favorite characters from either side and pit them against two opponents. There’s some strange satisfaction that comes with beating the snot out of the CPU or your friends. You continue ad nauseam until you realize it’s three in the morning and you’re completely exhausted, but you want to get in just one more fight, which turns into two, which turns into nine.
I am honestly completely blown away by the graphics on this game. It translates really well to the Vita, and I’m always astonished about what they can make the tiny pixels do. The colors are fantastic, the motions of the characters are very clear, the details are defined. I wasn’t really expecting much in this arena when I got it, given the screen isn’t a television or computer monitor. So when I started playing, I was astonished. How do they do that! What does it mean!? Is this real life!?
There is a massive amount of character choice (55!), which means an incredible number of combinations for your chosen pair and the pair you’re going up against. There are also special pairs that have rapport and moves that mesh better than others. Everybody can play with everybody else, though, so there are no worries that you’re going to get some kind of dysfunction. Switching between your picks during a battle is fairly seamless, and you can do it in two ways. Either plain ol’ bowing out, or integrating it into an attack. This is fantastic because sometimes you’re about to die and don’t have the time to execute the actual battle move and just need to GTFO.
The fights themselves have an amazing fluidity to them that is sometimes missing from other fighting games. None of the combos, when performed, feel clunky or out of place. It’s also not impossible to break through special moves in this game like it can be in others, which I find fantastic. You don’t get stuck defenseless against moves that are being used over and over again. It does have to be done in a certain way, but that’s fitting to the fact that what’s being done isn’t of the norm, so it shouldn’t be just a normal punch that breaks it.
A small thing that I find quite wonderful is individual character records. You have your overall player data like many games, but in this one you also get the data for each character you play. It’s not necessary to life, of course, just fun. To see how well you do with one character over another could potentially help you improve your skills in the game.
Now, okay, so it’s stupid, but you can customize your characters. Not really the outfits themselves, though there are options for that, three for some of them (if you buy the DLC), but the colors. Sometimes that’s enough. Being a gothy goth girl, I have given everyone pale grey skin and black clothes with red accents. Yes. Everyone. I spent time going through each character to give them a gothy appearance. Some of them also became ghoulish, with ebony skin and red eyes with red accents, or ghostly with stark white everything and black accents, or demonic with red… you get the idea. I had a red/black/grey/white theme and it stuck. I’m a goth, okay? It happens. It happens and I won’t apologize for it.
There’s a neat little throw in thing called AR or Augmented Reality. All it really is is the image of your chosen character floating around in the aether on the screen, and you can put them anywhere you want them to be. It’s really amusing. You can also have them perform actions, and get screenshots of it.
Street Fighter X Tekken has a multitude of modes to play in. It’s not just arcade and VS mode here. Arcade mode itself has regular and Burst Kumite. There’s a training mode (not the tutorial), and challenges to boot. So even if you get through all the different story lines, you’ve still got more to do outside of just fighting the CPU forever. Another interesting twist is that you can set it up so that if you lose, you take over the CPU’s characters and continue to fight. This is a fairly fun way to get to learn new characters, since you’re not getting to pick who you play with, thus it becomes a learn or die situation. Additionally, it lends to a more continuous playstyle, as you don’t have to keep going to the character select screen if you lose.
To make things more interesting, this game is a cross play game, which means that you can connect your Vita to a PS3 and not only play with people through the different systems, but also use your Vita as another controller. That means you can be right there or not. I haven’t had the chance to try this out yet, but the idea of it intrigues me quite a bit. I like the idea of heading over to a friend’s house and hooking up to their machine and playing a game like that. I feel like more systems should have this ability, and more games, for that matter.
Making this cross play idea even more complex is the fact that you can have four players at once. It doesn’t just have to be you against one friend, it can be you and three other friends. It sounds as if it might be really confusing, but it’s actually sort of a wonderful chaos. Everybody flailing around like that, you have to really know your partner well. Thankfully, you can take them into the training room with you where the two of you can hone your skills and learn to work together before venturing out into the wild, mad, world of the battle royale. You can even set up your own combinations based on what you know of one another, which means you have the potential to pull off stunts that your opponents have never seen before.
If you’re playing arcade mode by yourself and get the hankering to test your meddle against another living being, don’t worry about having to break apart from what you’re already doing. There’s a setting for this, as well. You just hit fight request, which pairs you up with somebody else out there itching to pound somebody bloody. This is another option that can be turned on and off, which kind of makes other things that can’t be turned off even more curious.
With all this, it might be enough to call this a good game, but you add in the fact that there are a few other things that make it a lot of fun, and I kinda gotta say that it’s a great game. For example; you have your special moves, but even those have different levels. Some just have the two, basic and strong. Others, however, have from basic to super special. Really awesome looking and highly devastating maneuvers that, if you can pull it off, are magic. Then there’s the fight analyzer, which does exactly what it sounds like it would do. It looks at playbacks of the fights you’ve engaged in and tells you what your strengths and weaknesses are. And THEN there are the storylines, particular characters and pairings have special stories that go along with them. While the stories are short and occasionally repetitive in certain spots, each is different enough to keep you wanting to see the others, and not everybody has them, so you can go through the ones that do and not feel like you’ll go insane before you finish the whole set.
There’s this thing with the touch screen. You can do fighting moves with both the front screen and the back screen. It’s novel for about two seconds, and then you realize that you can’t turn it off, and that if you aren’t careful, you mess up everything you’re trying to do in a fight because your fingers keep hitting the rear touch. Which means you have to hold the Vita in a really weird way, and sometimes you slip and it’s just really frustrating. It would be great if you could choose to not have that part of the game on, and I’m not exactly sure why it can’t be changed. It seems like it should be an option, not a hard fact. I can see what they wanted to do with it, but I can’t really see anybody actually using it all that much. The controls are complicated enough, and then you throw this bit in with it all and there’s a fine edge of panic that one gets dangerously close to when one is in the heat of battle and nearing the end of a health bar.
To make this worse, there is a mode called Casual Style, where you rely on nothing but the touch screens to fight. This mode is entirely useless. Turning it on results in even less control of your character than I could have ever imagined. I don’t even get what the point of this might be. Thankfully, this isn’t something that has to be done all the time. Or ever. Never doing it is probably the better option.
The new control scheme has a pretty steep learning curve. While the tutorial is massive and covers pretty much everything you could possibly think of, some of the moves are near impossible to execute when you aren’t being thrashed. Trying to pull them off in the middle of a match is daunting and superhuman. This means that it’s also difficult to pull off the simpler moves. Now, I’m no newb at fighting games, which makes this extra aggravating. Then again, it also makes it super satisfying when the move is performed and glory achieved.
Gems. I mean, they’re kind of interesting, but kind of pointless at the same time. I haven’t seen anything with them that makes or breaks the game, and I could really take them or leave them. I have them set up because there’s not an option to turn them off, and if I’m going to have them, then at least I’m going to have them be things that I might actually want.
The quick combo option also seems to be a tiny bit broken, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never even tried to use it. The idea of it seems to be that you can put whatever combo you want into it and then be able to do that combo really easily. I say seems because that’s what the guy tells you in the tutorial, but it either doesn’t actually work that way, or it’s entirely too complicated to set up and I lost interest. Again, I don’t really care. There are other things I need to be focusing on, combos that are actually already a part of the game, for instance.
Can’t. Turn. Off. Music. One of the things that I’ve always disliked about fighting games is the repetitive music. Most of the time it can be turned off. For some reason, you can’t do that with this game. You can turn it down to nearly non-existent, but not all the way gone. On the same note, I can’t tell if the dialog for the cut scenes is tied to the background music volume, or is just really really quiet.
Conclusion [8 out of 10]:
I liked this game. I’ve had a lot of fun playing it. It’s a good tell, to me, when a game is so engrossing and addictive that you end up staying awake way past the time you intended to go to bed to play it. I’ve done that more than once with this game. If you’re looking for a good fighting game for Vita, I really can’t recommend this one enough. If you’re looking for large and complicated stories and RPG factors (where you get to level up and such), this probably isn’t the right game for you. Street Fighter X Tekken is through and through a fighting game, it doesn’t make any pretensions about that fact, it doesn’t try to disguise itself as something else. It stands up straight and proclaims “I’m a fighter, and I’m proud of it.”