Street Fighter IV has ignited a resurgence in the venerable fighting game genre ever since it arrived on U.S. shores in 2008. We got some hands-on time with Street Fighter X Tekken, Capcom’s latest entry in the series. Read on to see how it stacks up against the competition, and watch our show floor video to see how it plays for yourself.
In Video: Street Fighter X Tekken At E3 2011
As the name implies, Street Fighter X Tekken is a crossover fighting game between characters from Street Fighter (Capcom) and Tekken (Namco). While it’s designed and produced by Capcom, it doesn’t play like your standard Street Fighter game. Street Fighter IV veterans will feel perfectly at home with the Street Fighter cast of characters and the overall feel of the game engine, but there are a few notable Tekken-isms that will complicate things a bit.
The overall format of the game is similar to Namco’s Tekken Tag Tournament: Two-on-two fights, best of three rounds. Like TTT (but unlike Capcom’s other tag-team games), each round ends once one character runs out of health, so you’ll need to be careful about tagging your teammates in and out. You don’t need to tag your teammate out only when they’re low on health, however–skilled players will use the super meter they build by attacking to tag mid-combo, letting you prolong your combos and keep your teammates safe so they can heal on the sidelines.
To this veteran fighting game fan, Street Fighter X Tekken generally feels like a modified version of Street Fighter IV–justifiably so, since the Street Fighter character models are basically recycled from SFIV. However, combo fiends everywhere will note a few significant changes that make the game play much differently. The “rules” to SFxT’s combo system resemble Tekken’s generous juggle system far more than SFIV’s, meaning that Street Fighter fans will need to get used to the feeling of getting popped back up in the air several times before their character’s beaten body is allowed to hit the floor. Tekken players, meanwhile, will need to get used to cross-ups, fireballs, and all kinds of Street Fighter-isms that simply don’t have an analogue in the Tekken world.
But while Street Fighter X Tekken is a no-brainer choice for die-hard fighting game fans, it’s going to have a hard time appealing to the general public. Granted, we only got to play with an early preview build–SFxT isn’t scheduled to launch until early 2012–but at the moment, it looks like a slightly modified version of Street Fighter IV with a few Tekken characters. If the character roster grows significantly (our playable build only had 14 total characters–seven from Street Fighter and seven from Tekken), it might be an easier sell to casual gamers, but at the moment it’s looking like Capcom is simply looking to ride the Street Fighter franchise as long as they can.