Street Fighter X Tekken is a mash up of both renown fighting series as they all race toward a mysterious box called Pandora that has landed in the South Pole. The motivation is pretty dumb but nobody expects a good story from a fighting game and is just an excuse to have characters from both series beating the tar out of each other. You won’t be fighting alone however, similar to the Marvel Vs Capcom series you will have a partner backing you up at all times making it a strictly 2vs2 fighting game. You’ll be free to mix and match fighters to your hearts content though there are set teams for each character and they will have an intro, rival and a cut-scene at the end of the game unlike picking random characters that will just have a black screen with some text after you finish the game. As said before the story surrounding the fighting is abysmal but some exchanges between characters such as Paul and Law are really entertaining and worthy of replaying the game over and over again to see the chemistry between different characters.
The first thing you are likely to notice when you go in to choose a character is the insane amount to choose from ranging from Capcom’s Megaman to Namco’s Pacman which is a fight I didn’t know I needed in my life. Some Sony characters are also thrown into the mix like Cole from Infamous and a white cat named Toro. Strangely enough these two are not available in Arcade mode but you will fight them in there on rare occasions. Once your party is set it’s off to the battlefield where you will quickly notice that this is 100% Street Fighter so your previous experience in Tekken games will not help you one bit. It is on a strictly 2D plane for one and has less of a focus on juggling. Each character has their own special moves and they are all balanced very well, I’ve never felt like one character is useless even with this massive roster. You’ll be available to switch characters by holding the triangle and circle buttons at the same time to allow your fighter to rest while his partner takes over. It is a vital thing to do as once one of your characters go down you will lose that round regardless if your partner is at full health.
There are three bars at the bottom of the screen that fill up whenever you attack or get hit that will allow you to pull off more powerful versions of your specials and filling all three will allow your partner to step into the battle for a brief period of time to gang up on your foe. It is a cool system and gives an unpredictable feel to the battles as your options at any one time are quite high. A special feature for the Vita is that you’ll be able to use the touch screen and the back pad to set macros that will allow you to pull off special moves or combos very easily. Not a fan of these as they definitely felt like I was cheating though the option is there if you desire. Another unique thing to this game is the addition of something called gems that you can take into battle which have effects like increasing your strength after consecutive hits, allowing you to pull off moves easier and regenerate some health back to name a few. There is quite a lot of options to choose from though you can only take three and if you have no interest in it you can ignore it as the default set is decent enough.
A good reason to not bother with the gems is because of Capcom’s gimmicky forced touch controls that you need to scroll through the menus which can be a real pain scrolling, swiping and miss-clicking on the tiny icons while the buttons would have worked just as well. The same also applies for the gallery mode where you must use the touch controls. What is odd is that all other menus you can perfectly navigate with buttons so why they forced this gimmick is beyond me and is the most probable reason why Street Fighter X Tekken can’t be played on the PS TV. The gallery mode contains a sound venue where you can listen to all the games music, a “graphic” venue where you can look at all the cutscenes you have unlocked and last but definitely least the AR mode where you can put a character in the real world to take a picture of it. On top of that there are challenges, training, versus and multiple other things other than an arcade mode. One of the best modes is called Burst Kumite that gets rid of the preset teams for enemies so you can face foes from both series in one team and keep facing random opponents until you drop.
Going into the tutorial first would be wise in order to learn about the unique things this game has to offer. Online matches are still surprisingly plentiful and I have had no trouble getting a match after only a few seconds of waiting. The people still playing are obviously very skilled by now so it’s best to practice a little in the single player before diving in. You will be able to customize both your online fighter tag and the character themselves. If you ever wanted to dye Akuma’s hair hot pink to make him look like one of those 90’s troll dolls then this is the game for you. You can change the color of anything but there are no new clothing options sadly. One thing I have failed to mention so far is how great this game looks on the Vita. It looks amazing and felt weird knowing I was playing this on a handheld with no slowdown whatsoever. The characters, the colorful arenas with tons going on in the background and the solid frame rates really makes you forget that you are on a handheld.
Arenas sometimes feature multiple sections to fight in. Once you either lose or win the round characters will jump down and reveal a whole new background for the next fight. It’s a small touch but seeing Tekken’s tiny dinosaur Alex fight a T-rex one round and knock him out in the next is priceless. Another very humorous aspect is Megaman’s character design. This isn’t the little blue bomber we all know and love, this is the big fat Megaman from the box-art whose appearance lost me the match the first time I saw him due to unstoppable laughter. It is a very goofy lighthearted game that knows just how absurd it is and it gives it plenty of charm. Art-style is from Street Fighter 4 instead of the realistic look of the Tekken games which makes it very interesting to see how your favorite characters will look in this mash-up. All Tekken characters have their original personalities so Jin is still unbearably broody and Yoshimitsu is still delightfully insane so even if this is a Capcom game they clearly know the characters of Namco’s Tekken franchise.
The final boss for arcade mode will be either Akuma or Ogre which are both also playable characters though in this case they fight alone and pack quite a punch. You’ll want to be careful touching the screen during the ending or any cut-scene for that matter as it will skip it regardless if you have the in game touch controls off. Even though you obviously can’t connect a fighting stick to the Vita like you would a console its awesome D-Pad and buttons were more than enough to comfortably pull off any move not involving the shoulder triggers. The triggers just feel too mushy for a fighting game, making it very hard to pull off moves that require three buttons at once. All in all this is both an amazing game and port. Its addictive fast paced gameplay and legendary battles such as Guile vs Paul makes this a title you’d want to come back to time and time again. The cross play between Vita and PS3 is a much appreciated feature as well since the Vita community is not that big, meaning the online scene would likely be dead without it even though I’d imagine they hate playing against us due to the macros. The only real fault this game has is the forced gimmick touch controls in some menus but other than that it is truly a must own game for any fighting game fan with a Vita.