Capcom loves crossovers. Its world warriors have faced down the X-Men, the Avengers, the King of Fighters, and many others. With Street Fighter X Tekken, the stylish cast of Tekken fighters is next in line to go blow for blow with Ryu and company. It's an interesting transition for the Tekken members, who are leaving their native 3D arena for a 2D battlefield. But their adaptation is just one of the many surprises waiting in this complex fighter.
With a host of new mechanics and modes, Street Fighter X Tekken has a lot to offer fighting fans of all skill levels. However, there are a few issues unique to the PC version that detract from the standard set by its console counterparts.
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Street Fighter X Tekken is a 2D fighter with two-on-two combat. Each side is in control of two fighters and can swap between them on the fly. Players can even team up cooperatively and fight on the same team, just like in last year's . This means up to four players can take part in a fight. However, when one fighter on a team is knocked out, that team loses the round--regardless of how much health the remaining fighter has. Therefore, you must treat your two fighters as one unit. There are numerous ways to switch between your fighters, and mastering good synergy between them is the key to building devastating combos and winning matches.
The game includes many of the fighting mechanics seen in , with several new additions. It has a six-button layout, with three punches and three kicks, and a three-section energy meter with numerous functions. This meter is earned quickly and spent quickly on devastating super arts, EX special moves, and more. But one of its most important functions is cross-canceling. For one block of meter you can tag in your partner mid-combo to continue the assault. At first this "two-as-one" style can be difficult to put into practice. It's much easier to fight with one character until his or her health gets low, switch characters, and repeat. However, in doing so, you lose a lot of what makes this game unique, as well as sacrifice an edge in combat.
Early on you play the system, rather than the characters. This is because several types of moves are performed the same way no matter whom you're controlling. Every character can perform a simple combo of light-medium-heavy-heavy, and execute the two-in-one cross-arts attack the same way. This standardization across the cast lowers the initial barrier to entry by providing a simple, effective foundation, no matter which character you choose. There is still plenty of individual character complexity, but you don't need to know it all to feel competent. By leaning on the fundamentals, you are free to discover character-specific techniques at your own pace.
Additional design choices let you simplify the game and shrink the skill gap between more- and less-experienced players. Certain combos can be automatically executed by pressing two buttons. Attack inputs can be reduced from a 360-degree motion to a tap of the up button. But these shortcuts come at a cost. They may cost meter or lower your fighter's attack power. For those in the intermediate skill range, these options promote an even playing field by offering some extra assistance to those who need it.
All 10 backgrounds are packed with detail, and many include multiple stages.