Ever wondered what would happen if "Street Fighter's" Ryu went toe-to-toe with "Tekken's" Kuzuya Mishima? Aficionados of both series can answer the question in "Street Fighter X Tekken" ($49.99 for PC). Capcom has had enormous success with its previous mashup fighting games, but can "Street Fighter's" 2D over-the-top cartoony style coexist with a decidedly more grounded 3D fighting series?
Click to EnlargeFighting games are notorious for their cacophony of plot lines due to the amount of playable characters, and "Street Fighter X Tekken" is no exception. The overarching story has M.Bison, the leader of the criminal organization Shadowloo, in a heated race with Kuzuya and assassin Nina Williams for Pandora, a mysterious object of great power that has been located in Antarctica. Similar to other crossover games in its stable ("Marvel vs. Capcom," "Capcom vs. SNK"), Capcom takes fan favorites from "Street Fighter" and "Tekken" and creates a tag-team battle royale.
Click to EnlargeDepending on the character choices, certain teams deliver funny banter before and after the fight. For example, the team of Cammy and Chun-Li constantly discuss the benefits of working together, but Chun Li chides Cammy about taking too long to tag in during the matches.
"Street Fighter X Tekken" is a game that lends itself to most skill levels and styles of play. In addition to the usual Arcade Mode, there are modes for Tutorial, Arcade and LIVE Battle, which allows players to fight other players over Windows LIVE. Leaderboards keep track of who's dominating the completion and instant replay lets you rewatch an especially sweet move. If you're playing in Arcade mode while connected to LIVE, you can be challenged at any time by another player itching to dole out some punishment. However, you can turn this feature off in the Arcade Menu via the Battle Request option.
"Street Fighter" veterans should feel right at home with the six-button fighting system that offers kicks and punches with varying displays of power (light, medium and strong). "Tekken" fans shouldn't feel left out, as they can easily string together combos with the four primary buttons.
After players choose their pair of fighters, they must equip each of their characters with up to three stat-changing "Gems," which augment their individual fighters attacks, defense and vitality. We appreciate this addition, but are worried about the possibility of high-level players discovering an optimal gem load out for each character and decimating the competition.
Click to EnlargeAs the fight progresses, fighters fill the "Cross Gauge" bar located in their corner by going on the offense and striking. Broken into three sections, users can use the bar to activate more powerful moves by entering a specific moves set, including Cross Assaults and the powerful Pandora that gives players a serious power boost. However, players need to be thrifty with the bar since most powerful moves will drain all three sections of the bar.
Action is just as frenetic as would be expected with a "Street Fighter" title, complete with fireballs, wall jumps and flashy special moves. "Tekken" alum accustomed to stringing together long, health-draining combos on a 3D plane might find themselves at a disadvantage on the game's 2D backdrop. However, "Tekken Tag Tournament" players should have an easy time with the air juggles and switching between characters. Unlike "Tekken Tag Tournament," a match is over once a partner is knocked out.
Click to EnlargeAlthough novice players can win a few rounds against the CPU through button mashing and sheer luck, we'd advise taking the Tutorial and Challenge modes for a spin to get a better handle on the game mechanics. Fighting human opponents will require mastery of Cross Cancels and Assaults, along with Super and EX Arts, the two levels of special moves.
Click to EnlargeMake no mistake, "Street Fighter X Tekken" is a gorgeous game to play and watch. We enjoyed rich glossy reds, blues, and golds as characters leapt across the screen delivering vicious kicks and punches. We especially enjoyed the arena backdrops that were filled with "Tekken" and "Street Fighter" fan service, including having characters such as "Tekken's" Kunimitsu and "Street Fighters" Yang making cameos in the background. Still, "Tekken" veterans will definitely miss the maneuverability of a three-dimensional arena.
All this beauty comes with a serious caveat in the form of online multiplayer. As we engaged in battles with other players on Games for Windows-LIVE, we saw an increasing amount of latency. There were times when gameplay slowed significantly, making it difficult to execute moves. Frustratingly, the game outright froze for a few seconds, leaving us suspended in mid-move.
PC Requirements and Performance
It's pretty much guaranteed that the game will run on a notebook as powerful as the Clevo W110ER. Fans with less impressive notebook specs needed fret as the game has a pretty low access threshold. Capcom recommends the game be played at 60 fps at 1280 x 720p on Windows Vista. As far as hardware a notebook should have at least a 2.6GHz Intel Core Intel Core2 Duo or an AMD Phenom II X2 CPU. In terms of GPU a notebook should have a DirectX 9.0c/Shader3.0 or a Nvidia GeForce 8800. There should also be 10GB of free space and 2GB of RAM.
The minimum resolution a notebook can run "Street Fighter X Tekken" is 800 x 600p on Windows XP with 10GB of free space and 1GB of RAM. As far as processors, the lowest the game can run on is either a 1.8GHz Intel Dual Core or an AMD Athlon II X2. Gamers can also squeak by with a Nvidia GeForce 6600 GT GPU or ATi Radeon X1600 with 256MB of VRAM.
We ran "Street Fighter X Tekken's" in-game benchmark on the Sony VAIO E15, one of the first mainstream notebooks with Intel Ivy Bridge CPU and the more powerful Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU. The E15 yielded some respectable scores. For instance, at 1366 x 768p with antialiasing off and the stage quality on low, we got 60 fps. We incrementally raised the antialiasing to 2X, 4X and 8X and saw scores of 29, 28.9 and 27 fps. We cranked up the power turning antialiasing off and switching the stage quality set to high, and got 75 fps. However when we increased the antialiasing to 2X, 4X and 8X we saw scores of 33, 36 and 27 fps respectively.
Click to EnlargeWe got some blistering frame rates on the AVADirect Clevo W110ER's 11-inch 1366 x 768 glossy display thanks to its discreet Nvidia GTX 650M GPU with Optimus technology. When we turned off antialiasing and stage quality set to Low, we saw a frame rate of 251 fps. When we turned antialiasing to 2X the frame rate dropped to 153 with scores of 149 and 136 for 4X and 8X respectively. When we set the stage quality to High and turned antialiasing off and the notebook delivered 184 fps. It delivered 107, 102 and 90 fps with and antialiasing set to 2X, 4X and 8X respectively.
Street Fighter X Tekken is currently being offered for $49.99 on Steam's online gaming platform. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 fo $59.99. PlayStation Vita owners will have to wait a little longer as pricing and availability has yet to be announced.
Click to EnlargeFrom Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to Jay-Z and Linkin Park's "Collision Course" album, there have been a number of successful mashups through the ages. You can now add Capcom's "Street Fighter X Tekken" to the list. The game is a love letter to fans of two of the most popular franchises in the fighting game genre, combining slick graphics and an inventive fighting mechanic. However, the online multiplayer action needs some serious work to iron out the latency issues. Overall, "Street Fighter X Tekken" is a great choice for fighting game aficionados.