Despite the big names, the 'X' is by far the most exciting part of that title. It stands for 'crossover', and tells you everything you need to know about the direction Yoshinori Ono and his team are going with.
Instead of it being a comical mashup like the Marvel Vs Capcom series, Capcom has crafted Street Fighter X Tekken to feel like a perfect fusion between two distinctive fighting styles which at a glance have little in common. It's a huge undertaking which marks it out as being potentially one of the most interesting beat-'em-ups of the generation.
Compromise was inevitable here of course, and much of the yielding has come from the Tekken side. The game runs on a modified version of the SFIV engine and the action is locked into a fixed 2D plane, an environment which until now has been quite alien to the Tekken troops. Nonetheless, Capcom has done an excellent job of retooling their move-sets to work in a 2D plane.
The biggest concession concerns Tekken's 100-plus-hit combos. Ono claims that these were toned down because they were incompatible with the SF engine, but characters such as Kazuya and Bob are still capable of pulling off extended combos which, to quote Ono, feel 'Tekken-y enough'.
Achieving a balance between the characters was another challenge, and this time the compromise has come from the SF camp. Projectiles (an ability exclusive to the Capcom lads and lasses) are less effective here than in SFIV, with the focus on close-quarters sparring.
Ono cites his admiration of Tekken Tag Tournament as the reason behind the battles being two-vs-two affairs, but unlike other games of this ilk, characters don't regenerate health when tagged out, and each character exposes themselves (not in a dirty way) by performing a three-second taunt before leaving the field, making it vital to choose the right moment to swap.
Despite this homage to one of the more fondly remembered Tekkens, the 2D gameplay means that SFXT will appeal more to fans of the former than the latter. Still, Capcom has treated Namco's series with the utmost respect, making this essential for fans on both sides of the beat-'em-up divide.
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