Street Fighter X TEKKEN: Let the Hype Begin!

When it was first announced that we would have Street Fighter X TEKKEN, and TEKKEN X Street Fighter, I was a bit skeptical on how things would play out.  CAPCOM and NAMCO are both respectable companies, and both reign over their own fighting-game environment.  But how exactly would a 2D and 3D game clash on a 2D playing field?  This is your answer.

We got a taste of what SF X TKN had to offer with the demo game-play of Ryu and Chun-Li vs Kazuya Mishima and Nina Williams at Comic-Con 2010, but now we are offered even more than that.  Enough to hush the pessimistic individuals who didn't think CAPCOM could pull this off.

I must tell you, I also had my doubts to a degree, but the only thing I can tell you from the cinematic trailers and what I've seen so far of the game-play, and it's integration of new fighting mechanics and tag system is, "LET THE HYPE BEGIN!".



Namco X Capcom was the first time I've heard of a title with "Cross" in it.  That RPG game never made its way to U.S. shores, but I remember thinking it was a fighting game at first since I was big into Marvel vs Capcom at the time.  I was thinking about Ryu vs Jin, and Kazuya vs Akuma, and y'know, it seems that dream is about to finally come into fruition. 

Though, with the bit of a disappointment that was Marvel vs Capcom 3, I am wondering how they will handle this and if they can compete with TEKKEN X Street Fighter when that finally comes?  Well, I wanted to discuss all of that.  Also, this is the opening for Namco X Capcom.  Good stuff, right?




-[ The Dragon and The Devil ]-


One of the trailers released for "Street Fighter X TEKKEN" (Pronounced as Street Fighter Cross TEKKEN), says "The Dragon and The Devil".  Although, I do not think this is totally accurate for the simple reason that if they were talking about Ryu's "Dragon Punch" then they should've said "Dragon and Lightning" because of Kazuya's "Lightning Uppercut".  If by "The Devil" they were referring to the Devil Gene that lays dormant inside of those that have the Mishima Bloodline, then they should've said "The Satsui no Hado and The Devil", since the "Satsui no Hado" lays dormant within Ryu; but that's just probably me reading too much into things and nit-picking at minor details.

The cinematic trailer that was revealed at Captivate 2011 show Ryu and Ken going up against Kazuya and Nina, with a guest appearance by the TEKKEN robot "NANCY-MI847J".  I think they should have kept in-tune with the Comic-Con presentation and had Chun-Li in place of Ken.  Even though Nina Williams is a seasoned assassin (shown in her stand alone game, "Death by Degrees") I don't think that Ken should have had that much of a problem dealing with her, and would have made more sense and have been more of a true showdown if Chun-Li was fighting her.

In this trailer, we can see that Ryu is pretty much a human training dummy.  It begins with Kazuya talking to Jin with his foot on Ryu's face.  Nina even managed to beat up on Ryu and only released him because of the falling debris from Kazuya optic blasting the NANCY robot.  All the while, he's trying to suppress his Satsui no Hado from taking over, which is shown from how his eyes glow red as he gets Kazuya off of him.  For most of the trailer, Ken is actually fighting both of them in an effort to get Ryu back, calling his name twice and regaining his composure after Ryu comes back to his senses.  I wonder if this gives way as to what a possible "Story Mode" centers around.


-[ Story Mode? ]-

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds did not feature a story mode, even though it was mentioned a few times that it would have a very story-focused plot driving it.  I believe nothing was implemented in its case because the power levels of CAPCOM's nearly normal characters against the slew of over-powered Marvel characters was too great to be put into a storyline; especially with CAPCOM only having one villain in its roster.  With Street Fighter X TEKKEN, we could very well see a storyline since all of the characters are not overly powered and could easily be deemed as believable by fanatics on either side that both have a chance of winning.

The Captivate 2011 cinematic trailer shows Jin and Kazuya talking on the phone, with Jin presumably wanting to meet Ryu.  I believe that this is because Kazuya is similar to Akuma in the TEKKEN world, as he uses his Devil Gene whenever he wants and isn't really worried about suppressing it.  Jin, on the other hand, tries to control his Devil Gene.  If he were to hear about Ryu and his ability to suppress his Satsui no Hado, he may think that he has something to gain from listening to what Ryu has to say, and possibly learning from him so that he doesn't give into the Devil within.  I believe this can forge this entire plot and plunge the actual world of TEKKEN and Street Fighter together in a way that makes sense.

However, something already seems very disoriented about the story, just from the cinematic trailer.  In TEKKEN 6, Nina Williams becomes the personal bodyguard of Jin Kazama by his request so he is not attacked while in the next tournament.  Anna Williams, Nina's sister, hears of this and becomes the personal bodyguard of Kazuya Mishima so that she can once again meet up and fight her sister.  By this logic, Kazuya should be fighting with Anna and not Nina, especially since Nina was hired in TEKKEN 2 to actually kill Kazuya.

This game is suppose to be able to summon anyone from anytime from both universes.  This means that it may have a storyline all itself in a parallel universe or something that's completely made up and not canon to either storyline, which wouldn't make sense since it seems that individual character relationships are still intact (Ryu and Ken, Kazuya and Jin for example).  You know, maybe I really am reading too much into these trailers, but I just want a versus game that has a storyline that explains something like Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, but without the lack luster game-play.


-[ Game Play ]-


The game play of Street Fighter X TEKKEN actually looks pretty good; there are things I really like and some things I really would like taken out as far as the game play and the look of the game itself before we get the final build in 2012.  Though, first, let's start off with some basics of the game.

Street Fighter X TEKKEN is going to feature a 2 vs 2 tag-system.  I think this is going to be wonderful for those who love to play more than one character at the same time.  Also, it works really well for those that have a character that covers another one's weaknesses.  Such as playing someone like Makoto in Super Street Fighter IV for her rush down ability, but then playing Guile against someone who Makoto's rush down tactic does not fair well against for instance.  Even just for people who would like to see their favorites on the same team, be it TEKKEN or Street Fighter.  Though, how can we expect this to actually play out?

Well, the way this works is that as soon as one character is K.O.'d that round is lost, which reminds me of TEKKEN Tag Tournament (Probably the most revered TEKKEN game out of all of them, Even Ono said he was fan.) and the new TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2 (Which makes me think if they will compare these games?  Is this something CAPCOM is hoping for in the long run?).  What does this mean?  You could have one of your characters with perfect health and still lose if the first character is knocked out before you get a chance to tag in; meaning that you need to play smart.  And unlike versus games, there is no red health, meaning that even if you tag out, your characters will recover no life; all damage sustained is permanent.  This adds quite a bit of strategy to me, because you will have to know whether or not it's worth it to risk a tag out; as both of your characters are still on screen when you tag, the newly tagged in character does a taunt and then replaces the primary character, if hit, he will retreat and you will be left with the original character you tried to tag in.

Though, using one meter to cancel a shoryuken or other special into a tag-in or off the ground recovery into a tag-in to avoid wake-up pressure might become the normal thing to do.  It makes plenty of sense, you would be willing to waste meter if it allowed a character with more life and a better advantage to get in and set the stage back to neutral. So, I'm wondering if focus attack will return, or is the tag feature going to replace that?  If so, will we only see cancels from one move into another or will there be some other type of FADC'ish mechanic available?

The juggling system, according to Destructoid.com let's you juggle whenever they're in the air, which is quite unusual for this type of game.  Though, it does seem a limiter that limits exactly how long you can juggle them, or maybe repeated move hits; i.e. the "Infinite Prevention" system that is now seemingly common-place in a wide variety of fighting games (First I ever heard of this was in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, which is odd since it had the nearly inescapable "Clap Loop").

On Bob's reveal, and even on one of Kazuya's EX moves, it appears that some moves trigger a ground bounce where you can continue to combo afterwards.  This reminds me of the "Bound" system that was introduce in TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion; and if that is what it is, then it could make for some really long and damaging combos if you can air juggle into a ground bound back into an aerial combo (though, infinite prevention will stop infinite combos since they'll fall through hits to the ground).  Though, with the unique array of characters they are trying to implement, these game play mechanics should provide crazy-insane combos that are pleasing to the eye.

Though, I'm not really liking the TEKKEN-esque effects on the punches and kicks.  I've always thought they were really lame and out-dated and even though SF X TKN is trying to do something new by also adding a lightning-like effect on top of it, they should drop it altogether, but I give them kudos for really trying to implement the TEKKEN world in the game play as much as possible while keeping the homage of the CAPCOM universe intact.

Something else I've noticed is that they've changed some of the angles on the camera for throws such as Abel's "Tornado Throw" and Ken's Back Throw.  Also, I've not noticed any "Team Ultras" such as what was present at the Comic-con 2010 showing, and to be honest, I'm a little glad because of the rehashing.

Even though this is Street Fighter X TEKKEN, it appears that Street Fighter players will still have the advantage as it's a 2D plane, and a lot of tactics change from game to game, but fundamentals are normally kept intact; which is why Justin Wong dominates in so many different 2D games.  Ono said that he wants all TEKKEN players to feel a bit at home with the title, and even if they just used the first 4 buttons, reminiscent of TEKKEN, that they could still do some cool stuff.  This worries me.

In TEKKEN, you only have four buttons; you do have commands like hadoken motion to do moves, but a lot of the moves and combos are simple successive button presses, such as Lili Rochefort's 10-hit combo.  If that is the case, they would really be simplifying the game play mechanic to an even bigger degree than in Marvel vs Capcom 3; which is very bad in my opinion.  Then again, this is about appealing to both worlds so we'll really have to see, but it's something to keep an eye on and to worry about.  The game has a Six button layout like Street Fighters, but what exactly you're able to do and how you combo could be new to me (such as them changing Chun-Li's "Lightning Legs" to quarter circle forward kick).


-[ Graphics ]- 

With a new game comes new graphics and everything.  Even with it using something similar to a Street Fighter IV style visually; it's clear that the characters aren't quite a bulky (This could because they either zoomed the camera out or made the characters look smaller) but also, it seems as though they have a effect to make them shine a bit more, like a higher contrast. 

Maybe some simple model changes.  I noticed that Chun-Li's thigh don't appear as big (which I am not a fan of, if I may say), also she seems more "jiggly" maybe due to a better physics engine to correctly display body movement. 

Since Street Fighter IV, we can tell characters have gotten slimmer and better looking (Yun and Yang for example) and awkward anatomy (Compare Crimson Viper in Street Fighter IV to her counterpart in Marvel vs Capcom 3) as CAPCOM's artists have moved foward and gained more understanding of the three-dimensional world.


Something I am already disliking about Street Fighter X TEKKEN is the health bars.  Being so colorful, I would think the art direction was by Rainbow Brite, not to mention the fire on the end of it reminds me of when your assist is all the way up in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2

Something else I have never really liked about the 3D CAPCOM games thus far is the backgrounds.  They're rendered in 3D, but they're not complex, inspiring, or anything I would expect from a high-end company.  Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs Capcom 3 had simplistic design, NPC's often doing repetitive motions in the backgrounds, and very little to no dynamic lightning or architecture.

BlazBlue features some of the best backgrounds I have seen to date; and I praise them for that.  If Arksys works background creators (Have you checked out the backgrounds done for Hard Corps: Uprising? Brilliant!) teamed up with Street Fighter's game play designers (music included) we could have us a lovely game on our hands.  Unfortunately, Jurassic Park and a construction type zone with NANCY going crazy in the background just doesn't quite cut it for me.

Even the promotional artwork, while better than the original Street Fighter IV, isn't better than Marvel vs Capcom 3's or Super Street Fighter IV's.  I was expecting something more from them, a darker color.  In fact, I was thinking that this game was going to be overall more dark than any of the previous CAPCOM games, simply because of how much of a rivalry this was suppose to be; bright colors just doesn't do it for me at all and doesn't convey as much emotion as it should.


-[ The Verdict ]-


Street Fighter X TEKKEN has the potential to be one of the best crossover games we've seen in years.  Marvel vs Capcom 3 was at best, unfinished and didn't deliver what we thought it would be.  This game could bring about a filling for that empty void; and since it will probably be what attempts to take Arcade Edition's spot, it had better be damned good.

Time will tell, but they need to darken the atmosphere, but in a comprehensive story mode with good visuals and cut scenes up to par with their trailers.  Better backgrounds, and polished fighting.  Not to mention a better life bar and have a roster that's actually enjoyable for both TEKKEN and Street Fighter fans.

One of the things I'm afraid of is that they'll rehash a ton of characters from Street Fighter IV, get some of the easiest (even though Ono said he was aiming for TEKKEN characters as far from the Street Fighter universe3 as possible) of the TEKKEN characters and popular to utilize, and make a game in order to sell. 

I hope CAPCOM doesn't rush this game out next year, and instead, take its time deciding what they should do to make this a classic for both series.  NAMCO doesn't have as much buzz, so I think they will put more into their game, but only time will tell, but it's a good starting point for CAPCOM.

-Characters I want to make it in that haven't been announced yet
 
Street Fighter
Poison
Cammy White
Sakura Kasugano
Makoto
Q
Rainbow Mika
Sean
Karin Kanzuki

TEKKEN
Lili Rochefort
Julia Chang
Ling Xiaoyu
Lars Alexanderson
Alisa Bosconovich
Lei Wulong
Asuka Kazama
Zafina


Oh, by the way, discuss the Rumor List.  Though, don't know how accurate it is at this point. Thanks for reading!

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