Does Street Fighter X Tekken mark the end to an age old rivalry?
A mysterious box has crash landed on Earth and its up to the universes of Street Fighter and Tekken to get to it first and unlock its power. This leads to a typically simple Street Fighter story of fighting around the world to further your own goals. First you choose two characters to make your team, the story and battles will change accordingly if you chose from the SF side or the Tekken side. Furthermore you have special pairs (e.g. Ryu and Ken, Kazuya and Nina) that have their own story mode and a cool CG cutscene at the end of Arcade mode. The story is simple, but then again it doesn't really need to be too special for a fighting game, and the arcade mode keeps you interested with its great use of arena's and Rival cutscenes.
Gameplay is the most important part to any fighter and it is no different here. You choose your characters from the 38-43 characters (PS3 has 5 more and there is on disc dlc for a further 12), then once you have chosen your team you fight it out in any of the SF or Tekken themed stages.
For all Tekken fans you must be warned, THIS IS A STREET FIGHTER GAME!!! think of it as a Marvel vs Capcom game that uses the SFIV engine and if one person gets knocked out its round over. The characters command lists are larger or smaller than you are accustomed too depending on if you are a Streeties or Tekken player. A few key attacks for each character have been taken for the Tekken sides (e.g. Nina's Blonde Bomb) and the rest of the normal combos have been replaced with a Street Fighter light to medium to heavy system.
In my opinion this works and I found that I liked the Tekken characters more than the Street Fighter characters as they now felt like whole new move lists to master.
As you land attacks your Cross-Gauge will fill up, it is segmented in 3 parts and each segment represents a new level of attack that can be performed. First level allows EX-versions of your existing attacks such as a flame hadouken or a Shin-Shoryuken (you can also sacrifice a segment to call in a partner mid combo), second level allows for super attacks such as the Metsu hadouken (Alternatively you can charge certain attacks to initiate an EX and super without using the gauge), and the third level allows Cross-arts to be used. Cross-arts are team-up supers that do huge amounts of damage, furthermore using the cross gauge you can enter scramble mode which allows you and the second partner to appear on screen at the same time and hammer the enemy with double attacks (for a several seconds).
For added strategy Gems can be equipped to your character to give them bonuses during battle (strength, speed, defence, health regen, etc.). Each Gem has a certain condition that must be met in battle to activate, and these range from getting hit a certain amount of times or entering Pandora Mode (Pandora mode is a last ditch effort that sacrifices a team member and gives you added strength and infinite supers for ten seconds). The Gems add a tactical layer to combat and allow for the added customising of your team to help in harder challenges.
The game modes are standard fair, modes such as VS, Challenge, Story, customisation, multiplayer, etc. One mode does stand out, Scramble mode, it allows all four participants to be on screen at once for an entire match, its great fun and adds even more re-playability to this already great game.
I haven't played the online multiplayer yet, but if its anything like Street Fighters it works and its fun, but there are huge balancing issues.
All in all Street Fighter X Tekken is a great fighter, maybe not for Tekken fans but that didn't really bother me at all, I loved it and I am looking forward to what Namco does for Tekken X Street Fighter.