Get Ur Game Face On was kinda cheesy, so I decided to make it Game Face instead. Anyway, last month was my birthday (insert applause) and my good friend ND gave me a video game for a present for the 2nd year in a row. Last year he gave me De Blob 2 (which I made a review for), and this year he gave me something that totally outshines that game. Something I’ve been interested in ever since it was announced. Something so epic, it changed my entire concept of how I look at fighting games. Actually, it wasn’t that epic, but it was pretty awesome. Anyway, this game is a true pioneer for its genre in terms of content, providing a unique gaming experience that kept my brother and I playing for hours. To awkwardly change the subject, Capcom is no stranger to crossovers. They’ve buddied up with Namco, SNK, and Marvel over the past few years, and now they’re going where no series has gone before.

Vega battles with Raven at the Jurassic Era Research Facility. Behind Vega and Raven’s lifebars are those of their teammates, Balrog and Yoshimitsu (respectively).

The second partnership between Namco and Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken (aka SFXTK) made its public debut in 2010 as an upcoming Darkstalkers game, but was woven into a crossover between two of the fighting genre’s biggest progenitors. Street Fighter made huge waves in the industry for Capcom and Nintendo in 1991 when Street Fighter II became one of the Super Nintendo’s biggest hits. 3 years later, Tekken made its debut for the arcade and original PlayStation, becoming Namco’s biggest streak of fame since Pac-Man. The game’s playing field is very similar to Street Fighter IV with some several notable modifications made, the biggest being that the game allows players to pick teams of two for a tag team match with a tag-in-tag-out style. As a result of this, the game also incorporates a Cross Gauge which works similarly to the EX Gauge of SFIV and allows teams to do “Cross Arts”, basically the game’s Ultra Combos.  For the first time since Street Fighter III, Super Arts appear in the game as the replacement for both Super and Ultra Combos, requiring two Cross Gauge bars to pull off (or you can Super Charge certain moves). Speaking of pulling things off, this game has a staggeringly deep storyline that even I wouldn’t have expected.

One of the biggest motifs within SFXTK is Pandora. Pandora is a celestial, cubical object that fell from space into Antarctica like the Russian meteor. The object is an object of no known origin and has left even the wisest of researchers baffled over its purpose. The only thing Pandora is capable of is releasing energy whenever two people come into conflict over the object, giving them more power. Due to the object’s tendencies to evoke human conflict, it was named “Pandora”. But the story doesn’t stop there. Two organizations, one from each series, wants to get their hands on Pandora and its powers: Street Fighter‘s Shadaloo and Tekken‘s Mishima Zaibatsu. In fact, each character gets impacted by Pandora one way or another, especially after beating arcade mode where the game proceeds to tell the ending stories of your characters, obviously influenced by Pandora. This sparked a special mode in the game known as “Pandora Mode” (enabled with down+down+B&Y for Xbox users), where you can sacrifice the combatant you are currently using and give your sidelined fighter a mega power boost! However, albeit Pandora Mode is great to turn the tables, if you misuse it you will be dead in a matter of seconds. Since you have to kill off one of your fighters, that fighter’s vitality constantly decreases by the second as a time limit, and the game will call “time over” if you fail to defeat your opponent in time. You will automatically lose. 

Another new thing in SFXTK is the Gem Unit. Gem Units are kind of like player cards in UMvC3, as you must do something like escape a throw or block a certain amount of times to use them. When you receive a gem, your body glows a certain color depending on which gem you have. Attack gems are red and increase the user’s power. Defense gems are yellow and increase the user’s defense, or decrease the damage of attacks. Speed gems are green and increase the user’s speed. Cross gauge gems are blue and increase the rate of a cross gauge’s filling, or decrease the rate that it’s consumed. Vitality gems are orange and can bring back players’ vitality either gradually or instantly. Assist gems are purple and do stuff like make special attacks easier to pull off or have your character auto-block.

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Street Fighter’s Balrog and Vega exchange menacing glares with Tekken’s Paul and Law at the versus screen.

PRESENTATION: The game has an eyebrow-raising number of deep story feats that make plot lines more conspicuous and help string the crossover together. How we see every character interact with Pandora in their own special way makes it seem like everyone’s still in the same universe. I have to admit, when I first found out about SFXTK‘s storyline a few months before the game hit stores, I was rather skeptical. It made no sense to me at the time and looked like something I would make up for a story idea. However, when I play the game and see all these connections, it makes more sense to me. (9.5/10)

VISUALS: The game’s graphics are drop-dead gorgeous, with detailed character models, bright and vivid stage scenery, eye-popping moves, and humorous bundles of personality. In some levels like the Mishima Estate or the Jurassic Era Research Facl., characters even jump down to the next level below them to continue the fight, which bumps up the game’s intrigue and fluidity. However, I don’t find it cool that this game has to jump on the gratuitous jiggling bandwagon that so many fighting games have paved. Also, I believe the cameraman is slightly perverse, as shots of female characters’ butts and lady parts are abundant, especially with characters like Cammy and Poison. (10/10)

SOUND: Besides the game’s dynamic voice acting, X Tekken has some of the best music I’ve heard in a fighting game, considering it’s from Capcom’s legendary composer Hideyuki Fukasawa. Fukasawa’s composed and arranged stellar music for other Capcom fighting games like MvC3 and Street Fighter IV (including the updates of the games), and this game hits the summit of his talent. Different stages have different tunes to set different moods, and all of these work together to make an enhanced environment. Antarctica has a catchy, fast-paced sound that makes you feel tense and excited–considering there’s a gigantic mammoth chasing you in the background. Stages like Mishima Estate and Pit Stop 109 have different tunes for different rounds, which keep things fresh and conserved. In the end, Fukasawa has composed yet another winning soundtrack that’s gonna be burrowed into my brain for I don’t know how long. However, in terms of dialogue, the game has some sprinkled profanity at the proportions of MvC3(10/10)

GAMEPLAY: When I first played this game, I found myself immersed into a world with lots of content to offer. The game had an even mix between Street Fighter characters and Tekken characters, unraveling great connections between certain combatants (via dialogue) and a steady learning curve about each character’s backdrop in the arcade mode. The fighting of the game is fast like Tekken, but fluid like Street Fighter, enabling players to switch fighters out in the middle of a hot combo and keep on juggling without skipping a beat. Like Tekken Tag Tournament and unlike UMvC3, the round is put to an end when only one of your fighters is KO’ed, which makes fighting a bit more smooth. However, the game makes no good use of button mashing like Street Fighter would, as the key to fluid combos is a bit of planning in advance. Also, my brother has spotted various bugs within the game, such as how a character would jump forward when he tried to block. In fact, the entire SFXTK gamer community has gotten upset over these bugs. Furthermore, the game’s AI when playing on medium or medium-hard is frustratingly rusty, from jab spams to unblockable hits. (9/10)

EXTRAS: When you don’t feel like fighting, there’s tons of things you can do in X Tekken. You can customize the colors of your characters’ custom outfits, edit gem units for select fighters, check out your player data, do missions, or edit your battle profile–that’s basically the title and comment you had in Street Fighter IV. And with Xbox Live, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. (10/10)

DLCX Tekken (oh, that sounds a lot better) has offered a handful of Street Fighter and Tekken characters that must be downloaded to be playable. All downloadable Street Fighter characters are Sakura, Blanka, Guy, Cody, Dudley, and Elena. (She’s a Kenyan character from Street Fighter III, in case you don’t know her.) All downloadable Tekken characters are Lars, Alisa, Bryan, Jack-X, Christie, and Lei. (Sorry folks, no Eddy here. sad emoticon) On the PS3 version of the game, there are many more exclusive characters you can play as: Sony’s Japanese mascots Toro and Kuro, alongside Infamous‘ Cole and 80s arcade heroes Mega Man and Pac Man. (It’s funny because Mega Man’s from Capcom and Pac Man’s from Namco.) The game sparked a controversy when fans realized that on-disc characters can only be used by paying more, at which Capcom replied that they had done this to save hard drive space. Another center of criticism was that online tag-team matches were unavailable for the Xbox, and Capcom said that they refused to make a patch for this. Well, that sucks beans. (8/10)

FINAL VERDICTStreet Fighter X Tekken is a great game that stands out among tons of other fighting games, with unique elements, a deep story, and the like. However, problems in the game from bugs to controversies to online issues pull the game away from its potential, but still don’t do enough damage to make it anything less or more than a general doozy of a fighter. Hopefully the upcoming Tekken X Street Fighter will fix these problems.

FINAL SCOREStreet Fighter X Tekken gets a 56.5/60 score, which equals a 93% score aka an A.

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So, d’ya like my new Game Face layout? Do you have any games you want me to opinionate? Contact me in the comments below or at my G+ (“Sam Mwak”), and you could be responsible for the next review! Anyway, until next time, stay tuned for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy America,

~S~ 😎

Video of the Week: If there’s one issue I’ve had in the past, it’s my allergies. Being allergic to eggs, shrimp, and nuts rules out cookies, cake, and the like. However, there are many people out there who question allergies’ existence, and ponder about why our bodies must react that way to eating or even being in contact with foods like nuts and pollen. However, our ole pal Tobuscus is here to deliver his fifth rant on that very topic: “Why do allergies exist?” If you’ve had allergy problems in the past, tell me your story in the comments below. But otherwise, enjoy the video!

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