Street Fighter X Tekken for PS Vita is everything you could want in a portable version of a console game. Unlike most of the titles that have arrived on the system before, almost nothing was sacrificed to bring the game unto the handheld. Street Fighter X Tekken even has some system specific features that utilize the Vita’s abilities. This version arrives about a half of a year after the console version, but does include a hefty DLC bundle for absolutely free.
The core gameplay of Street Fighter X Tekken remains unchanged from its console counterpart, but for the benefit of those who are hearing of the game for the first time, here are some things you should know. The game pits the characters from Street Fighter and Tekken (and some guests), in a 2 vs. 2 style fighting game. After picking two characters, matches are won by the first person to deplete just ONE of the two opposing fighters. This one character knock-out rule encourages teamwork and highlights the importance of tagging. This isn’t something Street Fighter fans are used to, but is almost identical to the fighting game rules seen in 2000’s Tekken Tag Tournament.
Street Fighter X Tekken includes traditional modes like arcade, versus, training and challenge. Arcade and challenge mode is where you will find the most to do for the single-player experience. Aside from the time spent in the challenge mode by those who enjoy learning difficult combos, playing alone soon becomes very repetitive. There are only so many times you can be motivated to clear arcade mode. And no, unlocking ‘titles’ to show off online isn’t worth the 30 minutes to beat the game. It may be a bit much to expect so much from a fighting game, but a more robust story mode or at least some more variety would have been nice to see.
Sporting a healthy roster of 55 characters out of the box, there is enough variety to accommodate a wide range of preference. No matter a Street Fighter or Tekken character, you can choose from a spectrum of fighters that include fast-paced, flashy, technical or brute strength characters. There are characters that are a mix and match of the qualities listed, so it will take some experimentation to figure out which characters suit your tastes.
The PS Vita’s controls have less buttons than a PS3 remote, but makes up for the slack with the touch screen. You can assign 4 buttons on the touchscreen and the back touchscreen with any input you want. The touchscreen buttons work great, but, due to the system’s design, accidentally touching the back touchscreen at the wrong time seems unavoidable. Good thing is you can turn those off to eliminate the problem. It is nice to have the option there though.
The learning curve for Street Fighter X Tekken is a bit steeper than most fighters. There are a number of button combinations that perform tag moves, super moves and other actions on top of each character’s individual moves lists that will take time to learn. It is intimidating at first, but taking the time to remember all the different executions does result in a rewarding experience. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a scenario you learned in tutorial mode play out in a regular match and pulling it off.
After conquering the single-player stuff, the meat of most fighting games is online multiplayer. An endearing feature included in Street Fighter X Tekken that not many other PS Vita games have tapped into is the cross-platform play. Street Fighter X Tekken on PS3 has been out for several months with players versing other players over the PlayStation Network. With this latest release, owners of the Vita version can now verse people from the already established PS3 pool of players as well as the Vita players. The integration of players from an entirely separate console is done seamlessly as the connection works fantastically well. Vita players should beware of the experienced and higher ranked PS3 players who had a huge head start. Thankfully, you are able to toggle whether or not you want to play with Vita users only.
Unfortunately, quality of competition is at an all-time low for this fighter. The game suffers from balancing issues. It’s ok for playing with casual buddies and offline if a game isn’t very balanced, but exploits and unfair matchups are magnified and especially annoying when trying to play competitively.
Finding a match isn’t hard and there is a good amount of people playing at all hours of the day, but Street Fighter X Tekken also suffers from a handful of technical issues. Perfect connection with another player still experience hiccups and slight lag disrupts the flow of gameplay completely. Add to the fact that the game is heavily based on combos and timing, and you soon realize playing online becomes a frustrating venture more often than not. The promises of fixes are on the horizon with a free update arriving sometime in December, but, for now, things are not good.
Street Fighter X Tekken offline is not the best thing. Fine. Fighting games are not about the offline experience much anyway. However, when the online portion suffers from connection issues and balancing, you have a problem. It’s really too bad, because this is the first time a Vita port got pretty much everything right, but suffers from the same issues that were present on the console version. It is a bit better than the console version with minor things such as the touch features and bonus content already packed in. However, in the end, you’re still playing an 8 month old game that was never really all that good to begin with.