'Street Fighter X Tekken' Video Game Review


"Street Fighter X Tekken" is like mixing chocolate with peanut butter. You have two things. They are both great apart. You meld them together - and voilà! You now have something amazing and enjoyed by all.

The "Street Fighter" and "Tekken" video game series have been going head to head for over a decade, but putting the two franchises together gives fans a whole new experience.  With great animation, new moves and features, and a whole lot of extras to play with, this is a definite pickup.

For those fans that actually pay attention to the convoluted story lines of fighting games, here's the obligatory synopsis. A meteor falls to Earth containing a small box which will later be designated "Pandora." It's later believed that within this box (which naturally can't be opened), lies a great power. Everyone fights one another to attain this power. Now that the story has blown your mind, time to move on.

"Street Fighter X Tekken" utilizes the same animation style as the more recent "Street Fighter" titles. All the characters are highly stylized and the backgrounds are intricately detailed and multi-leveled. Devout "Tekken" fans might be upset at first that the traditional animation used in the Namco series has been changed, but after a while, the new look and feel to it will grow on any naysayer. It's interesting at times to see how uniquely some of the most famous "Tekken" characters have been redesigned. Let's face it, after more than a decade of relatively little redesign on characters such as Martial Law and Paul, it's refreshing to see a new take on things.

Since the dawn of time, fighting game control schemes haven't changed all that much. Controls are pretty rudimentary. If anyone has played either of the two franchises, they will be able to pick this up relatively quickly. The fighting mechanics clearly swing more towards the "Street Fighter" style, but there are elements of the "Tekken" franchise mixed in.

"Tekken" fans might find the action moves quicker than what they're used to. Pacing in a fighting game can sometimes be key to winning the match, so getting used to the new timing or special moves and combos is a must for any gamer.   Players have the option of picking two characters to fight with and can switch between the two in an instant during the match. It feels great to pull off an amazing combo, only to quickly switch out fighters to land a super move, leaving your opponent's health meter severely depleted.

The two most notable additions to the game are Pandora Mode and the Gem System. Pandora Mode is the Hail Mary to use when things are looking bleak. If a fighter's vitality is 25 percent or less, activating Pandora Mode will eliminate one of the two fighters, but give the partner a full health gauge and strengthened attacks. It could shift the momentum of the match, but a skilled opponent could easily overcome this new advantage.

The Gem System also has its pros and cons. Selected before going into a match, Gems come in two styles; "Boost Gems" and "Assist Gems." Boost Gems temporarily boost the amount of damage a fighter can inflict on his or her opponents. Assist Gems allow fighters to block attacks automatically and shake off throws - but at a cost. Every time an Assist Gem is activated, a little bit of the fighter's Cross Gauge (health) is lost. After a while, losing health at a vital stage might not be worth the automatic moves.  (There are more than just these two types of Gems, but they are hidden for players to discover).

"Street Fighter X Tekken" has also brought back a feature from "Street Fighter IV," which in turn brings back a little bit of what made arcades so great.

What is an arcade, you '90s-born may ask? Well. Once upon a time there used to be places called arcades. In these vast darkened rooms were dozens of games of varying genres. Fighting games once reigned supreme in these teenage wastelands. On any given Friday night, kids hopped up on soda and pretzels would crowd around these fighting games, waiting for a chance to show that they were the best (they weren't).  All they had to do was put up their quarter, lay it down upon the great machine, and await their turn. It was exciting, watching and waiting to see who your opponent might be.

The point to this trip down memory lane is that with "Street Fighter X Tekken," you can have that camaraderie and competition, all from the comfort of your couch. Capcom has brought back the fight request option, allowing a player to start a match against the CPU - or, at any point, a complete stranger who happens to be online anywhere in the world can join in. It's as if someone put their quarter up on your Xbox and challenged you to a fight. Every time someone spontaneously cuts in, it's fun and exhilarating.

"Street Fighter X Tekken" is a fun, great-looking, unique twist on two old favorites. The two franchises have been competing head-to-head for years for the title of greatest fighting series. Finally, fans get to see their favorite characters from both series duke it out.  Any fighting game fans that want to feel like they're in the arcade, without leaving their couch, must pick up this title.

The game is sold for the XBox 360 or PlayStation 3.  Truly, there is nothing more fun than beating up a fighting game newbie.

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