It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Capcom’s Street Fighter x Tekken, released earlier this year. That said, when it was first announced, Vita was fresh, and I really wanted to play the game on the go. Well, time has passed, and we finally have the portable version. But was the wait too long? Most gamers have moved on to other fighters, and while the Vita is still lacking a solid library of titles, SFxT does little new to force those who held out, to dip back in. That isn’t to say we still don’t have a solid fighter on our hands, I just wonder who is still waiting on this release.
If you have been living under a rock and don’t know what SFxT is, let me break it down real quick without going into too much detail. If you want a full rundown, read our full review here. SFxT is a crossover fighter developed by Capcom in conjunction with Namco Bandai that features characters from both Street Fighter and Tekken universes. It runs on the SF4 engine and allows players to see what Tekken characters are like on a 2D plane. Gems are a big part of the system, allowing players to equip them for bonuses such as attack power and health, and the game uses standard Tekken Tag rules where if one character dies, the player loses.
The game looks good and ends up being one of the better show pieces for the system. The character models look great on the screen, and the frame rate is solid. It is not nearly as sharp as its console counterparts, but that doesn’t change how great it looks. Environments are superbly animated, as are the characters, and the music is fantastic.
Hopping online was actually pretty hassle free. You can play against both Vita and PS3 owners, but I still recommend sticking to only Vita if you have the option. Lag and issues creep up during character intros, but outside of that it was held to a minimum. Online matches are fun and functional, so if you want SFxT on the go, you now have it.
With all that said, the Vita version of the game makes the general transition rather painlessly. The first big difference is that the 12 new characters (offered up as DLC on PS3 and 360) are available from the outset. It is worth noting that you have to redeem a code online. You also get a set of alternate outfits, and the DLC works on both PS3 and Vita, which is a nice bonus. Also worth noting is that the game is cross-play compatible between Vita and PS3, though players are better off facing against their same-system opponents, as PS3 owners have a clear advantage in the control department.
The standard six button fighting fits fine on the Vita’s button scheme, but when you factor in the button combinations for things such as tagging in and out, and super moves, things get more complicated. The small button set makes it difficult to tap two specific buttons in the heat of battle. Capcom has alleviated this by allowing you to map buttons to the rear touch pad. This works decently enough, but it takes a good getting used to before it becomes second nature. Even after hours of time with it, I still found myself tapping the wrong spot in a pinch.
These controls also work on the front touch screen, which can be a pain. Personally I found my fingers slipping onto the front screen causing unwanted attacks to occur. Again, this is really only a big deal to hardcore players, as nine times out of ten, it actually benefitted me. Still, it is annoying that you feel like I lack control over these options. You can turn it all off or resize the spaces where touch is enabled.
SFxT also includes a Casual Mode that completely disables the buttons and joysticks and instead allows you to play using the touch screen exclusively. This is a novel mode that is cool for a few minutes, but after a few matches it feels like you are just tapping the screen to win. There really isn’t much fun in that. Capcom also included a new augmented reality mode, which allows you to place any of the characters in a real environment using the Vita’s cameras. This mode is never explained and honestly felt like a waste of time. It is neat to see characters in your pictures, but the quality is terrible, and the mode just feels useless.
This feels like the theme of SFxT for the Vita. There are a ton of features in the game that no one asked for. Vita owners already have Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Mortal Kombat in their lineup, and MK is far superior with its uniquely designed challenge mode exclusively for Vita. This game also launches months after the console counterparts, which simply didn’t sell that well. What we end up with is a solid fighting game that falls victim to both bad timing, and feeling unnecessary, even if it is a great game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.