"For Ono-san, the day SFxT was launched, was the greatest day of his life. But for me? It was Tuesday."
Today, I got my hands on the highly anticipated, Street Fighter X Tekken (SFxT) game, that combines 2 of the biggest franchises in Fighting Games in a crossover series much like Marvel vs Capcom (MVC) and Capcom vs SNK (CVS). I played it for a good 3 hours, trying characters like Poison, Juri and Rufus, but ultimately worked more on my original team of Bob and Sagat (America's Funniest Home Videos). At the end of the session, I thought to myself...
"This is one of the worst games, not just Fighting Games, but games in general, I've ever played."
I'll be fair, I'll tell you what I thought was good. I think the large character roster and seeing the iconic Tekken characters rendered in the Street Fighter engine is a very nice sight. Updating old favourites like Hugo and Rolento and introducing Poison to the new graphics was very generous, it would make any fan of the Street Fighter series smile from ear to ear.
As a game itself... Or rather as a competitive Fighting Game, a game that's gonna be loaded with top prize money and big name players, a serious, competitive Fighting Game... Don't waste my time.
The name of the game, Footsies.
Vanilla Street Fighter 4 (SF4) was the first Fighting Game I played, seriously and on a competitive level. Through months of hard work learning the game, often with the advice of fellow players from the scene, joining numerous local tournaments looking to improve myself somewhat, I've come to a conclusion as to what (I think) Vanilla SF4 is about and what it has taught me.
I've been trained to protect the space in front of me. To protect it with the tools that I'm given, my 3 punches and 3 kicks and my Special Moves. Knowing the range, speed and recovery of these moves helps to keep my spacings between me and my opponent as to what is "safe" and what is not. I've been trained not to jump, as a means to start an offense, or just purely out of randomness, for not just at high level, even a mid-tier average player has decent enough reactions to Anti-Air you consistently in a match. I've been trained to tech throws and have strong throw gameplay as it leads to the more advance scenarios like Frame Traps and Option Selects. Throwing in SF4 is at least 1/3 of the game. If a opponent blocks, you throw him, it's as simple as that. If he jumps, you Anti-Air him. The lesser his options for movement, the higher your chances of winning the match.
Risk and reward, action and reaction, cause and effect.
All that was changed at the start of Super Street Fighter 4 (SSF4), an updated version of Vanilla, which introduce characters from the Alpha and Third Strike series. These characters all came loaded with tools that allowed for better rushdown, mix-ups and setups. The game was still ok then. When Arcade Edition (AE) was released, Yun, Yang and Fei Long took the entire game, shined up all my fundamentals real nice and shove it up my candy ass. Hong Kong Fighter 4 disregarded the mid-screen game with their infinite ability to break that space with Dive Kicks, Lunge Punches and Chicken Wings. AE Ver. 2012, Seth... End of days. Vanilla Street Fighter as we know it has now been reduced to nothing more than a guessing game.
I now think, Fei Long's Rekkas are actually ok, they are punishable, with good reactions and knowledge of frames, you can punish even the first hit of Rekka.
How to punish Rekka? - Unanswered, Since 2008!
Unlike Rolento, who can go for all 3 hits and it's virtually unpunishable, on block, does chip damage as well. He has superior aerial and ground pokes, some providing multiple hits, wall dives and overheads, a crouching light punch far better than Fei Long's (How is this even possible) and a crouching medium kick that links into Ultra and other combos.
In this game, everyone jumps for free, there is no reliable Anti-Air, not even in Sagat's Tiger Uppercut. I can see Rolento jumping on me, turn a Heavy Tiger Uppercut and watch my Sagat fly up into the sky like Superman, Rolento whiffs his attack and lands behind me waiting for punish.
Throwing in this game is useless. Throw range is shorter than an average person's dick. There are no tick-throw setups because spamming light attacks come out faster than cum.
In this game, everyone backdashes for free, or maybe half the price, there are no Option Selects to catch backdashes, or maybe I'm not skilled enough to find them in 3 hours.
The attacks recover so fast, mashing Uppercuts in between block strings? That's suicide.
What is Pandora Mode?
In AE, Seth was considered a rubbish because he had so many mix-ups that even 4 year olds can do, a superior Uppercut and a Spinning Piledriver (SPD)... that's bad right? I have to guess where to block, I have to block correctly, can't backdash because of the Tandem Engine, can't keep blocking too or he might come in for a SPD... But ok, his health is what... 800? I can take him out if I make a few good guesses and punish heavily, happens maybe 1 out of 10 times...
In SFxT, Zangief is build like a tank, has a Lariat for Anti-Air, the SPD is his trademark move, a Target Combo(s) and EX Green Hand to chase down backdash. Maybe Seth is quite balanced after all.
Law from Tekken? He comes with Fei Long's jumping heavy kick, the exact same animation, the perfect Air-to-Air attack... And because this is SFxT, you can just keep jumping! Neutral, front or back... You choose! Moves on block that are unpunishable too, and if hit, lead to big follow-ups. Fuck off!
Hugo can slap you 3 times and you'll be at half HP. What the fuck is there is a safe jump after his SPD, and you don't even need to buffer anything, just hold your joystick up forward!
"A,B,C Easy as 1,2,3!"
Every character has a Target Combo, just press A, B, C, that leads to a tag from your partner and even more combo opportunities. Which is enough to win you your matches. You don't even need Fireballs or Messiah Kicks.
When you put it all together, there is really no need for Yomi (Mind Games) in SFxT.
I see where the trend is going, I see what Capcom is trying to do. They are making their games "Beginner" friendly and appealing to ALL gamers, not just the hardcore competitive Fighting Gamers, the introduction of this "Target Combo Tag" thing, is prove of the matter already. It makes perfect sense for someone who has bad execution but really wants to play Cammy... Or Megaman for that matter, ANYONE! YOU CAN PLAY ANYONE AND IT'S THE SAME!
Poison - Just about the only thing I can find joy in.
I really can't seem to take this game seriously.
Take my word for it, anybody can play and be good at SFxT. You can buy this game as a Christmas present for your friends and family and don't be surprise when they become better than you at it with only an hour of practise.