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Friday, April 27, 2012

Street Fight X Tekken Review

9.0 out of 10

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I'm grading this game solely on the basis of its merits as a fighting game. I want to state that at the top because I want to go on record as saying the “story” of the game is absolutely ridiculous. Pandora's Box has landed in the arctic. OK. I really don't need to say more. It's that stupid.

But of course these types of arcade-style fighting games don't normally bother too much with creating a plausible story, do they? Actually, they used to. I can remember the first Mortal Kombat tournament and the first two Street Fighter tournaments and they were all pretty consistent. I remember playing through just about every character so I could see their special “ending.” I liked it.

Now, I don't particularly care one way or the other at this point. What happens when Chun-Li reaches the end? If I had to guess (and I'm making an educated guess here), I would say the screen probably goes black and a few lines of text explain what she does next and generally causes some annoyance by being vague and leaving more questions than answers. So … yeah. The story's not quite there.

Of course, in the interest of fairness, my first couple of run-throughs were with some generally ridiculous characters. I especially enjoyed playing as the giant bear from the Tekken franchise. Not only did he do a funny little dance after winning, he also spouted some wonderfully philosophical prose between bouts. So maybe that was part of my problem: my standards were too high. The very fact that the developers had a storyline for a giant bear at all should probably warrant some kudos.

In the end, none of this matters. Because this game is polished. Fluid fighting and killer animation, awesome special moves and a massive roster of familiar characters basically takes everything that was great from Street Fighter IV and just moves it up a notch. The backgrounds are at times awesome and hilarious, and the team-ups make playing through again and again a ton of fun. Screw the story …  the gameplay is what makes this stand out.

You'll also find a unique “gem” system that helps modify certain gameplay elements. You may or may not like this, depending on whether you favor some sort of special “boost” to your natural fighting abilities. I didn't quite get the hang of them, but for some this might be a turn-off from the more traditional elements of an arcade fighter.

Fighting online is easy, too, and encouraged. You'll find a variety of skill levels, but one thing is for certain: you're going to have a lot of fun.

One final note:
I would recommend renting this game rather than buying it. Why? Because when Street Fighter IV came out, it seemed like only months passed before new characters could be purchased. Then, it seemed like just a blink of the eye later, a “super” version came out. This might happen again, meaning in order to enjoy whatever add-ons are included in the next “updated” version, you'll have to spend more money. Just a word of caution.
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