I was a bit nervous when I was first given a chance to play Street Fighter X Tekken. Although I enjoy Street Fighter on a casual level, the Tekken in the title worried me. My prior attempts to enjoy the Tekken series generally ended in me learning one combo with one character, spamming it to get as far as I could through arcade mode, and then giving up in frustration.
For my first round, I played as the two headlining characters in the game, Street Fighter’s Ryu and Tekken’s seemingly-immortal (or robotic or something? He’s got a laser-eye…) Kazuya Mishima. At first glance, Ryu controlled pretty similarly to his Street Fighter IV incarnation. However, when I was informed by a Capcom representative that I could combo light attacks into medium ones and medium ones into heavies, I suddenly clicked with Street Fighter X Tekken’s system.
Each blow I landed would propel Ryu forward, making the next attack in the series viable, somewhat reminiscent of the way Marvel vs Capcom 3’s light-medium-heavy strings worked. Each attack seemed to naturally lead right into the next by moving the character into their next attack. If you were following L-M-H series, the chain seemed difficult to escape, making some ridiculously long combos easy to do. In more technical terms, it felt as if each blow stunned the person long enough that the next strike could make contact.
After a couple of combos with Ryu, I ended up comboing into a launcher with a light-medium-heavy-heavy punch string. Ryu sent my opponent (Cammy, for what it’s worth) skyward and Kazuya stepped in to continue the combo, further juggling my foe before a misplaced kick ended the combo. Desperately trying to remember how I played Kazuya, I attempted one of his attacks that I remembered from repeated usage, a jumping, spinning kick that hits the opponent three times, high, low, and high again. No dice.
My flailing gave my opponent an opportunity to combo me for a while and eventually knock me down. I mashed the buttons a bit to get up faster, holding the stick toward Cammy, and to my surprise, Kazuya actually rolled behind her as he got to his feet. Still at a complete loss, I instinctively tried to use hurricane kick (QCB + K), and lo and behold, Kazuya went into that spinning kick I tried to do earlier! (I was later told that all of the Tekken characters had some of their more iconic moves tied to Street Fighter-style commands.) I then used the designated launcher (HP +HK) to knock Cammy into the air to start a string with Ryu that knocked her out, ending the round, despite the undamaged King that my foe had in reserve. If one of your teammates is taken out, you lose the round.
The characters then hopped down from the bridge they were fighting on onto more solid ground for round two. My team jumped first and the battered opponent’s team took a second to get themselves together. I certainly didn’t have the learning experience I had had in the first round during the second, but I did learn that you could swap between characters without launchers with both medium attack buttons simultaneously and that the three-segmented energy meter at the bottom of the screen allowed for both EX and Super attacks with one and two segments of meter respectively. These can even be comboed into each other, if you have a full meter, a fact which I accidentally discovered by cancelling an EX Shoryuken into Ryu’s super, the Shinkuu Hadouken.
I was hesitant about Street Fighter x Tekken before I played it due to my Tekken ineptitude, but I ended up feeling surprisingly capable by the end of my brief hands-on.