2010 was the year that fighter games returned, and 2011 was the year that the ultimate versus fighter game returned. That means 2012 should be a year for new crossover fighters. Street Fighter X Tekken is that new crossover we’ve been waiting and watching for.

It’s immediately important to recognise and appreciate that tag battle is a strategy within a strategy. In order to survive fighters must tagged in and out in a timely manner, as if either one of the fighters is knocked out, the round is lost. This isn’t Marvel vs. Capcom, this is a fighting game of survival. This addition comes from Tekken Tag , makes for some good fighting grounds and shakes up the expectations of the traditional Street Fighter fans.

The much-talked about gem system is something that, on paper, sounds contrary to the interests of the hardcore fighting elite. The way it works is simple, players set up to three gems for a character, which are triggered by having certain actions happen. For example, gems might activate by being hit with a series of continuous attacks. Each gem type provides subtle advantages, green makes movements quicker, red boosts attack damage, yellow heightens defence, blue increases the cross gauge, orange is for vitality and purple can make moves simple to execute or add traits such as auto-block. It’s a deep mechanic for a fighting game.

Street Fighter X Tekken review

SFxT bridges the gap between the Street Fighter and the Marvel vs. Capcom series. It’s fast-paced but not outrageously so, and it puts much more focus on attacking rather than defending compared to a traditional SF title. That said, Street Fighter fans will feel right at home. That is not to say the Tekken characters are weak or hard to learn. On the contrary, all it takes is a quick pause to the special moves menu and within a few seconds the moves will feel like second nature. The ease of access is welcoming for those who find change a bit of a hurdle.

The fact that most Tekken characters lack a projectile attack is forgotten in the middle of battles. What they lack in projectiles they make up for in close combat. The characters and moves are reasonably balanced and well polished. Heihachi and Ogre are somewhat overpowered characters. A pretty solid combo will be made up of a few quick punches and kicks followed by a tag attack. This is usually a gut wrenching kick or uppercut that knocks a foe to the ground while auto-tagging a second character.

With a roster of 19 Street Fighters and 19 Tekkeners finding the perfect pair for any gamer’s playstyle should be easy. As with any crossover game the story is rather weak, fighting games are rarely sought out for their engaging theatrical experience.

Street Fighter X Tekken review

Early forays into online battle resulted in complete failure. The audio drops in and out during online matches. Either there is bad code in there or someone over at Capcom was only listening to his or her headphones through one ear the entire time of development. Scramble battle is a fun edition whereby players can team up with someone online to take on another team of two. The mode has plenty of scope for cooperative griefing – keep in mind players need to tag one another in – but also be prepared to be dropped like an ugly lay at prom.

Street Fighter X Tekken has earned a place alongside Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom as one of the publisher’s three pillars of fighting games. It’s complementary to the others rather than competitive. All eyes should also turn to Namco to see what it makes of Tekken X Street Fighter.