Street Fighter x Tekken – Gameplay Notes
So for the last week, Play has been sunning itself in Miami. By Play, I mean me. And by sunning myself, I mean playing Street Fighter x Tekken in a darkened conference hall with an infinite supply of Pepsi.
There will be interviews, observations, pictures and impressions of all the games we saw going up both on Play-Mag.co.uk and in the magazine itself but to kick things off, here’s a MASSIVELY in-depth write-up of Street Fighter x Tekken. Our interview with Yoshinori Ono will likely hit at some point this week too.
Just a few notes on what you’re about to read: first, there’s not much editorialising below. It’s pretty much a straight up write-up of notes I took while playing Street Fighter x Tekken and assumes familiarity with previous Street Fighter games. For the actual opinion, look out for our preview in the magazine itself. Second, I’m approaching this as a Street Fighter player more than a Tekken player. Finally, all of this is liable to change. Ono himself refused to talk about certain mechanics but said we were free to mention whatever we wanted, which seemed to indicate he didn’t want to verbally commit himself to game mechanics that may change later down the line.
So, without further ado, here’s all the info on Street Fighter x Tekken we gleamed from our time with the game…
All characters use standard Street Fighter controls – light, medium and heavy punches along with light, medium and heavy kicks. This doesn’t change anything for the Street Fighter cast but obviously changes things for the Tekken characters, with their normals being single moves from Tekken 6.
The game itself is a 2-versus-2 tag fighter. When one character completely runs out of energy, that team will lose the round. When tagged out, characters don’t get any energy back.
LP + LK performs throw, MP + MK performs tag, HP + HK performs launcher. The launcher hits really high but has really long start-up and really bad recovery. You can cancel into the launcher but I couldn’t find anything that combed into it.
Couldn’t find out what taunt was but I didn’t think of pressing start. Doh.
One of the stages, set in a Jurassic Park style area, was multi-tiered but you only dropped down to the next stage between rounds. Alex was in the background of the lower part of that stage. The other stage at the show was similar to the stage in Tekken 6 with tanks on the bridge, except lower down away from the bridge.
The super meter has three bars that can be filled – tag cancels cost a single bar, EX moves cost a single bar, supers cost two. There doesn’t appear to be any moves that cost all three bars.
Plinking might be removed. This is conjecture on my part but doing Ryu’s cr.MP, cr.MP link felt tougher than it did in Street Fighter IV. That could be the cr.MP move itself having different properties but that was the only link I had to plink to consistently hit in SFIV and I was missing it a lot on this. Could have been a problem with muscle memory or the game’s faster speed too. Either way, it wasn’t consistently connecting.
There were no restrictions to who you picked for your team – you could have two Street Fighter characters, two Tekken characters or one from each. Ryu, Ken, Guile, Chun-Li, Abel, Kazuya, Nina, King, Marduk and Bob were all confirmed as characters and playable at the show. The character select screen only had two other slots, which was for random select on each respective side – the icon was a grey image with a white silhouette over it. Seth Killian was there when we first started playing and I asked him if there were only two more characters due to be announced. He got the joke and laughed.
Tagging and the juggle system are the gameplay mechanics that make Street Fighter x Tekken feel different from any previous games in the Street Fighter series.
The tagging is similar to that of Tekken Tag Tournament or Dead or Alive, where one character runs out while another runs in. You have to press MP + MK to tag out. Your character will perform a quick pose before running out. The pose needs to finish before the tag can be completed – if the pose interrupted by an attack, that character won’t tag out and will stay in the match.
You can cancel moves into a tag at the cost of a single bar. So with Ryu, you can do a Shoryuken and cancel that into a tag, for the new character to either continue the combo (should the Shoryuken connect) or get Ryu out of trouble (if the Shoryuken is blocked).
It seems like moves can be cancelled into tags at any time, as long as they connect. With projectiles, there’s a certain point where they can be cancelled, which is similar to the same point that you’d Focus Attack Cancel the move in Street Fighter IV. Other moves, such as Marduk’s Gator Slam, show that the tag has been made but you still have to wait for the animation to finish before the new character runs in.
Some moves seem to only have tag cancels to allow the new character to come into the match safely, such as command throws.
You can also press MP + MK while lying on the ground and this will tag in your partner at the cost of a single bar. This means you can avoid wake-up pressure with a character who’s almost dead to tag in your fresh partner.
The juggling system in Street Fighter x Tekken is unusual in that you can juggle characters whenever they’re in the air. So if you connect with an air-to-air move, rather than being a reset, that character will then go into juggle state so you can perform moves.
For example – Ryu can do air-to-air HP, then do cr.MP xx Hadouken to continue the combo before the other character hits the ground.
Street Fighter x Tekken had a training mode set-up at the event, with players jumping to challenge on a different set-up. This meant training mode access was limited to 10-20 seconds at a time but one thing I did find was there was a juggle limit. If you looped cr.MP xx EX Joudan Kick with Ryu, he could do four reps before the opponent falls through the next cr.MP. Seems to be an in-built system to prevent infinites, which isn’t surprising given how flexible the combo system is at this stage.
Besides opening up lots of combo opportunities, this juggle system also significantly buffs command throw characters. Players trying to jump away from command throws could find themselves caught by a crouching jab which puts them in juggle state and while it’s unlikely these opportunities will lead to big damage, it does make it easier to discourage jumping away as a defensive move against suspected command throws.
Extra Game Engine Notes
Street Fighter x Tekken also registers counterhits, though I didn’t get time to see what effect this had on the move. Weirdly, throws come up as registering as counterhits too.
Like Street Fighter IV, there’s no rapid-fire canceling. So with Ryu, cr.LP, cr.LP xx Shoryuken only works if the cr.LPs are linked rather than rapid-fire.
On wake-up, you can do the Tekken forward dive and roll by holding forward. It doesn’t hit like it does in Tekken but it does seem to have some invincibility. It’s either invincibility or a hitbox issue but that move can pass through Hadoukens and pokes. It will also see you flip through the other player if he’s standing close enough. The only problem is that players can attack you during the actual roll part (as opposed to the actual dive) and the recovery of the roll is quite long.
Pretty much the same as he was in Street Fighter IV. The basic combos I tried were the same – cr.LP, cr.HP xx Hurricane Kick or cr.LP, cr.LP, cr.MK xx Hadouken or cr.MP, cr.MP xx Hadouken, they all worked.
The only noticeable difference I noticed between the games, combo wise, was that cr.MK needed to hit a lot closer to combo into Hadouken.
Ryu uses the Street Fighter x Tekken combo system well because of his dragon punch. It’s a good way into tag combos. You can do HP Shoryuken > tag and then follow up depending on whether it hit or was blocked. Marduk can combo into Gator Slam if it connects or go for a command throw if it’s blocked.
His fireball game is a lot stronger because of the charge system. Basically, you do a fireball and hold down the button and he’ll charge it. Level 2 is a meter-free EX fireball and Level 3 is a meter-free Super (!). The Super takes a little too long to come out to be viable but the Level 2 meter-free EX fireball can cause headaches. In amongst the normal fireballs, you can hold onto it and watch your opponent jump towards you, thinking he’s scouted a normal one. Let go when he’s in mid-air and he’ll land on an EX fireball. Pretty nasty – the only downside is you can’t cancel the charge so you’re committing to it no matter what.
Ryu’s EX Shoryuken is his Shin-Shoryuken performed as a ‘normal’ rather than special move. The animation was like that in CvS2/Capcom Fighting Jam, rather than Street Fighter III or Street Fighter IV. Ryu could follow-up any LP Shoryuken with EX Shoryuken for decent damage.
Ryu’s Super is Shinku Hadouken. I don’t think there’s any real use for this trick but you can actually super cancel a Level 2 EX Hadouken into Shinku Hadouken. Probably just a chip-damage parlour trick but nice to know anyway.
The biggest combo I found with him was cross-up MK, st.HP xx EX Joudan Kick > cr.MP xx EX Joudan Kick > cr.MP xx EX Joudan Kick > cr.MP xx HP Shoryuken. The reason for the cr.MP rather than st.HP was the st.HP needed to be the close version to cancel and the timing for that was tricky, while cr.HP seemed inconsistent (it would often hit the opponent above the EX Joudan Kick).
Also pretty much the same as he was in Street Fighter IV. He can charge up his Sonic Boom in the same way Ryu can charge up his Hadoukens, with Guile’s level 3 becoming Sonic Hurricane.
He keeps his cr.MK > towards + MP chain, his down/towards + HK into Flash Kick, his air-throws, cr.LP still links into cr.MP… I didn’t notice anything different about Guile.
It’s a common theme, but there wasn’t any big difference with Chun-Li from her Street Fighter IV incarnation to this either. The only real link I knew with her going in was cr.LP, cr.LP, cr.LP, st.LP, st.HP and that still works in this.
Likewise, air-to-air HP combos into EX Spinning Bird Kick but given the combo system, there’s likely to be something far more damaging to be found.
One difference is her Lightning Legs is now performed with half-circle towards and kick, rather than mashed out kicks. EX Lightning Legs didn’t seem to combo into EX Lightning Legs anymore, or even into Super, but I didn’t really get the perfect timing on either combo to confirm they no longer work outright.
I’m no Abel player but his moves seemed the same, normal and EX. Not sure about his combos but nothing came across as immediately different.
One thing worth noting is he was the only Street Fighter character without a special move that could be held down into super. I didn’t actually find out what his super was. None of his special moves performed super when performed with all three buttons and I tried ‘new’ inputs (reverse SRK + PPP, SRK + KKK, etc) and none of them registered super. Not sure what the deal with that was.
Same as Street Fighter IV Ken with the same link combos, from my limited knowledge of him. cr.LP, st.LP, cr.MK xx Hurricane Kick still works. Step kick is still a very useful move although weirdly, the kara-throw using step kick didn’t seem to work.
His super comes off Hurricane Kick and works like his Ultra 2 does in Super SFIV, although the animation is slightly different now.
Lots of people were playing Ken and spamming fierce Shoryuken. It seemed to beat out every move it was up against, so it’s definitely got enough invincibility to be a viable wake-up move again. It was also an easy fallback move when Ken was tagged into the match while the opponent was in the air, for example, as a follow-up to a connected Ryu Shoryuken.
Along with Ryu, Kazuya was the most popular character at the show. I didn’t use him myself but plenty of others did, he seems to be very combo friendly. He seems to have a lot of use for the juggle system in particular.
He has his jumping spin kicks (not sure the name or command but it’s the move every Tekken 6 noob spammed online) which lead into the mid-punch and, here’s the interesting bit, the mid-punch actually hits crouching opponents despite not having an obvious overhead animation. This makes me think Tekken characters could have plenty of overheads if their mid-hitting moves get ported across with that property intact but the characters I’m familiar with weren’t playable, so I couldn’t test that theory out extensively.
One thing I did find with him when trying him out – he was a two-punch move with qcb + P, which hits twice but can be tag cancelled on the first hit. Jump in HK, MP xx qcb + MP (1) > tag cancel means he can tag his partner in before hitting for the last time, which means the partner running in has enough hit stun to work with to continue the combo off a medium strength poke, maybe even a st.HP or st.HK if that move is fast enough.
Out of the Tekken characters, Nina was the one with the most obvious potential. Her standing jab links into standing medium punch without any hassle whatsoever. It might have even been a command chain rather than an easy link.
Reverse SRK gives her Skull Splitter, which is fast and hits low. I didn’t find any overhead in her moves list though her normals could well give her a move that hits mid, similar to Kazuya’s above. Then she’ll have a great mix-up game.
She has Geyser Cannon on qcb + K, with the HK version launching opponents into the air. She could combo into weaker versions and cancel them into tags, though they don’t seem to give enough hit stun for the combo to continue.
She has a command dash which is half-circle towards + kick, with the strength of the kick determining how far the dash goes. From here, Nina can press PP to go into her command grab. The follow-ups are two further presses of PP but it was hard getting them to work. I tried timing the PP presses and got inconsistent results. I tried mashing PP and got no results. This was against a training dummy, so it’s not like they did something to break the throw. I just think the timing was tricky on the follow-ups.
The command dash itself also let Nina pass by Hadoukens and Sonic Booms, probably due to her hitbox being low than any invincibility.
The character I used most at the event. Didn’t see or play anyone else using him.
He’s a command throw character with three moves – Gator Slam (SRK + punch) which is a ground-to-air grab like Abel’s Falling Sky, Northern Lights Suplex (half-circle back + punch) and tackle (half-circle back + kick). His main game seems to be getting close and mixing up between suplex, tackle and normal pokes.
He has a few good pokes in amongst a ton of garbage ones. Standing HP goes really far. It has a canned standing HP follow-up but it hits high and is only worth it in juggles. Crouch MK is a decent sweep that recovers fast. MP + HP is a double-handed punch which he definitely has in Tekken 6, it sets him up nicely for a mix-up whether it hits or is blocked.
The pokes can also be mixed up with tackle. The range was about sweep range, which is quite short, and has a lot of recovery when missed. When he connects, Marduk can either do nothing (slowly gets off the opponent), punch them in the face repeatedly (punch) or throw them behind him by the foot (kick). No other option seemed available and the strength of the punch/kick button didn’t seem to change the move. Tagging during the foot throw doesn’t bring in your partner fast enough to do the combo – Ryu’s Shoryuken is the one special move that seems to have active hit frames the earliest and that was consistently whiffing, so I’m fairly sure the only reason to tag during that move is to safely bring in your partner.
The EX version has armor (just the single hit) and also sees Marduk shoulder barge them into wall ahead of him for a wall bounce combo. On his own, I managed to get him to do an EX Gator Slam but only once. The timing seems to be really tight. You can also spend meter tagging your partner in. When I landed the EX version, I’d spend a bar bringing Ryu into the match and he could do HP xx HP Shoryuken.
Marduk doesn’t seem to have a viable anti-air. He doesn’t have any decent air-to-air attacks – neutral jump MP is okay but that’s about it. He can do back + MP, which is a command normal with armour, but it’s slow and the punch can be ducked by all the characters thus far (maybe not Bob) so players can jump in, see their hit get absorbed, duck down and punish.
I don’t think Marduk will be a particularly strong character if only because I think he’ll struggle to get in on opponents. He doesn’t have much mobility, doesn’t have much in the way of parlour tricks and doesn’t have any decent jumping attacks either. He’s a powerhouse when he’s close, I just don’t see him getting close that often.
Along with Abel, the least popular character at the event. I didn’t use him and only played a few people who did. Nothing about him stood out to me when he was used except he seemed to have really good pokes, probably the best of the Tekken cast thus far.
His special moves were odd. He has half-circle forward which is a Special Roll (that was its actual name) which led to follow-up moves but the move itself had no invincibility, so it was regularly being beaten out. It goes through fireballs and the EX version actually hits, so that worked, but the normal version seems useless.
Another special move was quarter-circle forward, which is a belly-first attack (think El Fuerte’s KKK move). There didn’t seem to be any follow-ups to this move and it seemed pointless used on its own, as it didn’t have the range or damage that his normal pokes don’t, so I was obviously missing something about this move that made it worthwhile.
The most complicated character on show.
He has spin on KKK and the follow-ups from here are either MP (quick hit), HP (lunging overhead hit) or kick (sweep). The closest comparison is Rufus’ follow-ups in Street Fighter IV to Messiah Kick. The spin is fast enough that comboing from close hits is really effective, as the hit stun ends just as King goes into the mix-up from his spin.
King also has his Dragon Screw counters, done by back + PPP (anti-air counter) or back + KKK (ground counter). The anti-air counter is particularly useful.
One thing about King that was weird was how his throws worked. He has Shining Wizard and another command throw but they seemed inconsistent with when they connected. Sometimes King would do the Shining Wizard run when he was already right next to the opponent, leaving him open for damage. It could be something in the early code that needs tweaking or there could be a bizarre condition for the throw to work (needs counterhit? Crouching characters?). Either way, it was hard to gauge how good he is as a command throw character.
His jumping HK is his spinning drop kick and his sweep is his low drop kick.
He also had a kick that was SRK + K, which is a straight boot to the face. The command list said there was an extra kick follow-up but I couldn’t get it to work and neither could anyone else I spoke to about it.
Note from Bronson – “that SRK+K kick you were talking about with King sounds like his Konvict Kick (f,f+4)…in which case (at least in Tekken) the follow-up throw only comes out on a counter-hit.” Thanks!
Interestingly enough, King was probably the third most popular character at the event, behind Ryu and Kazuya. He was even more popular than Ken.