I just realised that Capcom has based their upcoming title – Street Fighter X Tekken, on Hatake Kakashi from the Naruto manga series.
For those of you who don’t know, Kakashi has the ability to copy any movement or ‘ninjutsu’ (roughly translated to ninja skill?) he sees and because of this, he acquired the name ‘Kakashi the copy ninja’.
Seriously, after all the press releases about the gameplay features it looked liked Capcom decided to copy mechanics from a load of other games and just branded it Street Fighter x Tekken (SFxT).
Let’s take the ‘training whilst you wait for a match’ feature for example, an ingenious idea as you can train whilst you wait – I hate sitting there staring at a “searching for opponent” screen. However, this great idea was already in Arc System Works’ 2D fighter – BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. In BlazBlue, you fire up training mode simply by pressing a button whilst waiting for challengers to appear in your hosted room. This isn’t a downgraded version of training mode by the way, oh no! It has all the extensive features and configurations as the normal training mode you access from the main menu. Also, Dead or Alive 4 had a unique “lobby” where your DoA avatar could run around, chat and perform pointless actions – still better than staring at text.
Ok, so borrowing features isn’t such a bad thing; at least it’ll (hopefully) enhance the player experience for us all right? Well, yes and no. ‘Yes’ it’s good for the sake of making the game better and ‘no’ it’s not if you claim it to be your own innovation and make it a selling point! That’s a problem I had with Capcom’s messages in their trailers.
Capcom celebrates that “2 vs 2 is now a reality” in SFxT and describes their “Scramble mode” as a place where you can experience “a new era of dramatic combat”. Seriously, where have you been Capcom? Dead or Alive 4 had 2 vs 2 tag already!! Also, games like Bleach and Guilty Gear DS have already allowed the 4 player on screen fights to happen. However, players sandwiched in the middle by two opponents can’t seem to break this vicious cycle in SFxT (as kindly demonstrated by Ken & Ryu). Whereas in Bleach you have some way of escaping – you can do something like barrier burst. I hope the fix isn’t to just scale damage down as some people can be very patient.
They’ve also got a gem system in place now… which sounds a lot like the Marvel Super Heroes gem system and the Bleach card system…
So if everything is just a copy of other games, surely I should’ve labelled SFxT a ‘copy cat’ right? Well, no… Kakashi has one (yes, one) original skill – Chidori (aka ‘Lightening blade’). Like Kakashi then, SFxT also has one original gameplay feature – Pandora mode. Pandora mode is where you sacrifice your tag partner in order to gain an infinite meter for 8 seconds, after which, you will also die(!). This is an interesting twist to the normal tag team play and I’m very interested to know what kind of combos can be done with infinite meters and whether it is even feasible to activate it (your opponent really just needs to block for 8 seconds or knock you about some more to win).
I’m glad they put in characters that I want to play. Namely, Cammy, Chun Li, Ryu, Rolento, Lili, Kazuya. The rest of the cast does look a bit boring… I thought it was clever to integrate the Focus Attack Dash Cancel (FADC) from SF4 into SFxT as a tag cancelling. This way, people who have played SF4 will have some sort of familiarity with continuing a combo, this time with another character instead.
So then like Kakashi, it copies a lot of things but still has a unique thing about it. He is a pretty cool character and let’s hope that SFxT will also be great. I do feel that it was a little naughty to ‘borrow’ so many features from other games and try to pass it off as their own but let’s hope it’s made the game better for us. After all, it’s the first game to join a 2D fighter with a 3D one, it better be good. However, I might just wait on a year or so to see if a “new balanced” version with a “better storyline” with “more characters” gets released with another word appended onto the title, like “Ultimate” or “Super” or “Arcade Edition” or “Turbo”, etc… It was your fault for releasing so many versions of Street Fighter 4… (I preferred Vanilla by the way so I didn’t even bother with AE.