The PlayStation Vita seems to be the proof that Sony learned its lesson from PlayStation Portable design. The PSP was pretty terrible when it came to playing fighting games, like Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max and Tekken 6. The Vita comparatively feels much better, providing comfortable control across the board for both the analog stick and the directional pad. Seeing as how the system has already gotten two great fighters in its collection – Mortal Kombat and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – it's already got a good track record.
Capcom isn't done yet, however. After making waves with its superhero cross-over fighter, it's back with a port of its previously released Street Fighter x Tekken. They've taken the time to add some improvements to this version, along with a feature that competitive fighters are sure to enjoy – Cross-Play.
Let's talk about the game first. Street Fighter x Tekken brings together a number of competitors from both Capcom and Namco's franchises, including Heihachi, King, Ryu, Chun-Li, Sakura, Nina Williams and others. Rather than just make it "another cross-over fighter" like Capcom vs. SNK 2, Capcom went a step further and made the gameplay into its own flavor, with great tag-team tactics and the use of gems, which enable you to use special tactics during each fight to help you gain an advantage.
As with their other fighting games, Capcom has thrown in a number of backgrounds that make each new fight interesting. Whether you're fighting in a setting similar to Jurassic Park or brawling alongside a burning vehicle with a crowd looking on. These 3D environments are just as good as what we've seen in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and are even a bit more colorful.
Then there's the fighting roster. We've already mentioned the great characters that are already included, but Capcom is also adding 12 additional fighters to expand it even further. These include some "oddball" characters, including Elena from Street Fighter III 3rd Strike and gaming icons Mega Man and Pac-Man. Just like the PS3 version, Infamous' Cole McGrath will also be unlockable. For good measure, a code will also be included with the game to download extra costumes for certain characters.
Though Capcom did have to tone down the graphics somewhat to make the game run efficiently on the PS Vita, it's hardly a slouch. We played a few sessions with it, both in regular and Cross-Play mode (more on that in a second), and it performed with a breezy frame rate and hardly any loss of detail. In fact, sometimes the fighters looked even better without as much emphasis on lighting. A few of the strikes do have a fiery effect that can't be beat and just wait until you unleash a super…
Control-wise on the PSP, this game probably would've played like garbage because the faulty directional pad and sticky analog nub would've resulted in some badly coordinated moves. Contrasted to the PS Vita set-up, Street Fighter x Tekken feels outstanding no matter which control method you use. Like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3on PS Vita, you can use the rear touch pad for extra play options, such as knocking a player into the air to set up your partner to come in and knock your opponent down. Touch controls can be turned off if you're not into that sort of thing, however.
Then there's the Cross-Play. Now, note we said Cross-Play and not Cross-Buy, as Street Fighter x Tekken unfortunately doesn't qualify for that program. But never mind – Cross-Play is great. Connecting with a fellow player either on a PS Vita or a PlayStation 3 is nothing short of smooth, as we had a few matches without any sort of lag or performance issues. You can also unlock any fighters or outfits you previously bought, though the Vita version pretty much comes with the whole package anyway. You're covered no matter which way you go.
Though we didn't get to try the front touch-screen functions of the game (they're reportedly the same as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3), we're sure that some people will take advantage of it. No matter which way you choose to play, you'll find Street Fighter x Tekken to be very, very accessible.
Portable fighting games are changing for the better, and Capcom is definitely leading the charge. Street Fighter x Tekken looks to be a great encore to their first PS Vita release and it could pave the way for even better cross-overs to come. Be sure to check it out when it hits stores and PlayStation Network on October 23rd.