This past May Street Fighter X Tekken arrived on our HD consoles, an amusing game with beautiful graphics and good online features. It was a crossover between two different fighting games, and the balance tilted to Street Fighter's side, in terms of both gameplay and visuals. In my opinion, a well executed ideas as the game was easy to learn with its classic controls and colorful graphics in 2.5D.
The game, however, had a few minor problems that prevented it from reaching the Olympus of fighting games. I mainly refer to the biggest headache any developer of fighting games has faced - balance. Street Fighter X Tekken is a slightly unbalanced game, with Capcom characters having an edge while Tekken's roster is penalised. It also allows a careless use of bonuses in the shape of gems, leading to excessive power ups that often ruin the outcome of a match.
Unfortunately, all of these problems are still present in the PS Vita version of the game. It couldn't be otherwise. This version is cross-compatible with the PS3 version, so they have to be identical. On the one hand, this choice allows us a good number of online opponents, but on the other hand it has forced developers to release a carbon copy of the game released last May.
In truth, there are some new features. First, there's a new mode called Burst Kumite, included in the Arcade section of the game. This mode essentially puts us in an infinite fight with different opponents. Burst Kumite, in practice, is very reminiscent of Dead or Alive's Survival Mode.
The difference is that, during the game, you can also meet teams of real players you've met online, in this case controlled by the AI (there is a certain similarity with Nintendo's StreetPass feature included in games like Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Dead or Alive: Dimensions).
Burst Kumite mode is, in essence, the only substantial addition to this version of the game. The other additions, in fact, are mostly cosmetic, or included to justify the arrival of this game on PS Vita. For example, you can use the camera to take pictures to use as wallpapers in your battles. Or, you can access a gallery of trophies made of figurines of the players you've defeated while playing online.
However, there's one area where PS Vita will always be at a disadvantage when compared to the home consoles - controls. Fighting game enthusiasts typically play these kind of games using an arcade stick. On PS Vita, everyone is forced to deal with tiny analog sticks and buttons. As a measure to overcome this gap, developers have allowed players to map some of the buttons on the touch screen and on the rear touch pad. Although it's not possible to assign special moves, the positioning of the buttons on the touch screen seems to be quite comfortable. The same can't be said of the rear touch pad, which tends to accidentally activate said moves as you simply hold the console in your hands.
Another problem is found in the online cross-play functionalities: for some reason, when you meet a PS3 player, combat is unbalanced. There is a considerable lag, and if the player has a PS3 arcade stick, winning is virtually impossible. PS Vita vs. PS Vita matches appear more balanced, and the matchmaking system behaves quite well in finding the most suitable opponent.
The PS Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken, as mentioned, is in all ways that matter identical to the PS3 version. This is true even from a technical point of view: the graphics are nice and so is the sound and the animations are simply stunning. Add to this all the strengths of the home console version: a rich roster (which, this time, includes also the additional characters available on PS3 through DLC), fast-paced gameplay and a good amount of game modes. At the same time, however, Street Fighter X Tekken for PS Vita inherits all the problems of the game released last May.
Maybe I've been a bit harsh with the opinions expressed in this article, so I feel compelled to justify the score. Street Fighter X Tekken is undoubtedly one of the best fighting games in PS Vita's catalog, and probably the best team-based fighting game. This should be enough to understand that, despite the flaws, we have a great product in our hands. However, don't expect this to be a more polished or balanced experience.