The pair of new(ish) handhelds on the market have seen an odd splurge of fighting games since they’ve both been respectively released. But while the 3DS fighters have been focusing around upping features in order to make up for the slight lack in power over the competition in the Vita, the Vita has been the focus of providing a true console experience for fighting games. Capcom already supported the idea with the release of the excellent port of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 as a launch title for the Vita, and now Capcom’s flagship fighting franchise has made its own way to the handheld.
And while it’s a good idea in theory to put Street Fighter X Tekken on the Vita, there seems to be very little reason to get excited.
Before I get started, I want to mention that the Vita version of the game is, content-wise, the exact same game as its console brethren. So for the details on the game itself, I invite you to read my initial review of the console versions of the game. This review will only focus on the differences between the console versions and the handheld version, since I think its fair that most of you would know what the game is about given that it released last March.
I’m personally struggling with finding the audience in where the Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken lies. In my initial review, I complained that the game doesn’t give enough options for newcomers to the franchise, despite the fact that a crossover is just the kind of thing to attract new people to the franchise. However, in the months following, even the fighting game community have shunned the game, meaning the original folks I said would be the only people who would find interest in the game have already proven that they have no interest in the game alone, especially not a port to a handheld system.
While the Vita port of SFXTK has all the features of the console versions, there’s not a whole lot here that does more. Sure there are a few touch controls, but the touch controls in the actual combat are meant as a means to make up for the lack of a second set of shoulder buttons, and they feel awkward to use.
The graphics had to take a hit as well in order for the game to run as smoothly on handhelds as it does on consoles. It’s not a huge drop, but it’s just noticeable enough to be a little uncomfortable. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the game somehow looks…bland. Don’t get me wrong, the game is just as bright and eye-popping as Street Fighter has always been, but it seems many of the details that made the game come alive on consoles had to be cut in order to make the game actually work.
Other than that, the game works as a game, and if you’re simply looking for a portable Street Fighter experience, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. However, look a bit deeper and you might begin to have trouble.
I mentioned earlier that the layout of the Vita’s controls really aren’t suited for the Street Fighter control style. If you can manage to master this, great, but you’ll get infinitely frustrated at the already difficult game if you can’t. Not to mention if you’re playing Cross Play with PS3 owners you’re at a major disadvantage.
I suppose one way you could justify the game is that you’re getting essentially $30 worth of DLC content between new costumes and characters, and these activate with the PS3 version if you own that. But if you already own the superior version of the game on consoles, why would you bother with this? At best you’re paying an additional $10 for a DLC pack and getting a somewhat functional game in the process. You’d have to be an awfully optimistic fighting fanatic to get both versions.
The Vita has been praised for bringing console quality games to a handheld and making it feel like the full console experience. Street Fighter X Tekken feels like a handheld game, which is a shame given that so many other games have the ambitions of bringing the console to a portable aspect. I can’t even fathom this given that Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, also from Capcom, also a fighting game, and also ported to Vita, was a fantastic experience that feels like I’m playing the console game on the go. Something must have happened along the way.
I’m having a hard time finding any audience to recommend the game to. Professional fighting game enthusiasts have already shunned the game, and the portable status of this game will deter that even further. The game still isn’t very forgiving to new players. There’s no real reason to look into this port if you have either of the superior console versions. The game is pretty cheap on other platforms nowadays (MSRP is $19.99 now,) so the only plausible scenario I can think of is if you only have a Vita as a game device. This might be worth looking into when the price drops as an easy way to get DLC for your PS3 version, but until then, there are other fighting games on the Vita that will provide you a much more enjoyable experience.
This review is based on a PS Vita copy of the game provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.