What LittleBigPlanet Vita Got Right
- + More characters
- + Deep controls and great visuals
- + Great competitive experience
- + Online cross-play with PS3 gamers
What LittleBigPlanet Vita Got Wrong
- - Touch-screen controls don't work too well
- - Online lag
Street Fighter X Tekken makes a wonderful transition to Vita, proving once again that the platform is fantastic for classic arcade fighters. This portable version of Capcom’s critically acclaimed early-2012 game successfully makes up for the lack of buttons on the handheld with intuitive back-panel controls, and along with its fantastic visuals, accessible UI and engaging combat system, makes for a great on-the-go fighting experience.
The game’s controls have been translated over to Vita relatively well considering the platform’s obvious limitations. The six-button control scheme works well for the most part, but pushing multiple buttons down along with a direction press on the d-pad or control stick can make for some awkward combo attempts. Thankfully the back touch-pad relinquishes a bit of the complexities of the fighter’s more challenging moves, although its functionality does take a little bit of getting used to. Unfortunately, many of the touch-screen mechanics don’t work well because you need to move your hand towards the screen, leaving either the directional buttons or punch/kick buttons unguarded (and therefore ineffective). It’s possible to do it all at once, but it’s definitely a cumbersome, awkward way to play the game.
The game’s tag-team 2-on-2 matches return, and just like the console versions there is a reliance on strategic health bar management to ensure you can push through a match without losing too many rounds. The ‘Cross Arts’ and ‘Cross Assaults’ mechanics are carried over from the console versions, allowing you to use your two chosen characters for a simultaneous attack, and even control both characters at once. The ‘Gems’ system also enhances the game’s already strong competitive edge, giving characters statistical and skill advantages during fights. Many of the console version’s best gameplay features have been carried over to the Vita version, so you should definitely expect a similar experience in that regard.
The Vita version comes with twelve additional characters that were released as downloadable content shortly after the game’s console release, as well as three characters exclusive to Sony platforms. That promising inclusion is countered by the exclusion of two-player arcade co-op, which is disappointing, but hardly a deal breaker. There is a new arcade mode called Kumite, which pits you against CPU-controlled opponents of characters you meet online, meaning you could potentially have a match-up against a custom-made character, controlled by the game’s AI. It makes for some interesting battles, and thankfully it has a functioning drop in, drop out system that adds a bit more flavour to the game’s online component.
The online component pits PS3 and Vita players together in one community, although the lag at times in quite unbearable. While the functioning game made for some great competitive gameplay with gamers around the world, the lag is definitely something that needs to be addressed if a large Vita community is going to stick by the game indefinitely.
The experience as a whole feels considerably more accessible than Capcom’s other fighting outings like Street Fighter IV, but that’s not to say that more hardcore fans of the genre wouldn’t appreciate the game’s offerings. There’s an insane amount of great characters, intricate skill moves and competitive modes that should please newcomers and fans alike. As someone that is admittedly more of a spontaneous player of fighting games rather than a hardcore competitor, I found Street Fighter X Tekken to have a unique ‘pick-up-and-play’ feel about it, something I think is integral for all fighters: they need that accessible but challenging sense that encourages you to learn all the moves, while still enjoying the more simple mechanics. That’s where I think the game’s satisfaction lies, in offering a broad experience for those wanting a simple fighter as well as something a little more complex in its execution.
The Final Verdict
For the most part, Street Fighter X Tekken is an almost identical experience to the console version. There are a few control limitations, but that is to be expected for a handheld port. Thankfully, the rear touch-pad does an admirable job of making up for a lack of buttons, although the touch-screen controls complicate the experience further. The game is definitely playable without relying on any of the Vita’s more innovative control mechanics, and someone playing on the handheld against a PS3 competitor could most certainly walk away victorious after having mastered the controls.
By Gaetano Prestia