Review: Street Fighter X Tekken Additional Characters Pack (Microsoft Xbox 360)

Street Fighter X Tekken Additional Characters Pack
Genre: Fighting
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: 07/31/12

So, Capcom has finally released the set of characters that were discovered to be hidden on-disc for Street Fighter X Tekken back when the game debuted, some five months ago, for the price of sixteen hundred Microsoft Points, or twenty dollars. Now, obviously, people were bent at the time when they realized that this content was on the disc, and that it’s obviously still there now and being charged for isn’t going to sit especially well with people. While that will be addressed, however, it’s certainly nice to see the characters finally unlocked for the rest of us. In particular, I’ve been itching to see Elena appear in the game, as she’s a character I rather liked in Street Fighter III, and I was interested in seeing how Capcom might handle the Tekken characters, as several of them are characters I like. Also, even with the content being on the disc, twelve characters for twenty dollars is a pretty good deal, so it’s potentially easy to swallow the cost if you’re a big enough fan and the characters are handled well enough. So, with that in mind, let’s get down to business, and see just how the new characters handle and what they bring to the game.

(Note: As I’ve already reviewed Street Fighter X Tekken previously, we will only be addressing the new characters in this review. As such, if you don’t know anything about the game, read the review linked above first to have an idea how the game works, then stop on back.)

The twelve new characters added to Street Fighter X Tekken come to us in an even spread, so we get six from Street Fighter and six from Tekken. Five of the six Street Fighter characters have appeared in Street Fighter IV in some way or another, but the remaining seven characters are all brand new for this game, more or less. From the Capcom side, we get Sakura, Blanka, Guy, Cody, Dudley and Elena, while for Namco we get Lars, Alisa, Lei Wulong, Christie Montiero, Bryan Fury and Jack-X. All twelve characters get their own special storylines to follow through Arcade Mode when playing as their appropriate teams, and they’re all given their own English and Japanese voices to boot, which sound perfectly fine on both sides. The character animations are absolutely top-notch, as they are for the existing characters, and the new cast fits in just fine. There are some mild hiccups with their move names and descriptions at times, but this isn’t anything crippling and it’s honestly infrequent. As such, you’ll find that the characters are a solid addition to your game should you choose to unlock them.

With that said, let’s meet the new characters, starting with the Capcom cast:

SAKURA: Sakura returns, more or less in her Street Fighter IV incarnation, and plays largely the same as one would expect: like a more speed-oriented Ryu/Ken character. She comes equipped with five Special Moves. Her Hadoken, as one expects, can be charged a bit, allowing her to throw a smaller fireball that can cross almost full-screen, or a larger, wider blast that only goes a short distance, and deals slightly more damage. Her Shouoken is a solid anti-air attack that can also get in up to six hits with a Fierce Punch, and moves her forward, allowing for some extra range. Her Shunpukayaku is a rising, up to half-screen Hurricane Kick that does solid damage, knocks down enemies on the final hit, and can be performed in the air. Her Sakura Otoshi propels her forward and upward, allowing possible clearance of projectiles, and acts as a launcher if the downward hit connects, allowing the player to follow up with a combination attack. Her Super, Haru Ranman, charges off of Shunpukayaku, and hits low-low-high to start, giving it some interesting possibilities. Her EX moves are largely similar to the regular moves with some mild improvements, though her Shouoken acts kind of like Yuri’s Double Chou Upper, and her Shunpukayaku launches on its final hit, allowing for some combo options. Sakura’s basically as solid a character as ever, offering solid speed and excellent playability, and while she’s not likely to top the tier lists, with some Gems focusing on upping her damage or increasing her speed further she could easily cause some pain.

BLANKA: As with Sakura, Blanka makes his return, more or less feeling similar to his Street Fighter IV counterpart. It is interesting to note, however, that while Chun-Li’s Hyakuretsukyaku became a directional motion attack that allowed for added hits at the end, Blanka’s Electric Thunder remains a button mashing attack. Blanka comes equipped with four Special Moves. His Electric Thunder is a single-hit attack that causes knockdown, and can be unloaded relatively easily, but offers no EX option. His Backstep Roll is an arced forward roll that can go over projectiles, making it a good mid/long range attack but limits its effectiveness at close range. His Vertical Roll is a solid anti-air with different trajectories based on the button used, making it a variable and useful attack. His Rolling Attack is a standard screen-crossing body launch, though it’s a little on the slow side. His Super, Ground Shave Roll charges off of Rolling Attack, and is a single-hit to start auto combo that fails if the first hit fails, making timing important. His EX attacks are largely identical to their normal versions, though EX Rolling Attack initiates a wall bounce, which can be useful for starting combos when the character comes back. Blanka feels somewhat limited in his use, as his high reliance on charge motions, the lack of variety in his EX options and the vulnerability and range concerns in some of his moves make him problematic. He’s a fun character to play as, but making effective use of him will take time, though some speed-boosting or damage reducing Gems could be helpful for him.

DUDLEY: Dudley returns from Street Fighter IV, feeling much the same as ever, and fits into the roster just fine. Dudley has six Special Moves, with one modifiable move in that mix. His Jet Upper is a solid anti-air move, albeit one with limited forward range. His Machinegun Blow is quick and lands multiple hits in one shot, and the Fierce version can cross almost the full screen and connect. His Cross Counter is a useful counterattack that can counter most standard attacks, but leaves him open if it’s mistimed. Duck is one of Dudley’s better moves, allowing him to close the distance and duck under fireballs, and he can follow it with a straight punch or an uppercut depending on the follow-up button pressed. Thunderbolt allows Dudley to come down on top of an opponent for solid damage, and its Dudley’s only charge move, giving it some mild practical applications. Short Swing Blow can allow Dudley to drop back, then come in for a fast hit, which can fake out opponents if used effectively. His Super, Rolling Thunder, charges off of Short Swing Blow, and features several mid-range strikes to initiate the combo, allowing the combo to finish if any of those connect. His EX attacks are largely identical to his normal attacks, only adding more hits and damage to the mix, though Duck doesn’t seem to have an EX version available. Dudley has some really interesting options available to him and a good speed or attack Gem setup would step up his game well. He fits in well here and is quite useful overall.

ELENA: Our sole Capcom entry who hasn’t appeared in 3D form as of yet, Elena comes to Street Fighter X Tekken feeling largely comparable to her Street Fighter III iteration, which is a good thing. Elena offers up five Special Moves. Mallet Smash is a simple high-hitting downward smash that takes an opponent down. Scratch Wheel is a solid anti-air move, though one with limited forward range. Lynx Tail brings Elena low for a solid multi-hit combo. Spinning Scythe is a forward spinning kick that can be repeated for added damage and knockdown. Rhino Horn is a forward moving kick that can cross the screen and is decently fast in its execution. Her Super, Brave Dance, charges off of Rhino Horn, and works off a single high hit to start the combination. Her EX attacks are largely identical to her normal ones, adding more hits and damage, but they also come out faster in some cases. Elena is a fast, versatile character, as she was in Street Fighter III, and this very much works in her favor here. Add some solid speed Gem support and she could well be a high tier character, and personally, she’s one of my favorite additions to the game.

GUY: Guy returns from Street Fighter IV in more or less identical form, and is essentially the same character he’s been in almost every appearance he’s made. Guy comes with five Special Moves, one of which has three modifiers. Bushin Senpukayaku is an anti-air Hurricane Kick that has mild forward movement but is basically useless to most grounded enemies when Fierce is used. Bushin Izuna Otoshi is a forward flip that goes over most attacks and can finish with a slam or an elbow drop, depending on the timing of the second attack. Run is exactly what it sounds like, but can be finished with a sudden stop, a low striking Shadow Kick or a medium striking Neck Flip depending on what button you press to follow up. Kaiten Izuna Otoshi is an aerial grab that is basically Ryu Hayabuza’s Izuna Drop. Honzanto is a delayed elbow strike that, with proper timing, can go under fireballs. His Super Move, Bushin Goraisenbujin, charges off of Honzanto, and combines four strikes at medium/high level to start off the combination. His EX Moves change up his capabilities a bit, as EX Bushin Senpukayaku goes straight up, EX Honzanto is much faster, EX Bushin Izuna Otoshi basically homes in on the enemy to make the follow-up grab easier to perform, and EX Run absorbs fireballs, allowing Guy to close the gap against projectile throwers with little problem. In other words, Guy is a very versatile, if strange, character, and with some useful speed or attack increasing Gems he could well be a beast in the right hands.

CODY: Cody’s always been kind of a weird character to me, personally, and he returns here as an odd choice, and in mostly similar shape to his prior appearances. Cody has four Special Moves, as well as an odd conditional combat option. When Cody is in play, he can pick up a knife off of the ground to use as a weapon; this doesn’t seem to change his damage or range much, however, so it’s not certain why the player would invest time in doing so. Bad Stone allows Cody to toss rocks as a fireball action, which can be charged by holding the punch button, but the damage increase (if any) is minimal, and the rocks don’t reach fill screen regardless. If holding the knife, Bad Stone makes Cody toss the knife instead, which will cross the screen, so there’s that reason to go for the knife, at least. Criminal Upper acts as a solid anti-air and multi-hit ground attack that doesn’t send Cody flying, leaving him slightly less vulnerable. Zonk Knuckle can come out fast, and can be charged while otherwise attacking. Ruffian Kick changes contact point based on the kick button used, making it a fairly versatile attack for confusing opponents. His Super, Final Destruction, charges off of Ruffian Kick, and starts the combo with three variable height kicks, though they all hit mid/high range. Cody’s EX attacks don’t do much more than add damage and, occasionally, speed to his existing attacks. Cody’s an adequate character and he has some interesting special moves and options available to him, but he’s not an exciting character by any means, unfortunately, and aside from giving Guy an easy partner, his inclusion is kind of just… there.

Now let’s take a look at the Namco cast:

LARS: Lars is a surprisingly well-adjusted character and has converted over from Tekken well, though he’ll take some getting used to. Lars has four Special Moves, but three of those moves have conditional modifiers applied. Silent Entry allows Lars to close the gap and duck fireballs, and can be modified with a punch or kick at the end for damage. Avalanche Stomp, on its own, is an overhead flip into a downward swinging kick, but can be modified with the punches to either drop out of the move or drop out and end with a straight punch. Lightning Screw is a solid anti-air move with minor forward movement. Dynamic Entry is a charge-in strike that can chain off of the initial strike into a multi-hit combo or a simple follow-up energy strike. His Super, Zeus, charges off of Dynamic Entry, and works off of one middle strike to start the combo. His EX Attacks largely just improve his speed and damage, though a full Dynamic Entry combo will cause an opponent to wall-bounce for a follow-up attack. Lars is a solidly versatile character with good anti-air and anti-fireball options, and he’s honestly one of the best characters the Tekken crew has fielded yet. A solid speed or attack Gem layout would help him immensely.

ALISA: Alisa is an interesting addition from the Tekken roster, though she’ll be confusing to pick up… and probably moreso to fight against. The thing to know about Alisa up-front is that she has two “forms”, Normal and Destruction (where chainsaws come out of her arms… yes), and they play quite a bit differently; Normal form plays, well, normally, while Destruction form removes kicks almost entirely and works off of multi-hit attacks from the chainsaws. Alisa can also switch between forms in a lot of different ways, to really keep opponents guessing. Alisa has seven Special Moves; of those, four can only be done in Normal Mode, one can only be done in Destruction Mode, and two can be used in both and act as a swap between modes. Double Rocket Punch is a standard fireball move that can change in arc with the button used. Cradle Star is a forward kick that can be followed up with a downward dive, and while said dive isn’t useful as a follow-up hit, it can be useful as a change-up to punish overeager opponents if the kick fails. Happy Propeller is a simple anti-air move with minimal forward movement. Boot kicks Alisa into Normal Mode no matter what, and acts as a forward dash that allows for a low kick or a multi-hit punch combo. Dual Boot is Boot, but it kicks Alisa instantly into Destruction Form, and can be followed with a simple strike or an upward swipe. Clock Setting can only be used in Destruction Form, and is a multi-hit mid/high strike with Alisa’s chainsaws. Double Cut is a forward two hit spin kick with minor start-up. Her Super, Trigger Shuffle, charges off of Double Cut and hits at the same level (mid) and amount (three times) as the EX version of Double Cut to start the combo. Alisa’s EX moves mostly add hits and damage, though EX Double Rocket Punch goes at a slight arc at all times, EX Cradle Star initiates a wall bounce that allows the follow-up attack to hit, and EX Boot and Dual Boot move much faster. Alisa’s very much about keeping the opponent on their toes with her multiple forms and interesting attack options, and you could probably go well with any Gem layout for her and find her a useful, versatile character.

LEI: Lei Wulong makes his introduction from the Tekken side, and for anyone who was a fan of his from that series, yes, he’s extremely complex here, too. Lei has a whopping eight forms to work with, between his Normal state, Drunken Master, Back Turn, Snake, Dragon, Tiger, Panther and Crane, and they’re all somewhat different from each other, though not quite to the standards of Tekken. Lei has a whopping TEN special moves he can work with, of which four are stand-alone moves and six are based on movesets, and of those ten, four of them branch into other moves, so settle in for a bit. Reverse Lotus is a standard anti-air attack with minimal forward movement that can follow up with a kick for added damage. Comet Kick is a simple overhead kick that can either transition into Back Turn or end with an additional kick to return to normal. Tornado Kick is another overhead kick which can be performed up to three times in a row. Spinning Headbutt and Drunken Fall both only work in Drunken Master stance, both involve Lei flinging himself at the opponent, both cause knockdown if they connect, and both end with Lei in Play Dead position, so there you go. Tiger Sip (which the game erroneously says you can do from “Play Dead”; you can do it from Drunken Master) allows Lei to perform a “sip” from his (nonexistent) bottle, which allows you to go into Tiger Sip Blow, which is a knockdown punch. Double Tiger Palm is done from Tiger stance, and is what it sounds like: a double palm thrust that causes knockdown. Dragon’s Spite is done from Dragon stance, and is another double-hand knockdown blow. Finally, Orchid Palm is a Normal Stance… double handed knockdown blow. Sigh. His Super, Orchid Dance, charges off of Orchid Dance, and uses a single middle hit to start the combo. His EX moves are basically just higher damage versions of the normal moves, and the stance specific moves generally don’t get EX moves. So… well, the IDEA with Lei seems to have been to bring his movesets into existence in the same fashion as a Gen sort of character, but honestly? The character is so obscenely complicated, with the numerous branching combinations and movesets, and the moves provided so repetitive, that it’s just hard to say “this is a good character” and move on. Assuming you have the obscene amount of patience and time it would take to master Lei, he’s presumably a character who could be incredibly confusing to fight against, and some solid speed Gems built in might make him even moreso, but he’s likely going to be a character most people pass by.

CHRISTIE: Speaking of overly complex characters, here’s Christie. You would think that Christie would probably transition in a way that would make her similar to Elena, and you would be astonishingly wrong about that. Christie has four special attacks, two of which allow conditional changes, but most of her complexity comes from one special move and a whole mess of normal combinations. Double Arm Stinger is an overhead double-hand chop that causes knockdown, but seems a little too telegraphed. Twister Sweep is a series of repeated sweeps (which can increase by pressing kick) that target low, but you can also end with a higher target kick for low blocking enemies. Handstand is a stance that, on its own, does nothing, but allows you to perform Helicopter (forward moving leg spin attack), Batacuda (series of stationary kicks that causes knockdown), Perch Flop Kick (upward kick that launches opponent and allows for follow-up attacks) and Front Stinger (overhead kick that brings Christie out of Handstand and causes knockdown). Wheel Kicks is a double-hit forward kick, nothing fancy. Her Super Art, Wheel Kicks Sao Paulo Special, charges off of Wheel Kicks, and in theory offers a four-hit initiation period, but in practice, the first hit has to connect for the Super to take effect. Christie’s EX moves are largely just higher damage versions of her normal moves, with one exception: Handstand becomes an EX STANCE, and ALL of the moves done from it deal added damage. Further, Batacuda (I bet you thought I misspelled that by accident the first time but no, that’s how it’s spelled) causes enough bounce that one can go Batacuda>Perch Flop Kick>Helicopter and rack up some decent hits with some practice. This combined with her combinations that are actually somewhat useful makes her a surprisingly threatening character with a good amount of practice. Christie probably won’t be high tier just because of the complexity behind the character, but it’s easy to see that’s she’s quite versatile, and some speed Gems would make her rather nasty.

BRYAN: Bryan comes into the game as a somewhat middle level character, complexity-wise, as he doesn’t have anything too fancy or absurd to work with, but has some interesting combos to build. Snake Pit is a simple forward moving two hit combo that can duck under fireballs and causes knockdown. Mach Breaker is a dashing punch that causes knockdown. Fisherman’s Slam could theoretically be used for anti-air, but is more about its follow-up, a hard slam to the ground. Right Left to Spin Kick is… well, exactly what it sounds like: with three separate motions, you perform a right punch, a left punch, and a spin kick at middle level. Flying Knee is, again, what it sounds like: a flying knee strike that can jump over fireballs. His Super, Face Crusher, charges off of Flying Knee, and is initiated with a single knee strike, but this ALSO goes over fireballs AND can cover full screen distance, something Flying Knee can’t do on its own, making it awesome for punishing fireball lovers. Bryan’s EX Moves are actually somewhat useful for more than damage, as EX Snake Pit, EX Mach Breaker AND EX Right Left to Spin Kick cause wall bounce, allowing added combo opportunities. Bryan is a really interesting and punishing character, and with so many moves that dodge fireballs and cause wall bounce, some speed Gems to improve his movement or attack Gems to really pound in the damage will really make him a major force to be reckoned with.

JACK-X: Jack-X (called “Jack-Cross” here because SYNCHRONICITY I guess) basically feels like a weird cross between Zangief and Sentinel from the Marvel fighting games, and this, interestingly, works out okay. Oh, and before anyone asks, yes, he has the Cossack Kicks, and no, they’re not a Special Move. Jack-X has five Special Moves at his disposal. Piston Gun is another button mash attack, and has no EX version, but does hit multiple times and end with a finishing punch. Megaton Earthquake is basically an instant ranged attack against grounded enemies (it comes up from the ground) that varies its attack distance based on the button used and doesn’t go full screen. Rocket Uppercut is an anti-air attack, and is even called as such by Jack-X. Atomic Shoulder Tackle is a surprisingly fast shoulder charge that plows through fireballs normally. Gigaton Punch is a hard punch that causes knockdown but is notably telegraphed. His Super, Giant Rush, charges off of Gigaton Punch, but lacks the noticeable telegraphing… though it starts from one mid-range punch only. Jack-X’s EW moves are mostly more powerful versions of his regular moves, though EX Atomic Shoulder Tackle causes wall bounce. Jack-X is a slow, powerful character with some major damage output, and having a move that goes through fireballs makes him a force to reckon with. Some speed Gems to counter his crippling lack of it or attack Gems to make him a serious pain machine will make him a destruction machine.

As such, the new cast is actually very solid, all in all, and for the simple variety they offer, could be worth forking over the twenty bucks they cost.

And yet…

I understand, on a base level, that it’s simpler to add content to the disc and then unlock it at a later time, and Capcom’s rationale, that they wanted the characters to be exclusive to the Vita version of the game, was vaguely understandable… to a point. But with the Vita game now not coming out to the end of the year, I can also understand the company saying “heck with it” and tossing the characters out into the world so as to at least draw some interest, given that the game is five months old now. But twenty dollars is excessive to charge for content EVERYONE knows is on the disc. You don’t even get the swap costumes with these characters, those cost another six dollars on top of the twenty for the characters. Twenty six dollars for on-disc content is insane, end sentence period, and that’s going to cause a massive amount of complaining from anyone who’s still playing the game at this point. Again, if there had been some kind of limited edition perk that gave you these characters, a pre-order bonus, something, the argument would then be there that the option was offered as part of some sort of package, but such is not even the case. Content that was included on the disc was locked up for an arbitrary reason, and is now being offered to you for one third of the cost of the original game. No extra work was put into making this content; the download key is the standard “unlock” size, IE about one hundred KB, and nothing has been added to the game that didn’t already exist there. You can unlock the content in no way other than paying money for content you already paid for, and that’s terrible.

So… are the new characters in the Additional Characters Pack good? Absolutely they are. Do they fit into the roster well? They most certainly do. Are they worth twenty dollars? Not unless you’re desperate for new characters. The characters are all exceptionally well animated and voiced, they’re (for the most part) fun to play with, and they fit into the roster fine, but they’re on-disc content that already existed when the game was shipped. There is no reason short of desiring additional characters on the roster so much that twenty bucks is worth it to you to unlock content the developer already gave you when you bought the game. So, the content is absolutely perfectly fine within the confines of the game, the characters are generally solid, and they add to the experience nicely… but it’s still an extremely hard sell for the player.

The Scores:
Story: GOOD
Control/Gameplay: GREAT
Replayability: ABOVE AVERAGE
Balance: GOOD
Originality: GOOD
Addictiveness: GOOD
Miscellaneous: WORTHLESS


Short Attention Span Summary:
So, let me level with you here: if Capcom hadn’t provided us with a code to download these characters? I wouldn’t have them. It’s as simple as that. Yes, the Additional Character Pack offers up twelve new characters, and yes, these characters play perfectly fine. Some of the characters, like Elena and Christie, are personal favorites, and others, like Bryan and Dudley, are surprisingly useful overall. They all have their own unique voice work and group storylines, they’re integrated into the game well, and hell, the Tekken characters here fit into the game better than many that were available at launch. At the end of the day, though, you’re paying twenty dollars for characters that were included on the disc the moment it landed in your Xbox 360, and you have no other options to unlock them but to pay for them. If you’re desperate for new characters and don’t mind spending the money, these are perfectly fine characters and they’re basically worth it, one supposes. For everyone else, there’s no reason to pay money for something the company already gave you, so honestly? Don’t bother.



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One response to “Review: Street Fighter X Tekken Additional Characters Pack (Microsoft Xbox 360)”

  1. […] Review: Street Fighter X Tekken Additional Characters Pack (Microsoft Xbox 360) The twelve new characters added to Street Fighter X Tekken come to us in an even spread, so we get six from Street Fighter and six from Tekken. Five of the six Street Fighter characters have appeared in Street Fighter IV in some way or another, but the … Read more on diehard gamefan […]

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