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Street Fighter X Tekken
 

 
STORY:   The story of Street Fighter X Tekken begins with a mysterious meteor that crash lands in the Antarctic. Within the meteor is a strange box-shaped object that researchers have nicknamed "Pandora", which is beyond human comprehension. It cannot be opened by conventional means, but gives off a strong response when it detects violent confrontations. Characters from the Tekken and Street Fighter universes form teams of two and search for Pandora, each with their own motivations.
 
REVIEW
:   I grew up playing both Street Fighter and Tekken at arcades in the early 90's, and needless to say, I have a special place in my heart for both franchises. For over 15 years, Street Fighter "VS" Tekken has been the #1 crossover title that I've wanted to see. It's a dream match of sorts, especially since the two universes seem like they could easily intertwine under the creative direction of either of the 2 most successful fighting game companies. Thanks to a twist of fate (and after a few alcoholic beverages between SF producer Ono & Tekken producer Harada), us old school fighting game fans are finally living the dream!

SF X Tekken
(properly pronounced "Street Fighter Cross Tekken") is developed solely by Capcom. Namco gave Capcom the rights to use their characters, but wasn't at all involved with the game's development. Because of this, Capcom was given total creative freedom over the Tekken characters that they decided to include in the game. Namco will have their turn next with Tekken X Street Fighter, but right now... let's see how Capcom's version of this epic crossover stacks up. 
 

A shot of the PS3 selection screen (before the 12 additional characters).

 
As far as crossovers go, SFXT can most closely be compared to the Capcom VS SNK series. Like SNK characters, the cast of Tekken already have defined fighting styles and iconic mannerisms. In CVS, Capcom's 2D artists kept the SNK characters' traits closely intact, and also used their talents to flesh out the characters even further in some instances. In SFXT, the creative direction seems very different, and understandably so, since Tekken characters are 3D fighting game characters (with movesets ranging anywhere from 80 to 200 moves). Since SF characters have more modest movesets, Capcom obviously had to streamline the Tekken side to balance the game. They did, however, give most Tekken characters significantly more moves than their SF counterparts, including some in-your-face chain combos that come in handy after dodging those pesky fireballs.

While I have to praise the dev-team for creating innovative & balanced 2D movesets for the Tekken cast, I think they went a bit "wild" on several of them. On top of a decent selection of recognizable special moves & chains... Capcom also gave Tekken fighters a hearty dose of unfamiliar moves & animations. For starters, a few signature moves & stances definitely look different. Capcom even gave some of them "new moves" entirely, all while leaving out staple techniques that you might expect them to have (Heihachi with no Hell Sweeps? Steve with no Snake Charmer?). This is a very controversial move from Capcom, since Tekken characters already have tons of moves Capcom could've integrated into their play styles. Seeing just how Tekken's finest translated into the SF4 engine is nonetheless very interesting, but I think Yoshinori Ono and the dev-team took a few missteps along the way.

Take Steve Fox for example.... In my opinion, the strength of Steve's design is all about his articulate and dynamic boxing style. In Tekken games, Steve really doesn't throw any "sloppy" punches, and he hits his targets with a certain finesse that really makes you believe he's a professional boxer. Steve's SFXT incarnation impressively keeps all his signature dodges & stances (and adds some interesting projectile & zoning moves to his arsenal), but Capcom's execution on some of Steve's animations just doesn't cut it. I'm open-minded to Capcom's creative input on the character, but many of Steve's "sloppy" punches in SFXT (especially his Super Art) mirrors that of some generic boxer from Super Punch Out... and that's not what Steve Fox is about. In a lot of cases, Capcom missed the mark with those "key" animations... that extra finesse or "oomph" Tekken characters put behind their moves.

Taking the incredibly fluid Tekken characters out of their element and into SF4's "choppier" animation style is coarse at times. I wish the current Capcom motion capture team would've taken a closer look at some of Tekken 6's animation, because a perceptive Tekken fan can easily claim: "He doesn't punch like that..." or "She doesn't kick like that..." While they got a few right, others look spastic, and strike me as rough drafts that made it to the final cut due to time constraints. This "rushed-looking" and quirky animation style quality really puts me off at times. I previously brought up this subject in my original SF4 review, as many SF characters presented far more fluidity with their moves in their earlier 2D incarnations. And to be honest, some of SFXT's animation even makes SF4's animation look a lot better. SFXT's Super Arts fare better for the most part, but even then, some supers just seem half-hearted. 
 

Badass dream match-ups... decades in the making.

 
So I'm sure some of you might ask.... "Is animation really that important?" Yes, I definitely think so. You might think I'm being "too critical" on Capcom's creative input on the Tekken characters, but I've been playing fighting games for 25 years... which possibly makes me one of the most critical fans you'll ever meet. You won't see these kinds of details mentioned in some generic mainstream review, and I suppose that's why you're on TFG, reading this review. In continuation, character models have their moments of looking cool, and Capcom did a solid job translating the Tekken fighters visually, but a few of them (particularly their faces) look kinda ugly and/or funny.... I guess the "cartoony" SF4 graphics style just cant help but look gawky at times. 

Due to SFXT's solid gameplay and awesome character roster, imperfect animation & graphics can be put aside. One of the reasons that the idea of SFXT works in "gameplay terms" is that many Tekken move commands are very similar to (and some were inspired by) those from Street Fighter. For instance, Kazuya & Heihachi can still wave dash into their trademark Electric Wind God Fist (and even cleverly dodge fireballs as they do so). The very basic play styles of most Tekken characters translated fairly well, even though they're used very differently now. Personally, after configuring my buttons the way I use them for Street Fighter, it actually becomes a bit disorienting when using characters that I'm familiar with in Tekken... but expecting to use Tekken characters the way they're used in Tekken is just unrealistic. At the end of the day, it's much more like learning "new" Street Fighter characters. Returning SF characters have also received a new technique or two, and have quite a few new combo possibilities as well!

Contrary to what some may think, SFXT's gameplay engine is actually very different from SF4's, with a slew of new mechanics headlining the action. Actually, SFXT has the most gameplay systems out of any SF game to date. Just to name a few: Cross Rush (a chain combo system enabling Light-Medium-Fierce style combos), Super Charge (each character can charge up a special move for a more powerful version, or unleash a Super Art if charged up long enough), Tag Cancels (for awesome "on the fly" combos), Launchers (after a character knocks their opponent up into the air, their partner can tag in and continue the combo), Cross Arts (allows both characters' Super Arts to connect in one flashy combo), Pandora (a last resort and risky "comeback" system that can be activated when you have 25% health or less), and finally, Cross Assault (both of your team members can fight on screen at once, similar to the original MVC!).

On top of all of that, SFXT's ultra controversial Gem System allows fighters to activate various power-ups during battle, including: Added damage output, increased movement speed, and vitality restoration. Beginners can even use gems that allow easy inputs, auto-blocking, and auto throw escapes (but those abilities aren't overpowered, in case you're wondering). There are over 300 gems in the game, all activated in different ways, such as: Attacking, blocking, or getting hit by special moves a specific number of times. The Gem System definitely introduces some interesting strategy to the gameplay. I personally think SFXT would've been just fine without the Gem System, but the added complexity to SF's classic formula is a nice touch, and can even be fun *gasp*. However, from an "overall design standpoint," I think the Gem System seems "tacked on". It doesn't have any sensible relation to either SF or Tekken, but may bring back some fond memories of Super Gem Fighter... lol.
 

SF X Tekken isn't short on grapplers... even Mech Gief wants in on the action.

 
Visually, when gems activate, they cause a weird "glowing" effect around the characters, and it usually looks tacky. Somehow you get used to it though. I wonder why Capcom didn't take a page out of Namco's book and go with something more like the "aura" effects from Tekken 5/6 instead (which would've looked a hell of a lot better). Or... they could've just made a part of the character glow (like their gloves), instead of the whole freaking character model. It doesn't look terrible always (actually with some color combinations it can look cool)... it just looks gimmicky (always). The good news is... you can fight without gems if you truly despise them.

The combo system isn't quite as strict as SF4's, which is something I actually like. The new Tekken-esk juggle system integrates exceptionally well into the SF4 engine, and I must say there are some incredibly fun combos in this game. Thanks to the "if you hit them while they're in the air, it connects" combo framework, there seem to be more combo possibilities & mix-ups than in SF4... and I do love my creative combo mix-ups (one of my favorite things about Tekken's juggle system). With so many team combinations, it would seem that the potential for new combo possibilities is nearly infinite. And speaking of infinite, there were quite a few infinite combos found by players... which actually isn't surprising for a game with such an open-ended and "new style" of combo system. Thankfully, Capcom has patched them up.


I was actually hoping Capcom would include a Tag mechanic in a pure Street Fighter game of this era, because it hasn't been done in such a long time (since EX3?). With the same basic system from Tekken Tag Tournament, players can tag between characters at any time, but if one of them is KO'd, the match ends. SF X Tekken offers a few different ways to play the game with a human partner, and it's actually a lot of fun (even fun with girlfriends). Taking on the computer AI with a friend in Tag Mode or Scramble Mode (4 players on screen at once until K.O.), is automatic good times, even if your friends aren't as skilled as you are. In the PS3 version, you can even fight against online opponents with a friend in Tag or Scramble (sorry Xboxers). Overall, SFXT's online mode is fairly solid, minus an annoying sound bug. Online features include the staple matchmaking options, as well as replay sharing. New to the online setup is the briefing room, an online training mode where you can practice with friends or train while using Fight Request.

SF X Tekken's presentation is one of the game's stronger points. When you start up the game for the first time, you're treated to an intense opening movie, and then tossed right into a Tutorial Mode featuring none other than Dan Hibiki. Dan runs through the game's laughable abundance of gameplay systems, all while shamelessly attempting to humor you along the way. The Arcade Mode presents cool team prologues featuring unique artwork, music & special dialogue between team members following each victory. Also worth mentioning, every character has a specific win quote after defeating each individual character in the game (some of which are hilarious)! The "rival fight" interactions in Arcade Mode are also very entertaining... I only wish there were more. Unfortunately, the story itself is far too ambiguous for its own good, and isn't nearly an attempt at anything "great". I'm glad they incorporated the Mishima Zaibatsu & Shadaloo into the storyline, but they could've done soooo much more with it. I personally would've liked to see the Devil Gene and the Dark Hadou cross paths, but again... nothing. The character-specific CG endings are cool-looking, but all take place in the Antarctic near Pandora's box (which definitely gets old), and many of which are pretty stupid in terms of story.
 

Scramble Mode: 4-player real time VS mode... MUGEN style! :)

 
SF X Tekken's
music selection is a mixed bag. As soon as I knew Final Fight characters were going to appear in the game, I had my fingers crossed for some badass Final Fight soundtrack remixes. Capcom granted my wishes to a tee, and actually dished out several remixes on the Final Fight themed stage (complete with cameos by old school Final Fight bad guys)! Aside from that, most of the other new BGMS are a bit too "upbeat techno-ey" and "clangy" for my tastes, but the modest selection of SF & Tekken remixes are pretty good... I just wish there were more. Thankfully, SFXT does support the basic feature of adding your own soundtrack from your system's library (so if you want old school music in the game, you can add it yourself).

As far as stage designs go, most manage to be exciting at least, but also a bit goofy and loud. I really wish Capcom put more emphasis on reintroducing "classic" environments, instead of completely new ones that hardly suit the game. Additionally, SFXT's background characters are officially the most annoying background characters of all time. Seriously, 90% of all background characters seem to be "spazzing" or jumping around like fools, annoyingly trying to take your attention away from the fight. However, there are a few cool cameos like Alex (Tekken), Kunimitsu, Ganryu & Mech Zangief, but can we get at least one background without a ton of random shit going on (besides the training stage)? How about a nice beach stage, overlooking the ocean and a calming sunset... yeah, that'd be really refreshing. Lastly, there aren't nearly enough stages in the game, which really shows a lack of heart from Capcom if you ask me.

Other details I like about SF X Tekken? Like in UMVC3, I love how partners shout out each other's names as they tag in... it's a subtle detail, but it goes a long way. The overall voice acting is pretty solid for the most part, and thankfully the English/Japanese voiceover options from the SF4 series have returned! The default setting is even halfway decent for the most part... as characters like Kazuya & Heihachi speak Japanese right off the bat (as they should). Some of the English voices are actually done fairly well, but others are just horrible (as expected). The Tekken-inspired camera angles during throws are pretty cool, and many of them add some solid "ouch factor". However, quite a few of them end up "jolting" the camera a bit too harshly (Rolento's for example), making it not very pleasing to the eyes at all. In fact... a few of them mange to hurt my eyes a little.

A fully functional Customize Mode finally made its way to a Street Fighter game, and is one of SFXT's best extras. Customizing characters is fun & all, but I think Capcom actually gave players too much "creative freedom" in this mode. For one, being able to make a character's skin color "any color of the rainbow" is just ridiculous... and takes away from the integrity of the character. The "neon glow" colors they added as DLC are particularly obnoxious. I'm tired of running into people online who decided to make their character look like a "walking glow stick".... Gross. On the bright side, for people who aren't trying to "troll," some pretty unique & badass color schemes are waiting to be created.

Additionally, most of the DLC alternate costumes featuring Tekken & SF characters dressed similar to characters from the opposite franchise are simply tacky. I can't imagine any true SF or Tekken fans actually wanting anything like this in the game. In fairness, a few of the "cross" costumes are actually clever and look alright, but many are beyond hideous. Some of them aren't worth much more than a cheap laugh... and awkwardly seem to be a parody of the game itself. I wonder why Capcom didn't use that time and space to reate some actual decent alternate costumes; like 2P outfits for Tekken characters or old school costumes?!? I think Yoshinori Ono needs to take it easy with the happy pills.

With a nice selection of modes, SFXT feels like a pretty solid package from the start. Whether you're making a cool color scheme in Customize, learning staple combos for characters in Trial, knocking out tough challenges in Mission, or having crazy battles with 4 friends in Scramble Mode, there's plenty of ways to enjoy the game. Although, I was hoping to see some mini games or bonus stages also make an appearance... for one, an updated Tekken Ball Mode would've been stellar (since it's played on a 2D plane anyway). Sadly, my hopes didn't come true.
 

Page Updated: August 28th, 2014
Developer(s): Dimps, Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Taisaku Okada             (director)
Taketoshi Sano
            (designer)
Yukiko Hokao
              (designer)
Tetsunosuke Seki
        (designer)
Artwork By: Kazuma Teshigawara, Akira Toba
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360, PC, iOS
Release Date(s): Mar. 6th, 2012            ( PS3/360)
Mar. 8th, 2012 
           ( PS3/360)
Mar. 9th, 2012           
( PS3/360)
May 11th, 2012          
(Steam)
Oct. 23rd, 2012          
(PS Vita)
Jan. 29th, 2013           
(ver. 2013 patch)
Characters Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Cammy, Guile, Dhalsim, Poison, Hugo, Rolento, Ibuki, Abel, Sagat, Zangief, Rufus, Balrog, Vega, Juri, Elena, Guy, Cody, Sakura, Blanka, Dudley, Akuma, M. Bison, Jin Kazama, Kazuya, Heihachi, Nina, Yoshimitsu, Paul Phoenix, Marshall Law, Ling Xiaoyu, Raven, Hwoarang, Steve Fox, Lili, Asuka, Marduk, King, Bob, Julia Chang, Kuma, Lars, Alisa, Christie, Jack-6, Bryan Fury, Lei Wulong, Ogre, Cole MacGrath (PS3/Vita), Toro the Cat (PS3/Vita), Kuro (PS3/Vita), Pac-Man (PS3/Vita), Mega Man (PS3/Vita)

Featured Video:

Related Games: Namco X Capcom, Street Fighter 4, Super Street Fighter 4, Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Ultra Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, Tekken 6, Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Marvel VS Capcom, King of Fighters 13, Capcom VS SNK 2, Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix
  

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.0 / 10
Animation  7.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.5 / 10
Innovation  8.0 / 10
Art Direction  7.5 / 10
Customization  8.5 / 10
Options / Extras  8.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.0 / 10
Characters  9.0 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

7.6 / 10

 Review based on PS3 / PS Vita version

 

Final Words:

Out of any "new" 2D fighting game I could play, there's something about throwing Hadokens & Shoryukens that never gets old, and never fails to be the most fun. I still enjoy Street Fighter's classic gameplay after all these years, and Capcom's innovations never cease to make things interesting at the least. While SFXT has its fair share of flaws, one thing Capcom definitely nailed is the roster. In case you haven't noticed, SF X Tekken is packed with characters that TFG highly approves of. Regardless of what you think of the game as a whole, there should be a handful of characters you'll enjoy using in SFXT.

In my opinion, such an epic crossover deserves 3rd Strike quality animation and brilliance, but I suppose that's being a bit unrealistic. If Capcom actually set out to create SF X Tekken with hand drawn 3rd Strike quality 2D sprites, we'd be lucky to have 12 characters in the game. Considering the vastness of the SF and Tekken rosters, that's why this "3D thing" isn't so terrible at the end of the day... but in the case of SFXT, the 3D visuals don't come without flaws. Capcom got a bit sloppy in some areas...

As a hardcore Tekken player, it's all too easy to be reminded that Tekken characters are missing 80% of their movelists. It's cool that they retain some of their alternate stances & movement abilities, but the amount of attacks they can perform from those stances is painfully limited in comparison. Furthermore, some Tekken characters seem like they were given a more "thorough" translation to the 2D engine (Kazuya, for example). I really wish Capcom would've respected the integrity of some of the other Tekken characters' a bit more, and not rushed them. Some character movesets also received a bit too much "creative input" by the SFXT dev-team if you ask me, but due to the respectable character roster, it's all somewhat forgivable (kind of).

When it comes to gameplay, SFXT is a simple and "old school style" 2D fighter at heart, even though the engine has tons of bells & whistles. While it can be fun, I have some issues with some of the basic gameplay mechanics. Firstly, the blockstun that simple jabs create can be irritating, especially when fighting against characters with strong poking abilities. In some cases, I also don't like how "foolproof" it is to connect ultra-powerful Super Arts or Cross Arts, and it seems like "easy-to-do" moves & strategies are usually more effective than more complicated ones. Time Outs also occur way too often. Overlooking the flaws, there are some cool strategies, mix-ups, and combos that highlight and define SFXT's unique gameplay experience. 

Despite its quirks, SFXT is a fairly decent, exciting, and fun 2D fighter... with "fun" clearly at the forefront of the game design. Like SF4, SFXT isn't short on comedic value. However, I'm starting to miss the days when SF games weren't so facetious. In the early development stages, producer Ono stated that the theme for this crossover series was meant to be "festive"... but making a Street Fighter game "festive" is like making a perfectly tasty cake extra sweet, and "too sweet" can indeed be a bad thing.

Since the release, I really tried to like SF X Tekken. (That begs the question - should one really have to try to like a fighting game?) Any old school 2D fighting game fan like myself had HUGE expectations from Capcom with this project (especially after all those epic trailers they released). While some core aspects are enjoyable, unfortunately, Yoshinori Ono and the team took quite a few missteps this time. Overall, SFXT doesn't feel like "Street Fighter integrated with Tekken"... but more so, a "super-happy version of Street Fighter integrated with someone's imprecise and lackadaisical interpretation of Tekken". 

Still, SFXT isn't nearly the worst fighting game I've ever played (although some drama queens out there make it out to be). Thankfully, I can enjoy SFXT casually with friends, but I can't seem to forget all the missed opportunities. Perhaps that's where Namco will come in when they step up to the plate with their iteration of the crossover (Tekken X SF). I'd bet my last dollar that Namco will drop a good chunk of the "silliness factor" and deliver a more straight forward, serious fighting gam
e.  ~TFG Webmaster
 

 
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Click Here for all character art!

 

 
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Click Here for all Extra Artwork!

On Disc DLC & 12 New Characters
 
As you probably know, there are 12 additional characters that appear in the portable, Playstation Vita version of the game. These characters were later released as purchasable DLC for the console versions on July 31st, 2012. The fact that the data for the characters, alternate costumes and colors was previously discovered on the disc (by hackers) stirred up quite the conspiracy, and the "Capcom hate machine" bandwagon of 2012 was born. I didn't join the hate bandwagon in the mid 90's and, once again, I'm not joining it. On that note, I'd like to give my two cents on the matter. . . 

Some gamers felt "cheated" that this content is already on the disc, because to access it, they have to purchase a small file that simply "unlocks" it when it becomes available. They feel entitled to the content from the start, since they bought and "own" the physical disc. Capcom explained that the information is on the disc in order to "save hard drive space and to ensure for a smooth transition when the DLC is available". The data also allows people to play against the 12 new characters & see the alternate costumes when they're released if they choose not to purchase them. Personally, nothing about this format bothers me, but some gamers out there seem to have a "
false sense of entitlement and expectation".

Something that the rabid complainers fail to realize is that this DLC was originally
developed with the intent of being DLC. That means it potentially wouldn't even exist in the first place without the DLC distribution process. Believe it. It doesn't matter if it's locked on-disc DLC, day 1 DLC, or month 6 DLC. I wholeheartedly agree that a product should be complete when it's released, but the thing is... SF X Tekken could've very easily been called "complete" at around 25-30 characters. Fans should be thankful that the dev-team took the extra time & effort to create 12 additional characters. (Too bad that "effort" didn't show up in some other areas of the game, though).

SF X Tekken includes 43 iconic characters from the start (PS3 version). That's far above the standard for a new fighting game. Gamers complaining about not being able to use the other 12 characters right off the bat (which weren't even finished at the time), are being a bit greedy I think. I understand their point of view, and they have a right to feel that way if they choose. I can only speak for myself... and I don't feel cheated. I'm glad I didn't have to buy a new disc-based "Super" version of SFXT. I agree Capcom could've made better decisions on the business front, but as a long time fan, I think we're lucky to have this many characters in the game. The fact that Capcom continued supporting SFXT with 12 additional characters after the initial release (superb choices at that), only sweetens the deal.

 

The full selection screen on PS3 / PS Vita... 55 characters!

 
In continuation, I think some of the "new" fighting game fans need to take a step back and get some perspective. In the early 90's, many of us used to play Street Fighter 2 (among many other games) at arcades, religiously... putting in 50 cents, with each play, to use a few of those 8-12 characters over and over (and over times 1000). Even after I bought several variations of the home versions of SF2 (at $70 a pop) I still put money into those arcade machines... and you know what? If for some reason you weren't a "good" player at your arcade, you had to pay MORE money... AND LIKE IT... or you could go home as a sore loser and play your SNES or Genesis version by yourself and pretend to have friends.YEAH... I SAID IT.

History has repeated itself many a time. Over the course of a decade, I must've spent 100's of dollars on MVC2 in the arcades. Then I bought the Dreamcast version when it came out, and guess what... I still put gas in my car, drove to the arcade, and put countless dollars into that MVC2 machine for many years to come. I did the same thing when Tekken 5 came out in arcades and on PS2. I even traveled to distant arcades (hours away) simply because they had better competition. So I guess that's why I can't relate to gamers who are raging about an optional $8-$20 DLC to unlock new characters/content in a game... something that no one is forcing them to buy. If you like the game, what's the problem with spending a few extra bucks on it and supporting the company that made it? In my book, the DLC is reasonably priced (not to mention color packs & other updates are free). Plus, if you own both the PS3 & Vita versions, all 12 DLC characters are completely free... which isn't a bad deal.

Finally, let's not forget about "time release" characters that both Namco and Capcom previously used in arcade games like Tekken 2, Tekken 3 and MVC2. Many months after the original release of those games, additional characters became playable to keep the game fresh and exciting (and it worked). It would appear that Capcom simply wanted players to first enjoy the "vanilla" version of the game and let a little suspense build up... so give'm a break. Besides, what's the fun of having everything unlocked at once? Are you really going to master 55 characters at once? No... you're not. Put down the torches, people. There are more important things to worry about in life. 

In closing, gamers of this generation are able to sit on their asses at home, play a next-gen fighting game with players all over the world (for free), and some of them have the audacity to sit behind their keyboards and complain about optional DLC that costs them around the same price as lunch? Uhh... to those people, I say go out and buy yourselves a damn Happy Meal, you cheap, cheap bastards... (& STFU). Just kidding. But seriously, stop whining. 
~TFG Webmaster

 


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