In my opinion, Street Fighter X Tekken is the most competitively rewarding Capcom fighting IP to be released this generation.
In this thread I will enumerate the reasons why, but first let's attempt to define what makes a game a good candidate for competitive play.
To what degree does the game reward skill?
How much does random chance effect the outcome of matches?
How often does a player win undeservedly?
What percentage of the time does the better player win?
What particular skills are involved in determining who wins and loses?
How balanced is the game overall?
The answers to these questions should lead you to a conclusive statement regarding the competitive viability of any game.
The basis for my position on SFxT's competitive merit is due to its placement of skill values. Any given game will have a series of skills most important to achieving victory. In SFxT they are as follows in no particular order:
- Decision making/problem solving
Meter and health management
- Spacial awareness/judgement
- Ratio of observation to comprehension and application
Observing and exploiting tendencies shown by your opponent
- Judgement of probability in response to observation
- Mental alertness and multitasking
Dividing focus between multiple gameplay objectives at once
You may observe that these skills are common among many fighting games. The difference between games is in what order of importance they are placed. SFxT in my opinion values decision making and problem solving above other skills. The player who manages their health and meter the most efficiently while also optimizing their damage output gains a great advantage. Following that I would place with others with near equality to eachother, perhaps placing slightly higher value on mental alertness and multitasking.
The reason I find this game to be a particularly excellent test of skill is that it cuts out as much uninvolved guessing as possible and in effect the better player is orders of magnitude more likely to win. There is a difference between "mind games" and simple guessing games. Correspondingly, in SFxT the value of okizeme is replaced by increased value of footsies skill. In my opinion, the ground game is the most dynamic element of Street Fighter, involving all aspects the series has held dear simultaneously, and is the best place to determine a victor. SFxT obliges this notion, and for that I believe it should receive a great deal more attention in the competitive scene.
Another thing I would like to address is the game's notable lack of a comeback mechanic. I feel this allows it leaps and bounds in terms of competitiveness. Personally I have never enjoyed mechanics designed to facilitate comebacks. I believe they should be earned, and again, SFxT obliges. It is much more exciting to see a player turn a match around through a series of excellent moves and reads than it is to see a match go the other way in a matter of one shot. Many players excel at making comebacks against dire odds and in my opinion comeback mechanics don't do them justice.
My judgement of a game's competitive potential is based on how well solid, calculated, and thoughtful play is rewarded. Street Fighter X Tekken is a game that values gameplay incorporating those aspects above all else, and for that it should receive respect.
EDIT: Note that this post has been completely rewritten from its original composition. I felt comparing SFxT to other games was not constructive.