Hype for Street Fighter V

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July 18 2008 Street Fighter IV was released, it was the first time I had wanted to become a competent competitive fighter. I grew from being unable to perform the fundamental, iconic Shoryuken, to eventually FADC into Ultra Combos, and even understanding frame data, which at first I found rather alien. So naturally the announcement of Street Fighter V had me excited… at least until I saw the live demo from Taipei Game Show. The live demo where pro tournament players, Daigo and GamerBee, went head to head on stage. They found Chun-Li’s V-Trigger that allows a double up on all her special attacks, this lets her to spam projectiles, locking down the opponent in an infinite block stun – a horrible sight to behold. The gameplay also seemed to be much slower and with hits taking much more life, this made it feel akin to Street Fighter II.

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Yoshinori Ono, Capcom’s face in the Fighting Game Community, said he wants the new SFV to appeal to a younger audience “who may be easily distracted by other forms of entertainment.” That statement right there I found extremely cringe worthy, however, it may be that SFV was just shown off too early. Since all the E3 gameplay, character reveals and information I once again eagerly await SFV’s release, Chun-Li has been fixed so no more infinite block stun; character models look fantastic and animate beautifully; the background stages are fun and interesting.

That said, let’s go over the mechanics of SFV and what’s different from SFIV, Arguably the most noticeable difference between the two is the V-System(Variable System), it replaces SFIV’s comeback feature, the Revenge Gauge which was used for Ultra Combos. In SFV you build V-Trigger Meter in a very similar way, by taking damage and it resets every round. But here’s where it differs from it’s predecessor, V-Gauge can also be gained by using your V-Trigger move and efficiently blocking an attacking opponent’s attacks. SFV, seems to be of the belief, not all characters are created equal because M.Bison(Dictator) and Birdie have a 3-stock V-Gauge whilst Ryu and Cammy have only a 2-stock V-Gauge, so the Revenge Gauge is gone and V-Gauge is here granting new tools V-Skill, V-Reversals and V-Trigger. Each character has their own unique V-Skill a defensive move that can be triggered by simultaneously pressing medium punch and medium kick. What it actually does is character dependant, M.Bison can absorb and reflect projectiles back at his opponent, Ryu can perform a weak parry negating things like fireballs, Nash can absorb a projectile or deflect a move, Chun-Li has a forward attacking V-Skill that doubles as an anti-air. Similar to Chun-Li, Cammy’s V-Skill is a forward attack. Last but not least we have Birdie, his V-Skill is completely unique, instead of being a parry/deflect or attack, Birdie eats or drinks, filling his V-Gauge each time, the leftover food like a banana peel or a rolling can becomes an obstacle for the opponent.

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A similar move to V-Reversals first appeared in the Street Fighter Alpha series in the form of Alpha Counters performed by a quarter-circle forward motion and pressing punch or kick while blocking, if done successfully you counter with a special move. V-Reversals in SFV are performed by pressing either forward and all three punches or forward and all three kicks, depending on the character you are. They enable you to create space quickly from an aggressive opponent at the cost of one V-Gauge stock. If you use V-Reversal whilst your opponent is on the ground, it knocks them back just out of throw range, if your opponent is in the air and you use V-Reversal it knocks them to the ground and even further away. V-Reversal can really save your life, even if you are about to be chipped out by a Critical Art. V-Trigger is available once your V-Gauge meter is full and it lasts 15 to 25 seconds depending on character, V-Trigger is very similar to Killer Instinct’s: ‘Instinct Mode’. Once activated your character gets buffed increasing movement speed and damage output. Each characters special moves are also uniquely enhanced making great moves even greater. Ryu’s Denjin Hadouken becomes unblockable, faster and if your opponent decides to block they will be stunned briefly. Cammy’s Spiral Arrow is faster and creates juggle opportunities, if blocked Cammy travels through the opponent making her harder to punish. V-Trigger is not a zero frame move so you can be hit while activating it however you retain all the buffs you would normally get from activation.

The combo system has changed quite a bit from SFIV there is additional input leniency making 2-3 frame links easier. Whilst SFIV had target combos not every character had them, SFV’s target combo system means faster, more aggressive gameplay being less execution intensive. A new meter addition to SFV is the Stun-Meter. Although stun state has existed since the dawn of Street Fighter, SFIV did not have a Stun-Meter so it was hard to gauge how far away you or your opponent were from being dizzy. SFV with the addition of the Stun-Meter allows you to see exactly how close either player is to being stunned. I welcome the inclusion of this feature and look forward to see how it changes match dynamics. Focus Attacks from SFIV are not returning in SFV which makes me extremely happy it was an unbalanced tool, some characters had a large range on their Focus Attack while others were lacklustre it also means no light Shoryuken FADC into Metsu Hadouken resulting in instant death from a light Shoryuken. Backdash is another feature that has changed drastically from SFIV. SFV has completely removed the 8 frames of backdash invincibility, although it may be a controversial decision amongst SFIV fans I’m glad it will stop people from running away as easily; making it less a game of tag and more of a fight.

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Brand new to the Street Fighter series is white damage another feature with similarities to Killer Instinct. White damage or (potential damage) is accumulated when blocking normals and if you get hit while your health bar has potential damage you lose the white health on top of whatever hit you. White health regenerates after a few seconds of dodging your opponents attacks. I believe this mechanic was implemented to discourage those players that like to pretend they’re turtles. I bought an Xbox One to play Killer Instinct and at 700+ hours I think I got my moneys worth. SFV has now impressed me enough to go buy a PS4 and hopefully get 700+ hours out of it.

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