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More footsies, longer rounds, less okizeme; how Street Fighter 5's gameplay will likely change in season two

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • December 14, 2016 at 7:56 p.m. PST • Comments: 114

December 19th will be Street Fighter 5's first season's final day as the 20th's patch will bring with it Akuma, balance alterations and the gunshot to signal that the season two race has begun.

Some of the cast will emerge with their fancy new buffs while others, (like R. Mika) will be feeling the growing pains of change. We've seen and heard a handful of individual character tweaks thanks to the PlayStation Experience sneak peek build, but Capcom has not shared many concrete details in this avenue yet.

We got some hands on time with the latest SF5 at PSX, and while we can't say at this point which characters will be the best and worst with certainty, (keep an eye out for Bison and Urien) we do have an idea of how overall gameplay will be changing for 2017.

In a single sentence, it's this: Street Fighter 5 is going to be less heavy on wake up mix ups and more about playing footsies to push your opponent to the corner, where okizeme is the strongest.

Waiting Your Turn

We know Capcom is focusing most of their work on three specific areas: invincible reversal reliance, recovery after successful throws and strong anti-air light attacks.

The first of these is fairly straightforward, and we experienced it in action at PSX. Characters with Dragon Punches and the like have lost their invincibility and thus their ability to wake up with DP against meaty attacks.

Characters like Ryu, Ken, Necalli and Cammy will be in the same boat as characters like Karin, Urien or Chun-Li in this department. This will even further discourage the use of wake up uppercuts as "turn-stealers" since opportunities are now fewer and more expensive.

The take away here? If you've earned a situation wherein you're able to apply wake up pressure, you're more likely to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Developers have made it so that all characters share a more uniform experience in feeling the pain of being knocked down, but area of change number two means it'll be harder for aggressors to make these situations happen in the first place.

Slower Pace Mid Screen

As it plays now, Street Fighter 5 often rewards players with wake up set ups after scoring a regular throw most anywhere on the stage. This isn't true for every character, but those who can are capable of turning an entire round around just for having managed a single toss.

Season two will be doing away with this, meaning mid-screen throws will only be a means of scoring a little damage and moving your foe a bit closer to the corner.

We'll now see more of an emphasis on footsies in the mid screen with an ultimate goal of pressing your opponent to the corner in order to gain access to the wealth of offensive options granted there.

This is easily exemplified in Mika's Irish Whip change. In season one landing this move meant damage, corner carry and ensuing mix up all in one. Now it grants a little damage, but will exist more so to manipulate space.

With the wall bounce bonus Mika's Irish Whip becomes super powered, but that will only come into play if she's pressured her foe enough to earn the right positioning.

While talking briefly with Capcom, our understanding is that characters will no longer get to follow up their mid screen knock downs quite as easily. In season one, Ken can follow his bread and butter combo with a throw/shimmy/meaty set up, which is why you see comebacks and blowouts from him fairly often.

This won't be completely gone, but it will be nerfed to an extent. We'll have to wait until the changes actually drop to know the exact details.

Final Thoughts

It feels as though Capcom wants to veer away from the snowball damage effect. If you land an attack successfully, you get the appropriate damage and then the game will kind of reset so that both characters return to the footsies battle.

Sweeps, as risky as they are, will probably become more prevalent as they lead to hard knock downs that allow for that highly sought-after okizeme.

With throws being nerfed players will be more content with blocking, but added recovery time to white life is likely meant to be a counterweight here.

The mid screen game will change to be slower paced and more of a gentleman's duel. The corner game will be more like SF5 as we know it now. Jumping in may be even more viable now that anti-air jabs are to be nerfed, and our biggest fear is that season two will become even more of a jump fest.

Ultimately, winning will require more thought and we should see less set play-esque set ups, which is something the majority of the community appears to be hoping for.
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