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Street Fighter 5 Season 5 Dan review: A return that stays true to the character's legacy, but with a lack of power to match

Though some glimmers of hope are already shining through

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • February 25, 2021 at 6:45 p.m. PST • Comments: 21

The official inauguration of Street Fighter 5 Season 5 took place earlier this week bringing with it new balance changes, a new mechanic, and new characters to enjoy. Of the two additional characters to join the roster — Dan and Eleven — the former acts as a full-fledged fighter, while the latter is essentially a random select option with a cool skin and voice added to it.

Naturally, I've taken some time to explore what all Dan has to offer now that he's made his grand and wacky return to the world of Street Fighter. While the Street Fighter Alpha alum is oozing with personality and fun, right out of the gate it's seeming like he isn't all that strong when it comes to combat — though there might be hope for his competitive future.

Capcom has done another excellent job in their design of a legacy fighter, truly capturing what makes Dan "Dan." From funny lines of dialogue like "I HATE YOU!!" to the bevy of taunts sprinkled throughout his move set, Street Fighter 5's version of Dan is undeniably the joke character we all know and love, but he comes equipped with some snazzy new techniques that help usher him into the modern era.

In terms of his appearance, Dan doesn't stray too far away from what you'd expect to see of the pseudo Shoto. He's still got his trademark ponytail, he's still got his pink gi, but with some of his alternate outfits we see that Dan has received a glow up here in Street Fighter 5, taking a couple of pages out of "Hot Ryu's" book.

The fighter's additional costumes are top notch and help further bring out his essence and personality. You get his classic Street Fighter Alpha look, a battle costume that sees him shirtless and wearing a tengu mask, and of course, a large, Disneyland-style costume of Saikyo-boy — the cutesy character Dan created, similar to Blanka-chan, to help generate a Beanie Baby type craze among teenagers to entice them into joining his dojo.


Dan in his Saikyo-boy costume performing his taunt when a player teabags with him.

Dan is also chalk full of great animations that are not only fluid, but also really expand on his joke character motif. When he throws an opponent, he struggles momentarily to toss them over his shoulder. Landing a standing heavy kick sees his leg stop abruptly when it makes contact, then Dan pulls it back in the same direction it came. It's good ol' Dan doing Dan things, and it's great.

In terms of his gameplay, Dan's fighting style is very interesting this time around. The tenacious Saikyo master packs an arsenal of familiar moves, with special attacks like his Gadoken and Dan Kicks in tow, but beyond his basic tools he also has deeper layers hidden behind a moderately steep learning curve.

Even outside of his juggle combos following his EX Danretsuken rapid punch special move, Dan's V-Skills and V-Triggers introduce a higher level of execution and precision required to be used effectively. V-Skill one can be tacked on at the end of combos to build gauge, canceled into from a fireball to roll in, land a hit, then activate V-Trigger, and even be injected into the middle of combos for an extension.

The real MVP, however, appears to be Dan's V-Skill 2. On the surface, this maneuver sees Dan pull of a quick taunt, standing or crouching, that lands a small hit on the opponent if it makes contact.

Dig a little deeper and you'll find that V-Skill 2 allows Dan to cancel the animation of the taunt before the hit becomes active into a normal or special move. As a result, he can toss out a normal, cancel it with V-Skill 2 on hit or block, then cancel that into another normal or special move of his choice.

"While this playstyle for Dan is looking promising in the hands of a world champion like Punk, I do find myself wondering how it will hold up long term when other players start learning how to counter it. "

The timing on this can be quite strict, meaning it's going to take a lot of practice for players to learn how to do this consistently. But this V-Skill, coupled with a handful of normals that are solid (but not amazing) on their own, can make for a scary series of blockstrings and traps that grant Dan a way in and let him start his up close pressure.

Without having this technique at the ready, Dan struggles to get in when fighting the neutral battle. His fireballs are short-ranged, his Light Dan Kicks — which are -2 on block and can be made +3 with proper spacing — don't travel far, and his standalone normals falter in the face of the higher-tier fighters.

When Dan has an opponent in the corner, he can make their life fairly difficult with attacks like standing medium punch, crouching medium punch, and properly spaced light Dan Kicks. Mix in big heavy buttons in conjunction with V-Skill 2, and you have the makings of some pretty serious offense, though Dan's damage output isn't all that high.


Classic Street Fighter Alpha Dan taunts to build V-Gauge.

Players like Punk are already starting to demonstrate what Dan and V-Skill 2 can do at a high level, netting a convincing win of the Next Level Battle Circuit weekly tournament just this week. While this playstyle for Dan is looking promising in the hands of a world champion like Punk, I do find myself wondering how it will hold up long term when other players start learning how to counter it.

Closing thoughts: The Street Fighter Alpha contender rolls into Street Fighter 5 bursting at the seams with personality. He's funny, he's fun to watch, and Capcom has done a great job bringing this legacy character back while maintaining a lot of what makes him who he is.

Dan's tools don't seem to be too strong right out of the gate, but things like his V-Skill 2 cancels help create opportunities for him that he wouldn't otherwise have and add an extra layer of depth to his gameplay. Early showings of his prowess from the community create some glimmers of hope for the character's competitive future, but we'll have to wait and see if these tactics can hold the test of time.

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