Psst! Hey, kid. Yeah, you there. The one with the hoodie and the weird skull tattoo on the palm of your hand. A little Birdie (yeah, the fat guy with the chains and the mohawk) told me that you don’t like playing Street Fighter V. Word on the street says you just can’t do those complicated quarter circle moves or just can’t hold back to charge up an attack if your life depended on it. Well, have I got a character for you!
Recently, Capcom announced they were going through another round of Beta testing for their Capcom Fighters Network that Street Fighter V uses. They hope that they can make sure that gamers get a better time getting into stable matches after they patch this up. They did sweeten the pot by embedding in the Beta test application all of the upcoming character buffs and nerfs. That’s good and all but I don’t think those are the primary reasons why gamers are trying it out and “helping” Capcom gather the data they need to make sure the Capcom Fighters Network is up to snuff. Nope, I’m pretty sure most of the “testers” are there to get some hands on time with Ed, the latest addition to Street Fighter V’s roster.
Ed, while he had an incredibly common (and boring) name, is actually one of the most unique characters ever created for Street Fighter. Oh, he’s a boxer much like his partner, Balrog. But he does utilize normal kicks in his repertoire. Also, since he’s a spare body for M. Bison, he also has access to the Shadowloo’s dictactor’s Psycho Power. Okay, that already sounds pretty awesome. I mean, a boxer that can kick his opponent and controls a mysterious and deadly power? Pretty cool, right? But Ed is much more than a mishmash of Balrog and M. Bison. No, what makes Ed different from every other character in Street Fighter’s history is the way he executes his special moves.
Ed doesn’t use the traditional methods of executing special attacks. No quarter circle motions or holding down-back to charge up special attack. No, all you need to do is press the buttons most of the time. Now, there are a couple of characters that do actually do this. Zangief has his extremely popular Spinning Lariat and there have been characters where you hold down a button then release it to launch a special attack but those are one off things. Ed, aside for his Critical Art, has all of his special attacks mapped to button combinations!
Because of this relatively simple way of performing attacks (kinda hard to mess up not pressing buttons properly), Ed looks like an incredibly simple character at first glance. He seems like he’s more geared towards newbies and, according to some comments on message boards, “babies” that can’t be bothered to get good. Well, after spending some time with Ed, I can say that, while his special moves are indeed easy to use, he is a little more nuanced than that as you’re still going to need loads of skills to utilize his attacks effectively.
Before we get into that, let’s go over Ed’s more aesthetic aspects. I really wish Capcom kept his emo teenager look like when he was shown in Balrog’s story mode in Season 1. We already have an overabundance of blonde haired, blue eyed fighters, I will admit that. However, I was definitely ready to finally get a male fighter that decided to skips the steroids. I was ready to control a slim whelp of a boy that was deceptively powerful because of his connection to M. Bison’s Psycho Power. Instead, we got another buffed out man. Oh, you can explain that his body ages fast but I really wanted someone different with Ed. Sigh.
Ed, however, does have a lot going for him and it is kind of hard to pin down what kind of character he is. Most of his normals, aside from maybe his medium kicks (both standing and crouching versions), don’t have that much range. But he does make up for this weakness by having some really powerful frame traps and links. The most powerful combos Ed has usually start out from these links and they feel really easy to do regularly. The best one is probably his standing medium punch to crouching hard punch; this does incredible damage already and is easy to link to many of his special moves.
He can nullify projectiles with his Psycho Spark and he can even throw out a projectile after doing this attack with his Psycho Shot. However, don’t expect to win any projectile wars with this because of its slow startup. Ed has a neat way of closing the distance with his opponent with his Psycho Knuckle. When fully charged, this will cause a crumple state so you can follow up with a combo if you’re fast enough. Even when this is blocked, it’s very safe but, since you do have to charge it up, you may have to use this sporadically to catch your opponent off guard.
He actually has two anti-air looking moves with his Psycho Upper and Psycho Rising… but they’re not effective as anti-airs as the startup really slow. If you really need an effective anti-air for Ed, you’re better off relying on his crouching hard punch if they’re directly above you or his standing medium kick if they’re a bit farther off. You can use the Psycho Upper and Psycho Rising as combo enders and it seems like that’s what they’re for. The Psycho Upper is a great way to get the opponent off of you because it’s invincible on startup and has great range. I still haven’t really found a good use for his Psycho Flicker, the special that comes out when you mash the buttons. I think you’re better off with the Psycho Upper in most cases to close out the combo instead of Psycho Flicker.
The only real complicated motion you’ll need to do with Ed is if you want to unleash his Critical Art, the Psycho Barrage, which is just a flurry of punches that leads to an auto-combo for massive damage. I actually have some issue with this as this goes against everything you’ve learned about the character. I think it would’ve been more creative if they actually found a way to execute the Critical Art with button combinations somehow to keep it in line with his special move list. Something like pressing all punch and kick buttons at the same time, which will lead to his taunt, and then quickly pressing forward and all the punch or kick buttons at the same time to go into his Critical Art. It will still need some coordination to do this and it would’ve been much like the way Ed’s specials.
Another thing I need to cover are Ed’s V-Skill, V-Reversal and V-Trigger because there’s a lot of good stuff with them. His V-Skill, the Psycho Snatcher, works like Batman’s grappling hook from Injustice. Ed throws out a thread of energy and, depending on how you held the stick and the buttons, will do different things. Just pressing the button will launch Ed at his foe with a punch. However, it’s when you hold down the V-Skill that Ed can get devious because you then pull in your opponent towards you. This can lead to some sick combos or frame traps. His V-Reversal is pretty boring but it has its uses. Basically, it’s just Nash’s V-Reversal, which means you can escape the corner with a well timed button press, which is always nice.
Things get devious when you use his V-Trigger, the Psycho Cannon. Ed releases a multi-hitting projectile at a speed you designate by holding the stick in some direction. This V-Trigger is really good since it’s incredibly versatile. Ed can hide in the Psycho Cannon projectile to safely close the distance on his opponent. He can use this in the middle of combos for massive damage. Generally, once you have Ed’s V-Trigger stocked, the threat of the Psycho Cannon may be strong enough to get them to back off. The downside of the V-Trigger is that it is rather weak by itself.
Now, while Ed may have some really great tools, he does have some major weaknesses. He needs to get real close to clock in the damage. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to really have any safe way to close the distance quickly. Also, most of his special moves, while they are easy to execute, have some massive startup. Because of this, it can get frustrating when your opponent snuffs your specials with counter hit after counter hit. This does mean that Ed isn’t a braindead character and you’ll need to be incredibly smart in trying to figure out your approach.
I don’t really expect to see all that many Eds in tournaments in the near future. His specials just aren’t all that good and you’ll have to rely a lot on his normals and links to get the most out of him. Of course, since I’ve just played with Ed for an hour or so, and the entire Street Fighter community has barely scratched the surface on what he can do, there will be some more fancy combos and tricks that the pros will work out. However, I do feel there are better characters out there. Ed does seem like a fine addition but he’s going to be more for the newbies so that they can tell their mommy and daddy that they can do special attacks like the best of them… even if it is a bold faced lie.
What do you think of Ed, Capcom’s latest addition in Street Fighter V? Let me know in the comments section below!