Street Fighter V’s new balance update was released a week or two ago and, I will have to say that the changes have been mostly positive. Online matchmaking seems to be a little bit better (but still rather crappy thank to my stupid internet service). Loading screens move along at a brisker pace. The balance changes are a little hit or miss but fall more along the “hit” side because, well, I am currently maining the claw wielding Vega and he mostly got some much needed buffs to make him much more viable. Still wish he had a better way of countering jumping attack besides meeting them in the air. But still, good job in making him much more stronger, Capcom! And, yes, I know I am a biased pig.
With that being said, I do think Capcom did a great job with the latest update. My favorite thing they updated would definitely be the new Vol. 2 combo trials. This was one of the things I wanted when Season 2 was announced and I’m glad they did so! It was actually imperative Capcom did this because of all the recent balance changes. Because of all the buffs and nerfs the characters got with their frame data and whatnot, some of the Vol. 2 combos may not work the same way and each character also got a slew of new combos because of the frame data adjustments.
There’s another thing that makes the Vol 2 combo trials great: some of them are really challenging! I generally breezed right through the Vol. 1 combo trials. I only got stuck on Karin’s trial 6 as it felt awkward do do properly on the standard PS4 controller (Mental note: get a full fledged fight stick) and I know I wasn’t the only one. If you thought Karin’s Vol 1 trials were tough, you’re going to dislike her Vol. 2 combo trials as they are tough. But she wasn’t the only one that got some really hard to complete combo trials this time around. Some, like Ibuki and Balrog/Boxer, got some new trials where you not only have to get your spacing properly but the timing when to execute the combo correctly or else the final attack will whiff.
For some, that may be a bad thing as Capcom made the trials more difficult and not newbie friends. But as someone who has been playing fighting games for a long time, I appreciate the more execution heavy combos! In fact, I dare hope that, when Street Fighter V Season 3 rolls around, I hope that they tweak the game so that there are many more execution heavy combos that require precise timing!
Fighting games have always been hard to play, especially for a beginner. The concept of your typical fighting game is very simple and straightforward: attack your opponent until their life bar is drained while defending yourself from their attacks. However, all the nuances that go in the actual gameplay are going to be difficult for a newbie to wrap their head around. The incredibly damaging combos of the earlier Street Fighter games were incredibly difficult to pull off consistently because you had to press your next attack button during a incredibly small time frame for the combo to work. Capcom generally dumbed down Street Fighter V as they made the window wherein you can execute the next attack in in the combo was increased so there was much more room for sloppy execution and timing.
While this may have made Street Fighter V more accessible to newcomers, it certainly turned off a lot of experienced players who have been playing fighting games for a long time. This may seem egotistical and selfish but they have a good reason to be salty at this perceived dumbing down of Street Fighter V. The biggest problem is that even the players that are just getting in the game can perform the most damaging combos with just a few hours of playing the game. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there were some newbies that could perform most of the Vol. 1 combos during the first day of getting Street Fighter V because they were that easy.
This was definitely not the case with the combo trials from Street Fighter IV, however. Some of the combo trials in Street Fighter IV may seem totally impossible for newbies because the timing was much stricter and the window wherein you can continue the combo was much smaller, which is why when a professional Street Fighter player does a really damaging combo, it looked much more impressive.
That’s not to say that watching a Street Fighter V match when pros are playing can’t be exciting because they employ a lot of mind games and strategy that a normal player wouldn’t employ. However, the actual combos themselves don’t seem remarkable anymore because they all do the same max damage combos each and every time. There’s no more variety with the combos because there’s little room in Street Fighter V for complex combos in Vol. 1. This is why we always saw the same combos over and over again. You just couldn’t get a more damaging combo because the combos are so limited. This in turn removes a lot of the variety that makes a lot of fighting games exciting to watch and play. You used to have the option of going for the more easier but less damaging combo or try to do the more risky but more execution heavy combo for more damage. There was a trade off and the more skillful players who could do the more powerful combo were rewarded properly.
But there does seem to be some hope for fans who want Street Fighter V to become more complex and execution heavy if the Vol. 2 trials are any indication. Like I said, some of the combos are difficult to actually do now. There are even counter hit combos now and even the more damaging combos that the pros consistently use during tournaments. They even included Chun-Li’s standing medium punch to crouching medium kick to Spinning Bird Kick that pros have been doing and a semi-decent Street Fighter V player should be execute by now. But there are some creative combos that I haven’t seen before, like Juri’s new trial 6 where you cancel into the FuharenKyaku just so you can juggle the opponent with the EX version. Well, okay. That’s mostly because it’s rare to see a pro actually control Juri. But I appreciate the trick, Capcom!
I truly hope these more complex combos that can be found in Street Fighter V’s Vol. 2 combo trials are just a way for Capcom to ease the people who started out with the “easy” combo system of Street Fighter V. That way, they can gradually get better and get more accustomed to more execution heavy combo systems. Maybe, in Season 3, Capcom will create a stricter combo system. That would be the dream, anyway.
Do you think Street Fighter V should be a little more strict with the combo timing in the future? Let me know in the comments section below!