Whenever a new female character for Street Fighter V comes out, I get really giddy. That’s because I’m always thinking that maybe, just maybe, this will finally be the female character that I will be able to main. I’ve tried the entire roster of girl fighters in Street Fighter and I just can’t really control them to their full potential. I really want to control someone like Chun-Li, Cammy and Laura because we’re the same gender but I don’t have fun playing as them. So when Menat was announced, I was definitely intrigued. Maybe, finally, a Street Fighter game will have a female character that I can play as really well.
While Menat is probably one of the better new characters Capcom created for their latest Street Fighter and it does look like they did a lot of work to make her appealing to pros, a scrub like me will never get used to her really inventive and ingenious moveset. With that being said, however, I have to agree that Menat is a really fantastic character. Probably the best new character from Street Fighter V actually.
First, I gotta comment about Menat’s overall look, which is exquisite. It really seems like Capcom listened to all of the comments the previous characters got and really buckled down to make her the most visually appealing character for Season 2. She didn’t look ridiculous like the monstrous Abigail or the rather ho-hum and pedestrian blonde haired, blue eyed Ed. They also didn’t give her that plastic face Kolin has or that crazy red mane they gave Akuma. She looks really good but Capcom did something with Menat that they haven’t done with their other female characters; she doesn’t feel sexy or just there to arouse the loins off little boys.
While she does have a rather attractive character model, Menat doesn’t come off as overtly sexual. She does have sex appeal but she isn’t what the fighting game community would call “thicc” or anything like that. She’s actually a bit on the waifish side. She isn’t as well endowed in the bosom area as the other females in the Street Fighter roster as well. She does have some sexy looking moves. Her Critical Art does have her shaking her bum like she’s cosplaying Enchantress from Suicide Squad but it does suit her character. But the best compliment I can give Menat is her fabulous walking animation. It’s super cute and stylish with attitude! Menat’s walk is everything!
As much as I would like to play Menat because I really love her design, she is definitely not one for beginners and even maybe intermediate players. She actually has a deceptively simplistic move list as it consists of only two special attacks. Well, it’s more like two-and-a-half. Most of her attacks are definitely aped from Rose, who just happens to be her mentor. Like Rose, Menat’s anti-air, called Guardian of the Sun, has her jumping at her opponent in an attempt to grab them. If successful, Menat drags them back down and jolts them with her crystal ball and, since she is Rose’s apprentice, some Soul Power as well. It’s got some range on it and you can even catch someone jumping back if you have fast enough reflexes. She can get hit out of it unless you burn some EX meter to make it invincible. It’s a good move but you have to react early as it kind of starts out slow before it becomes active.
Her other special attack is weird. Unlike Rose, she can’t toss out Soul Spark fireballs. Menat does have a crystal ball that she flings out. It acts like an ordinary projectile but it has some interesting properties. Depending on the punch button used, the ball will fly out in different arcs. Also, once she tosses it out, it doesn’t come back to her automatically. The ball will stay where you threw it and Menat has to call it back. This can lead to some really interesting setups as, if it hits the opponent when drawing it back, it’ll actually move the opponent towards Menat, bringing them in range of her normals. Calling the ball back is also a great way to make some unsafe normal attacks safe.
Now, this is where things get really complicated as some of Menat’s normals change depending if she has the crystal ball equipped. If she has the ball on her person, Menat’s normals can reach much father out thanks to the floating orb. However, she will recover much slower. If she has the ball out in the field, Menat loses range but recovers faster, enabling her to perform links that can’t be done if she has the ball on her. You have to be aware of this so you know what combos you can pull off at any given time.
This is a really interesting mechanic because it makes Menat play like two different character. But this is also precisely the reason why she’s a highly technical character. You have to keep track of what combos you can do with or without the ball. This also makes her like Vega/Claw in a sense because her moves do change in the middle of a match. However, those two playstyles feel really different. With the crystal ball in hand, you can play Menat like Dhalsim and poke your way to victory. Without the ball on her, you can play her like a slightly nerfed Cammy or Ed because of her ability to link attacks better.
There are even some normal moves that has the ball temporarily unavailable that makes things even more confusing. This mechanic also applies to her V-Skill, which is a mini-version of Rose’s Soul Reflect. It’s probably one of the most versatile V-Skills in the game. It has a pretty short range but, unlike most V-Skills in Street Fighter V, you can actually use it as a reliable combo ender like a special attack and even launches the opponent up in the air if you do it while holding down. But how the Soul Reflect acts on projectiles changes whether or not Menat has her orb with her or not. She can reflect ordinary projectiles with her V-Skill as long as she has the ball with her but will absorb them into her V-Meter if she doesn’t.
But the most dangerous and technical thing about Menat is actually her V-Trigger. When you activate her V-Trigger, Menat will summon six orbs to fly around her. These orbs don’t do anything by themselves but she can command them to fly at her opponent depending on what attack button you press. Each orb is controller by the six attack buttons and you can launch them by first holding down the button for a bit and then releasing it. You can do this from any position, even while jumping. This is really complex as you have to remember which V-Trigger orb is tied to which attack button and when to properly time them so that you don’t waste the orb. But, if you do, it can definitely lead to some devastatingly long and damaging combos!
I would love it if I had the technical ability and the patience to actually learn how to use Menat effectively. But I know I don’t right now and it’ll take a lot of time and effort for me in order to really get good because of how complex she is. I honestly don’t know who would use this character. Maybe someone like Xian who knows a little something about characters that switch fighting styles mid-match. Or maybe someone like Infiltration can use her as a main and just conquer all of the Capcom Cup tournaments because of how crazy her attacks and combos can be. Me? There’s no way I’ll even be good enough to use Menat to her fullest potential.
It’s a shame because I really do think Menat is a fantastic character and she’ll definitely be a problem in the right hands of a incredibly technically gifted Street Fighter player. While she’s probably not going to be played as often as Rose, Menat is a definite welcome addition to this game.
What do you think of Menat? Let me know in the comments section below!