EVO has come and gone. There were a lot of exciting and nail-biting moments throughout the 3-day events with some clutch plays and amazing comebacks and all that. And congratulations to Problem X for winning the entire Street Fighter V tournament this year. He managed to win with M. Bison, a good character but a character that has been overshadowed by the Cammys, Ibukis and the Guiles in the world. While that was a great surprise (because I predicted Tokido was going to win it all again), there was another huge surprise: the last two of Street Fighter V’s Season 3 characters, G and Sagat, were to be released the next day after EVO!
Everyone knew who Sagat was and I was curious to see how Capcom changed him up for Street Fighter V. But the character I really wanted to check out was G. Why? Because he looks crazy! I just gotta see how the President of Earth plays! And after a whole night of taking the character out for a spin (and also checking his frame data), I think I can give my impressions on how he’ll stack up with the rest of the roster.
Before Capcom released G to the masses, there were a lot of theories floating around regarding the character. The biggest rumor is that he was this game’s version of the Street Fighter III: Third Strike character, Q. There’s a chance that these rumors are correct as G and Q do share some qualities. Some of their normals and even special attacks look remarkably similar; too similar to be a simple coincidence. G’s versions of the moves to look a little more refined because there are some moves where Q would slip and fall when executing them but they do look the same. In fact, G has an alternate costume that makes him look almost exactly like Q!
Speaking of looks, G’s default outfit is, well, distracting. It’s just weird but in all the right places! He kind of looks like a zombie version of Abraham Lincoln. A very buff version of Abraham Lincoln, though! I actually like the way Capcom designed him, especially when it came to animating him. They put in a lot of nice little touches such as the little flourishes of showmanship when he connects with some of his attacks. He waves to the audience during his walking cycle. He even has an idle animation that can damage his opponent to take out half their health! You have to let go of the controller for a good minute so there’s no way you’ll see G actually do it during an actual match but it’s nice to know that little Easter Egg is there.
Too bad that G is slow as molasses! G’s walk speed is pretty bad and his dashes are unimpressive. As much as I like the character design, I usually gravitate toward more spry and agile characters so I probably won’t use G. This is doubly sad because I like a lot of his moves and G’s character gimmick, which I’ll talk about later, makes controlling his a joy.
He doesn’t have a 3-frame attack and a lot of his special attacks are unsafe on block, which does suck. But he does have some really good attacks. He has a few notable normal attacks, which is always good. His standing medium punch, while kind of stubby and can’t be cancelled into special attacks, is his main combo starter and confirm since you can link it into itself or his crouch medium punch. His crouching medium punch has some decent range and can cancel into special attacks, making it perfect for punishing whiffs. Both his crouching and back heavy punches are good anti-air under specific situations and the back heavy punch even launches the opponent for juggle opportunities. His standing heavy kick can also punish jump-in at the right distance and is a decent poke but you’re better off with the aforementioned crouching medium punch or either his crouching or standing medium kicks if you want to keep your opponent in check. G also has a crossup attack by doing down and medium punch while jumping forward. It kind of has a weird hitbox, making it hard to hit consistently with it but, hey! At least he has a crossup, right, Balrog players?
This is the time when I normally talk about the character’s special attacks. But before I can do that, I have to talk about G’s character gimmick because it’s connected to them. Just to the side of G’s V-Trigger is his President meter. This has 2 levels and is charged up by using the G Charge special. Each level powers up all of G’s special attacks. When it’s fully filled up, G’s attacks become ridiculously strong and gain almost EX-like qualities to them. The meter will be diminished by 1 level if G is knocked down. So, G’s main goal in battle is to charge up the meter as quickly as possible while his opponent will try to knock him down. Very interesting concept.
Unpowered, most of G’s special attacks are rather unspectacular. However, when he gets one level in his President meter, they become okay. Powered up fully, G becomes scary! The G Smash Over is slow but, fully charged up, will cause a wall bounce, enabling G to follow up with more punishment. The G Smash Under works like a dashing sweep attack and is great for catching enemies who are just walking back. The G Spin Kick is surprisingly good as an anti-air but, sadly, doesn’t hit overhead. However, the special attack I found really useful is the G Impact, a command throw that doesn’t do that much damage but has really good range no matter what strength kick button you use and sets up the opponent for a juggle combo or a reset. If G has his President meter filled up when this connects, he has the capacity to juggle into both his G Smash Over, leading to another juggle opportunity!
G also has a projectile attack, called the G Burst but don’t expect to win any fireball wars with this. It comes out slow and, strangely enough, G shoots it at the ground at around middle screen distance. It does become better when his President meter has something in it and it does give G some zoning potential but it just feels weak overall. G’s V-Skill, the G-Barrier, is a very utilitarian move. It can absorb projectiles to fill up his EX Meter and it can be performed in the air, making it a weird way to alter his jump arc. It can also hit his opponent. It’s not all that great in combos but it’s a solid anti-air attack. Take note, however, that all, and I mean all, of his specials are negative on block, so you better be sure they connect or you lose your turn or risk losing your pressure.
Like all of the Street Fighter V characters, G has two V-Trigger. But, unlike most Street Fighter V characters, both of them seem to be useful. His first V-Trigger, Maximum President, automatically buffs out his President meter to the fullest possible level for a short period of time. Maximum President also makes it possible to cancel his special moves into each other, leading to some devastating combos. To make matters worse for his opponent, his V-Skill is now thrown at his opponent. Seeing as the G-Sphere is a large ball of energy, it can be tricky to jump over, making it a good lockdown tactic. I see most pros using Maximum President. Even if it is a 3-bad V-Trigger, the damage potential is very high.
His second V-Trigger, Dangerous President, is nothing to sneeze at. When active, G gets the G Explosion, a massive uppercut that causes good damage. G Explosion can be cancelled from most of his attack, special or otherwise, making this a good combo ender. The most terrifying move G gets with Dangerous President is the G Rage. This is a slow command grab and can be reacted to but this move is an automatic reset and can be cancelled from some normals. It take wipe out a quarter of his opponent’s life bar if it connects because it’s that powerful! Finally, we have to talk about G’s Critical Art, Pangaea Burst. G shoots at the ground and the floor erupts, causing decent damage to his opponent. It’s a projectile and G is fully invincible at startup from what I can tell.
G seems to be a decent character and, more importantly, a fun character to play as, a rarity for the new characters in Street Fighter V and even the entire Season 3. The problem is that I can’t really say who this character is for. He has a rather new style and the President meter gimmick can both be an asset (if you can fill this up and keep it filled) or a liability (if you can’t find the spots to fill it or you keep getting knocked down). He doesn’t have any invincible moves or attacks with armor outside his Critical Art, which can be a problem. G doesn’t seem like top tier for now but not exactly bottom tier as well. Basically, he’s a good character overall but I don’t think a lot of pros will be rushing to drop their current mains (and Cammy) for G in the near future.
What do you think of G? Let me know in the comments section below!