It had to end some time. Capcom is closing out support for Street Fighter V. The company might do a few balance patches or a few tweaks here and there, but there won’t be any new and substantial updates to the game. Capcom is closing the shop for now but is offering one more significant piece of DLC for Street Fighter V and, if what they promised holds true, it does seem like a doozy. That’s because the brand new DLC character, Luke, is a hint of what the next installment of Street Fighter is going to feel like. Well, if that’s not an invitation to check out what Luke is like, I don’t know what is!
As this is the last hurrah for Street Fighter V and as this is a preview of the future of Street Fighter (and since I do have the Season Pass anyway), I had to check out Luke and try him out! So, is Street Fighter V going out with a bang or a whimper? Let’s go check Luke out!
The first thing I do have to comment about Luke is his overall design. Thanks, I hate it! For starters, Capcom really has this odd concept that any American character has to have blonde hair and blue eyes. It certainly doesn’t help Luke has really weird proportions! I get they want to highlight specific body parts like the heads, hands and feet so it’s easy to know what hits or not but Luke’s arms are off putting. His forearms are humongous while his shoulders, while muscular, look small by comparison. The lower part of his body, basically his waist and legs, are also disproportionately large compared to his upper torso!
That’s not the worst bit for me, though. The worst thing about Luke’s design are all of the aesthetic little bits on him. I really dislike his hairstyle with the weird bangs while still having clean cut side parts. They even made him wear braces, even though he’s, what? In his 20s or something like that? The thing that really grinds my gears are all the tattoos on his body, though. What the heck is up with his weird Captain Commando fetish chest ink and all the teeny tiny stars on his forearms, huh? Why the heck did he etch the stars into his hair as well? It’s all the additional stupid looking touches that makes a bad looking character look much worse than he does.
It’s sad how unappealing Luke is to me because, underneath all that terribleness, he does seem like more than a decent fighter. There’s a lot about Luke which does make him scary in Street Fighter. A lot of his normals are really good and have deceptive range. All of his regular standing punch attacks have Luke move forward quite a bit, allowing him to close in the gap really well while attacking. His normal standing heavy kick does the same thing as well. Luke’s standing heavy punch is notable as, not only does it move him forward a lot, you can cancel it into his specials. Unfortunately, if an of these punches are blocked, you’re negative. You’re still safe but you lose some pressure ability.
His crouching heavy punch is a cancellable uppercut which can work as an anti-air and you can use his Outlaw Kick, which is back plus heavy kick, if they jump at you at an angle. His Outlaw Kick is also his Crush Counter and will cause a crumple state if it connects as a counter hit. Luke also has a a few target combos, which is always something I appreciate as it makes punishing opponents a little less stressful when you know you can bust it out when you need to.
Luke’s special moves are a little his or miss, in my opinion. The ones I don’t really see much use are the ones you have from his Avenger command dash. He can rush at you either with a shoulder check by using the punch button or an overhead wheel kick with a kick button. They could be good for getting the opponent in the corner quicker or can be used to tack on some more damage after a juggle but there are other specials which would work much better for that. These moves are so unremarkable Capcom didn’t even include them in the Luke demonstration video built into the game!
Luke does have a projectile called the Sand Blaster but it doesn’t work like most of the projectiles in Street Fighter V. It’s more like a quick burst of energy and it’s range and startup depends on the punch button used, with the light punch coming out the fastest but has the shortest range while the heavy punch version’s start up is slower but comes at almost full screen. They travel the length of the screen extremely quickly meaning you can actually win projectile wars if you toss them out at the same time. Sand Blaster is good as a threat when you want to keep your foe at a distance and poke at them from far away.
He also has a version of the Dragon Punch called the Rising Rocket and, from what I’ve seen, it’s your typical Dragon Punch move. It’s great for tagging jumpers and the light version is throw invincible. The heavy version is supposed to be projectile invincible but why would you want to do that if you’re in a fireball war? The EX version is fully invincible and has more juggle potential than the regular Rising Rocket. Nothing really much to say about this move but, since this is Luke’s best anti-air, it’s best to know he has this in his arsenal.
The shining stars in Luke’s special move catalog are the different versions of his Flash Knuckle. They all have different properties and uses. The light version is a quick uppercut which launches your foe in the air. The medium version is a straight lunging punch and the heavy is a big charging hook that knocks down. The best thing about them is you can charge them up to increase their effectiveness. Charging up the light version will send Luke’s foe high in the air, allowing a juggle while a charged up medium Flash Knuckle causes a wall bounce allowing, you guessed it, a juggle as well. The heavy version is useful as it knocks the opponent away and is safe on block. I can see people using Flash Knuckle in creative ways in the future.
Luke’s V-Skills and V-Triggers look incredibly unbalanced as I can see one being more useful than the other. Specifically, with the V-Skills, his first V-Skill, Hard Shot, does come off as stronger than his second V-Skill, Suppression. Hard Shot buffs the next Flash Knuckle attack so that he doesn’t have to hold down the attack button to get the powered up version of the move. You can still charge up the move and it’ll be even more powerful if you have the V-Skill stocked! The only real downside is you have to install it meaning you have to be more strategic when you use it.
His V-Skill 2, Suppression, on the other hand, can be done pretty much at any time and it has Luke performing a quick backstep that’s invincible to throws before lunging forward with a punch. This can be good for baiting throws when the opponent thinks you’ve done an unsafe move, like from one of his standing normal punches. However, this does mean you have to be a little more shrewd with this V-Skill. I can see some people using it against someone with command throws but, otherwise, V-Skill 1 seems like the more viable option.
When it comes to Luke’s V-Triggers, both of them are pretty good, actually, but one does outshine the other. Fully Armed, his V-Trigger 1, gives Luke access to his Rock Smasher and Thermobaric Thrash, which are basically a quick succession of his Sand Blaster special. Rock Smasher comes out really quick and can definitely lead to fireball wars in your favor. What’s even better is Luke can use them after a regular Sand Blaster. In fact, the Thermobaric Thrash only comes out as a follow up to the EX version of the Sand Blaster. The really neat thing about his V-Trigger 1 is it’s a no-fuss attack and less execution heavy than his V-Trigger 2.
However, the objectively better V-Trigger is Vanguard, Luke V-Trigger 2. This allows Luke to cancel any of his Flash Knuckle attacks into another Flash Knuckle, as long as he uses a different strength punch button. This will allow Luke to juggle the living daylights out of his opponent! You can quickly go from the light version of the Flash Knuckle to start the juggle then smash them into the wall with a charged up medium version to bounce them back at you then close it out with a charged heavy Flash Knuckle to whittle your foe’s lifebar down quickly. Pair this with his V-Skill 1, Hard Shot, and you got a heavy damage machine under those unsightly forearms! Both V-Triggers are really good but V-Trigger 2 just has more damage potential in the hands of an expert.
Overall, I may despise Luke’s look but I can’t deny he has all the potential to be a really great inclusion to Street Fighter. I can’t really say what this means for the future of the franchise and where he’s supposed to lead the series into. What I can say is Luke looks really strong… but he really needs to go to a doctor to get his forearms checked. They’re not supposed to be that big, are they?
What do you think of Luke, Street Fighter V’s final DLC character? Let me know in the comments section below!