The second closed beta for Street Fighter 6 ended a couple of weeks ago and it does look like Capcom is hitting its stride now as the game seems to be incredibly polished. I haven’t participated in any of the closed beta tests as of yet. I’m not sure how useful I would be of use to Capcom for the closed beta test as, although I love them, my fighting game skills aren’t all that polished and I’m not sure how my Internet connection would hold up. I still have been digging through all of the footage from both closed beta tests and I see some folks already creating tech for each of the available characters. Hopefully, I can finally join the next beta test and I pray there will be more characters that time around.
One thing I did notice is a lot of players haven’t really been mentioning or really utilizing each character’s unique “gimmick” mechanic. I can sort of see why for some characters as some of them are difficult to use in an actual match. So, that got me thinking as to which character got the short end of the stick when it comes to their unique mechanic and who got them in spades. This is all my opinion, of course, and I’m just deriving my conclusions based on footage of pros using the characters. So, my opinions may change as Capcom buff or nerfs them or new tech appears. Also, I can’t really discuss all of the characters in one go so I’ll start off with the returning characters, who are Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile and Juri, with Luke, Jamie and Kimberly to follow. Anyway, let’s go check these “gimmick” mechanics out.
Ryu’s Denjin Charge
Ryu’s “gimmick” mechanic is the Denjin Charge. By inputting 2 downs and punch, Ryu gets into a stance and this power ups his standard Hadoken and his new move, the Hashogeki. The Denjin Charge also buffs his Level 1 Critical Art, turning his Shinkuu Hadoken into the Denjin Hadoken, as well as buffing his Level 2 Critical Art, the Shin Hashogeki. For his special moves, they do more damage and give additional properties like more juggle potential and more plus frames when they connect, enabling Ryu to do longer combos than normal. With Denjin Charge activated, Ryu’s Critical Arts do much more damage than normal.
While these are all good, Denjin Charge does seem a little problematic. For one thing, Ryu can only hold one Denjin Charge at a time. That means, once you use it up, you have to do the move again to make it available. Second, Ryu has to do a pose in order to charge it up, meaning Ryu is vulnerable for a brief second. This means, in order to activate the Denjin Charge, you have to make sure you’re a good distance from your opponent or he or she is unable to attack you while Ryu does the pose. Because of these problems, I can’t really give Ryu’s Denjin Charge a good mark despite the massive buffs he gets.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Ken’s Quick Step
On paper, Ken’s Quick Step, done by pressing 2 kick buttons at the same time, feels redundant as every character in Street Fighter 6 has a forward dash. However, this is much different as the Quick Step gives Ken access to several unique normal attacks as well as enhancing some of his special moves. Additionally, the Quick Step is a move you can cancel into from other normals, meaning it’s not only a good way to get in fast but also can create new combos. Ken can do an Emergency Stop using the Light Kick, allowing him to run in and throw the opponent. He can also do an overhead axe kick using the Medium Kick and he can perform a big boot using the Heavy Kick during the Quick Step. If Ken does his Shoryuken, Tatsumakisenpukyaku or his new Ryusenkyaku (Dragon Lash Kick in English) during the Quick Step, these special moves gain a fire effect and enhance them with either more damage or juggle potential.
The biggest problem of the movie is Ken is vulnerable during the dash. If you do it raw or become too predictable with it, your opponent will start punishing you during the move. This could easily be covered as long as you only do it raw sporadically or during combos to make it safe. As this issue is easily mitigated, I should give it a higher score. However, the Quick Step’s effectiveness does come off as limited. Like I said, repeatedly doing this raw can get you punished and, while it does enhance some special moves and tacks on more damage, that’s essentially all it does. It’s good but it could be better.
Rating: 7 of 10
Chun-Li’s Serenity Stream
Chun-Li must’ve been taking some lessons for Gen before Street Fighter 6 as her new Serenity Stream, done by inputting quarter-circle back with a punch, changes her stance and gives her different normal attacks. Each of these new attacks have their uses, like the Heavy Punch doing a 2-hit overhead strike, her classic high kick with the Heavy Kick and her low sliding punch with the Medium Punch. Serenity Stream is also very different from other “gimmick” moves as you can cancel into it from any ground normal, even the ones which aren’t cancellable normally. This allows Chun-Li a couple of big advantages as she can hit with a normal, cancel into Serenity Stream and then into her new stance normals to do various combos. If the normal is blocked, Chun-Li can cancel into the Serenity Stream stance and block possible incoming punishes. She can also perform her Kikoken and Spinning Bird Kick from the stance without having to charge prior. Oh, I also have to mention Serenity Stream puts Chun-Li in a low profile so Ryu and Ken’s fireballs will safely fly over her head.
There are a couple of issues with her Serenity Stream, though. The biggest one is Chun-Li is put into a Counter Hit state if she’s hit while in this stance. It’s basically not a good idea doing this point blank because of this. Doing the Light Punch while in Serenity Stream is useless as you’re better off doing her Light Kick instead. Also, all of her attacks while in Serenity Stream are super negative. Like with other stance characters, this makes Chun-Li kind of unwieldly for newbies as you have to keep in mind which button does which while in the stance. Even with those weaknesses, I think a pro who devotes a lot of time to Chun-Li will get a lot of mileage with Serenity Stream, making this a complex but rewarding “gimmick” move.
Rating: 8 of 10
Guile’s “Perfect” Charge
Guile’s new mechanic in Street Fighter 6 is probably the most straightforward of them all from the beta. The entire gist is, if you press the appropriate button just as you push the final motion on the controller, that special move will be powered up ever so slightly. So, for example, if you charge back for a few moments and push forward and press a punch button just as you hit forward on the controller, Guile’s Sonic Boom hits just a little bit harder and causes a little more hit stun. This will enable Guile to actually link into it with something like a light punch, permitting a longer combo. I can’t confirm if his Flash Kick gets the same deal, however.
While this seems like a buff for Guile in Street Fighter 6, which is kind of is, it’s actually kind of a downgrade when you compare it to older games. Most Street Fighter players are now familiar with the “pre-charge” method of throwing a Sonic Boom. Basically, you do the regular hold back for a brief moment and then push forward on the joystick. However, instead of hitting the punch button as you press forward, you actually pull back immediately and then press the punch button. This essentially enables you to start charging your next Sonic Boom while Guile is in the middle of throwing the first one. The “perfect” charge seems to be teaching players how to properly do charge motions instead of relying on the pre-charge motion most players have gotten used to. So, while this does make Guile a force to be reckoned with in Street Fighter 6, I can’t really give it a super high mark because this was something he didn’t need to do before.
Rating: 7 of 10
Juri’s Fuhajin Stocks
Juri has become one of Street Fighter’s most popular characters despite not really being one of the game’s top tier characters. A lot of what’s hindered Juri in earlier entries is how Capcom has implemented her Fuhajin special moves. In Street Fighter 4, you had to do the motion and then hold down that attack button, leading to you having to pretzel your fingers as you hold down multiple kick buttons and restricting you from using that normal attack. In Street Fighter 5, Juri had to manually load up the attack before she can use it. That’s all been fixed in Street Fighter 6 as Juri now has all her special attacks from the start but she can buff them up with the Fuhajin attack.
The Fuhajin special move is essentially a quick high kick, which you can tack on the end of combos. It also can nullify all normal projectiles as well. Each time you input the Fuhajin, you’ll get one Fuhajin stock. Now, as long as you have at least one of these in stock, it can be used to power up all of her quarter-circle forward kick special attacks. For example, entering quarter-circle forward with light kick has Juri perform a low sweep with a short range low fireball. However, if you have a Fuhajin available, the fireball travels further. So, while it’s not necessary to have a Fuhajin in stock, it’s usually wanted. As the Fuhajin kick itself can be worked into combos, this makes it much easier to stock up during a fight since you don’t need to back off. Unlike Ryu, you can also stock up to 3 at a time instead of just 1. I say this is probably the best gimmick mechanic in Street Fighter 6 as it’s simple to understand, it’s very practical and you can stock up to 3 at a time. Its only weakness is you do have to load it up and the recovery on the Fuhajin kick is pretty long. Even so, I can see veteran players being able to sneak this in multiple times during a match quickly.
Rating: 9 of 10
That’s all for the returning characters. Next week, I’ll delve into the “gimmick” mechanics of the new characters. See you then!
What’s your favorite “gimmick” mechanic in Street Fighter 6 so far? Let me know in the comments section below!