Last time, I discussed my thoughts on the “gimmick” mechanics of some of Street Fighter 6’s returning characters. This is besides the Drive System, it looks like each fighter will have some unique mechanic which lends a different dimension to them. These would be things like Ryu’s Denjin Charge, which powers up his Hadoken and his new Hashogeki, and Chun-Li’s Serenity Stream stance, which gives her more normal moves to work with.
With the veterans out of the way, it’s time to tackle the newcomers of Street Fighter 6. The first couple of closed beta test only had 3 new characters. These would be Jamie, Kimberly and Luke, who could be considered a returning character as he did show up in Street Fighter 5. I don’t consider him as it looks like Capcom just tacked him on then to fill out the final Season of DLC characters. While they are all technically new characters, they do still have some unique “gimmicks” to them. So, let me give you my thoughts as I rate how strong and useful they are.
Luke’s EX Follow Up Strikes
This isn’t technically the name for Luke’s “gimmick” mechanic in Street Fighter 6. There isn’t any official acknowledgement of it, anyway. However, this is definitely something only Luke is able to do so far. Luke’s unique ability in Street Fighter 6 is he is able to tack on an additional blow to all of his punch based grounded special moves. They’re all given names in his official moveset list but, to simplify it all, Luke can burn an extra bar from his Drive Gauge by pressing 2 punch buttons after performing some of his EX moves. An example would be his EX Rising Uppercut. If the hit connects, pressing 2 punch buttons afterwards has him chaining into his Slam Dunk, which is a hammer blow that sends his opponent crashing into the ground. The benefit is the EX Follow Up Strikes only cost 1 extra point off his Drive Gauge instead of 2, which is usually the case for normal EX special moves.
The uses for this seems very self-explanatory. Luke is able to tack on more damage to his EX moves with his EX Follow Up Strikes. I wasn’t able to see Luke played very extensively during the closed beta so I’m not exactly sure how useful the EX Follow Up Strikes can be. While this does burn some more Drive Gauge when done, this could be the difference between closing out the match or not. It does seem like there are some positives and negatives for each EX Follow Up Strike. The DDT from his EX Flash Knuckle does enormous damage. The downside is you lose the juggle point from the normal EX Flash Knuckle, which you can use to send your opponent into the corner.
I guess the beauty of Luke’s “gimmick” mechanic is it’s very simple to use, making Luke a character that newbies can quickly pick up. Want more damage but burn more Drive Gauge? Do his EX Follow Up Strike after landing an EX punch special attack. You can also get a little more oki seemingly afterwards but I’m not sure if it’s worth burning the extra Drive Gauge to get it. So I’m not sure how pros can make the most of it.
Rating: 6 of 10
Jamie’s The Devil Within Drink
Capcom had to use some clever word acrobatics as, while Jamie’s fighting style is obviously based on drunken Kung-Fu, it’s supposedly not. He’s actually drinking some special medicinal tea but I think that’s just to get away with a young person getting drunk. Calling the mechanic “The Devil Within” isn’t helping your cause, Capcom. Anyway, Jamie’s The Devil Within Drink Meter is very essential to his gameplan as the player using him will have to try to get 4 sips in to really power up his
drunken medicinal tea kung-fu. Jamie starts out with nothing and only does 90% damage when compared to other characters. Each additional sip makes him hit 5% harder. Reaching level 4 maxes him out at 110% damage. Jamie also doesn’t have access to all of his special moves from the outset as some of them only become available when he consumed the required number of sips.
It doesn’t really seem all that hard to gulp down the drink in the middle of the match as Jamie has several ways to do it. The most obvious way is to back off and take a quick swig, making it so his opponents will try to take you out early. However, Jamie can also go on the offense and some of his special moves does end with him swallowing some of the liquid from that flask. Finally, he can down it all with his Level 2 Critical Art to fill The Devil Within Drink Meter completely for a limited amount of time. This does make playing as and fighting against Jamie very interesting as Jamie players will have to find ways to sneak in those sips while his opponent will be trying their best to prevent him from doing just that. The Devil Within Drink meter reset after each round so Jamie players will have to really think of when to drink to get the power up.
Jamie’s The Devil Within Drink gimmick seems really fun as there’s a game within the game happening as you try to find a safe way to drink safely. It can be difficult for Jamie players to do so against bulldog opponents who won’t give you any chance to breathe but, once they make a mistake, Jamie can use one of his special moves which do allow him to take a swig while attacking. The only real downside here is Capcom intentionally made Jamie weak at the start of the match. I don’t think this’ll dissuade pro players from picking Jamie as they’ll find safe spots to take in those drinks.
Rating: 8 of 10
Kimberly’s Shuriken Bombs
Kimberly is a ninja but she’s also an urban girl so it only made sense to combine the two to make her “gimmick” mechanic. At the start of the match, she will have 2 Shuriken Bombs in stock. Kimberly then can toss them into the field as if they’re timed grenades or use one of them to tack on some extra damage to the end of her Level 1 Critical Art. The really neat think about the Shuriken Bombs is, while they don’t do much damage, the opponent will be juggled in the air, allowing Kimberly to hit them with a juggle attack. Yes, even the one at the end of her Level 1 Critical Art! She can only replenish her Shuriken Bomb stock once both of them are depleted. Think of them like Ibuki’s 1st V-Trigger, the Rokushaku Horokudama or the bomb one.
Using the Shuriken Bombs can be tricky to use. As they don’t detonate immediately, they can be used really well for controlling space, forcing Kimberly’s opponent to either find a spot to not get hit by the Bomb or block the impending explosion. However, this does mean using them in combos consistently in a normal situation does require a whole lot of planning. They also don’t do a whole lot of damage but that seems as if it’s by design. This is because Kimberly’s focus should be on juggling the opponent after the explosion hits. As Kimberly does have a good number of moves which can connect on a juggled opponent, she can quickly stack on the damage afterwards.
I can see some pros getting a little mileage from the Shuriken Bombs but not much. I feel they’ll mostly toss this out on top of their opponent as their getting up from a knockdown then going for some high-low mixup while the bomb explodes. They might keep one in stock handy just so they can do a juggle combo after hitting with her Level 1 Critical Art. However, I think it’ll be mostly ignored as Kimberly doesn’t need space control all that much as she can do that with her generally tricky moveset.
Rating: 3 of 10
Kimberly’s “Beats in my Head” Buff
Yes, it does seem as if Kimberly has 2 “gimmick” mechanics, which is remarkable as this is her debut in the Street Fighter franchise. It doesn’t have an actual name but I like calling it “Beats in my Head” because, well, look at it! Getting access to it, however, is very, very expensive. “Beats in my Head” is activated when Kimberly performs her Level 3 Critical Art, which has her turning on her Walkman, putting on her headphones and lunge forward with a big strike. Whether or not it hits, Kimberly’s theme music will start playing and equalizer bars will radiate around her head, signifying she gets a speed boost and some additional attack power. Capcom also added a cute Easter Egg where, if both players use Kimberly and use the Level 3 Critical Art, the background song will get lyrics!
Giving Kimberly a speed boost seems insane as she’s already one of the fastest characters in the game. Adding a damage boost as well? That just seems unfair! Like I said, however, there is a huge price to pay as, in order to get the “Beats in my Head” buffs, you have to spend your entire Critical Art meter. Kimberly might not even get to that amount during the match as you may be better off using the lower Critical Arts instead.
I do see the benefit of saving your Critical Art meter to get the “Beats in my Head” buffs for the first round as they do carry over to succeeding rounds, it seems. However, doing it later in the match is just not cost effective as the lower level Critical Arts are pretty useful in their own right.
Rating: 4 of 10
What do you think of Street Fighter 6’s new characters? How about their gimmicks? Let me know in the comments section below!