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    Street Fighter V: How is Capcom redefining the fighting game on PS4

    At the highest levels of play, fighting game players obsess over character tier lists. These endlessly debated leaderboards are defined not simply by a character’s power, but how they fare against the rest of the cast in a series of hypothetical tengame sets. In a perfectly balanced fighting game, every one of these theoretical match-ups would end 5-5. In reality, few do.

    An Ultra SFIV Hugo player will tell you Gouken beats them 8-2; early in the game’s life one prominent Japanese player joked that Hugo players should get their 200 yen back if their opponent picked Ryu’s ageing sensei. While that’s an extreme example, there are lopsided match-ups all over Street Fighter IV. At tournament level, perhaps half the cast have been all but written off.

    To hardcore players, that’s a problem, and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that it’s uppermost in Capcom’s thoughts as it works on Street Fighter V. The only two characters revealed have different ways of powering themselves up; Chun-Li activates a water mode where a single special move input has double the usual results, flinging two fireballs in quick succession and doing two reps of her Lightning Legs. Ryu, meanwhile, sees his fists shrouded in electricity, his moves more damaging and causing more hitstun for longer, harder-hitting combos.

    Power Trip
    Capcom isn’t confirming anything either way, but we assume there are other elements, and it seems logical that you will choose which power you take into battle at the start of a match. That will go a long way to equalising wonky match-ups.

    There are other, less obvious changes in play as well. A closer inspection of different hit-sparks suggests some kind of Guard Crush mechanic, alongside a perfect defence system, a greater emphasis on counter-hits and more besides.

    After a generation successfully courting a larger audience for this most niche of genres, Capcom is finally turning its gaze back to the hardcore player. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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