My experience at New York Comic Con 2015 was a more focused venture than what I usually do. Outside of the customary, depression-inducing booth-shopping (window shopping – convention edition), there wasn’t much going down this year that really got me fired up. My main mission at this year’s event was to try out the highly-anticipated upcoming iteration in the Street Fighter franchise, STREET FIGHTER V. Capcom had set up a rather large booth, much like last year, with various demo setups for the con-going public to try out.
Though I attended the convention on Sunday and Saturday, I get the feeling that the booth’s large crowds were a given for Thursday and Friday, as well. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame them. Even in its partially-completed state, STREET FIGHTER V is already in a league of its own upon first sight. Its graphics are top-notch, with vibrant colors throughout every battle locale known thus far. The Waterfall stage is a personal favorite of mine. Water effects as pristine as what I saw in this stage are unlike anything I’ve seen in other games. It’s a great place to fight in and an even greater place to be amazed by a landscape that oozes mystery and serenity simultaneously.
I was doubly pleased upon walking up to one of the kiosks and being able to play the characters in this build. Everyone announced thus far was available to try out. Going into the new build, I understood that things weren’t adhering to what STREET FIGHTER IV used. Capcom’s focus on giving characters personality while re-creating a level of playability that emphasizes core fighting game fundamentals not seen since Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is one of the strongest aspects of the game’s direction so far. The V-System mechanics help make characters feel even more unique than they’ve ever felt before.
My time trying out the revamped version of Vega was quite the eye opener. He functions almost entirely differently than his traditional design would have you believe. He no longer handles as a ‘charge’ character, or a character requiring a held directional input for several seconds before the move input is completed. Now, he can use his special attacks the same way one would unleash a Hadouken with either Ryu or Ken. His invincible backflip is now a V-Reversal, limiting what was one of his most spammy options. In exchange, he has the Matador Flip V-Skill, which doubles as an attack when the V-Skill buttons (Medium Punch + Medium Kick) are held down. Hell, he can equip and let go of his claw at any given time in-match!
A change of this magnitude says a lot about what Capcom is trying to do with this game. They’ve reconstructed the soul of traditional fighting game meta and built pillars of support that not only reinforce that core, but also contain nuances (in the form of the V-System) that strengthen the look and feel of what’s at the game’s heart. When I took part of one of the daily tournaments at the booth (for a limited PS4 SFV faceplate), I found myself doing something that I had a lot of difficulty doing with STREET FIGHTER IV: embracing it.
Sure, I went 1-2 against the R. Mika player I was paired against, but it’s better than how I usually do.
I had some difficulty adjusting to the new mechanics under the pressures of playing in front such a huge crowd, but I was doing my best at reading my opponent and finding patterns in his play. I saw myself aiming towards well-executed regular attacks instead of special attack spam. Though it didn’t avail me much in the end, I came out of it feeling like I did the best I could. For my first tournament-style outing for SFV, I think that’s something to be happy about.
I’m looking forward to seeing how things with the Beta turn out. The next phase will have Vega available for play, so I’m definitely going to give him another go.