Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SSF4 Arcade Edition: My First Impressions

I got some hands-on time with the game at Chinatown Fair, which wasn't nearly as packed as usual, thanks to a raging blizzard. I messed around with a few characters, trying to figure out what new tricks they were packing.

T. Hawk, my (pathetic) SSF4 main, is much better in AE. His normals seem tweaked to give him a better ground game, and his EX Condor Dive is excellent. I was able to constantly fake my opponent out by jumping back, then EX diving on reaction to just about any button press. It was also great air-to-air against Vega. It may have some startup invincibility, but I'm not exactly sure. I beat LI Joe's Yun and his Balrog-playing friend and even got a 3-win streak at one point. Speaking of streaks, Kouji KOG (a Vanilla SF4 Zangief player) took T. Hawk on a 103-game streak in Japan, which should tell you something about the character's potential in AE.

The only other character I got a 3-win streak with was Hakan. The oily Turk is VASTLY improved. His normals — which were nothing to sneeze at in Super — are amazing now. His FP is great anti-air, now reaching above and behind his head, his jab canceling into Oil Slide is awesome, and he's able to oil up much more quickly. Staying oily throughout the match isn't all that difficult, which means he can stay consistently armed with ridiculous normals and long-range command throws. He can charge meter quickly by canceling Oil Dive into Guard Position. This is all on top of his existing tricks, like a guaranteed Oil Dive on a rising opponent (which surprised a CF player so much that he approached me to ask how I did it). While he might not have the raw power of a T. Hawk or a Zangief, Hakan is going to be a versatile and useful character in AE.

I tried Dee Jay only once, against LI Joe's Yun. He feels so much better, mainly due to his faster fireballs. His standing MK, LK Upkick, and slide were useful in keeping Yun off of me. I ended up losing due to poorly-timed fireballs which LI Joe passed through with Sourai Rengeki. Though improved, his fireball recovery is not quite as fast as Guile's. I think we'll see a lot more Dee Jay players in AE.

By the time I got around to trying the twins, LI Joe had switched to a down-to-business Sagat. In my very first game as Yun, I got a near-perfect round on him, including a dizzy. This was without any of his MP links, due to not knowing the timing at all. I wasn't sure of the command for his Ultra, and the rest of the match didn't last very long. However, shutting out LI Joe's Sagat on the first round I ever played as Yun convinced me that he is most likely an overpowered character in AE.

I really screwed up playing as Yang. I was intent on seeing how his teleport worked, but kept getting his Senkyutai instead. I kept rolling across the screen into a blocking Sagat, then eating Tiger Uppercuts. When I did finally get some offense going, I didn't know Yang's links. I landed a Tenshin (flip-grab) only to attempt to immediately Ultra 2, which totally doesn't combo. He seems really good, but only if you know what you're doing. Yun is apparently more noob-friendly.

That's all I can say about my direct experience with the game. I'll follow up with impressions from what I've seen of other characters in another post.

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