R. Mika's having a tough time of it right now.
The plucky wrestler has been singled out as the most annoying character to play against in Street Fighter 5. Over at r/StreetFighter there are more than a few threads putting the boot in. She's been called "cheap", "overpowered" and "god tier". Those who play as R. Mika are considered "trash".
So, why all the hate?
Much of it stems from Mika's style of play. Unlike most of the characters in Street Fighter 5, Mika revolves around a "vortex" style. That is, she's great at forcing her opponent into the corner of the stage and attacking with a flurry of different moves. In general, her "mixup" options are strong, and this can be hard to deal with when your back's against the wall. You just don't know what's coming next. Guess right and maybe you survive for another second. Guess wrong and you are - in the blink of an eye - dead.
But there's more to the R. Mika hatred than her vortex. Critics accuse her of being a character who relies upon "gimmicks". Her "Passion Rope Throw" grabs her opponent and sends them running towards the end of the stage. They then "bounce" off of the corner of the stage, as if coming back from the ropes of a wrestling ring. From there R. Mika can land a high damage combo.
I've seen people criticise R. Mika players for doing nothing but going for this Passion Rope Throw over and over again until it lands. Some within the fighting game community believe this move, as well as the "vortex" style, is not a "high skill" strategy, and as a result R. Mika has been labelled "cheap" and a "troll" character.
All this contrasts with the "footsies" style and "neutral" game most Street Fighter 5 characters revolve around.
Reddit user ProxyDamage posted a great breakdown of the current mood. Here's a snippet:
- In short, Mika is the kind of character that's designed to suffer for most of the match just to get you where she wants you, in the corner, and then explode and win.
- This can be maddeningly frustrating, regardless of balance issues, as many players feel "cheated" out of a win when they were 60-80 per cent up on the Mika health wise, then make one mistake, get cornered, and proceed to get blended in her constant reset crazy train. This is especially aggravating because "she didn't even have to play the game properly!" (read: she ignored/did not play the neutral, footsies heavy, game that people value in SF5).
ProxyDamage suggests there is some snootiness to the current R. Mika hatred, that Street Fighter aficionados look down their noses at R. Mika players who stand accused of failing to play properly.
- She's playing the opposite game of what most people consider "honest".
Adding spice to the debate is a divisive Street Fighter player called Marn who uses R. Mika to good effect. He recently placed top 8 at the high-profile NorCal Regionals 2016 Capcom Pro Tour event, losing to fighting game pro legend Justin Wong in the process (a video of that match is below).
Marn isn't everyone's cup of tea. He's a self-proclaimed "Internet SuperTroll" and - in the eyes of many critics - suits R. Mika's similarly "supertroll" play style perfectly. Marn will often be losing a round, then with one set-up corners his opponent and unleashes the vortex.
So, why all the R. Mika hate? A combination of her being frustrating to play against and well, Marn doing well with her.
The next obvious question is, is R. Mika overpowered? Street Fighter 5 is only a month-and-a-half old, so it's early days. But the community is already starting to settle on character tiers - and most agree R. Mika is a solid character who, in the right hands, can defeat any opponent.
Over at r/StreetFighter, an updated tier list for March 2016 pegged R. Mika as B+ tier. This list, based on recent tournament results as well as observations on the current "meta", lists several "cons" associated with the wrestler, including below average health, slow walk speed and weak neutral attacks.
The upshot: R. Mika's good, but perhaps not quite as good as the likes of A+ tier characters Nash and Chun-Li. The debate continues!