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Street Fighter 5 season two set for sweeping balance changes

Take that, Chun-Li!

Capcom has signalled balance changes are coming to Street Fighter 5 as part of season two of the fighting game.

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The balance changes, due out in a few weeks, are designed to make each character's uniqueness "truly shine", Peter "ComboFiend" Rosas wrote in a post on Capcom Unity.

Rosas said Capcom had noticed that there are a few particularly strong mechanics in Street Fighter 5 that resulted in players using them more than the unique attacks each character has at their disposal.

"This led players, both the attacker and the one being attacked, to have a similar experience regardless of which characters were being used," Rosas explained.

"We think that by reducing each character's similarities, we can allow players to fully express themselves through their favourite characters, further providing the Street Fighter experience players have come to know and love."

Capcom hasn't yet gone into detail on the upcoming balance changes, but it did provide an overview of three mechanics it plans to change for 2017 in its bid to address character similarities:

  • Recovery After Successful Throws
  • Strong Anti-Air Light Attacks
  • Invincible Reversal Reliance

Let's have a look at each. Recovery after successful throws is the idea that characters can quickly press their opponent even after throwing them, which makes it hard for the character being thrown to escape and counter attack. The characters considered to be the best in the game all have quick recovery after throwing.

Now onto strong anti-air light attacks. Street Fighter 5 is often criticised by competitive players for the ease with which some characters can counter attacks from jumping opponents. Some characters, such as Chun-Li, simply need to press a light attack to do so, which can be frustrating for attackers.

And finally, invincible reversal reliance. This is the idea of doing a Dragon Punch on "wake-up" - that is, as your character rises. Ryu and Ken both have an invincible Dragon Punch.

Rosas added that Capcom is looking at a lot of other factors as part of its balance sweep, including advantage and disadvantage on hit and block, character health and stun boxes and more.

There's a vociferous debate going on right now in the Street Fighter community about what all this means, as well as discussion based upon reports from hands-on time with the game at the recent PlayStation Experience.

Those who went hands-on report Chun-Li's air lightning legs - perhaps her most effective move - has been nerfed so that she is at a big disadvantage if it is blocked. Currently there's little risk to spamming this move against her opponent.

Another change noted is that it appears that grey health recovers much more slowly now, which doesn't bode well for the already struggling Zangief.

However, it appears Zangief's reach with his spinning lariat has been increased.

M. Bison, considered to be one of the worst characters in the game, looks like he will be buffed overall for season two with moves that help him maintain offensive pressure.

And early impressions from season two Dhalsim suggest his zoning game has been buffed considerably, so that many of his long-range normal attacks are more useful. In the video below, FChamp, perhaps the best Dhalsim in the world, offers his thoughts.

And R. Mika - perhaps the most annoying character in the game - appears to have been nerfed. Reports indicate her "invisible wall" has been removed, which means players now need to be in a corner to get the knock-back.

"Overall, we think the changes made will result in a rich, diverse experience per character that both players and spectators will enjoy," Rosas concluded.

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