When Street Fighter 4 hit home consoles back in 2009, it reinvigorated the fighting game genre. There were a number of players who had either never played fighting games, or hadn’t touched one in quite some time. These players were dubbed “09ers” due to the fact that Street Fighter 4 was the first fighting game they took seriously. Of course many of the 09ers moved on to other games.
With the rising popularity of fighting games and a relatively new console generation, we’re likely to see more people flood into the fighting game community when Street Fighter 5 hits store shelves next month. To help those players prepare for the online battles that will surely commence, this article takes a look at some of the basics that most new fighting game players tend to overlook.
While it will still take hundreds or even thousands of hours to become a top player in Street Fighter 5, Capcom has gone out of their way to make things easier on the entry level players. One of the biggest hurdles for new players in Street Fighter 4 was the combo system. If you wanted to pull off big combos, more often than not you needed to be able to connect one-frame links. That essentially meant you needed to hit a button within 1/60 of a second. If you pressed the button too early or too late, the combo wouldn’t connect.
In Street Fighter 5, the hardest combos will be three-frame links. While that may not sound like a huge change, it absolutely is. A plinking system was used to help players connect one-frame links in Street Fighter 4, but even then it wasn’t uncommon to see combos dropped. In Street Fighter 5, even if you have difficulty performing three-frame links, you can simply double tap the corresponding button to make things even easier. For example, if you need to hit medium punch, then heavy punch within three frames of one another, simply press medium punch, then double tap heavy punch. It will still take some practice, but the double tap method makes links much easier to connect.
Another important change for new players is the fact that you can no longer die due to chip damage from special moves. In previous Street Fighter games you would take a very small amount of damage by blocking a special move such as a fireball. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but if you had a sliver of health remaining, this small amount of chip damage prevented you from being able to block any special attacks. In Street Fighter 5 special moves still chip, but you cannot be KO’d via chip damage from special moves. An opponent can still get a chip damage victory if you block a super combo, but that requires the opponent’s entire super meter.
One of the go-to new player strategies in previous Street Fighter games is to simply stand on the far side of the screen and throw projectiles at your opponent. New players used this all the time, while even seasoned veterans found it to be a simple strategy that would take down novice opponents. While you can still do that in Street Fighter 5, every character has some way to deal with projectile attacks. We’ll have a detailed breakdown of each character once the game has been released, but you can rest easy knowing that every character has some way to deal with fireballs and other projectiles.
Finally we have come to the two biggest mistakes new players make in fighting games. First off, do not think you have to be offensive all the time. Defense wins games so stop pressing buttons and block a few attacks. Now you don’t want to just stand there blocking because the opponent will probably walk forward and throw you. It will take some time, but you’ll soon learn when it’s “your turn” to attack. This is usually after blocking a special move or a combo of some sort. Once it’s your turn to attack, go to town, but don’t go too crazy because if you’re still attacking when it’s your opponent’s turn, you’ll pay for over extending.
It’s also important to stay grounded. Every new player wants to jump relentlessly. While jumping can get you out of some situations, you’re almost always better off staying on the ground. To practice this, play a few matches where you don’t jump at all. This will help you learn movement and spacing so you can move back and forth across the screen without jumping. It’s very important to be able to move around the screen without jumping.