Salty Limey

Choose and Pick the Best One
October 2, 2010, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Super Street Fighter IV

Or not, as the case may be! One of the more well appreciated struggles the absolute beginner scrub faces is picking a character. A multi-dimensional issue that’s been addressed countless times before, most effectively in Kelter Skelter’s excellent thread here: . Since it’s one I’m currently grappling with, I’ll jot down my thoughts on the issue here for posterity.

First off, to clarify, the character I have the most experience with at the moment is Sakura, followed a fair distance back by Ryu. There wasn’t any particular reason for me playing Sakura other than I felt that when playing online and in offline casuals with buddies, she effectively played as the fastest Shoto, with the longest range Shoryuken. Of course, taking even a baby step into serious play renders these ‘advantages’ as such null and void, and renders her effectively one of the worst characters in the game (if not necesarily the absolute, as iPlayWinner’s tier list would have it). So for a while now since I began these weekly sessions a couple months ago, I’ve known that once I got my own setup and thus had access to the tools necessary to make a character switch, I’d bite the bullet and do so. So long and thanks for all the whiffs, Sakura.

The first thing I looked at when thinking of a character switch was, since Sakura had effectively proven too demanding for an unskilled new player to raise to a decent level any time in the next decade, a bunch of tier lists. This is perhaps not the best way at all to go about picking a character (or perhaps it is, if Sanford Kelly is to be believed!), and gives off the vaguely unpleasant odour of tier-whoring, but at the same time I was seeking to avoid shooting myself in the foot a second time.

The very next thing that came into consideration was my personal leanings. Primarily this meant which characters I liked the look of playstyle-wise, and which I just flat out liked playing looks/personality/affinity-wise. The kinds of ideas that were popping into my head at this time (cross-referenced with tier listings to check I wasn’t setting myself for too great a fall) included Adon and Dudley as frontrunners, with Cody, Guy and Ibuki as possibilities. Deejay was another I considered, but here one of my scrubtacular mental blocks came into play.

Since my childhood experience with SF2, I just haven’t played charge characters beyond one or two games here and there. I can execute, but I tend to just spend entire matches running backwards then firing off whatever moves the character possesses. Which is about equivalent to standing around throwing fireballs all day. Thanks to this, I not only don’t have any of the necessary skill to pull off fast, effective charge character play, I also have no idea of what I should even be thinking as I do play. Having to think ahead far enough to keep relevant charges stored just seems overwhelming to me – even just sacrificing some on-the-spot freedom for having to charge at almost all times seems like I could then no longer formulate any kind of game plan. Of course, I’m sure the former ‘problem’ is actually just a slightly steeper learning curve leading to something I should really be doing anyway, thinking ahead, while the latter probably just means forming game plans around charging, baiting and playing defensively, which isn’t exactly an ineffective way to play either.

Nonetheless I feel it’ll take either countless hours of scrubplay or a proper sit-down training session by one of my seniors at the scene-in-exile before I’ll feel any modicum of confidence in a charge character. So for now at least, they’re not being actively considered. Which may well be the wrong decision – after describing how I feel comfortable playing matches now (playing keepaway, staying at a good defensive range, throwing projectiles) even I felt like I would probably advise myself to pick Guile. Who also happens to place fairly nicely in tier lists. But while all signs point to the Sunglasses Sultan, my hesitance keeps him from being a firm favourite as of yet. Things may change if one or more of my betters at the scene sit me down and slap some sense into me.

But then that’s where I find conflict between the two aforementioned approaches to character picking. Tier-whoring points Guile out to me as a genuine possibility, while my own personal taste turns me right off him. The as-yet-unmentioned but suggested criteria of matching my current playstyle to a character’s preferred playstyle also points me to Guile, which is why I have the niggling suspicion that I’ll be swearing by him before I finish this academic year, but as ever, the personal feelings that accompany the second criteria win out in the short term.

Outside of that issue, which I suppose I’m mentally trying to avoid at this juncture, the other shortlisters are ones I experimented with briefly today in online, challenge mode, training mode and in casual sessions with my roommates. Most of this time was spent with Adon and then Cody.
My thoughts about Adon are that at the moment, for me, he might be a bit much. I have trouble with both the reliable execution (which is why I started doing B&B reps today) and mixing-into-actual-matches of combos, let alone anything else, so his ungenerous hit-confirms worry me. At least, that’s how they felt to me. The ranges on his Jaguar Kicks are something I find awkward, as is the startup for his Jaguar Tooth. Not to mention combo threads for him appeared even more character-specific-combo filled than most. On the flip side, the constant need for rapidly inputted DP motions and HCBs, two motions I mess up all too frequently, is already improving my execution.
Cody came out of nowhere, really. I was vaguely interested in him as a character with whom I hadn’t really experimented and while he seemed consistently fairly low on tier lists, he had simple base execution with a single (interesting to me!) caveat in the Zonk Knuckle, which was unfamiliar but intriguing. While charge moves provoke some kind of dark, mysterious fear in me, this execution had me genuinely curious about how I could mix it into my game. Yet, I’m even more lacking in actual experience with him so it might be too soon to get enthusiastic about him.

To cut the ramble shorter than I’m sure it could run on ’till, I’ve felt the task of choosing a character fall heavy upon my indecisive shoulders. There’re far too many characters that appeal and not enough time to get a really good idea of any of them. So I suppose it’ll take more time than I thought, unless I finally get press-ganged into being the local Guile-shaped punching bag.


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