Street Fighter V Beta Impressions Part 3: Ryu
Ryu is widely recognized as not only the face of Street Fighter, but as the face for the entire genre of fighting games. However, he serves a much greater purpose as the standard character within the Street Fighter games he appears in. At his best, he has all of the tools a newcomer would need to get an overall feel for the game before moving onto different characters. That said, if you choose to stick with the iconic martial artist, you should be able to hold your own against anyone else in the cast. Does he continue to fill that role in Street Fighter V?
If you’ve ever played as Ryu in any fighting game before, then you largely know what to expect. Of course, his fireball, uppercut and hurricane kick all return. Their EX versions behave similarly as well, save for his EX Shoryuken, which now acts more like his Metsu Shoryuken in Street Fighter IV. Even a lot of his normal moves return, from his signature crouching medium kick to his two hit overhead punch. The only big omission is the donkey kick that was introduced in Street Fighter III, though that move didn’t appear in Street Fighter IV either.
He is as fundamentally sound as ever. Your basic approach to using Ryu in previous games will also carry over just fine. However, some key changes make him more fun and viable in Street Fighter V. For one, he benefits greatly from normal moves with improved linking properties. As an example, his new standing medium punch can be linked to another standing medium punch, a crouching heavy punch, or sweep. His crouching medium punch is a great follow-up. Even his standing back heavy kick, which used to be his close standing heavy kick, can be the start of a big combo if you have the link timing down. With these tweaked tools, he becomes a bigger offensive threat than he was in Street Fighter IV, as he has a lot of different ways of dishing out a ton of damage.
If you bank your EX meter, his Shinku Hadoken Critical Art is excellent. This large and powerful fireball is extremely easy to combo into, making you extremely dangerous with a full bar. A welcome change from all of the extra work required to land a Metsu Hadoken in Street Fighter IV.
New-ish to his arsenal is his parry V-Skill. By hitting medium punch and medium kick, Ryu will parry one hit of an attack, which also builds V meter. The trade-off is that parries can only cancel into more parries, so parrying an attack with quick recovery time might not give you enough time to counter. Admittedly, I didn’t use this much, as I’m not all that comfortable with it yet. That said, its functional benefits as a counter are clear and the end result always looks hype.
One more noteworthy thing about Ryu is his V-Trigger. By activating it, all of his fireballs become more powerful and knock his opponents down on impact. He can also charge his fireballs, letting them go at any time or unleashing as a fully charged one can break an opponent’s guard. Finally, if he does his Critical Art while powered up, he unleashes a devastating Denjin Hadoken.
Extra fireball damage is nice, though the charging ability has a lot of potential as a fake-out. While you’re charging, you can easily wait for an opponent to jump before sniping them out of the air with it. Some clever folks will probably also find ways of setting up their opponents so that they have to eat the fully charged fireball, though I haven’t come up with any so far.
My favourite thing about his V-Trigger is that it can be used as part of a combo. By cancelling a normal into V-Trigger, Ryu can then continue his combo in a powered-up state without missing a beat. Besides the soul-crushing results that come from V-Trigger cancel combos, they’re rewarding to perform for execution monsters.
He may have been fighting in the streets since the 80s, but the old man has still got it. He still has the essentials to keep you competitive against anyone, along with a few new tricks that make him more entertaining to use and dangerous to fight against. Furthermore, his maximum damage potential should be enough to make him a viable option in the long run. Before you run off to experience the flash of Ken or the wrestling throws of R Mika, get your feet wet in the Street Fighter V pool with Ryu.