Street Fighter V Beta Necalli Impressions
Necalli’s barbaric fighting is unlike anything Street Fighter has ever seen before. Raw and animalistic, he scratches, stomps and throws opponents by their faces in ways that can’t be ignored. Just off of sheer looks alone, I think he’s the coolest character to watch in action so far. But behind the aggression, can Necalli brute force his way through his more refined competition?
He wants to be in your face at all times. Part of the reason is because his damage and stun potential is so high when he’s in close. The other reason is because his normal attacks are really short-ranged. His standing light punch and light kick are especially problematic, as they only really work at point blank range.
His only normals that have any range are his standing heavy punch and heavy kick. Both moves have uses within combos, but neither of them have the start-up speed to work as effective footsie tools. If he’s forced to compete in a poking match with someone like Vega, he will find himself at a huge disadvantage.
He does have a few tools that help him close the gap with varying degrees of effectiveness. From the air, he can press down and hard kick to perform a dive kick. He comes down at a sharp angle, which is nice, but there are a myriad of problems with it. For one, the height restriction on it is really tight, making it so that the dive kick only comes out around the apex of your jump. Secondly, Necalli has this wind-up animation that occurs before he barrels downward. It’s more than enough time to react with a block or a counter. Finally, unless you’re able to clip your opponent below the waist, you can’t combo into it. Unless this move gets some significant tweaks, I don’t think it will be used much.
Another move that can be used to irritate distance fighters is Necalli’s V-Skill. Called Culminated Power, this move is basically C. Viper’s Seismic Hammer. Slamming the ground, he causes the ground to shake further away from the screen, knocking down anyone standing there. If used effectively, this move can be used to draw fighters in that don’t want to eat anymore ground pounds.
His best move from distance is the Disc’s Guidance. Lunging forward, he can strike a foe from almost full screen. Best of all, the move has at least one hit of projectile armour. One well-timed lunge and your opponent’s zoning game is destroyed. The big trade-off is that it’s a charge move, meaning you can’ throw it out there willy nilly. I also love it as a combo ender. If you’re able to land a medium Valiant Rebellion, Necalli can link from that into a crouching medium punch and finish off the combo with the Disc’s Guidance.
Speaking of the Valiant Rebellion, this is a move where Necalli forcefully stomps down in his opponent’s toes. It may not look like much, but I love this special move. Since the medium kick version can link into crouching medium punch, it’s a highly effective combo extender along the same lines as Evil Ryu’s axe kick. Unlike Evil Ryu, linking the stomp into the punch is much easier, making it a viable tool for most Necalli players. On counter hit, the heavy version pops opponents into the air and you’ll have enough time for a follow-up attack. You’re going to want to use this move every chance you get.
Necalli’s uppercut is his sole anti-air option. Depending on the button strength, he either jumps straight into the air or at a diagonal. It also works as a decent combo ender in certain situations. Like most uppercuts in this game, I’m pretty sure this one isn’t as invincible on start-up as the uppercuts in Street Fighter IV, but par for course in Street Fighter V.
The temptation to block against Necalli might be strong due to his insane damage and stun potential, but his opposition can’t turtle too much because of Necalli’s Mask of Tilalli. This special command grab causes Necalli to grab his opponents by the face and slam them into the ground. The EX version causes Necalli to throw them off the wall, leaving his foe vulnerable to a follow-up attack before they hit the ground. Besides loving the sheer look of this throw, it’s another great move in his arsenal. The grab speed and spacing is about on par with the other grapplers, though its recovery seemed a bit shorter than R. Mika’s grabs. Having a healthy mix of grabs and attacks in close will keep your rivals off-balanced.
Necalli’s V-Trigger takes three bars to fill up, but it’s so worth it. Called the Torrent of Power, he goes into a Super-Sayin like state where his damage is increased, new moves are unlocked and his frame data changes. This leads to a myriad of new combo opportunities and even a new version of his Critical Art. Normally, that move would slam opponents into the wall and finish them off with a multi-scratch attack. While in V-Trigger mode, he performs a powerful energy attack from point-blank range.
Since this is the beta, it remains to be seen how any of these characters ultimately shake out. That said, I love Necalli. I love his special moves, combos and damage potential. He’s also really fun to play as. The trade-off is that his stubby normal moves are problematic in most circumstances. If you’re able to work your way inside with the tools he has, Necalli is one tough customer.