By now, you've had a chance to check out our recent post-Season 2 interview coverage featuring notable players in the FGC. From tournament legends to next-gen contenders, we've gained some interesting perspectives on Street Fighter V's new direction. As we wrap up with the month, PVP Live had an opportunity to connect with another international tournament veteran: Alioune Camara.
Keeping with the previous theme, Alioune goes into detail about his thoughts on the new balance changes, elaborates on his character picks, as well as other Season 2-related topics.
What are your thoughts on the Season 2 patch?
So far I would say that Season 2 is not fundamentally very different from Season 1, as the changes were mostly focused on the characters. Capcom is trying to streamline characters' strong offensive tools (i.e. strong positive on block, medium attacks coming out in 6f across the cast, ways to link from those normals for everyone) while also limiting the effectiveness of jab anti-airs and throw loops.
Overall, the game feels like it has slightly opened on the combo possibilities with one or two more variations to extend combos per character, and a few have been given specific properties to navigate through fireballs or maintain pressure.
So it is a mixed feeling of (trying to) fix some of the recurring problems faced at high level (the strategies felt very repetitive) while not rethinking it as a new game.
When it comes to the system, the significant changes — which is two times slower grey health regeneration — slightly slower v-reversals overall not allowing characters to transition into a guaranteed offensive pressure right after. I was expecting a much bigger overhaul coming from Season 1, whether be it cosmetics (HUD, menu options, user interface) or concerning the system specifics.
How would you describe the direction for Street Fighter V?
I would describe SFV as a fast paced fighting game,with a relatively straight forward gameplay and a distinct set of characters when it comes to their toolsets.
- On offense get in, apply normals frame traps/land a throw, repeat.
- On defense use the 2 different wakeup timings to have your opponent mistime their pressure, capitalize with fast attacks/V-Reversal, go into offense.
Do you feel the game needs additional sub-systems or combo variances to give it more depth?
Capcom has made an effort to open up the combos for quite a few characters into Season 2, with more ways to cancel into their V-Trigger or simply more distinct use of their combos extender whether to inflict more damage, more stun, or better situations. The newest character into SFV, Akuma is the perfect example of that, where he is given a relatively free form type of toolset where every tool serves a specific purpose.
Though I feel that a few subtle changes in mechanics could make the game a lot more enjoyable to watch/play without going too crazy.
Currently there is not a distinctive mechanic that allow players to express their skillset while on the defensive side. Even worse, with the changes to the grey health regeneration, blocking normal attacks (or getting hit by V-Reversal) put you in a very bad spot as you are very likely to lose that grey health. In a sense, the best defense in Street Fighter V is to go on the offense. That in conjunction with the 2 quick wakeup timings 5 frames apart from each other preventing any sort of on the fly adjustment.
It leads to a very scripted approach of the offensive/defensive patterns with framekill setups covering both wakeups, or risking to lose your pressure to an unreactable delayed wakeup jab.
I would have loved for a sub-system to counterbalance in a subtle way all the craziness. I suggested earlier on twitter as an example, a "just defend" mechanic that would allow you to regenerate grey health faster with a higher possibility of not blocking correctly (I wouldn't mind grey health mechanic being strong in that case).
Not to forget defensive prowess are often very popular in games and from a viewer perspective (i.e. Daigo/Justin parry, FAB just defend skills in the Guilty Gear series, etc.) It would make overall for a more impressive experience for viewers. It could come with some amazing sound / visual effects.
Some other suggestions could be related to ways of preventing opponent to build V meter, meter conversions.
Another welcomed change could have been to up the number of throw invincible frames on wakeups from 2 frames currently to 4 or 5 frames (fastest normal attacks being 3 frames in SFV: if you time your command grab to grab right after those 2 frames,it will beat any normal attack), while also making it harder to reversal attacks under specific conditions (no reversal on backroll).
Changes that could fight the currently volatile nature of the current meta that generated strictly scripted answers to cover situations.
You’ve used a variety of characters last season. Briefly give us your opinion on their newest changes.
Last season I started as Necalli, then transitioned into Cammy, Fang, Karin, and mained Chun Li. I also took the time to learn Ibuki and Juri when they launched last season.
While Chun Li was made more reasonable as expected on the offensive side, with nerfs to her instant air legs advantages and a slower low jab with less reward, she was given new combos routes into V-Trigger and new cancel opportunities. Overall I think she is still a fundamentally strong character.
Necalli's anti-air jab has been toned down while also giving him new combos, ways to deal with fireballs. Fang didnt see many significant buffs but I think Capcom is being very careful at not making him stand out as a result of the strong characters being less effective, and the grey health nerf should be a direct up to the character. Karin and Cammy are relatively much stronger coming into Season 2 and Ibuki and Juri are more in line with the rest of the cast in term of strength.
Do you have have plans to explore other characters?
I am currently heavily investing into Akuma, who in my opinion is the most fun experience I have had so far with the game. Despite quite a few weaknesses and the lowest health in the game, I feel that with time he might have the potential to become a strong character.
I also plan to play all the new DLC characters from Season 2 and I am very curious about what Capcom can do when they create these new characters from scratch without the limitations of having to re-import an iconic playstyle. From a competitive side, with CPT and official French nationals coming next year, I plan on exploring more deeply the changes made to the Season 1 characters as well.
Do you feel the update allows players to play a more reactive, neutral style?
Unfortunately, with no further input lag reduction (which everyone expected), the game is still quite hard to follow sometimes. There were a few changes to moves and specials frames there and there, I do not think that is enough to call it a reactive game.
Neutral is quite similar to Season 1, as the strong characters will still force you into bad spots that you can hardly avoid, and set play is stronger than ever with the change to meterless reversals as a side effect.
Which characters do you forsee being the strongest or weakest in 2017?
As of right now, I think Cammy and Guile are the strongest characters in the game on their own tier, followed by Karin, Laura, Rashid — then maybe characters like Zangief, Urien, or still Necalli. Some Japanese players seem to rate Zangief as high as Cammy and Guile, though I have not witnessed it yet.
This is still all speculative and very early and I expect a few to characters like Akuma to rise later into the season as a few very talented players have been working on him.
What steps have you personally taken to help your scene improve for the coming year?
Currently I have been uploading some of my work with the latest character Akuma to help develop him, while also doing the same in my other main games which are King of Fighters XIV and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator.
I am trying to bridge the gap between the respective communities by getting our local players to try different aspects of what makes the genre so unique and diverse and make them better at said games.
Do you feel there should be another patch update before CPT begins?
I feel that a handful of the buffs some of the characters received are quite questionable and it may be a sign that Capcom is still planning on updating the game before the next CPT.
They did a decent good job at identifying some of the character specifics problems though, so we will see.
Where would you like to see SF V a few years from now?
I would like by next year for SFV to solidify its user experience first, cosmetic changes, amazing content and maybe a PS4 Pro update? Aside from that, I hope Capcom keeps on updating the core mechanics and not only focus on the esports aspect of the game.