An All-New Ken Masters…Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before

An All-New Ken Masters…Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before

Even though five, yes five, characters have been supposedly “leaked” for inclusion on the Street Fighter V roster (Blanka, Urien, Alex, Karin, and R. Mika) none of these supposed leaked characters were actually who Capcom revealed at San Diego Comic Con this year. Instead, we got an oldie but a goodie, Ryu’s friend and rival, Ken Masters.

“Awww, but Ken is just a Ryu clone,” I hear the horrible aggregate emotion beast of the whole of the internet’s complaining whine. “Why couldn’t they put someone more exciting in?”

Well, first of all, Ken has been pretty well differentiated from Ryu over the years, so I’m not sure what Street Fighter you have been playing, emotion beast. But second, Capcom went all out and made him almost a completely new character this time around!

First of all, Ken looks a lot different now. Instead of a different color gi, Ken now wears a black body suit and gloves, along with his trademark red pants. His pony tail is also tied up, like a samurai, and he appears to have gotten quite a bit older as well.

Ken’s normals are now very different from Ryu’s. He has different target combos as well, which change up his main methods of doing damage. He has a back-strong, heavy target combo which can be landed from nearly any jump-in and does an incredible amount of damage when linked into one of his special moves. For that matter, most of his normals have longer range that Ryu’s, allowing him to convert into combos after a well-played footsie game.

His specials have also changed quite a bit. Granted, he still has the fireball, dragon punch, and hurricane kick, but his fireball is small and travels slowly, mostly meant for covering his approach rather than zoning. His shoryuken goes much higher, travels much farther than Ryu’s, and even does multiple hits, making it useful as a combo tool. In fact, Ken’s old super the Shoryu-Reppa is now the EX version of his standard shoryuken, making it an incredible damage ender to any combo.

An All-New Ken Masters…Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before

But it’s his hurricane kick that has changed the most. Instead of Ryu’s standard hurricane kick, where one leg is extended outward and the other dangles down, Ken tucks his second leg underneath him and whips his other leg around incredibly quickly. This reduces the hurricane kick’s hit box and makes it a lot faster, even on start up. His hurricane kick also hits multiple times, once again making this a good combo tool. Different strength of hurricane kick now give Ken different trajectories on the screen. He can do a single kick, a horizontal traveling kick, an arcing kick, a hurricane kick that travels upward, a hurricane kick that floats downward from the air, and even a hurricane kick which is essentially a dive kick. Utilizing these new hurricane kicks he can quickly zip around the screen, keeping the pressure on his opponent.

That’s the overall theme of Ken in Street Fighter V: offense. While Ryu is a well-rounded character with tools for both offense and defense, Ken’s gameplay is to keep the pressure on you whenever possible. His V-Skill is the Quick Step, which operates somewhat like a FADC in Street Fighter V. It can cancel out of normals and make him dash forward, after which he has a variety of follow up moves, like his step kick, that he can transition into. If any of these follow up moves hit, he builds his V-Trigger gauge. This technique also gives him access to a run, something no other Street Fighter V character has had up until this point.

His V-Trigger lights everything on fire. Yes everything. His fireballs, dragon punches, and hurricane kicks all gain fire properties. This makes him move much further forward when using any of them (yes even the fireball) and if they hit, they light the opponent on fire which produces extra hit-stun. Combine this with the fact that Ken’s V-Trigger can cancel just about any move, normal or special, and this opens up a variety of new combo opportunities for him. While in V-Trigger, Ken becomes a combo monster, and can do a ludicrous amount of damage while spending only a little bit of meter.

It’s also worth noting that his V-Reversal allows him to light an opponent on fire without going into V-Trigger mode, so keeping Ken on block is very risky. If he manages to hit you with a V-Reversal, he can easily set you up for a follow up combo.

But if you don’t believe us, check out his official trailer and look for yourself!

For more information about Street Fighter V, check out our official E3 2015 preview.

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