Street Fighter 2 world warrior Zangief was announced at the IgoMir computer and gaming convention in Russia. Continuing Capcom’s habit of announcing characters in countries that the characters hail from.
Zangief is one of the staple characters of the Street Fighter series and is the one of the purest examples of a grapple character. Zangief’s announcement comes as a bit of a shock after Street Fighter producer Ono said that R.Mika would be the only wrestler in the game. Also, a lot of fans were expecting the grappler role to be filled with Street Fighter 3rd Strike favorite Alex after the siliconera leaks suggested that both Urien and Alex would make an appearance in Street Fighter 5. This still maybe the case but its looking unlikely that these characters will be included at launch.
Zangief seems to have kept a lot of his moves from the Street Fighter 4 incarnation, but is crucially missing his banishing flat attack which was one of Zangief’s key moves for closing space and punishing attacks. This seems like an odd exclusion due to Street Fighter 5 being a more offensive game than 4. Although, Zangief does have a few new tools to make him fit into the gameplay of Street Fighter 5 better.
His V.skill ‘Iron Muscle’ is a new addition that lets Zangief absorb attacks. He can also hold the V.skill buttons and a direction and hits opponent upon releasing the buttons. The attack absorbing seems to be shown at 0.28 in the trailer. The V-Trigger is called the ‘Cyclone Lariat’, a move that is used to pull opponents in, this can be seen in the trailer at 0.33.
It’s hard to judge from the short trailer as to the extent that Zangief will be different than previous iterations but with his V.skill and V.trigger and no apparent return of the banishing flat, he seems to be even more defensive than he has been previously.
Zangief’s inclusion seems like a very safe one, including yet another Street Fighter 2 character is for me a very disappointing choice when Capcom could have gone for an entirely new grappler or a lesser known Street Fighter character. I think many people were hoping for the latter due to many people wanting to see Alex and Urien included after the silicon era leaks. Whilst Zangiefs new tools seem to have the ability to change up his playstyle a fair bit, I wonder how much of the old cast will be included at launch and whether Necalli, Rashid and the rumored other 2 new characters pose enough of a variety on the roster to switch things up.
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