From the sea? From a cave? An island? Fuck, I’m not even sure and I have a bunch of Street Fighter tattoos, but it doesn’t matter where he came from, Akuma’s back, y’all! Messatsu!
Yes an official Season 2 was confirmed some time ago by Capcom for the somewhat maligned (Maybe deservedly so? Depending on what kind of mood I’m in?) Street Fighter V, to both steal some of Tekken 7’s Akuma cameo having thunder and to get grimy ass fucking nerds who care more than they should about Street Fighter lore but don’t have the time to actually get and stay good at it competitively (raises hand) back on board with the beleaguered PS4 exclusive. Akuma dropped about a week before Christmas but yeah, I suck, there’s no excuse for it, I just recently got a chance to dive into his many newfound changes and quirks and hell yes, this might just be the most accessible, fun to use, and most importantly, competitively viable BEAST of an Akuma ever.
For now, anyway. I’m sure that the erstwhile Gouki’s performance will be nerfed all to hell once Capcom patches the game again but for right now he’s amazing. His ground pounding Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Kongou Kokuretsuzan now serves as his standard critical art and it’s a cinch to hit confirm it off of a Gouhadoken or Goushoryuken for massive damage. The Hyakkishu diving kick is now performed via and half circle forward, can still be cancelled into either a punch or throw, and will automatically auto correct into a sweep it flies over an opponent’s head.
Unfortunately you can’t jump back and throw air fireballs anymore, one of my favorite scrubby keep away tactics in Street Fighter IV, unless you’re powered up into Akuma’s V Trigger mode, then fire away! Having V Trigger enabled with a full super bar is also now the only way to perform the new and improved Raging Demon. A minor setback, making the iconic move a much rarer occurrence from match to match, but I’ll live.
All this and the master of fists (Feel how weak you truly are!) comes wrapped up in a redesign that well… yeah, looks kind of goofy. Sporting a beard that would make most of the dudes in the pit at a metal show jealous and a giant lion’s mane of dreadlocks showing that Necalli isn’t the only one that’s been watching too many Finn Balor matches. It’s, um… well… there’s a great looking “nostalgia” costume that restores Akuma’s classic look. Yeah that’s better.
Unfortunately all of this style perfecting goodness comes at a cost, illuminating just how much of a relative failure this entire endeavor has been for both Capcom and Sony and how much of a miracle it is that the game is receiving any new content at all, with Capcom sure to be wishing they could just abandon this ship and go all in on the sure-to-be greener pastures of the upcoming Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. A hefty 29.99 nets you the “Character Pass”, which includes Akuma and his fellow yet-to-be-announced Season 2 characters, all confirmed to be “brand new” characters to the franchise (sorry, Sagat fans).
“Character Pass” is interesting branding, considering that the first one was grossly mislabeled as a “Season Pass”. At least now they aren’t straight up lying about there not being an all in one option for every piece of DLC. Having bought the game at retail, both “passes” at full price and a bunch of random stages and costumes, I don’t really even want to think of how much I’ve spent on a game that I consider to be a disappointment at best and a childhood ruining cataclysm at worst. Still, it’s Street Fighter, and I am it’s battered wife (see also: Resident Evil 7 later this month), continuing to come back again and again, hoping things will get better. But at least Akuma’s in it now, right? Right!?