Home Editorial Balance Screw the formalities, it’s time for Sagat rage

I was going to start this blog with a sharp-witted discussion of the importance of tactics and strategy to success in competitive games. A lot of long-winded sarcastic remarks about my fictional exceptional skill, with a few shameless plugs for my web show.

But have you seen this clip?

Now, before we go too far, I’ll go on the record to say: Street Fighter 4 is genuinely one of the most balanced fighting games I’ve ever seen. Sure, the Ryu/Balrog dickery online gets a bit annoying at times, but as far as tier list calculations go (are you happy? I used the word “tier” in a post), the entire cast is within a 25% spread of one another. This means that, for the most part, even if you’re playing Guile, you have a sporting chance to beat someone playing, say, Akuma, if you’re good enough. For the most part.

Then there’s Sagat. Now, I haven’t personally had any extra difficulty fighting Sagats (I get my ass handed to me just as often and badly as in the Ryu matchup). But the reality is he is in a league of his own, with a 50% spread over the lowest tier characters, including my main man Vega. And now this Capcom. Really?

What exactly was the thinking behind giving Sagat a time-stopping normal-cancellable power-up move that can link anything into Ultra? Previously, Sagat had easy links to Ultra using Focus Attack Dash Cancel (FADC). This takes 1/2 the EX meter to do the same thing. And it pauses time. So you have an extra quarter second to dip your balls into your opponent’s face in real life before you perform the metaphorical version on-screen.

Again, I never personally considered Sagat overwhelmingly overpowered in my experience. What’s more befuddling isn’t the continued top tier placing this move might give him. It’s that Capcom decided Sagat needed this option. Meanwhile, Cammy gets a Counter Ultra. (watch at 0:38 for the exceptional failure of this implementation)

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