The Red Cyclone has returned! Yep, Zangief is back for Street Fighter 5, and much like the rest of the cast, he’s made a rather notable shake-up to his traditional fighting schtick. In much the same way that Bison has traded his pressure-game ferocity for a more sedate, stoic approach, and Charlie’s old charge ethos has been swapped for stick-rolling, rushdown brutality and fireball-killing momentum, ‘Gief is already expressing a fair few new tricks that look to transform how he plays rather excitingly indeed.
First of all, there’s that new juggle game. Through his reveal trailer we can see an uncompromising salvo of launched Bisons being hit, grabbed and slammed before they can even get close to hitting the ground, that jumping, anti-air spinning piledriver looking a particularly terrifying addition to his arsenal. It’s not just air-grabs either, as some of his new ground hits seem more than capable of inflicting enough hit-stun to follow up with a lethal command-throw. In a nutshell, New ‘Gief’s set-up and counter game looks strong.
On the subject of counters, he looks far more difficult to shut down now, too. Traditionally the best strategy against Zangief is to keep him away with projectiles, and lock down his momentum if he gets too close. That crotch-slam counter, however, looks to radically change that dynamic, allowing him to come out strong even under rapid-fire duress. And it looks like he has his own version of Street Fighter IV’s hit-absorbing Focus Attack too, as exhibited in that bit where he nullifies an entire jump-in combo by turning red and flexing a lot, before punishing the attempt with an SPD. Throw in his new ability to headbutt fireballs out of the air, and we can expect him to be hardly vulnerable, and always be advancing, like a big, meaty Terminator.
Also, German suplex. There’s a large space in my heart for any game trailer that ends on a massive German suplex. Especially one that pushes a man through the floor. Well played, crazy, mohawked bear-man.
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