We should numerical notation this dapper dude
As those of an age may remember, when Crimson Viper first made her debut in 2009’s Street Fighter IV, there was a common opinion that in character design, personality, and playstyle, the Secret Agent Mom felt like SF‘s answer to the fashion-forward King of Fighters roster. C. Viper fit like an (electric) glove, but something about her just felt different — distinctly different from her SF brethren.
I recently visited Capcom HQ, where I had the chance to check out a full build of Street Fighter 6, complete with its launch roster. And while many of the new characters felt familiar — retaining the skills of fighters who had maybe passed through the World Warrior ranks before — one character really stood out, featuring a playstyle that felt borrowed from not just one, but many other fighting franchises.
And that character is the charming but extremely unnerving gentleman, JP.
Street Fighter 6 walkout VS video: Lily vs JP #sf6 #StreetFighter pic.twitter.com/aNOa8WgaVs
— Chris Moyse (@ChrisxMoyse) May 2, 2023
JP’s fighting style is one of extreme zoning, mind games, and, ultimately, full-screen frustration. The sinister industrialist fights with emotional apathy, content to stand the full length of the screen and prevent his opponent from gaining any ground. JP is equipped with multiple ethereal projectiles, (“Torbalan”), that are able to attack at multiple heights, and, dependent on the version used, can contain the properties of overheads, lows, and even unblockable throws.
In addition to these attacks, JP’s “Triglav” allows him to stab his cane directly into the ground, launching thorns at optional distances that create knockdown potential at full range, while also defending him from incoming projectiles and airborne opponents. If this arsenal wasn’t enough, then “Departure” sees him create up to two portals at will, that can throw out further thorns on timed release, (“Departure: Shadow”), or also act as teleportation portals, (“Departure: Window”), for when things get a little crowded.
It doesn’t end there, as JP is also able to counter melee strikes into “Amnesia”, which sees a bomb of pure Psycho Power chase down and attach itself to the opponent, detonating in a fashion to leave them open to attack or combo extensions — ala Rose’s Soul Sattelite, or Manon’s orbs. And even if an opponent does manage to lock our man down, then he can send them reeling backward with “Stribog” a swift, hard attack with his cane, that also wallsplats at the cost of meter.
Ultimately, JP’s game plan is to keep his opponent practically full screen, close down all their routes of entry, push back on any advance, and then surprise them with teleports — either for the purpose of escape or attack. Essentially it is a combination of prediction (for him) and frustration (for them).
He’s a frightening entity. Which might see him become a very popular choice in SF6‘s launch days.
With his oddly-shaped, ghostly projectiles, myriad directional options, homing attacks, on-screen “traps”, and his exquisite visual design, he reminds me of a typical Guilty Gear fighter, while his barrage of tough-to-read, full-screen specials recalls the ungodly King of Fighters bosses from the ’90s, or even Lost Warrior from DNF Duel.
Perhaps most bizarrely of all, JPs array of projectiles, diagonal air strikes, ground thorns, and “keep away” gameplay instantly recalls the controller-snapping irritance of facing Mortal Kombat 11 Elder Goddess, Cetrion. On first impressions, JP is a reminder of so many different, non-SF fighters.
And all of them are a menace.
While some characters should have little trouble gaining ground between these attacks — think Blanka Ball, Sumo Headbutt, or Yoga Teleport — I think we’ll find, in time, that the key to defeating these smothering specials will be deft use of the Drive Gauge. Drive Impact to power through his close-distance pushback efforts, and Parry Rush proving the key to responding to JP’s projectiles — closing the gap before he can recover.
Still, these are not beginner skills, and I can’t help but wonder whether Online JP is to be crowned the first Street Fighter 6 nightmare in the early going…
…Well, you all did want a villain, right?
Street Fighter 6 launches June 2 on PlayStation, PC, and Xbox platforms. Be sure to check out my other thoughts on the new build, as well as my report on Lily’s Arcade Mode. In addition, here are 50 things I loved in the beta, and my suggestions on the 10 World Warriors who would fit right into the new title as post-launch DLC.