I’ve been playing ken since sf4 vanilla, i must agree for the large part of sf4 ken has been sluggish with slower walking speed than ryu. In ultra however, i instantly feel that ken has better footsie because of his improved movement speed. But still, the game for ken has always been different than ryu. Ken does not have good normals like ryu’s c.mp that can combo itself and into sweep. Ken’s medium normal cannot connect into any good moves if opponent is crouching and is far from you, often times you see ken players punish whiff moves with only a one hit c.mk. His super sucks, shoryureppa is hardly every used for a good reason. It juggles badly that it is useless for AA, little to none useful ways to connect, extremely unsafe if blocked. I mean just look at ryu’s super and compare. Ken’s damage is weaker than most other shotos, his special moves have higher hit count which means they scale badly and deal lesser damage if they do not connect fully. slow fireball and weak recovery means he does not have a good zoning game and is much riskier to throw fireball at close range.
Ken’s advantage is his step kick, kara grab, thunderkick mixup and 3hit srk for hit confirm. These are some small stuffs here and there but if smartly used, it adds a new dimension to ken’s footsie and close range games. His air tatsu is good pressure after scoring a knockdown. The ex version can be used to catch some zoning characters from afar.
My understanding of ken is that he is a reaction based play character. He cannot zone well like ryu or akuma, he does not have strong normals that he can spam like rose. He cant connect his ultras or super as easily. But he still have the right tools to be competitive and powerful although you have to be on point and execute him really well. Which is why i think momochi is really really good.