Lol, this games has a huge amount of defensive options:
Backdash is throw invincible
3 separate wakeup timings when getting knocked down
The problem with defense/neutral is that only a few characters have a really solid damaging AA while simultaneously having a really strong poke based ground game. Most characters don’t have AA’s that simultaneously cover both crossups and midrange jumpins, and it’s easier to get into crossup range.
The game becomes one where it’s very unfeasible to win from neutral alone.
Winning from neutral alone would look like winning from neutral poke damage and a solid AA into setting up more neutral.
Few characters can realistically do this. Almost every character is forced to try to go in and land a combo or 2.
This makes it easier to defend since you KNOW the opponent will be coming in eventually.
But AA’s tend to be slow or do very little damage.
It’s basically a game that has everything turned around ass backwards. Neutral should be the primary driving force of the game with the combos being secondary.
But this game puts hitting combos at the forefront BUT air makes it so that you have to be in telephone booth range to hit combos. This makes play very 3/4 screen or in your face… with little in between.
The few characters that are decent at the in between ranges tend to have terrible far ranges or terrible upclose ranges.
Birdies is great from midrange as an example but he’s kinda bad from far.