Not sure what character to start with

So I’ve been playing SSF4 for about, 3 days now, and I’m still not positive on which character I wan’t to main. My friends are all using Ryu, but I don’t want to start with him and only know how to play shoto characters. Right now, I’ve narrowed it down to Abel, Bison, Gouken, or Sagat.

Abel seems to be the hardest to master, as I can’t for the life of me beat all these damn Ryu players. I’m not sure how exactly to punish people who constantly jump in, and I’m not sure whether or not to use the roll to go for a throw, or a COD. Also, when I try to set-up a combo with his elbow launcher, either I can’t close the distance enough for the second hit to connect, or I land it and I’m not sure which move to follow up with.

I’m having some of the same problems with Bison. Its very hard to punish players who constantly rush in, especially Ryu and Zangief. I’m sort of just going for chip damage with medium and light scissor kicks, and waiting for the time to counter, or enough distance to headstomp.

Gouken has the anti-air fireballs, sure, but when I’m trying to bait someone, and they take it, I’m not sure what to follow-up with. His upwards hurricane kick is great, but hard to setup.

For Sagat, its really just a matter of feeling like I’m being cheap,and hes a fireball char. I stay away, and punish jump ins with TP or TK, and spam fireballs. I use his hard kick to hit guys jumping in if I can’t get out a TP fast enough. However, people get closed into me, and I’m not sure what to go for, so I’m having trouble against players who constantly rush and pressure.

P.S.- Having a REALLY hard time with link combos. Feedback would be much appreciated. =)

Do the trials with those characters to get a better feel for their combos, if the move isn’t coming out do it later, if it’s being blocked do it earlier. All those characters save maybe bison are pretty tough to get good with quickly, because they are reliant on either good execution or the ability to read your opponent. It’s difficult to say use X character because A) you’ve been playing for 3 days and B) it’s unlikely that you have that great of a grasp on really how to play.

I recommend Bison out of those, he’s probably your best bet to learn with. A good “get the fuck off me” move for Bison is EX Psycho Crusher. That’s pretty much it. For links, just do what bja_eh said, if it doesn’t come out, you did it too soon, if it’s blocked, you’re too late. If you’re on a stick, try learning to plink, makes certain links much easier.

If you don’t like link combos, play Gouken. No links necessary. You can follow an air fireball with palm to nail them on the way down. Don’t use his hurricane kick too much; the recovery is ridiculous.

Thanks for the both the replies, and yes, I’m actually doing the trials for Bison right now. I’m on a regular 360 controller, but I might invest in a fightpad, maybe even the MadCatz stick. Sort of tired of moves not coming out when I feel like I pressed the right motions…

Any tips on getting better with Abel though, I really like the character, I just can’t seem to master him. And yes, I know, only 3 days of playing I shouldn’t expect much, but I want to be better than my friends, faster than my friends.

Learn his f + mk, s.hp, COD combo

Read the abel forum day and night and read every sticky from start to finish

don’t do wheel kicks

Definitely take a look at the Abel forum in the SSF4 character discussion, as they can give you better advice there.

Generally speaking, I think Abel is a fairly execution-heavy character, so definitely practice some of his tougher combos until you can nail them without even thinking.

Also, keep in mind that if you are in training mode, something that the computer can block isn’t necessarily something a regular player will. Abel’s strength lies in his mixups - attacking characters from angles they don’t expect to be attacked from and thus aren’t blocking for - so while the training dummy will block if it’s set to auto-block, if you’re practicing a mixup, just keep in mind that won’t always be the case.

The main problem many people have with Abel is they are so intent on landing that double-elbow that they neglect lots of other tools Abel has. While the double-elbow is a great setup for a lot, don’t go for it exclusively or you’ll get predictable. Be sure to practice for when it hits though, you want that next move coming out before you even realize you meant to do it!

I’d like to see more Gouken players, but he can be hard sometimes with few links and the incredibly punishable hurricane kick.

I have a friend that uses Gouken.

He has a lot of really simple but highly damaging setups