I just picked up SSF4AE on Steam about 4 days ago, been having a lot of fun so far, but just one gripe.
I picked Hakan as my main because I love his design. Despite the art style generally being ugly for all the other characters, it somehow fits him perfectly. I also like playing with big beefy grapplers. But most of all, I picked him because he’s an underdog.
Now I am aware of tier lists and how Hakan is ranked at the very bottom. At first I simply attributed this to people perhaps not having the same aesthetic tastes as I do or that maybe he’s just hard to use. I never thought it was because as a character, he’s actually incomplete?!
Here’s what I found out in the few days I’ve been playing:
Hakan has no reliable anti-air (no I’m not counting ultras, those would be unreliable too).
Hakan has no good way to get out of a pressure situation.
Hakan has very poor range when dry and not much better range when oiled.
Hakan’s command throws get beat by regular throw.
Hakan is predictable because he’s highly limited in what he can do.
These factors are HUGE.
I mean if you just take a gander at the character selection screen and go down the list, row by row. EVERY other character in the game with the exception of E. Honda has a clear cut anti-air move (even Honda’s Sumo Smash sometimes works). Most of them are SRKs, while others are standing moves like Yoga Blast or Double Lariat that nonetheless do a good job of beating out many if not all jumping normals that come your way. Hakan…doesn’t have this. I’ve tried searching online and the only answers I can find are to use jumping normals or the Oil Slide as some sort of a trip tactic, or just to plain ol’ block… But the consensus seems to be that everything in Hakan’s arsenal for AA is situational and that he has no single answer to all the different types of air attacks that he can receive. As a result of not having an SRK AA move of any sort, he also suffers from a lack of an AA wake-up game. I can punish people as I am getting up with an Oil Rocket if they are standing right beside me, but not if they’re in the air. The best I can do in that situation seems to be to slide away.
Blocking also seems to be suggested as the most common way to defend against pressure, with the possibility of being grabbed being deemed as something Hakan can just shrug off because of his high HP. Um how is THAT ok?? So I should just sit there and let people grab me when every other character in the game, even other high HP ones, has an option to counter? So playing Hakan I should always play a defensive guessing game and not have the chance to get a perfect? I know I can probably try to focus attack sometimes but again, that’s part of the guessing game because anything that is quick enough to hit twice or more is going to break that and probably result in me eating a huge combo. This makes matches against fast characters like Ibuki or Dudley or the Twins especially tricky because they all seem to have countless target combos in their arsenal and can chain stuff non-stop.
As for Hakan’s range, Oil Rocket literally can only happen if I am touching the opponent. Even with oil, the range doesn’t really increase, as I have witnessed myself missing time and time again when I thought I was in very close proximity. The “range” that people talk about probably comes from dashing in while doing the grab somehow, which I have not quite figured out yet, but it is nothing like Zangief’s SPD (at least from SFA3, the game I played before, where the grab had good range). I thought all 360s were supposed to have good range so that it made people think twice before getting in on grapplers? Anyways, this makes a lot of situations uncomfortable for Hakan because often I will think I’m close enough to someone to punish them for a whiff, but then I do a big whiffing grab and …-_-;;; which gives them a huge opportunity to punish me in return for something clearly undeserved. Oil Dive has better range than Oil Rocket but the problem is it only grabs opponents who are standing up or a little bit in the air, so ducking can easily counter it.
Lastly, this doesn’t make sense to me. Regular grabs beating out Hakan’s command throws… I mean, sure command throws can’t be teched but they are the lifeline of grapplers. How is it fair that anybody can just beat a grappler’s grabs using regular grabs? It’s supposed to be dangerous to get close to Hakan, not “Hey my command throws come out really slow, feel free to grab me because I won’t be able to do anything about it during my animation. Free damage!”
All of these factors combined just make Hakan feel like an incomplete character, kinda like how Balrog (Boxer) was in SFA3 Arcade where he didn’t have Dash Swing Blow or Buffalo Head, which made it hard for him to get in on turtlers or deal with jumpers. Even watching pro gamers like Wildcat815, I could tell Hakan doesn’t have a great mix up game as he lacks options. He doesn’t really have a great anti-projectile punish (EX Oil Slide gets under them but it requires a bar), he doesn’t have good AA, he lacks range on his grabs, the only thing he can really do from afar IS the Oil Slide which hits low, so that becomes very predictable when defending against. He can FADC out of the slide for a fast recovery but that also requires a bar.
A simple break down of all my matches with Hakan is like this. Either the opponent is a jumping bean, or he just ducks the whole round and I can’t really do much about either. It seems everyone knows the glaring weaknesses of Hakan and just abuses them against me non-stop. It’s very disheartening.
You’d think that after so many Street Fighter iterations, Capcom would have gotten the fighting genre down pat and not made mistakes like this. How can they release a character in this state? If Hakan just had an AA move, the story would be totally different. And why DIDN’T he get one? All the other grapplers in the game have AA moves aside from jumping normals or normals with big hit arcs.