Returning to Rose in Street Fighter V

Rose in the Street Fighter IV series will forever be my muse. When I made my ascendency from fighting game scrub to competent combatant, I did so by honing my skills with this formidable fortune teller. Beyond my personal growth as a fighting game player, I felt a connection so deep with Rose that I felt like it was actually me throwing the fireballs and swinging her magic scarf. Since then, I’ve found main characters in different fighting games that I enjoy playing as, but nothing compares to the bond I have with Street Fighter IV Rose.

That connection was severed as players migrated to Street Fighter V. With her not being a part of that game’s roster, I was forced to fight with someone else. Rashid has been a great ally to me, but it wasn’t the same. Even as the game’s mechanics and character balance were refined over time, a Rose-shaped hole in my heart still existed.

Until now. Welcome back, my friend.

She wasn’t actually supposed to be in Street Fighter V. However, due to development-related issues with the franchise’s successor, Capcom decided to create one more season of new characters. Thankfully, she’s one of the characters to make the cut.

It would be disingenuous of me to believe that her inclusion alone would make it feel like old times. Street Fighter V is a different game with many nuances compared to Street Fighter IV. Even after numerous balance adjustments, Street Fighter V is one that favours in-your-face offensive play, versus its predecessor that put a higher emphasis on defense.

Not only are the core game mechanics different, Rose as a character is different too. She’s learned some really cool new tricks, such as the ability to throw fireballs in the air, use Tarot cards to change the strengthen herself or weaken her opponent, and the ability to teleport. Her V-Trigger 2 is a callback to custom combos from her appearances in the Street Fighter Alpha series.

It’s not all buffs, though. Her signature Soul Spiral special move has seen its forward range reduced drastically. No longer doubling as an evasive maneuver, its reduced travel distance forces it to be a combo ender. Her new Soul Throw gives her new combo opportunities, but she stays on the ground all the time, losing the ability to use the move as a quick escape. Other adjustments to her move set really force players to keep the opposition at bay rather than giving her the ability to slip away from sticky situations.

Coming to grips with a familiar character in a new context is going to be a struggle. Compared to my experiences of playing with new characters against online, my general familiarity with Rose definitely translated to more initial success. Being able to use some of her old tools in the same way that I used to use them before felt great! That said, I still lost more matches than I won. There’s still much for me to learn with how she works now within the context of a different combat system.

Whether she becomes my new main in Street Fighter V remains to be seen. Thus far, I think she’s good and has a potentially-high ceiling, but I’m not entirely sold on her being the right pick for me within the context of Street Fighter V. As a character who is more zoning-based and more technical in nature, I’m not sure if we can find the same magic that we did in Street Fighter IV.

Regardless, I’m glad to at least have the chance to play with her again in a modern title. Characters are more than just a vehicle for winning. I love her combat style. I value her role in the greater Street Fighter lore. I fondly remember our good old days. And I’m looking forward to creating new memories with Rose in the current game.

One more thing. Maybe I’m asking for too much at this juncture, but I hope that including Rose this late into the cycle doesn’t disqualify her from being a part of the next game. If anything, I hope that Capcom’s recent efforts in bringing this form of Rose to life can quickly return in whatever the next Street Fighter game may be. For now, Rose and I will try our best to kick butt in Street Fighter V.

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