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Every Street Fighter 6 Launch Character Ranked Worst To Best

The "Street Fighter" series has been around for decades at this point, and though it doesn't have the gratuitous violence of the "Mortal Kombat" franchise, it's charmed plenty of gamers and absolutely ensnared the attention of hardcore fighting game fans. But after "Street Fighter 5" lost failed to hook quite as many players, fans were nervous about the state of the franchise.

Luckily, reviews for "Street Fighter 6" point to it truly being something special in the fighting game genre. The latest entry is everything a fan could hope for. It offers the same deeply strategic combat that "Street Fighter" is known for, but now those complex systems have become more accessible than ever. Whether you've been playing since the cost of a fight was a quarter, or you're making "Street Fighter 6" your first experience in the genre, there's something here for you.

There are also 18 different characters for players to explore as they begin their "Street Fighter 6" journey, and simply put, it's a bit early to predict who's going to become the best combatant on the competitive scene. What we can do is look at what the characters have to offer in terms of approachability, sheer power, and straight-up style, and tell you how they stack up at the outset of this latest chapter.

Blanka

Blanka made his debut all the way back in "Street Fighter 2," and he's been tearing up the battlefield ever since. Both in terms of design and fighting style, Blanka is one of the most monstrous combatants in the entire series. Thanks to his green skin and signature broken chain ankle bracelets, Blanka is an instantly recognizable character. Longtime fans know that his moveset typically includes rolling and jumping attacks that quickly propel him around the arena, and they can expect to see plenty more of that ferocity in "Street Fighter 6."

There isn't a bad character in the game, but Blanka might be one of the least exciting fighters here, particularly for returning fans. In terms of design, Blanka's undergone very few changes since his last appearance in "Street Fighter 5." He's still an eye-catching character, but there's not new much to see. His moveset will also be remarkably familiar to anyone who's played Blanka before. At best, that means players will instantly be able to slip behind the controls and pilot the character, but it may also mean that Blanka will become a more niche fighter.

Zangief

Zangief is another classic character who's back for a fresh round of brawling. This massive Russian muscle man outsizes just about every one of his competitors. Anyone who finds themselves going toe to toe with Zangief needs to look out for his brutal grab attacks, which can easily turn the tables in Zangief's favor. His piledriver attack in particular is a nasty damage dealer that breaks through defenses and pushes Zangief right to the edge of a guaranteed victory.

This is another character whose "Street Fighter 6" iteration embodies the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Zangief has always cut a hulking figure, but in this game he's really bulked up. Muscles bulge around his white and red wrestling outfit, while his classic gold wrist bands and red boots are back, making this look like the definitive version of the character. 

Zangief won't surprise anyone, but sometimes all you need is to smash your enemies into the ground while singing glory to the motherland.

E. Honda

If anyone can give the hulking Zangief a real run for his money, it's E. Honda. Like any good sumo wrestler, E. Honda is an expert at grappling, and he uses his size to crush the life out of his opponents by leaping into the air and coming back down on their heads. While he can be a bit on the slower side, the "SF6" version of E. Honda might be the most mobile yet, thanks to an attack that lets him jump forward and slam into opponents with his head.

Like the previous two fighters, E. Honda will most likely appeal to a smaller niche of players than the rest of the "Street Fighter 6" roster. He's all about intimidation and methodical movement, so you shouldn't expect to dive into a match and start pummeling your opponents right out of the gate. But thanks to a hearty supply of new moves and combos, the process of learning how to properly play everyone's favorite sumo fighter is more rewarding than ever.

Luke

Luke is one of the newest additions to the "Street Fighter" family. Fans of "Street Fighter 5" will likely recognize him from that game's final DLC. He's come a long way in a short time and is now working double duty in "Street Fighter 6." Luke is this game's protagonist, as well as the coach who trains players' custom characters in the newly introduced World Tour mode. Even if he doesn't become your main fighter, anyone who picks up "Street Fighter 6" can expect to see quite a bit of Luke during their playthrough.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Luke's confidence as a fighter is entertaining, and his actual abilities are definitely engaging. Luke functions as a sort of jack-of-all-trades. He's good at a little bit of everything, but he isn't particularly great at any one area of the game. That versatility makes him an excellent starting point for gamers who are just arriving to the franchise, but longtime fans will likely be underwhelmed because of how much overlap there is between Luke and "Street Fighter" mainstay Ryu.

Lily

Lily is a brand new character making her debut in "Street Fighter 6," but she isn't necessarily arriving out of nowhere. She's a member of the Thunderfoot tribe, just like T. Hawk, a classic "Street Fighter" character. Though she shares a common background with T. Hawk, Lily is entirely her own character, boasting a slew of new and exciting moves for players to explore.

The first thing that anyone playing Lily will notice are her two war clubs. These one-handed weapons give many of her attacks some extra range, meaning anyone facing Lily will have to pay extra attention to their spacing. Lily also has access to the Condor Wind, an elemental force that boosts the strength of her attacks and allows her to use new moves when she summons it. Lily isn't the most exciting newcomer in the game, but her mix of classic "Street Fighter" origins with interesting weapons and powers make her a fun early choice for anyone to main.

Dhalsim

When it comes to characters with surprising range, it's hard to beat Dhalsim. "Street Fighter" fans have had over 30 years to familiarize themselves with this long-limbed yoga master. He's appeared in several "Street Fighter" games, including "Street Fighter 5," and every time he's proven himself to be a formidable warrior — as long as the right gamer is sitting behind the controls.

Dhalsim may even seem cheap at first, because he can launch punches and kicks at his enemies from halfway across the arena. Thanks to his yoga practice, he's learned how to stretch his limbs to inhuman lengths, and he can even use his enhanced flexibility to rip opponents out of the air. Just when you think you're out of Dhalsim's range, he'll even lob a small fireball in your direction and disrupt your entire gameplan.

However, Dhalsim's redesign in "Street Fighter 6" isn't exactly revolutionary, and he has fewer new moves to shock longtime fans. Still, Dhalsim has a competitive edge that definitely gives him a leg up on some other characters.

Cammy

Cammy has been through more drama than most other "Street Fighter" characters in recent years. Her most recent appearance in the "Street Fighter 5" DLC "A Shadow Falls" saw her facing off against the evil organization Shadaloo, with which she has a long history, and finally coming out completely victorious. "Street Fighter 6" is the beginning of a new chapter for the character, and with that comes a brand new design.

"This new look is her civilian outfit, while her old leotard is more of a battle-type outfit," game director Takayuki Nakayama said in an interview with PlayStation. Cammy's been through more than a handful of looks over the years, but this might be the best iteration of her design yet. Her athletic wear and flag-emblazoned leather jacket make for the perfect combination of casual and threatening.

As a fighter, Cammy is just as deadly as ever. She's perfect for players who want to charge right at their opponents and start dishing out damage immediately. Cammy can hold back her specials and charge them up this time around, which not only makes them more deadly, but also makes them much harder to see coming.

Manon

Dance-based fighting has never looked so fun. Manon is another new face on the "Street Fighter 6" roster, and she has an especially engaging moveset for players looking to play footsies and control their opponent's movement during a fight. As a character, Manon seems capable of perfecting any art form she tries, from judo to ballet to modeling.

Manon is an expert at dishing out kicks at varying ranges, and trying to avoid her pokes with jump attacks is a non-starter thanks to her anti-air techniques. Two special moves called Manège Doré and Renversé allow Manon to level up her unique Medal system, meaning the more she grabs and throws her enemies around, the stronger her attacks get. Manon doesn't lose Medals between rounds, so she's the type of opponent that needs to be dealt with extremely quickly. 

Whether or not you appreciate Manon's graceful fighting technique will probably depend on which side of them you find yourself on. Either way, there's no denying that Manon is a fantastic addition to the franchise, allowing for plenty of room for experimentation to find her ideal strategies.

Dee Jay

Of all the fighters in the game, Dee Jay looks like he's having the most fun. He wears a glowing smile while he punches and taunts his foes, and it's hard not to get sucked into his enthusiasm for battle. Dee Jay's attitude makes him compelling to watch, and his sense of style reveals small hints of his backstory even to gamers who haven't played "Street Fighter" before. His color palette highlights his Jamaican roots, and the gold chains and gleaming headphones hanging from his neck point to his more recent history as a musician. It's a smart design that's also one of the most visually engaging amongst the returning characters.

As a fighter, Dee Jay has all the tools he needs to be one of the most competitive characters in the game. He has plenty of mobility options, including a unique backwards hop, and his punches and kicks are just as good at mid-range as they are up close. The real stars of his move set, though, are Dee Jay's many feints that will keep opponents in the dark about what kind of attack to expect. He's one of the most unpredictable fighters around, but that also means only the most dedicated players will perfect everything that he has at his disposal.

Marisa

Marisa has an ancestry that goes all the way back to the great Greek warriors, and she isn't shy when it comes to bragging about it. In more ways than one, Marisa has made it something of a goal to imitate her forebears and bring their spirit into the modern world of street fighting. She's styled her hair to look like an ancient Corinthian helmet, and she uses fighting techniques from her family's past to demoralize her enemies and break them into submission.

When it comes to dealing damage, Marisa might be the most intimidating of all the new characters in "Street Fighter 6." Her kicks and punches are as impressive as her workout regimen, and they'll eat away at the health of any opponent who isn't careful. The biggest problem that anyone fighting Marisa will encounter is the fact that several of her moves come with super armor, including her powerful Scutum stance, which means that Marisa's best defense really is her best offense. She's incredibly formidable in battle, but thanks to her offensive focus, she's also approachable for the greenest button mashers in the crowd.

Ken

There are several key components to becoming a master at fighting games, and some of them require hours of practice and button combo memorization. Beyond simply committing move sets to memory, a strong fighting game player also needs to understand mind games, quickly picking up what an opponent might do next — and then tricking them into thinking one attack may be on the way, when really the opposite move is waiting to punish them.

Or, you could do away with mind games entirely and just run in there and start flinging fists. 

Ken has been around since the original "Street Fighter," and he's one of the best rushdown fighters in "Street Fighter 6." He's perfect for gamers who don't have the patience to do anything other than attack. Ken's deceptively simple list of moves can dish out powerful kicks and flurries of punches so quickly that only opponents with the sharpest reflexes will be able to respond. What he lacks in style, Ken makes up for in efficacy, and he might be the perfect starting place for someone who wants fast-paced matches where the victor is decided in seconds.

Ryu

Out of all the old school fighters, there's arguably none more iconic than Ryu. He's been the protagonist and face of the "Street Fighter" franchise since the very first game. He may be ceding that main character title to Luke in the latest entry, but Ryu isn't going down without a fight. Getting behind the controls of the original street fighter immediately reminds players of why Ryu has remained a fan favorite for all these years.

Like Luke, Ryu's combat style could easily be described as "master of none." He's an incredibly versatile fighter who's pretty perfectly balanced across the board. His close-up attacks are stabilized by a long-range fireball, and his strong offensive capabilities are matched by powerful defensive maneuvers and anti-air attacks. Ryu doesn't really have any specialized strengths, but that makes him a great starting point for new players — and for older players, picking up Ryu's controls is like putting on a well-worn leather jacket.

From a design standpoint, the look of this game's Ryu is top-notch. The fighter has clearly aged and is sporting a thick beard. He's still got the classic red bandana and white pants that make it look like he just stepped out of a dojo, but a tattered shawl gives him some extra gravitas.

Juri

Juri isn't the main villain in "Street Fighter 6," but she's still a downright terrifying character. Other fighters are invested in their battles out of a love of the sport, a personal quest for redemption, or a search for deeper meaning through martial arts. Juri, on the other hand, just really enjoys the feeling of crushing her enemies and inflicting pain on the people who oppose her.

Juri is a Taekwondo specialist, and her powerful kicks have never looked as good as they do in "Street Fighter 6." Her attack animations clearly convey how fast she can move, and even if you're getting your face beat in by swirling blows infused with purple energy, you can't help but appreciate the beauty of Juri's moves.

Juri's abilities also give her access to powerful projectiles that help her control the flow of battle. In addition to that, Juri's power-up mechanic lets her stock up on energy to unleash devastating blows. To Juri, absolutely destroying an opponent means little to nothing. One of her ending animations perfectly illustrates her casual approach to violence, as she whips out a sucker and her phone to relax after crushing her enemy.

JP

The main antagonist of "Street Fighter 6" is also one of the game's most exciting new contributions to the franchise. JP comes across as a casual businessman, but behind closed doors he's the leader of a terrorist organization called Amnesia. Even amongst elderly criminals, JP stands out because of his access to Psycho Power, a kind of spiritual energy that's been used by other characters — most notably M. Bison — throughout "Street Fighter" history.

Zoners rejoice! JP presents players with new possibilities for dominating the screen and forcing their opponents to carefully consider every one of their moves. He can use his Psycho Power to blast energy at his enemies from a distance, similar to Ryu's fireball, and he has multiple options for repelling any fighters who get too close to him. But JP's most exciting ability by far is called Departure. It opens a tear of purple energy on the screen, which JP can teleport through or use to launch even more projectiles at his opponent, all while remaining safely on the other side of the screen.

Jamie

Newcomer Jamie embodies the somewhat goofy tone that "Street Fighter 6" strikes with its world, characters, and story. Like Manon, Jamie's fighting style is influenced by dance, but he's not a formal ballet dancer like her. Instead, Jamie combines his love of breakdancing with his expertise in drunken boxing style to keep enemies on their toes. Jamie wastes no time in traipsing over to his opponents and launching a barrage of punches and kicks directly to their faces — and looking hilariously cool while doing it.

Like many of the best characters in "Street Fighter 6," Jamie has a unique mechanic that lets him power up his moves, and it's definitely one of the most fun newer elements in the game. Jamie carries a gourd on his hip, and he can take a quick swig whenever he finds an opening in battle. Each drink powers up Jamie's moves and unlocks new options for him in battle. At four drinks he hits max power, and only the best players will be able to keep up with lightning fast drunken boxing attacks. Even after reaching his max drink level, Jamie can keep pulling from his gourd to replenish his Drive bar, making it even more difficult to overcome his unrelenting attacks.

Guile

Guile has a long history with the franchise. He debuted back in "Street Fighter 2," and fans love this Air Force Colonel for his snappy combat and ability to respond well to anything that gets thrown his way. He's instantly recognizable thanks to his questionable hairstyling choices, and this time around he's also sporting a denim vest that shows off the American flag tattoo on his shoulder.

Playing Guile well is all about anticipating your opponent's next move and either disrupting it or throwing it back in their face. Guile has a mix of formidable offensive and defensive abilities, but a players' best strategy with him is to counter moves, pay attention to spacing, and punish when a solid opening arrives. There's no autopilot mode for Guile, so you've gotta be paying attention to what's happening on the screen at every step of the way.

That all makes for an engaging and thrilling gameplay experience, but it also means that playing Guile well requires quite a bit of practice. The rewards can be huge though. Some gamers reacting to the "Street Fighter 6" beta thought Guile was easily top of the pack, to the point where he might even need a nerf sometime shortly after launch.

Chun-Li

The last thing you want is to be on the receiving end of Chun-Li's high powered kicks. She's been refining her fighting technique since at least the "Street Fighter 2" days, and it's safe to say that the "Street Fighter 6" iteration of the character is one of the strongest that we've ever seen. Much like Ryu, Chun-Li's design in this game subtly illustrates how she's grown and matured throughout the series, but also nicely harkens back to the signature look that first made gamers fall in love with the character in the early 90s.

Aside from Ryu, Chun-Li is arguably the most identifiable character from the "Street Fighter" series, and she definitely has the most recognizable fighting technique. Though she's an all-around expert martial artist, Chun-Li focuses her energy on her kicks, and she's able to rapidly fire her blows at any enemy who gives her an opening. Chun-Li is one of the most well-rounded characters in the game, and even players who are new to the series will find that they can get good results as they start to dive into her combos and supers. 

No one punishes a mistake like Chun-Li, and there's a reason she's been a "Street Fighter" regular for decades.

Kimberly

The top slot in this particular ranking has to go to one of the new characters introduced in "Street Fighter 6." Kimberly is everything that a "Street Fighter" character should be: She's stylish, irreverent, charming, and packs one hell of a punch.

As a fighter, Kimberly is able to quickly dash across the screen to toss punches and kicks in the face of her opponents. She has a number of aerial attacks that allow her to deal damage while also traversing the arena with ease. Whether she's flinging out Shuriken Bombs or popping across the screen for a quick grab attack, Kimberly is able to constantly keep her opponent in the dark about her next move.

Purely as a character, Kimberly is just the right mix of cool and goofy. She graduated college early and has a deep passion for 80s pop culture, but instead of diving into postgraduate studies, she's committed herself to becoming a ninja and premiere fighter. One of her closing animations perfectly captures her aesthetic as she bombards the screen with spray paint while rocking out with her headphones in. 

Kimberly feels like the perfect combination of classic "Street Fighter" and new sensibilities, and even if she doesn't end up being the top competitive character in "Street Fighter 6," she deserves major recognition for what she brings to the table.

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