It’s been a little while since Capcom has announced a new Street Fighter V character — since December, in fact. While Akuma was revealed and joined the game shortly afterward then, the company also mentioned that five more would arrive as part of the second season, and teased them in silhouettes. That’s reminiscent of their approach to the first season, though unlike that one, the remaining five characters are making their playable SF debut. It’s a risky move considering many fighting game fans like seeing familiar faces, some of which still haven’t returned here. But it’s nice when a company doesn’t want to rely on tired and true, and desires to embrace something new.
(Don’t hit me for that rhyme, please.)
The newest character revealed was an obvious inclusion thanks to the very blatant tease Capcom provided, her recognizable silhouette, and the fact that she already has a character model. That’s Kolin, formally revealed in a gameplay trailer — complete with a track from Lupe Fiasco.
It’s possible you might know her better as Helen, her identity in Nash’s Character Story and the “A Shadow Falls” Cinematic Story Mode. If that’s the case, I’m sorry for the endgame twist that’s now ruined for you; but don’t worry, it’s not as if SFV’s story modes are worth experiencing. At the end of the main story, Street Fighter III boss Gill transforms Helen into his faithful assistant Kolin, previously seen in Dudley’s endings in the first two SFIII iterations and Gill’s 3rd Strike intro. There’s an ice-shattering effect during her transformation, which shows how on-the-nose that tease was.
It also hinted at how Kolin’s move set will be unique by SF standards. She uses the Russian martial art of Systema (which actually exists), a style focused on the fighter keeping their cool (ha ha) and turning the opponent’s momentum against them. It also focuses on using hand strikes and knife slashes to strike at specific pressure points, which Kolin relies on for Rekka-style combinations and rapid-fire attacks. She can also throw ice balls for zoning and juggle potential, and can utilize counterattacks that trigger when the opponent tries to connect with certain maneuvers. It looks rather “Predictabo!” if you get my drift.
For her V-Skill, Kolin performs the “Inside Slash,” a double slash with autoblock properties to counter specific attacks. It’s tough to tell whether it can be used in the middle of a combo, but it definitely doesn’t look safe enough on block to be used as a pressure tool. Given her Rekka-like abilities, though, there’s a good chance she has other useful techniques for that purpose. Kolin’s V-Trigger is the “Diamond Dust,” an attack where she slams her foot on the ground twice with a full meter. The result is a ground torrent of ice that will freeze the opponent’s Stun meter if it connects, meaning it won’t deplete like usual. This will also leave them frozen in place instead of dizzied if the meter reaches its maximum point. It sounds useful, but there may be catches we’re currently unaware of.
Kolin’s Critical Art is the Frost Tower, which starts with a dashing stab, and concludes with the opponent being temporarily pinned to a gigantic icicle if it connects. It’s far from the flashiest CA in the game, but should be practical assuming it’s damaging enough both inside and outside combos. There’s currently no way to tell if this technique lets Kolin maneuver around projectiles, but it would help her if it did. Look forward to some tournament players getting ahold of her to discover more combos and techniques before she’s released for all players at the end of the month.
Since SFV is a fighting game with a heavy free-to-play-style component, Kolin’s arriving alongside extra outfits that mostly won’t be free. Her Story outfit can be purchased with Fight Money, provided you have enough left over. It’s also the most fanservice-free outfit, though you have to wonder how she can maintain her stabbing attacks while wearing mittens. Her Premium costume is a spy outfit with no pants, making her bear a slight resemblance to Cammy. The Nostalgia outfit is her suit from SFIII and the end of SFV’s story mode, where she wears a very short dress.
You can get the Premium outfit if you also purchased the $30 Season Pass for all the characters, but you have no choice but to pony up real cash if you want the Nostalgia one. Given the lack of players, this is how Capcom continues to make money off this game.
Kolin will release on February 28th. Four more new characters should arrive after her, with the next face possibly being revealed next month. We’ll see if this is the start of them maintaining a good pace for reveals and releases from here on, but it’s tough to have faith given how Capcom’s handled this game — even one year later. Take a visit to the Japanese website to hear a preview of her theme, which is rather…chill. I am not sorry.