I have played pretty much every day now for about 2 months, I almost made it to Diamond rank so I finally feel I can give my impressions of the game. Having missed an entire year of the game and playing nothing but SFIV in Japan, it took me a really long time to get in to SFV. It's a frustating mess a lot of the time, but at it's heart, it's still Street Fighter. I only use Zangief so bear that in mind when reading my thoughts.
Let's start with the key problems. Gief's main button is his 3F jab and I should NEVER have to fear losing 40% of my health by pressing it. The risk vs reward (hallmark of any SF game) is just not there in the neutral due to the priority system and the crush counters it leads too. I really like the idea that DPs get crush countered though, that is fair for sure. Same for hard knock downs on a sweep since they're usually -100000 on block.
I also hate the plethora of stupidly fast EX-moves that are + on block. Against Urien I need to walk forward because he has a fireball, but his EX tackle is almost unblockable due to the lag. When he can do that and cancel in to Aegis it just makes all your hard work redundant. Birdie's EX dolphin dive is also really annoying, if Tokido can't react to it, what chance do us mere mortals have? In AE they need to make them slower or - on block. I really hate brainless moves. Thank god Balrog's TAP is getting nerfed.
The damage and stun is too high, even Zangief gets stunned by one or 2 mix-ups. The game would be better if we could play more. Surely they will do a general decrease on damage and stun for AE with all the new combo extenders? Otherwise it's going to be even more insane.
But despite all that, if you have the anti-airs down, good punishes and a good understanding of when to V-reversal then you can have many great fights in between the maulings by crazy Lauras and the random Kens. You just have to forget about almost everything you learnt in SFIV. I'm really looking forward AE, if they get it right we will have a great game finally.