The Goshoryuken is only used by those who have mastered the assassination art that it originated from, being the "great" incarnation of the Shoryuken as its name implies (as with the Hadoken and Gohadoken).
Executed by performing a "Shoryuken" motion (forward, downward then down-forward) and pressing punch, the user performs a Shoryuken that strikes hard and slices. Instead of crouching before jumping, the user strikes the foe straight in the chest and jumps from a standing position. It can land for multiple hits like Ken's Shoryuken, and has the range and overall function property of Ryu's Shoryuken.
In the Marvel vs. Capcom series, some versions can emit dark purple flames similar to Ken's fierce Shoryuken.
In Street Fighter V, executing the Goshoryuken while Akuma's V-Trigger, Dohatsu Shoten, is active adds an additional hit where Akuma slams his opponent back to the ground in a similar fashion to the Misogi or the full animation of Evil Ryu's Messatsu Goushoryu. Meanwhile connecting with the EX variant causes Akuma to execute a similar motion to the Messatsu Goushoryu except he changes hands for the second Goshoryuken, giving it a similar appearance to Oni's variation of the move.
The Goshoryuken is primarily used as an anti-air move. With practice and the right reads, it is possible to use it to counter and stuff almost any move. The trade-off for this is that the user is completely vulnerable to attack as they fall back to the ground, and for a split second after landing.
This move results in a knockdown and inflicts a good amount of damage. It is mainly used to end combos and interrupt the opponent's jump-in attempts. By shutting down the opponent in the air, Akuma can keep the fight on the ground, where he highly excels at. While this move does more damage than other special moves, it knocks the opponent back almost 1/2 screen, thus resetting the neutral game. Akuma can continue zoning out his opponent with projectiles, such as Gohadoken or Sekia Goshoha.