How To Play Arcana Heart 3 – Part 5: Advanced Attacking – Combos

By James Xie - PR Coordinator, Aksys Games . April 22, 2011 . 7:43pm

Table of Contents


Now that we’ve got all the parts down, we can finally start talking about combos and how they work. Taking your opponent to zero health will be a breeze if you can land your combos consistently!




Basic Combo Theory – Keeping your opponent in Hitstun

When you hit an opponent with an attack of any sort, it hits your opponent in a state commonly referred to as “Hitstun.” When your opponent is in Hitstun, they cannot do anything, such as block or attack, so as you continue hitting them indefinitely, so long as your attacks keep them in Hitstun long enough for the next attack to hit. As you continue to do this successfully, your combo counter, the blue number that appears, will rise.




While this sounds extremely broken at first, Arcana Heart 3 has a system similar to BlazBlue: Continuum Shift where the damage scaling of the combo is proportionate to the amount of Hitstun that is inflicted per attack. Put in simpler terms, the more you hit your opponent, the smaller the Hitstun is for each attack, and the longer your combo is, the greater the difficulty to continue it.




If your opponent leaves Hitstun, they will either return to a state where they can attack or block again or they will be able to perform a maneuver like an Aerial Recovery to escape further attacks. This marks the end of your combo, as you won’t be able to continue hitting your opponent for free.




One thing to note is that if your opponent has the opportunity to perform an escape maneuver but does not, you will be able to continue hit them as if they were still in Hitstun. If this happens, the combo counter will appear Red instead of Blue.




Basic Combos– Learning how to “Cancel”

Cancel – A “Cancel” is a basic term that describes interrupting the animation of one attack with another attack. In general, this is done by performing the maneuver you want to cancel into as your first one makes contact with your opponent. As you would expect, this greatly enhances your ability to perform combos, as it will greatly cut down the time between your attacks and allow you to keep your opponent in Hitstun much more easily. Note however, that most attacks can ONLY be canceled if they connect with your opponent and most of them CANNOT be canceled if they whiff completely.



Normal Cancel – A Normal Cancel is similar to the attack chains you can perform in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 or BlazBlue, you are able to cancel your Normal Attacks into one another in a set pattern. Similar to both of the aforementioned games, these attacks generally chain together from A to B, to C, to E (skipping D, since it’s not an attack). Simply by pressing these buttons in a row, you can perform a basic combo and it’s generally the starting point for most combos in this game.




Special Cancel – A Special Cancel is where you cancel some form of attack into a Special Attack. Most Normal Attacks can be Special Canceled, so this gives you a way to extend your combos.




Super Cancel – A Super Cancel is very similar to a Special Cancel, but instead of canceling into a Special Attack, you cancel into a Super Attack. Most Normal AND Special Attacks can be canceled into Super Attacks, so this is another way to extend your combos, albeit at the cost of your Arcana Gauge.




Jump Cancel – A Jump Cancel is exactly what it sounds like. It is the ability to cancel an attack of some sort into a Jump or High Jump. This maneuver is very useful in changing your ground combos into air combos or extend air combos, so make sure to find out which of your attacks are Jump Cancelable to maximize your damage.




Homing Cancel – A Homing Cancel is performed by performing a Homing Dash after your attack hits or is blocked and costs one meter of your Arcana Gauge. A Homing Cancel allows you to cancel an attack into a Homing Dash. As you may remember, most Homing Dashes can be canceled into attacks after a brief period of time. Combined with the fact that the recovery of your attack has already been canceled into this dash, this makes the Homing Cancel one of the most powerful tools for pressuring an opponent or making advanced combos. A common pathway for using the Homing Cancel is to Homing Cancel an attack with a ton of hitstun, but low high recovery to continue a combo.



For example, Heart’s 2c will knock an opponent into the air, but they will hit the ground long before she actually recovers, but using a Homing Dash will negate this problem.




Arcana Homing – This is exactly the same as a Homing Cancel, except that it applies only to Arcana Special Attacks. This can be done even if the Arcana Special Attack whiffs completely, allowing to more options to use Arcana Special Attacks.




Extend Force Cancel – Very similar to the Rapid Cancel in BlazBlue, an Extend Force Cancel is canceling an attack into an Extend Force. Like the Extend Force, this will consume your Force Gauge and it can only be performed on the ground. The Extend Force Cancel is awesome because it acts as a true cancel and will immediately interrupt what you’re doing and put you back in a neutral state while applying the abilities of your Extend Force as well. During the Extend Force Cancel, the Force Gauge drains somewhat faster than normal, but the power of the Extend Force Cancel makes it very powerful for creating combos or pressuring an opponent.




That’s it for basic combo theory. Tune in next time, for when we’ll go over how to create mix-ups, and how to defend yourself!


From here on out, the concepts will get more and more difficult, so I’m opening the floor to questions of any kind. Ask away about strategy or anything Arcana Heart in the comments!



Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • Code! WHen the freaking psn is back online someday, i think i will be able to get Arcana Hearts 3!! AHHHHHH, now i better start reading these guides more carefully

    • Teh hackers are ruining my gaems mang.

      • ima g0nn4 h4ck thse hax0rz in a l33t way

      • Code

        rar, I forget what there point even was now that I’m consumed by such unbridled rage because I had to watch two friends play Mortal Kombat for an hour, instead of being able to play Arcana Heart 3! These hackers have ruined fun for everyone omo~! rar, also on a related point is it just me or does it feel like they are taking anonymous’s “good” name and attaching it to there own agenda, I reeally wanna see real anonymous, show fake hacker anonymous who’s who +_+;

        • Yo code, is the only way to play with people through the net is having them on friends list? or can you play with random people like Naruto Ultimate Ninja storm 2? O_o

          • Code

            I figure you can play random matches through “ranked” like Blazblue. But I don’t have it yet either; the network’s been down here too, and I’m basically waiting for stuff to pan out a little.

          • I have it. You can play random people on ranked mode.

          • Cool, thanks for clearing that up

    • BK0000

      That’s just another reason why everyone should be against digital distribution. If Aksys could have released a physical copy of the game, you wouldn’t have to worry about hackers. Digital distribution needs to die.

      • Yeah, but well, im fine with getting the game T.T, is not that i wont get the game because they are releasing it on a way i dont like xD, of course i would have loved phisical T_T, but *sigh* is not like me crying around in forums would do anything, there was more than enough when Agarest Wars came…., im sure aksys is doing what they can, at least we are getting agarest zero phisical and it even has japanese voices (so this must be an advancement againts SCEA!) with sexy extras so Aksys is forgiven… for now… Muhahahahahah.

        And damn hax0rz, why dont they go hack apple or some bank and leave us alone with our games =(

      • Not that I’m in favor of console DD (I am really, really not) …but you still need PSN to play online. Disc or no disc, the fact that right now you can’t play against another human unless they’re in the same room with you is arguably the bigger problem.

      • nilcam

        Except that without digital distribution this game would most likely not be available outside of Japan. So long as DD is making it possible for games like this and more unique games to be released, I’ll support it.

        • Guest

          It’s available on disc in Europe proving it’s not an unlikely affair.

  • Ereek

    Ask away about strategy or anything Arcana Heart in the comments!

    As someone who generally prefers 3D fighters, what does AH3 offer me that other 2D fighters don’t?
    Yes, I’ve read the articles, but I’d still like an opinion.

    • Arcana Heart 3 is most unique from other 2D fighters in the amount of mobility and freedom that both players possess and the interactions/mindgames that occur due to said mechanics.

      With that said, I’m not exactly sure what mechanics you like about 3D fighters, but if you enjoy spacing and subtle mobility mindgames, Arcana Heart 3 might be enjoyable for you. If you absolutely hate vertical movement, you may have a problem.

  • Altritter

    I like these articles, but they remind me that PSN is down and that I can’t get the game like I’d been planning to. ;___;

  • z_merquise

    To Aksys:
    Is there a demo available for this game? I still have to wait for my next pay day (3 weeks from now) to buy a PSN card but I just wanted to try this game as soon as PSN issue was fixed.

    Also, I’m interested to try Akane first but is the character good for newbies (like me) or is she meant for advanced players?

    • There is no demo available for Arcana Heart 3. Sorry about that!

      As for Akane, she is relatively simple to play and is a good choice for beginners, but she is also very strong at high level play. Her Kotodama mechanic is a little bit complicated at first (with Kotodama stored, she can cancel her Special Attacks into one another), as it is difficult to find time to charge them up or differentiate when to use them, but that’s about it.

  • Code

    rar, also James you’ve told me everything I wanted to hear owo; I’m totally snatching this up soon as possible~!

  • fermented

    Another great guide on AH3 basics.

    Also, I came across this hilarious video on how to play AH3 (some nsfw language):

    • Code

      rar, haha that totally sold me >w<~!

    • I watched that recently, made me laught, specially the

      “Keep your friends closer, and your videogames closer” xD, it has become my nindo >8O

  • Exkaiser

    I couldn’t get into Arcana Heart (I’m a Melty guy, myself), but it’s nice to see Akysys put out guides like this. You’re cool guys.

  • I wonder how much this PSN outage will actually hurt the sales for this game. I bought a card just to buy this game and haven’t been able to sign in since wed.
    My other curiosity is how hard it is to bring this game into the buyers head space, since the 2nd game hasn’t been released here and its been quite a while since the original on PS2?

    • I dont think it will hurt it… it will just slow down the sales

      • My concern is that by the time Sony gets PSN back up, the store will be updated on tuesday and AH3 will be removed from the main page adverts. Thus greatly limiting its exposure outside of people who are specifically looking for it and finding out about it on news sites or forums. I think this will hurt more than just slow sales, it’ll more likely be lost sales as well.
        I love 2D fighters and hope this game does well.

        • Umm… i wonder, maybe SCEA will have to not update this week, i imagine that wasn’t the only thing and publishers may complain?

          Anyhow i also hope this game sells well, not only because i like 2D fighting games but also for Aksys :D

    • I think it’ll depend on what comes out on Tuesday, really. I have regular Thursday night fighting games with my friends and a couple of my cousins and I know, at least, six other people waiting to buy this. They had planned on doing so by Thursday, but, obviously circumstances prevented that.

      Those who want it are going to get it whenever it’s released and if the next update is a small update, people will browse more. If it’s another big update, though, this will probably get pushed out of the mindset of a lot of people.

      That said, I am anxious to try this online (as well as to finally get started on the Infamous 2 BETA I was accepted into).

      I do have to say, though, that the description of this game that has been put out is absolutely awful. It doesn’t even say the words, “fighting game” anywhere in it.

      Chaos and disorder are threatening to rip apart the very fabric of Japanese society as planar rifts appear throughout the country. It is suspected that the Drexler Institute, the instigator of the Great War many years ago and creator of the Divine Celestial Weapon, is somehow involved. In the midst of this confusion, a mysterious rumor arises, claiming the existence of wish-granting “Celestial Stones” within the chaotic planar rifts. As a result of these rumors, a number of individuals have converged on Japan in the hopes of obtaining one of these fabled stones – either to seal them away or to see for themselves if rumor is true. Each person has their own reasons for seeking these rare and valuable stones, and they won’t let anyone stand in their way, be they foe … or friend.

      I mean, if you read that and had no idea about the originals, would you have any idea what type of game this is? Not to mention, it doesn’t mention the amount of characters/arcana, the six person lobbies, etc…

  • Been playing the single player mode on and off when I haven’t been playing Mortal Kombat and Yakuza 4. This is not a fighting game you can just pick up and play and these guides have been very helpful. There are a few times where the AI has done attacks on me that I didn’t see on the move list, so I was confused, until I read about the different Arcana effects on here. I downloaded it first day it was available, so the network being down didn’t effect this. I was actually surprised that I could still play it even single player with the network down, but then I remembered only Capcom forces you to do that.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos