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The Homing (D) Button is unique to Arcana Heart 3 and is one of the most unique system mechanics in any game out today! Homing plays a very key role in both offense and defense in Arcana Heart 3 and understanding it fully will greatly contribute to how well you can actually play the game.
Advanced Movement – What the heck is Homing?
So what does Homing actually do? Homing is a type of movement specific to the Arcana Heart series that is activated by pressing the D button and can be accompanied with directional inputs.
What this does is create a movement path that takes your character to where your opponent’s character currently is. This means that you will fly a short distance if your opponent is next to you, but you can fly even to the top of the screen if your opponent happens to be there. Because of this property, your character’s movement will vary depending on the relative location of both yourself and your opponent. This is true regardless of what state your opponent is in, such as standing on the ground or being hit into the air.
Of course, your opponent also has this option, so using Homing often creates a lot of extremely high speed combat situations with both players flying headlong into one another. As you’d expect, Homing includes various risks due to its nature, but you can mitigate them by learning about all the different Homing options and how they work.
Put in simpler terms, pressing D and accompanying directional inputs will send you toward your opponent and all the implications of flying straight at your opponent will apply.
Homing (General Rules) – Whenever you press the D button with or without a directional input, after a brief startup(1), your character will perform her Homing Dash toward your opponent(2). During the initial start-up time, which varies depending on which direction (or lack thereof) Homing you are performing; you cannot do anything at all, leaving you somewhat vulnerable. Once you begin actually flying toward your opponent, you can influence the flight path by inputting additional directional inputs(3) or increasing your speed by pressing D again(4). At this point, you can also cancel your Homing Dash into an attack or block incoming attacks from your opponent(5). If you touch the ground at any time during a Homing Dash, it will cancel it completely, leaving you in a neutral state.
Backward and Forward Homing Dashes that are performed on the ground are quite different from what has been described so far, so they are the exceptions to these rules. Never fear, they will be covered quite soon!
Ground Homing (Neutral) – By pressing D on the ground with no accompanying directional input, your character will perform a Neutral Ground Homing Dash. Your character will become airborne almost immediately (though still close to the ground), and then after the initial start-up time, will begin flying toward your opponent as per the normal Homing rules. This movement is a little risky to use because of its long startup time, but once it actually gets going it is relatively safe due to the fact that it becomes airborne and you can block or cancel it in accordance to the other Homing Dash rules.
Ground Homing (Forward) – By pressing D while inputting → on the ground, your character will perform a Forward Ground Homing Dash. After a brief start-up period, your character will begin dashing forward on the ground until she reaches the opponent. Once the dash actual begins, it can be canceled into an attack. This movement is among the least useful in the game because it can ONLY be canceled into an attack and cannot be canceled into anything else. The Forward Step is a much safer way to close in on the ground, and doesn’t harbor the same risks. Still, if you want to get to your opponent ASAP, this is the way.
Ground Homing (Backward) – By pressing D while inputting ← on the ground, your character will perform a Backward Ground Homing Dash. Your character will perform a maneuver similar to a Back Step, and then perform a Forward Ground Homing Dash. This move has an advantage over the normal Back Step in that it has a similar amount of invincibility but also gets you right back in your opponent’s face afterward. If done properly, it is possible to avoid an opponent’s attack and then retaliate immediately, whereas with a Back Step you would be too far away in most cases. However, because the second part is an actual Forward Ground Homing Dash, you will not be able to cancel into anything besides an attack, giving the maneuver also considerably more risk. Be very careful when using it.
Aerial Homing (Neutral) – By press D in the air with no accompanying directional input, your character will perform a Neutral Aerial Homing Dash. This is actually identical to the ground version, but has significantly less startup. By comparison to the other types of Aerial Homing, the initial burst of speed that occurs after the startup is also significantly faster. Thus, as you can imagine, this movement option is extremely useful for getting in on any opponent at high speeds, at the cost of an immobile startup time.
Aerial Homing (Everything Else) – By pressing D in the air with any directional input (←↖↑↗→↘↓↙), your character will perform an Aerial Homing Dash. Instead of the immobile start-up of Neutral Aerial Homing Dash, your character will immediately perform a short dash in the chosen direction, and then begin flying toward your opponent as per the normal Homing rules. Each of the Backward moving Aerial Homing Dashes (←,↖, or↙) have a small amount of invincibility during the initial movement, making them very useful for aerial combat. As you would expect, having all of these options creates a lot of depth in game play in Arcana Heart 3, and discovering which situations to use each option is the key to mastery.
Phew – Alright, can I hit my opponent now?
Now you know how to move around in Arcana Heart 3 like a pro! With that said, tune in next time for when we actually punch and kick the opponent!