What do you think of God Hand’s approach to dodging?
It’s a unique approach to a common mechanic. Instead of just giving you a dodge that can go any direction, you’re given 3 dodges that all have different attributes, different advantages and drawbacks. The back flip is clearly the most invincible, but also the slowest. It de-escalates encounters, but it can’t get you through sustained attacks or ones that rush at you, like self projectile enemies. It’s the crutch for beginners to lean on, but almost never the truly correct option for a scenario. The side step is really fast in comparison to the back flip, but it’s not very invincible. It’s good versus moves that go straight from enemies, and don’t sweep across, like overhead chops. The key is getting out of the way of the attack. It can also help you get at enemy’s sides or backs more easily, and move away from getting flanked. The up dodge, or weave dodge, is the fastest dodge, and lets you gain sustained upper body invincibility if you mash it (canceling/buffering into itself). It has no lower body invincibility, so low or fullbody hits can still strike you, but most close quarters attacks are high.
Instead of giving you a single move that solves everything if timed properly, you have 3 moves that vary in usefulness based on the situation. The backflip works in most scenarios, but at the cost of offensive momentum and chances to punish enemies, and you will occasionally run into attacks it can’t get you out of, so you get steadily pushed to master the other dodges.
Plus of course these are augmented by the way dodges can cancel any grounded attack. The backflip is almost completely useless for this purpose, but the sidestep and weave are both extremely effective, especially the weave since it has such a short animation. This can steadily push players towards mastering weave dodges, which are initially intimidating because they aren’t fully invincible and have a short invincibility period. That and the bonus to your level when you up dodge a lot is incentivizing.
what even is dodge cancelling in god hand and why is it the reason i see it brought up most often
Basically, every move in God Hand that has Gene’s feet on the ground can be canceled with any of the dodges. This is actually pretty common in action games, particularly cheaper action games that don’t really care as much about things like commitment to attacks. Bayonetta lets you do this with a ton of moves except the higher damage higher commit ones, just so you can combo enemies and dodge whenever you see an attack incoming. However God Hand is special because it has the weave dodge. The weave dodge (and sidestep really) has a really short animation. This means you can dodge cancel and still have hitstun lingering from whatever move you just hit the enemy with. Have a move with a fast startup and long recovery? Dodge cancel it.
A lot of games have this type of thing, especially fighting games, and I usually like to call it an empty cancel, for canceling you into a super short animation, or into an animation that can itself be canceled into an idle state. DMC has the same thing with royal guard cancel for example. Makoto can do it with her hayate charge. Lucario can do it in Project M with aura sphere canceling. Kevin can do it in Garou and it’s called Kevin Canceling there, and is the entire reason he’s crazy broken. Roman Canceling is basically this, as is FADC, and VT cancel in SFV. Upcoming game Aztez has this as well with blocking. God of War lets you do it with blocking. BM cancel in MGR is this. Flux in Nioh is an extremely limited form of this, given it only works during the late recovery of an attack.
Dodge canceling is brought up often for God Hand, because it’s the basis of advanced play. It’s kind of the fundamental technique of that game, like Jump Cancel is for DMC, Wavedash/L Cancel for Melee, Dodge Offset for Bayonetta. It’s the advanced technique people focus on most, even though other ones do exist.