Arika already got those nostalgic interesting game mechanics and remarkable characters design from SFEX as there branding to elevate their new IP, The problem is that the characters and game mechanics was mostly designed from the ground up/foundation that is a 2D fighter from specials and supers. That was the common problems of tons of 3D fighters in the late 90’s and early 2k that they just add up some sidestep/sideroll to compromised to the wide square 3D battlefield that has either walls, widespace or ringouts.
Mortal Kombat in the past 2 decade had been a testament to this, that it tried so hard to compromised with the fad of 3D square platform and sidestep evasion that is known by some as modern and a breakthrough in the past era, but despite some individuality and efforts to differ from other 3D games, it never finds it’s way because their characters were designed with a foundation that originate to a 2D designed fighters in a battlefield designed for 3D fighters to harness and exploit.
If Arika stay the same with other 3D fighters treatment towards sidestep and 3D platform the game would more likely fade into obscurity, that’s the fate of many 3D fighters of the past 2 decade that manage to standout only because of their individuality from gameplay mechanics, but not in terms of the playing field. They need to stand out by having a unique treatment towards the 3D plane and sidestep in a consistent way to all the game stages that would justify their brand. The Cammy like remixed stage being not a square battlefield is a nice concepts to be used as a universal standard of their latter stages. Long rectangle platform is better and more innovative than the traditional square platform.
I don’t think it’s advisable nowadays for meter gauge to be designed as a cost for those non-offensive/damaging gameplay mechanics, while life gauge depletion shouldn’t be a revisited idea as a cost for a universal gameplay mechanic for a fighting game without a horror theme.
The usual sidestep in 3D fighters is so rewarding that gives additional wide space and have a free dodge without consequences which is not a good for a game that had mostly every character is foundation is based to a 2D game. The best direction is for a sidestep mechanic is to remove it’s “instant evasion” feature. How? by adding a pause and delays (like SF4’s focus and SFEX’s guard break). So it need to be executed with proper timing to initiate successfully with the reward of free dodge and to change a plane, while having consequences of being in a vulnerable state/stance that can be punish if done without precautions and proper distance.
Auto tracking projectile in a squared platform with responsive sidestep kinda makes the game suppress the depth on zoning and subdue of effectivity chances of close range designed characters. This games below may look different and feel different because of unique gameplay mechanics and presentation but the longer you play it the more you depend on it’s characters design that is into blasting and keeping away because of utilizing the advantage of the design from the environment.