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Located below the characters, the Tension Meter shows how much Tension these have and is used for various purposes.
List of Attacks, Defenses, Modes and uses that effect the Tension Meter
Whenever Instant Kill mode is activated, the Tension Meter slowly depletes. If the Tension Meter empties, health will slowly deplete instead.
All Overdrive attacks require Tension. Almost all Overdrive attacks require 50% of the Tension Meter, but some require 100% Tension.
Force Break attacks are like mini Overdrives that only require 25% of Tension.
Using Burst and connecting with the enemy if doing nothing or dashing towards, 100% Tension will instantly be gained.
Fortress Defense is activated by holding Back along with two buttons other than . While active, each time the opponent hits, no health will be lost, and the Guard Gauge won't fill up. Each use consumes a varying amount of Tension, the amount being greater when blocking attacks.
Roman Cancel are commands that cancel any attack's ending lag. They are perfomed by pressing 3 buttons (other than ) at the same time after performing an Attack or other Move. A red flash comes for a split-second if done right. Any Roman Cancel will use up 50% Tension Meter.
False Roman Cancel or Force Roman Cancels serve the same purposes than the Roman Cancel. It only uses up 25% Tension Meter, but it can't be used as freely. Each character has their own set of False Roman Cancels. A blue flash comes for a split-second if done right.
If an overdefensive playstyle is used (staying away from the opponent for too long and not attacking), a negative penalty will be obtained, emptying the Tension meter. It will be harder to fill it up again for a period of time (only 20% fill rate for 10 seconds).