There’s a couple of ways to get in a damage-boosting ‘Critical Attack’ on an enemy. Firstly there’s the Guard Break , a move that allows you to instantly stunlock your opponent for a few seconds giving you the opportunity to go in for the critical hit. The second is known as the backstab (a move that was in the original Dark Souls). Let’s take a closer look at both moves in more detail.

Guard Breaking

If you spot a target holding their shield up; you can get right up to them and press Up + Normal Attack together to trigger an animation that bashes your opponent’s shield away from them. This generates the stunlock.

You now need to get very close and press the normal attack button to trigger the critical hit animation. If you’re too far away you’ll simply perform a regular attack.

A great area to practice this move properly is in the Forest of the Fallen (on the wall that leads to the bonfire shortcut) as there are a few Hollow Soldiers that carry shields (and they’re less likely to kill you super quick).

The Backstab

If you circle behind an opponent you will have the opportunity to smack your weapon into their back, triggering a unique animation sequence that results in an often cool looking and more painful attack on your target (of particular note is the Mace’s backstab animation - ouch)!

Make sure you’re close enough to your opponent when going for the backstab as it can be surprisingly easy to miss!

Personally, we’ve found we could nearly nail this every time when we positioned ourselves just to the left of the character’s spine. When we stood directly behind an opponent we found that this didn’t always work. But when we stepped left slightly it worked more often than it failed.

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Platforms
    PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XB1
  • Genre
    Action RPG
  • Guide Release
    5 May 2014
  • Last Updated
    7 December 2020
  • Guide Author
    Andrew Mills

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You are an Undead, the bearer of a curse, who has gone “hollow” and half mad searching for a cure to restore your humanity. You have arrived in Drangleic, a place rumoured to harbour powerful souls that can help you regain your humanity and avoid this terrible fate. You must seek out these souls and save yourself and others from a fate worse than death itself. But it will not be easy…

  • A full game walkthrough.
  • The main differences between Dark Souls 1 and 2.
  • Keeping the Grim Reaper at bay with our top 10 essential survival tips.
  • An in-depth guide to the most important thing in Dark Souls 2 - the combat.
  • The character builds that saw us sail through the single-player story mode.
  • Learn what the new covenants do (and what you need to do to be able to join them all).
  • All the bosses made easy with helpful HD videos!
  • NPC info and much, much more!

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