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A little guide on some early missable mechanics
By Prios
You may want to avoid reading this guide until you reach the western gardens.
I'm being deliberately vague in the title and description of this guide because figuring out the mechanics is part of the game's challenge and charm. Reading this guide will spoil a tiny bit of that, but hopefully not too much.
To run, keep holding down the dodge-roll button after the dodge completes.

Running costs no stamina beyond the stamina cost of the initial roll; you even start to regenerate stamina after a moment. But be warned that you'll be knocked down if you take damage during the run. For this reason, it's probably best to only run through areas you know to be safe, or to run away from enemies.
Understanding Exhaustion
As long as your stamina bar is flashing red, you are still in the exhausted state even if you have non-zero stamina!

You need to wait until your stamina regenerates all the way back to full before you'll leave the exhausted state (at least near the start of the game). Stamina regenerates slower when you have your shield up, and doesn't regenerate at all while you're attacking, though does regenerate (slowly) while running.

When exhausted, you take 50% more damage, your dodge rolls turn into hops that give you no invulnerability time, you are unable to block, and taking damage will knock you to the ground. Engaging enemies while in this state is extremely dangerous.
Special Technique
To perform a "special technique," press both the dodge roll button and the sword attack button simultaneously while moving (obviously you need to find a sword first). Your timing needs to be precise. You'll know you did it right if you perform a single sword thrust (not a sword swing) immediately after the roll. You'll also get an achievement the first time you do this, though some people get the achievement by accident without realizing what's happened.

This attack comes out fast and deals higher damage, but unlike other attacks it costs stamina. It also has a fairly long recovery time. I still find it very useful for evasive enemies, or for getting in a quick, strong opening attack.
Switching Targets
This ability is not mentioned in the manual.

When "locked-on" to an enemy, you can change which enemy you're targeting by using the right thumbstick on controller, or by using arrow keys on keyboard.
Staggering Enemies
If you strike an enemy you're "locked-on" to, you should see a thin white bar start to fill in just underneath their health bar. If you keep attacking and cause this bar to fill up, the enemy will become staggered, which interrupts their attacks, stuns them for a few moments, and usually knocks them back. This system even works on bosses.

You don't have to be "locked-on" to cause staggering: stagger is still tracked on enemies even if the white bar isn't visible.

This can reward aggressive attacking. (Being hit by the enemy's attacks is the potential punishment.)
Secret Ability
This ability is mentioned only obliquely in the manual.

Tap the shield button once to perform a parry. (You need to have a shield first.) You'll swing your shield outwards in a wide arc. This technique can be difficult to execute and difficult to time, but melee enemies that strike you will be stunned for a couple of seconds and take extra damage, while most ranged enemies will have their attacks reflected directly back at them. Even enemies with shields will be helpless.
Regarding Comments on this Guide
I'm leaving comments enabled on this guide for now. Try not to post additional mechanics/hints/secrets in the comments; this guide is designed to be a gentle nudge towards a few important mechanics that people sometimes miss, and I'd like to keep it that way.
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Freya Nov 23 @ 4:43pm 
And even though Parrying doesn't seem like much at the begining, its honestly very useful against the trickiest enemies to get, like the ones that only attack with projectiles. And as a bonus, parried projectiles can actually 1-Shot the enemy that shoot them, which is very useful against Flying Torrets , the annoying Rat Snipers , and SPECIALLY against the floating guys with a revolver at the cementary during daytime which usually requres at least 12 swings to kill.
Freya Nov 23 @ 4:42pm 
I came here after 100%'ing the game on my own to check if I missed any mechanic to make New Game Plus feel more unique/interesting but apparently I didn't. Kind of a shame since I like the idea of using Stamina to execute different abilities like the parry or the roll-thrust.

Also, while Parrying only requires 1-Quick press of the Shield. I REALLY recommend people double-tapping durring combat since you may press the shield key for too long without noticing. To make parrying WAY easier you can equip the Aura's Gem stamp to triple the amount of frames in which parrying is active. If you don't recognize that item/name, then take a look at the Shield that the Fox is holding in the official cover box art of the game, and check if you have a stamp with a similar icon.
Glundyn Sep 17 @ 2:11pm 
Came to find a spoiler free guide telling me what that special technique achievement is about. Got what I wanted. Thanks!
Om nom nom May 9 @ 2:00pm 
You can also use the right thumb stick as a secondary lock-on. You click down on the stick (R3) to turn it on and off. Then you can still cycle through enemies flicking the right thumb stick left and right. Basically you can use it in place of having to HOLD DOWN LT.
This is an easily miss-able mechanic that is actually quite useful. It's useful to use both options to lock-on/switch lock-on depending on the your play style and situation in the game.

At times it's best to use LT so that you can quickly press or un-press it. Other times it is nice to have a lock-on without having to keep holding down LT. This is very easy to miss in the game since it doesn't actually explain this anywhere. You have to stumble on it on your own.
Magnus May 7 @ 5:50pm 
Has anyone figured out the amount of uses it takes for items to be reusable and if all of them can get that way?
After using dynamite so many times, I have a +1, +2, and now +3, by its icon. That means there are 3 extra ones that replenish every time I rest. That's what I'm talking about. I haven't used other items much, so I don't know if any can get those reusable charges.
Magnus May 7 @ 5:50pm 
Ok, you don't have to flick the joystick actually. But that makes it way easier for me.
Magnus May 7 @ 5:46pm 
For the "Special Technique" you need to flick the joystick while doing it.
So you need to first be standing still, then start moving, roll, and attack all at the same time. It took me a bit to realize this, but I pull it off every time now.
DadKnight Apr 15 @ 11:32pm 
@knmichi3 You are simply incorrect. I feels like a 3 frame window to get it to work from one press.
knmichi3 Apr 3 @ 11:02am 
I already tried, and nope, you have to double tap RT for shield parry... But playing with the keyboard there's one key you press only once to perform this action... I think it would be nice if we just had to press shield when the flashing thing appear, since it's difficult to press a trigger quickly twice.
Prios  [author] Mar 30 @ 7:17am 
@knmichi3 Nope! Only a single quick tap is required, although under duress (such as in combat) it's pretty easy to hold the button down for too long.