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I'd like to master parrying, and I think I can get the directions right, but I can't really see how the game evaluates timing. Often times I am either too early or too late.
What should I look for?
How should I time my presses and releases?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Parrying seems to work basically by both attacks crossing the same area at the same time. All enemies have a wind-up then the actual swing. You need to take into account that you also have the same thing. Your wind-up is quite short, but it is present, and you need to take it into account. Parry timing is about making your wind-up end when their slash is about to start, making your slash cross into theirs and negate it.

What makes this tricky is the speed and window of opportunity. Obviously, faster opponents like the God King require you to be on your toes, while slow enemies like the Dark Knight will cause you to whiff your parry because they're still winding up. But pure speed of their assault isn't the only factor - the timing can be different independent of how much faster or slower the enemy moves. Each different enemy has its own windows for timing, even when their animations are similar or even identical to that of other foes.

One slash you might be familiar seeing is an enemy drawing their weapon behind them and spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise for a hefty slice. You time it just as their spin is reaching the point where the blade is actually heading in your direction. It's a pretty easy timing thanks to the long wind-up.

Plated Soroks have a very similar spin slash. The difference is that the wind-up ends a lot earlier than it looks like it will. Deceptively earlier. As such, if you try to parry it just the same as you parry any normal spin slash, you'll get cut in the chest every single time. The proper parry occurs much earlier (or you just resign yourself to blocking this blow, since it's not always a guard breaker).

You need to pay attention to these quirks in the actual window and adjust accordingly for each class of opponent.

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