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How Bloodborne's visceral attack works

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

One of Bloodborne's big damage dealers, the bloody parry-like visceral attack, is a crucial part of your Hunter's arsenal. The visceral attack can be a huge benefit in some boss fights, because it not only inflicts a ton of damage it can give you a precious few seconds to breathe. But like many of Bloodborne's other inscrutable systems, the right way to maximize those attacks isn't always obvious.

There are, however, some obvious ways to make your visceral attack more effective. The Clawmark runes will boost its damage output, while the Blood Rapture and Oedon Writhe runes will replenish your life bar and quicksilver bullets, respectively, when you land a visceral attack. (Details and locations for those runes are available at the Bloodborne wiki.)

YouTube user Aegis Azkaellon also did a little research to see what else increases the damage of your visceral attacks. Basically, it doesn't matter what type of weapon you have equipped nor does it matter how strong your currently equipped weapon is. What does increase the damage output of visceral attacks are certain blood gems and temporary buffs (fire paper, bolt paper).

Aegis Azkaellon breaks it down with a bunch of examples, showing that the best way to increase visceral attack damage is through blood gems that buff your Hunter's physical attack. As someone currently struggling in the game's Defiled Chalice Dungeons, that's some good info to know.

If you're struggling to pull off visceral attacks in combat, just remember that you need to fire your pistol, blunderbuss or rifle during an enemy's attack animation — typically on the downswing of their attack — then hit R1 while they're stunned. Watch the explainer video below for more details, which also touches on the incredibly useful leap attack. It too can cause some boss enemies to stagger, opening them up to visceral attacks.

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