A Burst Counter is your trump card in every fight in Nioh 2. If an enemy has a Burst attack, then you can use a Burst Counter to interrupt it, deal damage, and create an opening for some quick attacks. Learning how to Burst Counter is a central part of Nioh 2’s combat system, so don’t ignore this powerful ability.
Using a Burst Counter is easy, all you need to do is hit R2 and Circle, then your character will perform the Burst Counter that you have equipped. The difficulty comes from learning when to do it. When enemies do a Burst attack, you will hear an ominous noise, and a red cloud of energy will form around the enemy. This lets you know that the Burst attack is coming.
You then need to perform your Burst Counter, at the correct range, and at the right time to interrupt the enemy. For some enemies, this will before they can perform the Burst attack, as they might do something like launch themselves into the air, meaning you miss your chance to hit them if you wait too long. For others, you can wait until the attack is just about to hit you, then Burst Counter. It all boils down to trial and error and learning the nuance of each enemy.
Landing a Burst Counter will do a lot of stamina damage, some health damage, and most importantly, can open up the enemy to a follow-up attack that does lots of health damage.
Another important thing to consider is which Burst Counter you are using. Brute, Phantom and Feral Burst Counters all do different things. Brute will just cause a horizontal slash of damage, Phantom will turn you into a Yokai for a moment, and auto guard against an attack, while Feral will cause you to dash forward, leaving a ghostly trail behind you that the Burst attack needs to hit.
The first boss fight in the game, Gozuki, is pretty much designed to teach you all about Burst Countering, and it is an extremely powerful technique that you should master to make fights a little easier. Practice really is the only way to perfect the Burst Counter, so be sure you spend time getting to grips with it because it will reward you handsomely as you play through the game.
The last thing you need to know about Burst Counters is that you cannot spam them, as they require Anima to perform. This makes correctly timing them even more important, as Anima is a resource that you also need to perform Soul Core moves, which are powerful attacks you can get from defeating bosses and powerful enemies.