Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (topic now 200% easier to find)

I’m diving into this again and LOVING it. Understanding that I have to stand toe to toe and trade blows–not dodge like a Souls game–is game-changing, and essential.

In 3 different attempts to play, each about 3 months apart, I’ve never beaten Lady Butterfly. This morning I did so on my first attempt of the day (having wailed on her for an hour and more over the last two nights) thanks to the help of this Youtuber, SoloVG. His Lady Butterfly Video is easily the best description of how to play the game, and how to approach this fight, that I’ve seen. I looked at a lot of ‘guides’ on how to beat her, and his is far and away the best.

I’ve always liked the exploration and combat puzzle aspect of FROM games more than the boss fights, so not being able to summon someone for help with one that’s giving me fits has held me back from fully loving Sekiro. SoloVG’s videos help bridge the gap in a lovely way. I’ve taken down Lady Butterfly, Seven Ashina Spears, and the Lone Shadow Longswordsman (Pit Guy) this morning without too much trouble, and it feels great. I’m still executing the fight and playing like a badass, but I’m not having to analyse the game in a way that doesn’t work that well for my brain.

Anyway, onward to the Ashina Depths, and upwards to Genichiro!

I give Sekiro 4 ninja shinobi stars out of 5.

It’s mostly genius, but it is uncompromising, i.e., dis shit is hard so git gud. I think it’s the hardest of all the Souls games, IMO.

The good:

  • This is probably the most refined, fine-tuned combat system I’ve ever seen. It’s a ballet of steel and will and patience. I’m amazed From Software went from shitty clunky King’s Field to this. What an evolution! But you have to put in the time to learn to play, and if you’ve played Dark Souls, re-learn. It’s smart that the game has basically only one attack button, but three different buttons for evasion. Really, it’s about reading the flow of battle and getting that hit in at the right moment.

  • As with every other Soulsborne… you can “cheese” your way out of many situations with some dirty tricks. You are a ninja after all. Some people don’t realize that this is a kind of difficulty slider, one that’s smartly integrated into the design. On the other hand, a ton of the game just can’t be bypassed with a trick. You just have to, you know…

  • This is also “Metroidvania” done right. You can tackle many steps in any order depending on what you find most challenging and come back to those bits with just a little edge. Trust me, you want all those side gizmos and tiny upgrades and extra tools, because holy ****, you probably need all the help you can get. Well, strictly speaking, you don’t need any upgrade… look at those youtubers beating the game without getting hit and despair! But that little edge, that bit of extra HP, or that new prosthetic tool feels great because the game is hard and because it gives you the confidence that this time you’re going to win.

  • The game’s length and scope seems juuust right. I don’t think Sekiro needs any DLC or anything.

The bad:

  • What’s up with the crappy mechanics? Dragonrot has no point except to annoy you at the beginning of the game and come on, why can’t the shopkeepers sell an endless amount of general items? It must be a design principle at From that they can’t make a game without stapling a mediocre mechanic that has no real bearing on anything.

  • The stealth. It doesn’t really fit the game. It’s a mediocre stealth game tied to an excellent action game. It makes the actual levels trivial which is good in the sense it gives players a chance (see point above), but this is really a game about bosses, even more than the Souls games. Most minibosses can be brought to half health with a backstab (and the setup is always painfully simple, Hitman this ain’t), but after that, it’s up to your reflexes to do the rest sword-to-sword. For “real” bosses, you are out of luck. It’s real combat or nothing. So on top of making the easier parts of the game trivial, the stealth system gives the false impression that you can rely on it when the going really gets tough. Guess what, you can’t.

  • The fatigue of the Soulsborne series is a thing for many and Sekiro is no exception. I don’t think a jump button was a cure. Boring sidequests with no real point or reward. Characters that die or go mad or go “MWAHAHA” for no reason. Uninteresting story filled with tons a random side-lore that makes the fans go nuts for some reason.

This is on sale at GMG right now for $36, which is not a historical low but not that far from one, and it seems like now is a good time to git gud, so I’m really contemplating it…

*brushes dust off thread*

Ok, lads, I finally got this one. Excited to try it out. I was like, “should I replay Bloodborne, should I replay DS3,” then I remembered there was a FROM game I hadn’t played yet and that Steam wallet money wasn’t going anywhere…

It’s truly a great game that plays very well on PC.

A first playthrough, eh? You’re in for a real treat then, in my opinion.

Really different from the other From games, but in a lot of ways the most polished experience they’ve put together. An absolute blast.

wtf giant chicken

Movement is much easier in this game than any other of theirs I’ve played. I have a much easier time exiting sticky situations, giving me an incentive to play around with how I approach groups of enemies to find a good way to pick them apart.

I’ve advanced in the first area up as far as the guy and his mom, then I went back to the temple and popped off to burning Hirata, wandering around there for a bit, killing everybody and finding a couple of shinobi tools, but that’s as far as I’ve gone so far.

Two hours in, and I have yet to die. Astonishing. pretty sure I died five times in the first half hour of Bloodborne.

You’re supposed to be a ninja, and I have done an awful lot of sneaking around, but it strikes me as odd that nobody gives a shit about dead bodies unless they see you kill them right in front of them. Feels like they ought to raise an alarm if they come across someone’s corpse, especially someone who they just saw alive like a minute ago.

Nicely done! I’m pretty sure I died in the tutorial area… :)

I guess I did get my arm cut off. Does that count?

Ha, I just watched this, because I wondered:

But who was shuriken???

I was extremely confused by that voice actor, then I remembered I must’ve used Japanese voiceovers.

Yeah, the game sets itself to Japanese audio automatically, and frankly I would not even consider changing it to English…

…well, except for THIS GUY.

First time I’ve seen footage from this game.

I forgot to keep myself spoiler free for a minute.

Spoiler:. Unlike Bloodborne, you can block in this one! Since the main character never has a shield I had always assumed you couldn’t.

Not only can you, you pretty much have to!

I’ve kept myself pretty spoiler free for this one, too, mostly.

Ok, I died. That guy with the jumonji yari is pretty tough.

Edit: Jeez, this guy represents just a tremendous difficulty jump. Maybe I ought to go a different way for now…

Edit 2: I went back to Ashina to see what was what beyond the guy and his mom, and ran into the red eyed ogre. Thankfully I’ve been talking and listening to everyone and everything, so I had a decent idea what to do and I only needed two bites at the apple. Used all my oil, though.

The game has many gate keepers in terms of difficulty. You’ll need to master the mechanics to get past them.

Kept going in Ashina, found a shortcut, had a knock down, drag out fight with General Tanzen Yamauchi but prevailed (he’s way easier than the spear guy, just so much less aggressive), and found something in a dark cave that instinct (and a posted note) told me not to fuck with right now. Well, maybe now that I’ve put down the general and progress along this path seems to be blocked; although I can see more area, I can’t figure out how to reach it.

Edit: ok, the cave was a bad idea for sure. The shinobi hunter is just so damn aggressive, and his 危 attacks…are they ALL counterable with mikiri or just one of them? The windows on the windups are quite small.

Edit 2: Woo, got past the shinobi hunter, although I don’t think I landed a single mikiri counter to do it. Wait, no I did get one, but I didn’t posture break him, just wore down his health.

Edit 3: Oh ho, Hirata is not the only way forward, I simply missed a downward path. Although my reception that way was not very friendly…

I like these reminders of how horrible I am at these games, but I enjoy them so persistence counts. I look forward to hearing your experience in some of the fights that I died 1000 times on.

I can’t wait until I’ve forgotten enough of Sekiro to play it again. Or even better, they come out with a second one.