15 Hours In, 'Sekiro' Gave Me a Midterm Exam That Exposed My Whole Ass

The word “death” blares across the screen, and my fist slams against the desk for what feels like the hundredth time. Nearby, my dog growls at the sudden noise. The enemy who’s killed me for the last three hours, the source of my rage, quietly returns to their post; I am no longer a concern, the status quo maintained. This asshole, the one I’ve been wrestling with for three hours, sits at the top of a hill, clutches a massive spear and otherwise stands around looking intimidating. (He is). I climb the hill—die. I climb the hill—die. Repeat.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vbwkjd/15-hours-in-sekiro-gave-me-a-midterm-exam-that-exposed-my-whole-ass

I wonder if someone who was new to FromSoftware games would have an easier time with Sekiro? No expectations or assumptions about how to play. The game does seem to tutorialise much more than the Souls series but I think having knowledge of those games might blind the more experienced players to lessons that newcomers would be more receptive to.

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This is a really well written piece, but whenever I read pieces like this on any Fromsoftware game I feel like it should be accompanied by the Mike Drucker okay to not play/give up on a game at any time.

I understand why some people keep going, but spending so many hours of my limited freetime playing something that would frustrate me this much sounds so unpleasant. That frustration is also compounded with so much online discourse that is basically like “well you should get gud.”

All that to say, I think I’ll skip sekiro.


I hope for patrick’s sake he was at least using a stealth deathblow on that dude and cutting off half of his hp. That spear guy is real rough and it would be a lot rougher if you had to do both deathblows.


Pretty sure he was. All the clips show the guy one pip down.

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It’s anecdotal, but I think you’re right because several of my friends who started out with Bloodborne or just played the Souls games casually for a bit are finding Sekiro to be a lot easier. Friends who’ve been playing since Demon’s Souls are acting like it’s the hardest game ever made. I think eventually it will click with folks which skills transfer from one game to the other and which don’t though. Like using a shield is such a huge part of the Dark Souls games and that’s just straight up gone in Bloodborne.


God, this miniboss gave me so much trouble.

In the end it was learning his moves and using Oil+Flame Vent to slowly apply damage over time. The fire also stopped his posture from recovering. Throw in some piles of ash to create openings and the long ordeal was finally over.

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This boss and one other have made me wonder if me winning biss or mini boss fights have anything to do with me, sometimes it just feels like I am lucking into a boss not using all of the moves they have available. In souls games when I beat a boss I felt like I had learnt the moves and could do it again, Sekiro feels like, sure I could do it again, if I get lucky like this time and the Boss doesn’t combine their moves in an awkward way.

I am incredibly glad to learn that I am not the only person who had oodles of trouble with this guy. Easily the hardest miniboss I’ve faced, and that’s not an insignificant number at this point.

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Loved this fight. The time I got it I had to heal and revive zero times. Hasn’t happened much since but it felt great then!

What I’ve found is the key to beating this guy is more than just landing the thrust counter, cause unlike a lot of enemies he shrugs you off and doesn’t give you a window to land any hits. You also need to parry the hit after it. He has a tendency to throw out a big swipe after the counter, and if you deflect that he slumps forward, giving you a big window to punish.


I think it is more accessible, even if the game just wants the player to fly and let lose at the enemy. That may seem dauting at first. There is definitely a rhythm they want you to engage with.

The ability of not being so dependent on the attainment as Souls as a currency feels like a massive weight lifted off the shoulders. Though there is a penalty on your skill level and currency, it’s not as punishing as previous games.

The whole flow of the game feels faster, you still need to know the layout of the levels implicity, but taking down enemies is fast and can often be done in a single hit. I feel with Dark Souls, I was forever taking things slower, luring out enemies into more open terrain or using certain items.
Also the way so many enemies can be despatched with one hit.

It’s still punishing, encounters such as the one Patrick described in the article are grating. But there are always other places to explore and advance if you come up against a brick wall.


Is this really a piece about how Sekiro has this amazing moment of clarity after being stuck on a boss for 6 hours or a player not reading the tutorial pop ups that explicitly tell you that you can use the training dummy to practice this exact technique so you’ll be good at it and remember to actually use it.

Something else about this boss—the area around him is a great example of just how good the level design is in this game. There’s a route you can take around it that, with a little bit of patience, can wipe out pretty much every enemy without breaking stealth. That should also lead you right to the side path you can use to get a stealth deathblow on the boss.

Moreover, it’s more or less the same path you take in the first twenty minutes of the game, which really rewards players for paying attention to the area and realizing exactly where they are and what they’ve come back to. Even as I was struggling with this guy, it had me appreciating how intricately Sekiro’s spaces are designed, which is something subsequent areas have echoed as well. Overall, it feels like a real step up from every other Fromsoft game, even DS1 (which I thought was previously the peak).


Speaking of that, I found this guy a lot easier to deal with if you stealth killed all the enemies in the area below him and then lead him down there. Fighting in the small area up top, I kept getting into situations where I couldn’t heal. Also, fighting him in a much larger area gave me room to back off after I fucked up and re-think my strategy.

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Very well written piece. I had the timing down on the mikiri counter and this guy still gave me loads of trouble. Worth mentioning though that this guy is entirely optional. He doesn’t even drop or guard anything incredibly useful, just a prayer bead.
Update: So my save data corrupted and just got to this guy again and killed him the first try. I think that’s a testament to how much this game makes you learn cause he took me forever the first time around. Like Patrick said in the piece, even if you’re not making concrete progress you are always evolving and learning.

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