'Sekiro' Transforms the Dark Souls Formula into Something New and Risky


No you do not (I got the dried fruit before beating him), you just need to have a certain Ninjitsu that you’d have after beating those bosses. There should be a fork in the path somewhere before him; I think it’s near the merchant in the Sunken Valley.

Edit: got beat to it, I think I may have misremembered the location.


I thought I was coming to the end of all the branching paths around the castle but between this thread and various twitter folks it sounds like I’ve at least got some sort of big monkey thing to track down, and maybe the return of Big Snake, whom I still feel bad for stabbing in the face? I’m well inty this structural choice of landing you in front of a big plot location after a while of basically linear progression, then letting you bugger off in all manner of directions before taking it on. It’s sort of like a reverse Zelda?

Good Videogame.


i played for several hours today and accomplished several feats:

i made it to lady butterfly and then after a few woeful attempts, turned around and went in another direction. then i stumbled into the bull and struggled like hell for a solid half hour (i hate his mobility vis a vis the camera, couldn’t beat him locked on or not), and then i realized that i should try my other tools, and realized what the game wanted me to do. sekiro, i think, is a lot better at communicating information to you than soulsborne games, from eavesdropped clues, to item descriptions, and tutorial screens that i’m still getting 13 hours in. but i digress.

so, i killed the bull, explored all around the castle, found a ninja miniboss that kept kicking my ass so i left, then almost immediately ran into genichiro, and suffice to say, i decided to go back to lady butterfly, beat her in a reasonable amount of time, feel like i finally understand how to defeat her somewhat adequately. after some confusing cut scenes, i decided to run through the early parts of the game again for coins and experience, and found several paths i’d missed/was too weak for earlier, and now i have so many places to explore, and minibosses to face.

the pacing in this jawn is unreal. and the amount of pathways is also incredible. i’m fully on the sekiro train. can’t imagine a better game coming out this year. i’m still quite bad at this game, but it’s far from impossible, and only rarely frustrating.


Towards the end I’m realizing how much I love the game’s environments. It managed to build a cohesive world but still have some really varied areas and spaces, and some are just incredibly beautiful. The Fountainhead Palace especially is so spellbinding, and it’s just dripping with atmosphere. The bridge where you fight the real Corrupted Monk may be one of my favorite boss arenas in any game, and it’s all undergirded by this creeping sinisterness that only comes out in little moments like those immortality centipedes ick.


I finally beat the second-to-last main boss! Helpful hint to those in the final, final stretch: when you’re making your way outside Ashina Castle for the last time and things are burning, be sure to talk to the guy hanging out by the main entrance. He’ll tell you how to get to an optional area with its own boss that you won’t want to miss out on!

In a game full of hard fights, this dude was an absolute bastard. He has three ticks of health and every phase he pulls out progressively more hard-hitting attacks that all stack on top of each other. I was so tense in that fight. I kept losing out to a random sneak attack he’d dish out before, but this time I managed to make it to the second phase without losing a life. Granted, I was drinking from the healing gourd like I was constantly on the verge of death, and I made it to the third phase with only 2 charges left in my fully upgraded Estus. Needless to say, I was constantly pausing in that last phase in order to change in all those special use healing items that I’ve been sitting on all game: divine grass gone, sticky rice balls gone, fine snow gone – I was down to my last bit of rice as my one and only heal still in my inventory and up against a big scary fire demon of Shura whose last 1/8th a bar of health was actively taunting me. I used it after 30 seconds. Even without any more breathing room, I chipped damage where I could, played it safe whenever he backed off, and waited 'til I had a surefire opening to go in. Then he set off his big phase 2 attack, I dodged, I grappled in, waited until I was just in range, ‘RB’, ‘RB’, ‘RB’, and that beautiful red dot finally appeared. ‘RB’. Shinobi Execution

I was literally shaking. For minutes after, I had to put the controller down and just breathe. My heart was racing and I was so overcome with excitement that all I could do was sit and stare at his Battle Memory text until my body finally calmed itself down.

Playing through Sekiro, I keep thinking back to when I had a week-long fight against Knight Artorias in Dark Souls. He was my favorite encounter in that whole game. No gimmicks; just a huge guy with a big sword who dared you to take him on. I failed, and failed, and failed, but something had gotten into me that never allowed me to give up. For me, that’s the magic of these games – feeling so completely aware of all your shortcomings, slowly improving with each successive try, and then finally overcoming the thing that felt completely impossible hours or even days before – all to prove to yourself that you can do it. I’ve been reminded of that throughout this game, but it was finally taking this huge obstacle down that brought me right back to that moment of finally defeating Artorias after a week of strife. That feeling that I had actually defeated something I was never meant to. God, I love this game.


Some say a master Shinobi can become so filled with killing intent that for that brief moment, he becomes a god of death, and no mortal blow may fall against him.

This is the most powerful Shinobi Art: The power known as Invincibility Frames.


Totally understand why they decided to put it behind a paywall, but unfortunately, I can’t afford another subscription right now.

Anyway, I just marathoned 80% of NG+ yesterday! Everyone’s so right about how short and, dare I say, easy the game is at this point. Having internalized the combat system (and also keeping all your upgrades) has made the game a breeze compared to how much it kicked my ass the first time around. I’ve only had Dragonrot kick in once!!

I think I might still prefer Bloodborne in the end, not so much because of its mechanics because Sekiro 100% has it beat there (god just the act of controlling Sekiro and fighting bosses feel so good), but because of how tense and mystified and downright scared Bloodborne made me feel, all the while giving me moments of bloodlust-slaking catharsis when I’d get into a flow state and just eviscerate enemies. A lot of that had to do with the setting, atmosphere, characters, and narrative, all of which tie perfectly into the game’s systems (blood echoes, insight, frenzy, beasthood, etc.) to make such a cohesive experience.

That’s not to say Sekiro isn’t cohesive. Austin’s talked about the game’s main theme of risky contact (or perilous clashing!) expressed through the combat, the story, and the meta narrative of these modern From Software games. Natalie nailed it saying you should be using every advantage you can in battle and stealth because you’re a goddamn ninja.

The thing is though that even if it’s somewhat of a departure for From Software, the experience leans more toward the traditional power fantasy of a character action game. There are so many cool, awesome, anime as fuck moments in Sekiro! It’s not too surprising when I look back at some of Dark Souls 3’s climactic points, especially in the DLCs. A lot of this has to do with the animations, too, which are all justified by you being a fucking shinobi that can zip through the air, master all the secret martial arts, and carry an arsenal of deadly tools in a bespoke skeleton arm. From the parries to the Mikiri counter to all the various deathblows to the Shinobi Executions, Sekiro is out to make you feel like a total badass, and it gates that feeling through punishing encounters you need to overcome by mastering mechanics that are on a complexity level we’ve never seen in any Soulsborne game. It’s “git gud” in the same context as demanding character action games like DMC, Bayonetta, Ninja Gaiden, God Hand, MGR: Revengeance, and even the latest God of War.

It’s an amazing expression of the genre, probably my favorite because of how it mixes the exploration and weirdness of the Souls games. I just like the creeping dread and nightmarish/cosmic horror that permeates through every inch of Bloodborne more. The only other game that comes close to that sensation is Demon’s Souls.

anyway, imma clean up ng+ on sekiro and then do it all over again two more times to see all the endings and grind out the skill points for that platinum because i like this game so much


alright! Corrupted Monk is down! This ape is going to a real pain in the ass though i can tell.


Without turning this I to an add for Duckweed, they do encourage people who can’t afford to subscribe to just wait until they’ve released more stuff subscribe for a month, and just download all of the episodes.

Bonfireside chat is Def worth checking out for anyone unfamiliar. There’s an episode Austin guested on and another with Danielle


My one major complaint about this game’s platinum is that getting all the skills requires a frustrating amount of grinding. at the end of NG+++ i was still 29 points short of what i needed and I’ve been killing this one dude by a save point for close to 2 hours to make up that gap.


Last night I used all my shurikens to beat an enemy; not because it was hard but because I didn’t want to be near it for any longer than I had to be.

Then I, uh, found a room full of those enemies.


Centipede guys?


Yes, specifically the undying with centipedes inside them.

I hope From leans even harder into horror in the future.


Well after 4 hours on the final boss… I’m giving up for now. Man I really wish that we’re a shorter fight.


The moment at the end of his fight where I realized the (late-game boss spoiler) Demon of Hatred was Owl made me just sit there for a moment in silence. It had been such a long endurance fight and the payoff is already pretty great, but hearing the voiceline at the end where he thanks Wolf for finally killing him just really hammered in the consistent theme the second half of this game has around all of its misguided attempts at immortality.

I would also be shocked if it weren’t an intentional call-back to Laurence and Bloodborne, because that design was also just the Cleric Beast + fire. And the fight had a lot of the same feeling—it felt mechanically way closer to a Bloodborne fight with sprinting/positioning/dodging being way more important and useful than parrying.


I think that he’s actually the sculptor he certainly the one weird arm, the burnt grappling point at the temple, and his weakness to the whistle..


Just one-shot Guardian Ape 2: Bride of Ape Not the hardest fight, but a fun one.


Oh snap you’re right, I completely misinterpreted that. It makes even more sense now.

I’ve never played one of these games before the wikis were all populated with every scrap of info, so it’s actually kind of cool to be wrong. I still think the Bloodborne callback was legit though. And it makes sense that he’s undying, based on his reaction to the Dragonrot.


just in case anyone was worried, multiple mid-game bosses can be cheesed, especially in the poison pit. not proud that I took the easy (and cowardly) way out with a few fights, but i also beat the centipede in three tries today, totally fair and square. i understand there will be more later in the game. but anyhow, all in all, there are a ton of bosses in this shit, and a win’s a win. not all of them need to be pretty.


Since I did it a couple of hours ago, I’ve been trying to think of anything in any other game that’s ever felt more satisfying than, after three hours, ending Sword Saint Isshin with his own redirected lightning and I’m pretty hard-pressed. Wow. That fight was amazing. This game is amazing. I’m so in love with everything about it, and I’m so glad that From exists and that they can continue to make things like this.