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


Sekiro. The Wolf. Shinobi. Master of stealth. Lives in the shadows. One with the blade. Flinger of books.


I was so excited to see I could still do this…

Unfortunately rag doll on enemy bodies is gone so 0/10 literally unplayable.


Hi, I would just like to share that I got to this point in the game last night, and I was more shaken than I’ve ever been from a video game. It’s how I imagine it would have felt if I had managed to play Dark Souls without ever seeing that gif of the surprise giant skeleton. [Sorta Kinda Mild Spoilers]


This game is really tough. I’ve been struggling with a lot of the minibosses. Though I’ve been putting like half an hour into the training guy, and it seemed to improve my fighting a little bit. Still struggling with the perilous attacks and picking which one is coming in like a one second window.

My only big dislike so far is the dragonrot. Losing money/skill bar progress is one thing, but like losing tangible story content because you had a rough time with a miniboss seems pretty counter to accepted wisdom in these “hard but fair” games.


Every fight in this game is so good, and the thing the camera does during death blows is one of those Video Game Things that’s like… it’s small but it’s so perfect and I feel like there were probably meetings entirely about how to make it work without having it be too much.


I just heard that the game has a hard mode?

That’s a really good and important thing. The lack of difficulty might have pushed people away otherwise.


I’ve died twice in the game so far. Once because I fell off a cliff and another to a boss (though I got unseen aid that time). When/where does dragonrot come into play? Every time I ran out of resurrections I would go back to an idol because I was afraid of dying, but now I’m just confused.


You’re doing it right, pretty much. True death is the only thing that progresses dragonrot.

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Hey, does anybody happen to have the art the crew is looking at around 1:54:00?

I wanna see the mech souls


It takes a lot of deaths for it to kick in, so usually only when you’re at a roadblock where you have to try over and over.

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In my experience, the hardest part of this game is re-training my brain from my Dark Souls playstyle. I recently ran through DS1 and DS2 without a shield and just dodged my way through fights but in Sekiro, the game really rewards you getting good at the deflect and the parry. I know I should stand there and just knock their sword back but my brain is wired to just dodge out of the way.
Absolutely loving the game though!


This game is so difficult. It’s really frustrating, and after beating two of the bosses I got a rush of adrenaline that didn’t feel mentally healthy. For some of the bosses I haven’t beat yet, I’ve had to quit out or alt+f4 because the homeward idol takes ages to complete. I dunno. I don’t think I like this game so far.

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I really like the parry/posture mechanic, it’s genuinely unique and something that only this and Metal Gear Rising have conceptualized. And also the world design is stellar, I love these concepts like this and Bloodborne of integrating fantasy and superstition into a vaguely historical setting.

Also I think dragonrot and Unseen Aid are good design ideas, the intention reads as an attempt to bring back World Tendency from Demon’s Souls in discouraging the player from recklessly throwing their life away, but in a form that’s easier to glean from a surface level.

But, I feel pretty cold about the game otherwise. The best bosses have been horseback samurai and grandma needles, but otherwise Fromsoft keep dipping back into that familiar design well of “fast dude with weird/staggered attack animations that you have to learn the timing of”.

Parrying is a way more interesting verb than pressing the roll button at the right time, but the resulting game flow during bosses is the same. It’s even got the Bloodborne problem of having a large variety of neat alternate attacks that are often too situational and interchangeable to mix up the way you play, and consumable items which do just not enough that most players will instinctively avoid using them.

I was really hoping for a fundamental shift away from the design habits of the most recent Souls games, not just a different flavor of them.


Haven’t played the game but I’ve watched both those fights. Something that stood out to me about Butterfly:

She feels almost like she has MMO raid boss style mechanics. The adds she summons in her second phase that she eventually sacrifices to turn into ball of projectiles the number of which is determined by the amount of them left when she sacrificed them felt very much like that and it was fresh and cool to see it in a singleplayer Ninja Gaiden/Tenchu/Sly Cooper/Bloodborne game.

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I’m… very very unsure about this game so far. Bordering on buyer’s remorse. There seems to be nothing I can do to get better at parrying. It’s tough enough for me to parry a single large blow, forget the central mechanic of parrying every blow in a flurry. Especially when it’s so easy to die and the game punishes me for going in hard and practicing against real enemies.

This one might end up on the shelf for quite a bit. It does make me feel like picking up a soulsborne again, though.

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I now present Sekiro PRO TIPS:

Rebind the attack and block buttons to A and B on your controller as having to mash the triggers the way the game calls for can give you a bit of RSI and trust me you do not want that!

Don’t be afraid to start the game over after you get a ways in. You’ll blow through the early game stuff and get back to where you were pretty quickly and you can always go back your other save with a confidence boost!

There is almost always another place you could be exploring so if you find yourself stuck look around and see what you find. It may just be the you need to help you with a boss!

Use your items! You get a ton of them for the most part, and if you have to use an item to kill an enemy you likely don’t need to kill it anyways so don’t worry about wasting them

Don’t forget you can dodge attacks by jumping as well. I forgot this only to beat a boss I had been spending hours on in no time flat once I remembered that

Be like the ninja! And by be like the Ninja I mean run away at the first sign you might loose a fight. I am have never seen Naruto but I am pretty sure that’s what it’s about

Foxes are cute!

PRO TIPS from other people:


Having gotten past Lady Butterfly last night, she reminded me a lot of a couple of Old Hunters bosses (especially Lady Maria) that felt… almost choreographed? Or sort of like the key was just developing a rhythm with their attacks. In this case it was just dodge once, slash once, repeat and throw shurikens to take her out of the air. Once I really got the pattern down, it felt like her health/posture just melted off.

I think a large part of why I’m enjoying this game so much is that dancelike feeling (Austin talked about dueling in the podcast and I think it’s a similar idea). The fast, precise humanoid bosses in the other games (Artorias, Fume Knight, Maria, Orphan, etc.) have always been my favorite parts, and it feels like Sekiro is iterating heavily on them.

The biggest challenge I’ve found so far (now about ~10 hours in) is just unlearning the stamina-management habits from the other Souls games. It is baked into my brain to not be in front of an enemy for too long, to hit twice and dodge away, whereas that’s not at all what this game wants you to do.

Gah yes this I found myself shouting “how do you dodge that” at a couple of Butterfly’s sweep attacks only to realize three hours later that this game has a jump button.

If I can add another tip—if you’re having trouble with a miniboss and haven’t tried to stealth-kill them, you can almost always take off one of their nodes that way and halve the length of the fight.


After watching a YouTube video on how to beat Lady Butterfly and Gyoubu, I have learned that there is no reason not to just spam the block button. It will either result in parrying or blocking. I don’t really want to play the game like this and I don’t think the game wants me to either, but I’d rather have my mental faculties intact. Using this “technique” made Lady Butterfly more manageable (still need to beat her), and I beat Gyoubu no problem. Screw you Sekiro.


Don’t spam the block button, you can just hold it. For most of the things in this game that do flurry attacks I’ve got by just fine by parrying the first one and then holding steady through the rest unless there’s big gaps. There are a few mid to late game boss/minbosses that will want you to parry the very last hit in their string but there’s enough of a gap to let off the block and then hit it again for a deflect.

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