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

#61

There was a loading screen tip of “don’t repeatedly hit the block button”, I’m guessing there’s a spam-punish system where you’ll inflict less posture if you were fanning your block instead of timing it.

Some other tips:

  • After a couple seconds of blocking, your posture meter will empty out faster than if you just did nothing, use this as your “take a breather” button
  • For enemies and yourself, the posture meter empties slower the less health you have; this means that you want to try and keep your health at 50% or more or else your posture meter will empty very slowly
  • If you repeatedly hit an enemy or boss, there’s a louder clang effect that signals they’re about to counter-attack, so always make a habit of repeatedly attacking until you hear the loud clang, then go on the defensive for their next attack
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#62

This is a GREAT tip!!! My RSI flares up when I’m fighting bosses especially. Thanks, I’ll give it a try!

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#63

Yeah it was making mine bad enough I wasn’t sure I could keep playing but swapping thinks around has solved it!

Also I’m just going to keep adding whatever tips come up in here to that post so their easier to find but if anyone has an issue with that let me know!

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#64

My big tip is that the game straight up lies to you about when to hit the block button for deflecting: if you time it to the moment of getting hit you will miss it every time. You really want to hit it right before it hits. This also bakes in some safety, because it’ll usually still block the hit if you’re too early for the deflect.

Also, remember you can sprint – doing so will usually protect you from getting hit. This was huge for lady butterfly in particular, since I was stuck there for a few hours before I tried this. Particularly during the second phase, when she summons a bunch of shadow dudes; if you just nonstop Sprint around the perimeter of the room until she’s finished transforming them and throwing the subsequent butterflies at you, you can almost always fully avoid damage, which totally negates that whole bit.

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#65

Me playing Sekiro today so far:

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#66

Sekiro is my favourite From game so far, and the only thing that may count against it is whether the game gets as buckwild as Bloodborne did at the end.

It’s such an incredible blend of mechanics, tone, and theme - one which eschews a lot of what I’ve come to expect from a Soulslike, purely because it doesn’t fit with From’s aesthetic goals. This is potentially the most bullshit-free From game, because the setting demands duels and one-on-one standoffs and explicitly cinematic framing. Even though the structure is very similar, so many of their tricks have been thrown out in favour of demanding a much higher degree of mechanical mastery from the player. It all fits and makes sense to me, even when I’m getting shut down hard by the game’s mix of bosses and mini-bosses.

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#67

and @VulpesAbsurda even just swapping L2/R2 for L1/R1 can be a big help, whilst keeping them roughly where muscle memory expects them to be. That is the first thing I change in any shooter I play (and now have an accessibility set up on my console to map it on an OS level since a couple of games don’t let me do it in game)

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#68

I’ve only played a few hours, but haven’t hit any walls as of yet. Past the first several minibosses but not nearly as far as many of you. Despite worrying about the difficulty/lack of summoning, I’m not finding it particularly frustrating. The game signals parrying fairly well, and the prosthetic weapons really start to give you some variety once you’ve unlocked at least 3.

Biggest tip so far: even if you can’t get prayer beads without fighting bosses, you can fight through the opening sections until you unlock some extra abilities. It doesn’t even take that much grinding, gives some extra practice, and opens up a lot of different moves. I’m not that much further than the ogre and I have at least 4 new attacks that help me push through the boss fights. It’s not the same as leveling in Souls games, but you can still upgrade through grinding, just not hp or dmg, but rather additional options for attack.

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#69

After playing maybe an hour or so of it, I’ve completely bounced off of this. Basically none of the core mechanics are clicking with me. The stealth here feels awkward to me and half-baked… enemies are hard to spot and I don’t like how sensitive they are in terms of sight. And the combat just isn’t really my cup of tea. It’s basically requiring perfect timing from me and that style is generally what I avoid in other games. Heck, I basically never use Royal Guard in DMC because it’s not for me. My playtime basically hit a brick wall when I got to the first major miniboss, some general guy at a Wall outpost. Probably literally the first challenge the game gives you I assume. I died and died and died and died and died, got the dragon rot cut scene, then kept dying. After that many failed attempts I realized I wasn’t really having fun . It wasn’t like in Bloodborne when I hit the wall with Gascoigne - I knew I could do it and that I was able to approach it with my own strategy. This game feels like it’s basically built around perfect timing… and I’m never going to get gud at that.

And that’s a real bummer for me. This game feels so rigid in it’s design and what it expects of you. Honestly before trying it I had a lot of reservations. The stealth never really looked fun to me and how much it leans on perfect timing in the combat rubbed me the wrong way but I decided to give it a chance.

It’s a bit funny, to decompress I played a little DMC3 to reminisce on some nostalgia. I remember being stuck on the first two bosses in that game (Cerberus and Agni/Rudra) but I kept trying and trying and trying. And that was on the original release with the fucked difficulty! The core combat was engaging and I knew I could do it. Here in Sekiro I know what I need to be better at… but I actually don’t think I will be capable of being as good as the game wants… and to be honest I don’t even think I want to in the first place. Even if I manage to get through something I know the next thing will be even harder and require mechanical skills I’m not even enjoying much regardless. So it bums me out, but I’m gonna sit this game out.

#70

So far I’m absolutely loving it. My Bloodborne playstyle was hyper aggressive and this game is designed to just let that cut loose. I’m actually finding it significantly less difficult than Bloodborne.

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#71

There’s a boss after the Gun Hell Valley that’s effectively a test of your ability to deal with rushdown enemies, here’s the patterns if you’re having problems with learning it:

  • First phase: four quick hits, pause, five quick hits, one slow hit
  • Backs off to come back in with a deathblow, jump over it or throw a spinning shuriken to interrupt
  • In second phase: three quick hits, deathblow (jump over it), three quick hits, one slow hit

I wouldn’t bother trying to get attacks in, just learn the patterns and you’ll take him down after about 3 cycles each.

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#72

I think this game will be best received by people who are Bloodborne fans first, and fans of Soulslikes second. Like Bloodborne, the combat incentivises a playstyle that reinforces the theme. Bloodborne demands aggression because that whole game is about a city’s bloodlust, and the player unwittingly falling into the same trap as the rest of Hunters. Similarly, Sekiro demands unrelenting, precise execution because every major enemy in that game has the same unwavering commitment to duty as the main character. The only way to win to keep up the pressure and force them to make a mistake (thematically anyway, I think the posture bar represents that dynamic pretty well).

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#73

I’ve finally broken through on the parrying and am having a grand old time with Sekiro now. Having beaten the first boss (Horseboy McSpear) really drove it through my skull how parrying is the cherry on the sundae, while just blocking can take you a long way. And the special deathblows you can perform on bosses are a pretty good reward for surviving the fight.

Now the game is opening up and the wide variety of skills I can purchase, as well as all the shinobi tool options, are making me really excited about how crazy the combat will get. Going head-to-head against a strong enemy and breaking their guard is really satisfying and empowering and i’m chuffed to see i’m gonna get a wider array of tools to do it with.

Apart from the boss mentioned above, my favorite set piece so far has been the hide-and-seek segment with the white snake in the valley. It was a really well-designed, memorable encounter, implemented in a way that put the game’s core skills to the test. Most games would have put this kind of segment on a rail.

On a more negative note though, I maintain that the most dangerous enemy in FromSoft games is the camera. It’s less egregious in this game since the enemies tend to be smaller, but that fire bull miniboss kept sticking me in corners where my main problem was not being able to see anything at all.

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#75

Congrats! I’m glad you’re enjoying it now!

Sekiro is harder than the soulsborne games because it actually requires you to internalize the core mechanics. Many people who beat Bloodborne never learned to gun parry, because you could always brute force bosses by leveling up, or summoning a friend. You can’t brute force a boss in Sekiro.

People often say soulsborne games are “tough but fair” in that every mistake you make is ultimately your fault. That’s not really true in those games, but it’s much more true in Sekiro. Most, if not all moves an enemy can do have a clearly taught counter, so if you get hit it’s pretty to easy to see how you could have avoided it. In Dark Souls 3, I got that once for every four times something completely random and unreadable killed me.

I’m loving this game! I’m about 20 hours in, and this might be my favorite From Software game yet!

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#76

It’s basically tradition for me to restart From games after a few hours, but Sekiro is probably the game where it has felt the most necessary. It wasn’t until re-fighting the small group of baddies in the middle of the tutorial intro that the combat of the game actually started to make sense. I don’t know how much of that I’m willing to chalk up to my unlearned-ass thinking I could Soulsborne my way into the VIP section for “good” players, but it was a rough few hours.

I’m still having some trouble with the perilous attacks, especially the sweeps. I’ve never really enjoyed the kind of combat mechanic that basically requires you to stop and Simon an attack based on what that specific animation is, but goddamn it feels good to hit that counter divekick though. I just wish that giant flashing red kanji actually registered in my brain.

It almost feels so overwhelmingly designed to be “fair” so as to hurt even more to fuck up because “well it was CLEARLY your fault because it was PERFECTLY telegraphed I don’t know WHY you didn’t just JUMP or COUNTER it”. I’ll take a little bit of bullshit in my action games if it means that the game’s “fairness” doesn’t have such a rough edge for a beginner.

Still! It’s exciting at best and interesting at worst. It’ll take a lot more for me to come out of a From game empty-handed, and I’m enjoying a lot of stuff. Especially the stealth, which strikes the balance between “simple” and “open-ended” well enough to be worth trying any time it comes up.

#77

I’ve mostly gotten it i think. I’m at the point where i’ve taken out all of the current minibosses, and i’m facing down the first 2 actual bosses. Both of them wiped me out on the first attempt, and i’m not sure which one i want to take out first. this will probably be the goal for the next few days. This game is really really good though.

#78

I’ve been playing Sekiro since Friday and it has definitely taken A LOT of getting used to, but I really have started to come round on the game early yesterday after I started beating a bunch of the bosses.

I’m loving the speed of the game - the grappling hook is just great for getting around. I love how you can chain grapples altogether so your feet never hit the ground. I never thought a From Software game would have me feel like Spider-man.

The combat just feels savage and having the ability to break parries just feels awesome. I especially like the spear block you unlock, your enemy lunges you hit B and it’s just a one big ‘nope’ from there. The Shinobi Hunter after the bridge, was the first boss that I feel as if I had truly sussed. Like, I was actually doing the ninja thing of walking slowly towards him and deflecting every single attack. The rate in which you can take down bosses once you have them figured out just feels MEGA. It took me ages to beat the samurai captain in the first area. In the same way as the Souls games got progressively faster, Sekiro definitely feels like an evolution. I’ve already seen some videos of speedrunners cleaning up an area, and it looks insane.

Following all the Souls games and Bloodborne. It took me a while to realise that the game wasn’t punishing me as much for dying, where I would lose all my souls and only have one opportunity to get it all back. I feel this led to moments in which I’d be locked in this endless loop in which I was stuck on a boss and had to keep passing the fog gate to reclaim my lost souls. That experience bar definitely feels like more intuitive to my progress. If I get stuck I can safely just explore another area of the world like I could do in the other Souls games - just there isn’t as big a cost to dying.

I suppose the negative of this is that boss fights do still feel like brick walls. I got to Lady Butterfly last night. I got completely trounced and didn’t go back to it. On the other hand there’s a dude on horseback after snake pass and some weird headless dude down in a cave, who slows my movement so fuck that for the time being…

As always, I love the art direction in this game. I think Bloodborne still takes the biscuit with all the Lovecraftian stuff, but being less knowledgable about Japanese folklore - the game is definitely making me want to learn more. I feel like completely headless folk is going to be something of a theme. I know most of the bosses have been dudes with swords and giant dudes but I’m expecting the game is going to throw a dragon at me at some point.

I like how they’ve continued with their creepy bird motifs. Watching those giant cockerals strut about the burning buildings was giving me ‘raptor in the kitchen’ vibes. They must taste delicious. Similarly, the confrontation with the giant snake definitely had some Jurassic Park vibes to it. Which is always enough to endear me closer towards a game.

I think the only thing I’m missing is the ability to write and read messages. Did add into this feeling that the active community where all in this together.

** As is tradition, I’m finding myself playing this whilst waiting for EpicNameBro to show me how it’s done. For parrying he advised to watch the hands of your opponent. It’s definitely helped me make significant moves with the parry system.

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#79

Played the game almost nonstop all weekend.

I love the way it feels to move through and explore levels. That was always my favorite part of souls games, and grappling is so good.

I don’t love the bosses as much. The minibosses can take off over half your health in one hit and they have a pretty terrible run up. A lot of them have a bunch of mobs you want to clear before the fight which can take a while. Then you sneak up for a deathblow. Then you have a chance to take them out, but you can die so quickly it can be really tough to learn and iterate on your mistakes.

Another tip I haven’t seen anyone mentioning: Vitality/Posture upgrades and Attack upgrades feel really meaningful. I lost to Lady Butterfly a bunch so I decided to go back to the main path. Turns out I was fighting her really early. I went back to the main game until I got stuck on Genichiro Ashina for 4 HOURS! So I went back to the other fight with two health upgrades, and attack up, and more healing uses and beat her in one shot. Used the attack upgrade from that and went back to Genichiro and beat that fight in just a couple tries.

#80

Fwiw, horse lord was way easier for me than fast old lady, and also opens up way more stuff to do, so I’d focus there first. Based on some stuff that’s be real spoilers, I get the impression you’re not really meant to beat the latter until later anyway.

#81

The Genichiro Ashina fight is incredible! Actually landing the lightning reversal was one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had in a game! It was so hard to pull off, but the reward was so dramatic that it made me feel like a demigod! I ended up beating him the first time I got it to work.

This game rules!

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