Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is From Software’s latest game, and while it bears many resemblances to past From Software games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, there’s much more lurking underneath the surface.
If you’ve never played a From Software game – and especially if you have, there are many mechanics and secrets that aren’t outright told to you – or tips that might pop up only after you need to learn about them.
We’ve compiled a list of the most essential Things You Should Know Before Playing Sekiro – there will be no story spoilers involved, but there are details about certain mechanics that some players may want to find out about on their own – read on at your own risk.
Don’t Forget the Loot on Bodies
Though this tip appears fairly early on the game, it’s easily missed for more than one reason. Unlike other From Software games, certain items that drop from enemies don’t automatically go into your inventory – and the currency (Sen) that they may drop can take a moment to appear hovering over their body.
To make matters worse, you’ll need to hold down the interact button to make all nearby dropped items and currency fly into you – and it can be very easy to forget this, especially during a battle with multiple opponents.
As soon as you’re done clearing an area – be sure to check back on the foes you’ve killed and do a quick sweep to make sure all of their loot is now yours.
This is not Dark Souls or Bloodborne
An odd statement, but its true. Dark Souls and Bloodborne both taught players to rely heavily on stamina. Dark Souls utilized a lot of blocking, while Bloodborne was about dodging and using invulnerability frames to avoid damage.
In Sekiro – you have no stamina. You can attack and jump as much as you want, and while there is a short dodge, its not what you should be relying on. Many attacks have a much farther reach than your dodge can get you away from, and holding block will only break your Posture Meter.
If you are a big From Software fan, you’re going to need to unlearn the idea of spamming dodge or holding block, and instead train yourself to respond to most attacks with a well-timed deflect. Doing this in tandem with a fierce offense can allow you to clash blades with an enemy and quickly break their posture – whereas avoiding contact will only let enemies regain their posture quickly.
Early on you’ll start to find lots of Ceramic Shards – which say they can be used as distractions – but they can be a bit finicky to use.
In order to use them to their fullest extent, find an unaware enemy you wish to lure to their untimely demise – preferably from the vantage point behind a nearby wall or ledge or in tall grass, and lock onto that enemy first before using the shards.
Even though they’ll get hit in the face with a bunch of pottery, most enemies are dumb enough to slowly come looking for whoever threw it – which can easily set you up for Deathblows from above, below, or around corners even. This can be incredibly useful when spotting a loner or two whose still in sight of the rest of their friends – and you want to eliminate a few opponents without starting combat.
Get a Grip on Grappling
The Grappling Hook is the first Prosthetic Tool you’ll acquire, and you can use it to fly up to ledges, high platforms, and large tree branches. Many enemies may not be able to reach you when you grapple out of reach – but they can still throw things at you. Don’t think that grappling out of reach will automatically make you untouchable. Keep grappling to other points to lose your pursuers, or take stock of the situation before jumping back down.
Also note that grappling between high vantage points doesn’t always mean you can’t be spotted, especially on sloping terrain. It may be tempting to blindly grapple between several branches or high points without knowing what lies ahead – but enemies can and will see you if your platform is close to aligning with their line of sight.
From Software fans will likely recognize a Sculptor‘s Idol as a stand-in for a Dark Souls Bonfire: They allow you to rest and replenish the healing charges of your Healing Gourd, you can travel between them, and most enemies will reappear after resting.
But that’s not all they are good for. While resting at a Sculptor‘s Idol, you can also increase your own power – if you possess the right items. In addition, once you have a Prosthetic Tool added to your Shinobi Prosthetic, you can purchase Spirit Emblems, the items needed to power these devices.
These items can also be found in the world or from defeated enemies – but its never a bad idea to stockpile some extras for when you get to a difficult area where they are hard to come by.
Similar to recent From Software games, you may find that you can only carry so many of each items – like Pellets or Spirit Emblems. As you find more than you can carry, the additional items you find aren’t lost – they’ll be sent to the Sculptor‘s Idol as surplus.
If you find yourself running low in inventory in the items you use the most, it may be worth returning to one to replenish your supplies – or making sure to find a merchant to buy excess amounts to have in reserve when you need them.
There’s More Than One Skill Tree
Be sure to see our page on Skills, Skill Trees, and Esoteric Text Locations for more information.
Perilous Attacks Aren’t Always Unblockable
When attacking powerful enemies, you’ll find a red warning sign appear when a strong attack is about to come your way. These Perilous Attacks come in three different types – heavy sweeping attacks, thrusting attacks, and grab attacks.
For these attacks, you’ll need to carefully figure out where the attack is coming from, and how best to stop it. Holding block won’t save you from these attacks, but you can stop thrusts and sweep attacks with a perfectly timed deflect. You can also dodge to the side of thrusts, and jump over sweep attacks. Unlocking the Mikiri Counter skill is also a great way to neutralize thrust attacks – as long as you see them coming.
However, grabbing attacks are always unblockable, so you’ll need to dodge and jump out of the way of these attacks. Be warned that some attacks can come at bizarre angles – so be ready to move at a moment’s notice.
Posture is reset quickly when you or an enemy is at full health, but much slower when damaged. You can often see this by the color of the bar that’s under the main meter that expands. A yellow color means their posture is healing slower, and a red color often mean their health is so low that they are unable to regenerate their Posture.
If you happen to be struggling to regain your own Posture, remember that Posture also recovers faster when guarding – just make sure you don’t keep holding block when under attack, or you’ll keep taking posture damage.
Unlike Dark Souls or Bloodborne, Sekiro has a dedicated jump button, which – along with being able to grapple between certain points – allows for much more vertical options in combat. Be wary however, as enemies who possess firearms or shuriken will try to knock you out of the air – and deal much more damage than if you advance on the ground.
The same holds true for enemies – you’ll get a Loaded Shuriken attachment to your Shinobi Prosthetic early on, and while it deals low damage, it be much more effective at stopping the advanced at jumping enemies to shut them down immediately.
Deathblows Can Restore Resurrection
Unique to Sekiro and the Wolf is his ability to resurrect in battle after being killed. At the start, you’ll only be able to do this once in battle before the option is eliminated until you rest at a Sculptor‘s Idol – but you also have a second node that can only be recharged by killing.
The quickest way to do this (without losing progress by resting) is to perform Deathblows on your enemies. This includes Deathblows performed in stealth or in combat – and stealth may be the best option for keeping yourself out of danger until you have your backup resurrection in your pocket.
Resurrection will always consume the node gained at the Sculptor‘s Idol first, then the node from killing enemies second – though you can use a Bundled Jizo Statue to skip having to kill enemies to recharge it.
You’ll also notice that after resurrecting, your second resurrection node will be blacked out even if it’s fully charged. This is because you need to perform another deathblow or two before you are able to resurrect again. In boss or mini boss battles, this means you’ll only be able to resurrect once per health bar!
Unseen Aid’s Seen Effects
Death is as much a part of Sekiro is at is in Dark Souls and Bloodborne – you can expect to die a lot. However, the rules have changed a bit – you’ll only lose half of your experience to your next Skill Point upon death, as well as half the Sen you have earned (not including Coin Purses). What’s more – you cannot retrieve lost experience and money where you died.
Your only chance to prevent this is by resurrecting in battle – but you may also find aid from certain Divine sources. There is a chance upon your revival at a Sculptor‘s Idol that you may not lose anything at all. This Divine Aid comes from above – and starts at a 30% chance.
However, if you continue to die, you may awaken to find that your death and revival has begun to affect those you have met – an affliction known as Dragonrot. The more of this you spread to others, the lower your chance of receiving Divine Aid will be, and you won’t be able to continue any of their personal quests.
The first instance of Dragonrot will always halve your Divine Aid chance, and each additional Rot Essence you obtain will lower it by 2% to a minimum of 5% – it can go no lower. Do not fear – as once a few people have been infected, Lady Emma will come up with a plan for a temporary cure using a specific consumable item – which will always restore your Unseen Aid back to its maximum 30% chance.
You Can Make the Game Harder
Like a true From Software game, Sekiro is not short on difficulty. Still, there are those who want even more punishment to await them in their trials.
Fortunately for those players – there is a way to increase the difficulty early on. After defeating the Chained Ogre in the Ashina Outskirts, you can skirt around a Samurai General and venture to the right side of a large canyon to find a note about a haunted shrine. By grappling along the cliffs past the small wooden building, you can find the entrance to a cave. Dodge the undead Headless monster, and you’ll find a hidden false wall at the back leading to the Demon Bell located in Senpou Temple, Mount Kongo.
By ringing this bell (against the wishes of the note posted on it), you’ll obtain the Bell Demon item, which will increase the damage done to you – but also increase your chance of getting better loot too.
Be sure to look around the area a Mid-Boss is in, as certain enemies, like the Chained Ogre in the Ashina Outskirts, will block progression by way of a wall of mist forming behind them. You’ll have no choice but to defeat them if you wish to proceed.
Other Mid-Bosses, like the first few Samurai Generals you meet, can be avoided entirely if you don’t feel up to the challenge. However, it’s often a good idea to take up the challenge, as the items the Mid-Bosses drop are usually the only way to grow in power – like being able to upgrade your Vitality and Posture.
A Mid-Boss Can be Cheesed – To a Point
Most Mid-bosses that roam the lands act like normal enemies, excluding their tendency to have a bigger health pool. Because of this, they are vulnerable to the same things that other enemies suffer from – namely, stealth Deathblows.
Several Mid-Bosses, like the Samurai General, can be ambushed before their fight truly begins. Getting a Stealth Deathblow on these Mid-Bosses can effectively make the fight a lot easier without having to worry about breaking their Posture twice or more.
However, you likely won’t able to use this trick over and over. If you’ve already engaged a Mid-Boss and decide to retreat, a Mid-Boss will almost always regain their health when they decide to stop chasing you. If you need a breather but want to pick things up where you left off – make sure you don’t get out of their range.
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