Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a tough game. Here are some shinobi tactics to get you going without spoiling anything for your trek through Sengoku period Japan.
If you’ve played the Souls games and Bloodborne, your first barrier is going to be combat. Sekiro’s combat hinges on a completely different play style and mechanics. Learning how to break an enemy’s posture down through continued harassment, staying in the thick of combat while maintaining both offense and defense, is eventually critical to success. Practice deflection and counterplay as soon as you can, it will pay off later.
Use consumables, a lot. If you’re like me, your first instinct is to save all those tasty sugars and other buff items for when you need them. The time you need them is on any boss encounter that’s giving you trouble. You can always farm up or purchase more later in the game.
Many bosses and minibosses have weaknesses that you can exploit for an edge. Some hints are available from eavesdropping enemies as you sneak around, and others are listed on items or prosthetics. If you’re stuck, try different skills, items, and prosthetics from your arsenal to see if they make the fight easier.
Spend extra time in each area looking around. You may be tempted to fly through areas using grappling and infinite sprint, but this will cause you to miss many important things. Take time to check out overhanging cliffs, hanging trees to leap on and through, and every small alcove for secrets.
There are many minibosses in the game. These drop prayer beads and other extremely useful items, so you want to kill them whenever possible. The majority of them can be gamed to open with a deathblow from behind or above through some strategy (even running out of the area and resetting the encounter can be useful), effectively halving their potential. You can even roam around, trigger the boss, kill all their friends (if they have them), and run out and reset to land that opening blow. It helps a lot.
You will often lose half your skill point experience toward the next level and half your coins on death – you may get lucky and unseen aid will prevent this, but don’t count on it. For this reason, try to finish off a skill point and bank your gold before engaging in an encounter that will take you many attempts. Many vendors in the game sell various sizes of gold bags, that you can purchase to store gold as an item – and hence safe from the death mechanics. Keep these for a rainy day when you find something big you want to purchase.
Skill trees and prosthetic upgrades can make a big difference. Work them up whenever possible.
The game opens up at various points. If you find one encounter too challenging, try exploring in a different direction. You can probably find more prayer beads, gourd seeds, and even some prosthetics/skills/upgrade materials. Every major boss you beat offers a memory which translates into more attack power, so coming back to one with even one additional attack power can make a big difference.
Talk to everyone you meet! You may unlock things for sale, puzzle tips, or special questlines.
Take breaks. While having complete knowledge of an enemy moveset with your muscle memory working on its own has an extreme benefit, some bosses can be very challenging and it can begin to wear on you mentally. A hard reset on yourself can shake off the spiderwebs and stress.
Check out our review here!