Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has been frustrating and amazing people around the world for just over a week now and the consensus among players is that it’s an exceptionally difficult game.

After spending 60+ hours dying my way through the entire game I was finally able to finish it. I can safely say that while it only gets tougher, it’s certainly not impossible to complete.

We’ve prepared a little guide for you which goes a little bit deeper than 'Git gud.’ So if you’re among the 42 per cent of people who haven’t even beaten one of the first bosses, then these beginner tips and tricks will be extremely useful to know.

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Combat

Combat is fast-paced and incredibly brutal. Your basic goal in combat is to break the enemy’s posture (think of it like a stamina bar), leaving them vulnerable to a Deathblow. Simple enough, right?

Wrong. As you make your way through the war-torn land of Ashina you’re going to be pit against soldiers and beasts alike, all of which will punish you for your missteps, but don't lose hope.

The generic soldiers you go up against will be armed with swords, axes and so on, some will also be more armoured than others. So, pay attention to what their wearing.

The ones sporting fancy hats (armoured) will be harder to posture break with brute force alone. For these, you’ll want to be aggressive but also try for a well-timed deflection to completely break their posture and finish with a deathblow.

On the other hand, generic soldiers who are hatless and less fancy (unarmored) will be greatly susceptible to relentless attacks, becoming posture broken with extreme ease.

Attacks are well telegraphed and won't take long to learn. Eventually, it will all click into place and once you finally tap into the ebb and flow of the exhilarating combat, you'll be worthy of the shinobi name in no time.

Deflecting

This brings us to deflecting attacks, which is different to blocking. Blocking won’t damage your health pool, but it will increase your posture damage, while deflecting negates posture damage to you and instead hurts your enemies.

Being able to time a perfect deflection will be a necessary key to victory for tougher enemies and bosses. Tapping the block button just before an attack hits will deflect it, damaging posture and bringing them closer to a deathblow.

To help, when fighting look at your opponent's hand, not their weapon. Using their animation as a visual key, when you start to see their weapon swing unceremoniously towards you, hit defend. You’re given a rather lenient window for what counts as a deflection and this trick will help you get it just right most of the time with a lot of enemies. Again, it's all about learning the patterns.

You’re going to want to learn as much as you can about their movements and attacks. This is where Sekiro is essentially a rhythm game.

Once you begin attacking, you’ll notice some enemies can deflect your hits as well. It’s a highly visible cue, so once you see this you know they’re going to attack, and you now need to be defensive until your next opening, then rinse and repeat.

‘Perilous attacks’ are denoted by a red kanji symbol appearing on your enemy and these attacks can't be blocked. Instead, jump over sweeping attacks or dash towards thrust attacks with the ‘Mikiri counter’ ability (earned through skill points) which will trivialise perilous thrust attacks.

However, the best and most reliable way to deal with these attacks early on, with their finicky hit boxes and especially with your limited healing supplies, is to put some distance between you and your foe by jumping or sprinting away.

Stealth

Stealth quickly becomes a very viable and helpful option. If combat is proving too tricky, then flee for the hills! Or, at least, use your grappling hook to ferry you to the safety of a nearby rooftop.

Most of the enemies in Sekiro seem to suffer from some form of amnesia, or perhaps all of Ashina’s soldiers just have terrible eye sight. Regardless, if you’re deep in combat and become overwhelmed, run away and hide until you see they’re no longer looking for you.

You can kill in one hit with a Deathblow if you haven’t been spotted. Just make sure that you pay attention to where enemies are looking and always clear them out from the top to bottom. This way you won’t get taken unawares if you kill the first person you see only to die to the arrow of a well-hidden archer.

Prosthetic arm

In general, the prosthetic arm becomes a bit of an afterthought. Two add-ons however are particularly useful; the shuriken and firecracker. As a bonus, you can get both of them extremely early on in the game.

The shuriken gives you superb ranged capabilities and will kill beast enemies, such as dogs, in one hit. It’s also incredibly useful at stifling enemies that jump around a lot, just like an early-game boss does quite a bit.

Firecrackers are fantastic for giving you some breathing space. If you’re overwhelmed, drop the firecrackers which will stun your foes for a good few seconds while you either continue your attack or run away and wait for that good old amnesia to kick back in.

Other beast-type enemies like the Chained Ogre mini boss are very susceptible to fire and the loud noises produced from the firecracker. So always take these strengths and weaknesses into account when initiating a fight.

Patience is key

Sekiro is a whole lot more than difficult for the sake of it. If you’re dying over and over again, don’t worry. Just take a step back to learn where you’re going wrong.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that dying in games like Sekiro and Dark Souls is not failure, it’s a learning curve. Once you realise this you’ll see and play the game totally differently.

Don't let yourself get discouraged. It is undoubtedly a harder game than Dark Souls but it is rarely unfair. The game literally gives you all the tools you need to be able to progress through it and, mix in some patience, you will eventually complete it.

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