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Sekiro : Shadows Die Twice

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Put just over an hour into this.

 

First things first, it’s way more traditional narrative focused than the last From action RPGs. Loads of cut scenes and it defaults to Japanese voices but I switched it to English because evidently I’m some kind of monster. If I can switch it back, I’ll give it a try.

 

Combat feels superficially similar to Souls but really very different. It’s all about parrying and timing, whereas a lot of Souls you can cheese quite easily.

 

I can’t imagine anyone’s ultra sensitive about spoilers from an hour in, but just to be sure:

 

Got past the tutorial section and did a boss fight that I have to imagine you’re meant to lose. Got the arm hacked off and now I can grapple to places like a bad motherfucker with my weird prosthetic arm. Upgraded it to fire shurikans and that’s about as far as I got.

 

So far it feels great to play, very smooth and satisfying when you pull the combat off properly.

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Played it for a couple of hours. It has some of the ambience of a Souls game but it plays differently because of the importance of deflecting, breaking an opponent’s posture and hitting death blows. I like it, deflecting is very easy once you find the rhythm, then it becomes very easy to deflect and one-shot regular mobs. And then more powerful enemies have thrusting and sweeping attacks which I just practiced how to deal with with the guy that trains you. The training is very helpful.

 

I like the Japanese used in the game. Everybody uses the traditional Japanese of the time like you hear in Kurosawa films. And Japanese characters appear on the screen too - when you die the kanji for death (死 - shi) appears. 

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Proper struggling with this, not helped by my tendency to mash attack and not try to parry everything.

Somehow I have made some progression even though my character is a bit ill and I appear to have done some time travelling.

 

I might have to find a video with some decent tips.

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Put a couple of hours into this tonight and not sure how I feel yet. Trying to get to grips with the timings in combat is tough. At first I was doing ok, then I sparred with Mr Dead for a while and thought I had it, then I went out into the world and was fine, then I came across a general that introduced the THIS ATTACK WILL HURT symbol and he took a while to take down. I've only died without resurrection once though, so that's nice.

 

Planning on spending the day with it tomorrow while my girlfriend is at work. 

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SO. FUCKING. HARD.

 

Died so many times on that General. I just couldn’t get that jump counter into my muscle memory and he just kept wrecking me. Doesn’t help that I’m trying to play it like Souls as I’ve no doubt that’s the road to ruin. Beat him eventually, but going to have to do a bit more sparring with that guy at the temple to get the feel of the combat more.

 

Not entirely sure how Dragonrot effects things, but right now I’m dragonrotted to fuck.

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It's really punishing isn't it? Seeing anything with two pips above it now brings me out in a cold sweat. 

 

There's a fight a bit later on that took me far too many tries before I clicked with his attack timings. 

 

Spoiler

The Shinobi Hunter - what a cunt

 

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I think part of the problem with me is that I can’t yet shake off “souls habits” that I’ve picked up over the years. Fights seem similar on a surface level, but mechanically they’re a lot different. I’d be interested to see how a person who’d never played a Souls game before would fare with it.

 

Quick question (it’s early game, but i’ll spoiler it just in case):

 

Spoiler

Does dragonrot only increase if I die after a resurrection?

 

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I'm just really bad at timings. My reflexes are completely shot. 

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4 hours in total now, made good progress. Beat that general which gave me an upgrade to my Healing Gourd. Also bought the Roberts Firecrackers upgrade for my prosthetic arm. From there I made it to the save point (sorry I haven’t memorised the Sekiro lingo yet) which I think is called Ashino Castle - Staircase (it’s the fourth one), where you fight the guy in chains who does the grab attacks.

 

Minor spoilers:

 

Spoiler

I went back to the temple and offered the bell I found to the Buddha statue, this transported me to the Hirata Palace three years in the past. So far I’ve been exploring there, I made it to the second bonfire (oops) and killed every enemy in the next area and unlocked the shortcut that leads back to the bonfire. So for now I’m going o continue exploring in here.

 

So I have a couple of places to explore. However there’s also a cave in a cliff-face that I spotted that I want to go back to (in the Ashina area).

 

Loving the game so far. 

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I’ve bought a couple of new moves and got two arm bits but I’m still struggling like hell.

I’ve opened the first door shortcut on the estate but can’t get much further. I can’t do anything against the shield enemies and then I get to a little bit further and just get annihilated.

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I'm not enjoying this at all. 

 

I'm in the 3 years ago memory where everything is on fire

 

I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall. Every time I take massive damage I have to rest to reset my gourds, which resets the enemies and I have to start the whole gauntlet again. 

 

Progress is slow and I don't feel like I'm getting any better, and right now the thought of going back to it is making me want to throw up. I just can't suss out the combat system at all. 

 

Sadly, not having a job and spending £50 on this I literally can't afford to give up even though every fibre of my being is telling me to. 

 

Objectively it's a very good game; looks lovely, mechanics are great, Japanese VO is fantastic, but subjectively I am fucking miserable. 

 

 

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I get like that at the beginning of every From game, @RikSP - for the moment I’m just trying to grind my way up a bit. Having health upgrades tied to (I presume) story progression may halt that a little bit though.

 

I just found a third arm add-on, so now I can take down the shield guys with two button presses.

 

I think my biggest way of moving forward is recognising the Kanji text that pops up and remembering what to do in those situations. 

There’s meant to be a training enemy somewhere in the hub. Anyone know where exactly it is?

Never mind, found him.

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I can't find the axe.

 

I've killed a Shinobi Hunter and found some feathers, but I can't find this fucking axe. 

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As you’re past the door you opened, before you can eavesdrop on two enemies outside a door, leap over a wall to the right and you’ll find two more enemies you can eavesdrop on. Kill them and you can find the axe in there.

 

I finally killed the spear guy and I’ve now progressed! Not only got an idol so I can skip past that gruelling section, but also unlocked a new skill tree.

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