Sekiro is From Software's follow-up to Dark Souls III (2016). You play as a ninja in the Sengoku period (around 1500-1600 B.C.), in a world where magic and mysterious creatures exist alongside historical locations and characters. Sekiro has a focus on mobility, your Shinobi has a grappling hook, and can run and jump extremely fast. And of course, stealth is very important, and is key to dealing with certain encounters. The combat has a strong focus on parrying and counter-attacking, to such a degree that many enemies can only be defeated using parries. The sword-fights in this game have a realistic feel, as you take turns blocking and parrying attacks, and deliver a few deadly strikes to kill opponents. Sekiro seems like a spiritual sequel to Tenchu, a game series that From Software contributed to in 2004 with Tenchu: Fatal Shadows.
It's pretty clear that I'm going to play this very soon, so I preordered it for 438 DKK.
Yesterday I came back from spending the weekend in Fjerritslev, and I was too tired to play. But today at 07:10, I was ready to start. I played the tutorial, lost my arm, trained with the zombie guy, and entered the first real area. This is very cool, and it seems that Tenchu wasn't made in vain.
I started stumbling around the first area, managed to stealth kill the giant with the hammer, and found the Shuriken arm upgrade. The old lady's bell allowed me to visit a 'memory', which means I go back in time. This spooky area contained a vendor that sells some awesome stuff for fish scales. I managed to kill a couple of fish.
The burning area had a very difficult boss fight with a giant drunken guy. I think I should either save that one for later, or methodically try my 3 different arm attacks to see if he's weak to something.
I went back to Ashina Outskirts and made some progress, and encountered the Chained Ogre. He was extremely weak to fire, especially when dousing him in oil beforehand. It's a fun boss fight, and him doing pro wrestling moves makes it even more fun. There was a new area behind him, and possibly a secret area where he was, I'm not sure.
After gaining 4 levels to spend on 'Emma's Medicine: Potency', which upgrades your health gourd, I took over the castle at Ashina Outskirts, and encountered the horse-riding boss Gyoubu Oniwa. He killed me many times.
Leveling up Attack Power requires 'confronting a memory', which I didn't dare do in my current tired state. However, I read online that it's not a repeat of the boss fight, which I was afraid of. I should do it immediately.
I have to save up 1000 Sen to buy a Guord Seed from the Memorial Mob.
I 'confronted the memory' which was just a menu. Nothing to be afraid of. :) I killed a bunch of guys to get enough Sen and buy a Gourd Seed from the Memorial Mob and upgrade my Gourd. I reached what looks like another boss fight, but didn't dare enter, I was too full of money.
The Ashina Outskirts ended with a boss fight with the 'Blazing Bull', an enormous bull with burning wood strapped to its head. When I learned that I could parry his attacks, I quickly defeated the big animal.
The Bull enabled access to Ashina Castle, and I found myself in the tutorial area where I was murdered by Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi, one of the Seven Ashina Spears. Deciding that it was a bit too difficult for me right now, I returned to the burning Hirata Estate and quickly defeated Juzou the Drunkard by setting him on fire over and over again.
The roof of Ashina Castle had the crazy bird-men, including the ones that did suicide dives from a kite. Having already seen them in Tweets and YouTube videos, I vary carefully deflected the attack and avoided death. This led to what can only be described as a Tenchu level, where I was stealth killing soldiers inside a large building. The Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze was too much for me, so I decided to take another route.
After fighting the Seven Spear guy again and giving up, I found the Lone Shadow Longswordsman again, and gave up on him as well. I branched off the Ashina Reservoir, found the Gatehouse Key for a samurai gatehouse which is supposed to hold a cool item, and fought a crazy giant that tried to trap me inside a bell. This led to the Abandoned Dungeon, which was full of zombies. It led to the Underground Waterway, which led to a spooky monstrocity with blue light around it, probably a boss. I saved him for later, and swam through underground tunnels to an elevator that led to Senpou Temple.
Another area very reminiscent of Tenchu, The Senpou Temple was infested by corrupted monks. A fun and beautiful area. I ended up curing Dragonrot for all NPCs, which means that I should probably make a round and check up on them. It might also be a good way to save up some money and unlock a few more abilities.
I went back to Hirata Estate and talked to some more NPCs, and found a secret room with another Prayer Bead inside. Then I went back to Senpou Temple and killed some Mushroom Men. I found a secret passage to the horrible headless monstrocity that I have no intention of fighting now. I also found a bell that I'm afraid to ring, because I heard bad things about it. What is this game?
I read that you can drop down in the Tenchu area to find a poison sword arm.
I got the Sabimaru, the poison sword, and discovered a new location, the Old Grave. General Matsumoto was a bit much for me, I'll try him later. I tried fighting the Lone Shadow Longswordsman, who's in the location where you start the game, but he was too difficult. I also found the Loaded Spear. I went back to the Bamboo Thicket and fought the purple ninja guy there. I got him and found yet another prosthetic tool, the Mist Raven. After all this progress, I decided to have a go at Jinsuke Saze, the guy who does super-fast attacks with his Katana sheathed. He murdered me many times, but after I realized what this fight was trying to teach me, I got him: If he attacks twice in a row, I have to deflect twice as well. So two fast taps on L1 did the trick.
I fought the Armored Warrior and pushed him out of a window (I learned from Jeppe that this was the only way to kill him). Then I found a temple with one of the passive zombie guys, but this one was infested by a horrible giant centipede. I think centipedes are the symbol of corruption in Sekiro.
Lady Butterfly was extremely difficult, but after re-learning when to jump and when to dodge, using the shuriken arm to shoot her down, and using the great umbrella arm to shield against her annoying homing butterflies, I finally managed to beat her.
I talked to a girl in a temple, who gave me the Mortal Blade, which should be able to 'slay the undying'. I gave her a 'Sakura Droplet', which gave me an extra resurrection. Kuro gave me the Gun Fort Shrine Key, which allowed access to the Riven Cave, which opened up to a large area full of monkeys with katanas and guns. These monkeys are getting a bit too clever.
The Poison Pool had an annoying encounter with yet another Snake Eyes character, which I cheesed using poison. I fought and killed the Guardian Ape, but then something horrible happened. I would rather not talk about it.
The Guardian Ape is supposed to 'contain' the final prosthetic tool.
After watching a guide, I got back to fighting the big ape. I'm keeping my distance, sprinting forward when he does the poop fling, hit him twice in the butt and then shoot the firecrackers and then hit him 5 times. On his second stage, I wait for the awkward sword combo, try to parry everything, and then stab and pull using the spear arm (R2 x 2). I haven't succeeded yet, but it seems doable now.
I defeated the Guardian Ape on my first try tonight! I've been thinking a lot about him and watching myself play against him, and as it turned out, I learned his moves. I picked up a flower and gave it to Kuro, and now I don't know where to go. Something about a Sakura tree and jumping into a hole.
I wanted to show this to Thomas, who's visiting, and I ran around, fought the big spear guy and lost as usual, and gained some XP. I went back to the temple, where I encountered the monkeys for the first time, and there was three ghostly bird men there. I haven't seen that before, I wonder why they are there?
Almost to tired to play, but I still managed to reach and kill the Mist Noble, which cleared up the mist (and the ghosts) in the Hidden Forest. I had a bit of trouble with Tokujiro the Glutton, but I used the Finger Whistle to sow discord among his monkey sidekicks, and then finally kill him.
Beneath Mibu Village I found a ninja who destroyed me. I'll save him for later. The village itself was easy enough, until I encountered O'Rin of the Water, who was looking for Lord Sakuza (don't know who that is), and then proceeded to destroy me.
I'm going to break the Iron Code, which leads to a boss fight. Actually, it might be fun to explore the castle and fight some more mini-bosses.
4 hours of play time and a lot of frustration later, The Owl is dead. I also fought a Headless underwater, which was a really unique visual. And now, as I understand it, the Divine Heir needs an ingridient from the Bottomless Hole.
I explored a bit, upgraded my arm a bit, and then entered the Bottomless Hole to find Ashina Depths again. I found the Guardian Ape again, this time with a friend, and killed it. For real this time. Now I don't know where to go.
The ingredients for the Fountainhead Incense are: The Lotus of the Palace (defeat Guardian Ape, Sunken Valley), and the Shelter Stone (defeat Corrupted Monk, Mibu Village). It turned out I had everything. Now I could go back to the Wedding Cave Door in Ashina Depths, and be transported to a new area with a big rope monster. Pretty awesome.
The real Corrupted Monk is pretty difficult, but I already know most of the moves, so it should be doable.
The Monk was difficult, especially his last stage, where a Centipede erupts from his head, and he becomes very aggressive. I stun locked him with fireworks and 3-hit attacks, enhanced by Ako's Sugar, and won the battle in the end. It didn't help that I had forgotten to increase my attack power after killing the Guardian Ape.
I should try to fight some of the Headless. They drop Spiritfall items, unlimited use items that use Spirit Emblems to boost stats. The one that increases damage seems very useful, it is found in the Underbridge Valley.
I tried fighting the Headless in the Underbridge Valley, but it's too difficult. I went out shopping and bought a Mottled Purple Gourd, which should help with the Headless. The internet suggests I should do a Divine Confetti, then a Sugar, and then drink from the Purple Gourd or use Pacifying Agent. Perhaps then I'm able to overpower the Headless.
I did it. Divine Confetti for damage against undead, Ungo's Spiritfall for vitality protection, and Mottled Purple Gourd for Terror protection made The Headless easy. Now I have Ako's Spiritfall, which is like infinite Ako's Sugar.
The Old Dragons and the Divine Dragon were weird and awesome. I wish this game had more of this kind of insanity, but nevertheless, it was a welcome change. The Divine Dragon wasn't difficult, once I learned that you're supposed to jump onto the trees, get hit by lightning, and then press R1 to fire the lighting into the dragon. I killed Genichiro, which disgustingly 'gives birth' to the final boss, Isshin, the Sword Saint. I have a feeling he's going to take all day tommorrow to beat.