Watching guides on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a surefire way to spoilers.. However, this Sekiro Beginners Guide provides you all the tips and resources you need to be successful without any spoilers.
There has also been a tendency to share too much information. So much so that the process of discovery and the reward of achievement has been stripped away from the player. This of course, is not what a new player would want nor should want and has been taken into consideration when making this guide. The fundamentals are enough to make your own way in this world.
First things first, you are a Shinobi, a rogue. Not a Samurai. And when a Shinobi is taking on an army; it is best to keep within the shadows. The game is a balance between quick assassinations and swift sword to sword combat. So when the time comes to face your enemy head on, your weapons must meet. Blocking, deflecting and the timely use tools & techniques are the key to overcoming the enemy.
Basic Sekiro Tips
This hostile world that you will find yourself in, is sparsely populated with allies. Make sure visit them often and show your gratitude. The temple is now your new home. Frequently make visits and speak to the sculptor, especially early on. Another important ally is Hanbei the Undying. Make sure to practice with him and allow yourself the time to grasp the games basic mechanics. As you begin to unlock new abilities make sure to keep to the habit. Your Homeward Idol is designed for this very purpose and can be used anywhere outside of combat.
Infinite grapple allows you to move much more quickly and fluidly in terrain that is familiar to you. Use it to save time and for quick getaways. Remember that if the enemy is aware of you they will throw things at you, so do not stand in ideal while on high positions and make use of this mechanic.
Eavesdrop whenever given the option. It provides you with tips about enemies, situational lore in addition to hints as to what may come next. Do not worry if you kill an opponent before eavesdropping as the option will arise the next time.
Explore, there is so much hidden just in the Ashina area. This is a consistent part of the game. Many paths lead to the same road. Many hidden items and NPCs will be found while exploring and uncovering new territories. Which will often add to your prowess and power. So don’t be concerned about being sidetracked. Since the game rewards this greatly. This is why exploration and taking your time matters. Don’t beat your head against a wall, when you can jump over it. Often times you are simply missing something.
Make use of your items. In Sekiro, every item counts and is necessary as difficulty increases. Pellets, Oils and Ceramic tiles are abundant for a reason. Make use of them, since early on healing isn’t much of an option.
Which leads to the next point. Play tactfully and don’t be affair to runaway after your first death. The game has a two death mechanic. However, a true death will lead to a loss of sen and experience, and also the chance to get Dragonrot which is something that you want to avoid at all times. But more on that later.
Remember you can often skip mini-bosses. Sometimes you need a new ability, technique or item to get an edge in the fight. Simply find another way and return later. Obviously this isn’t always the case with all bosses, but it is for all mini-boss encounters and high difficulty opponents.
Grind and earn that xp and gold. Which will also lead you to advance in combat and gain confidence. Allowing you more efficient ways of neutralising the enemy. While earning ability points, which will later add to your prowess. If you notice that you’re close to gaining an ability point, its better to grind and retain that point than to lose it by dying.
Combat Tips & Fundamentals
As mentioned before the game revolves around quick sword to sword combat. Therefore, the usual dodge and roll mechanics that we have become accustomed to are no longer are as effective and should not be your main strategy for survival.
In Sekiro, we are encouraged to attack the enemy head on and our path to victory is either through a quick succession of strikes or the ability to deflect and block enemy attacks until they lose their posture and become opened for a deathblow. Maneuvering is still a viable option, but requires a certain level of comfort and experience before becoming part of your arsenal.
- With that said, vitality and posture are your lifeblood, so learn to manage it. Holding your guard (blocking) stabilises your posture. Maximum posture (red) means that you are vulnerable and this also applies to your enemies.
- Blocking and deflecting their attacks is just as effective as striking them to weaken their posture. If you catch one holding up their weapon and not attacking, it is time to strike and finish the job. Also remember that the more health you have the quicker your posture will recover and vice versa.
- Understand that no enemy is the same, but enemy types are the same. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Play correctly and that same strength will be to their detriment. A flurrying lunatic? No problem. Block and deflect him until the tables turn in your favor.
- Train yourself to move towards the enemy at all times and be taking every opportunity to get closer to a deathblow. A good example is the unblockable slash attacks. The best way to approach these is actually jump kick countering your enemy. Not only does is allow you to avoid the attack but also does posture damage and can lead to a instant kill.
- Ranged opponents will be your most dangerous of enemies, so finding out ways to neutralise them early is often the best approach.
- Get an understanding of enemy distance because they have different strike patterns. Sometimes it’s better to be close, while with others distance is favored. While doing so also make use of your thrust attack (hold strike). If timed correctly it often leads to deathblows.
- Dodge to the direction of the weapon hand, by design the strikes will move towards you. Doing so, you move outside the enemies range in most cases.
- Understand the rythem and the true potential of timely deflecting, learn to listen and time your deflects and blocks to the sounds.
- Lastly your Shuriken Prosthetic is not only good for interrupting, harassing and drawing in your enemies, but also killing wolves & roasters.
Because of the importance of defense and the opportunity that it provides you, holding your position is key. It is a dance, in which both offense and defense are fluidly interconnected. Deflecting and blocking can still lead to a kill. Not to mention the negation of 80% of enemy attacks, including some ranged attacks. Be adaptable and cunning in your approach and you will be victorious.
Stealth attacks and killing is the key to this game. Once you have a basic understanding of your surrounding and enemy positions and movements. Begin to strategically cut down their forces. As a Shinobi your greatest strength lies in the shadows. So why drag out a fight, when you can use alternative methods to dispose of your enemy? The longer the fight the higher chance of damage or death.
One by one they shall fall, until none is more.
From the beginning of the game these stealth strategies are available to you. The first is to sneak behind your enemy for a deathblow. The second is to jump form above onto your target. And the third and fourth are essentially using sprint to go behind the enemy or strike successions for a quick deathblow opportunity.
As you advance in the arts you can move unnoticed. And from the beginning you can stealth mini-bosses to shorten fights and even take on stronger opponents, without much of an issue. Stay in the shadows Shinobi.
Death Management, Unseen Aid and Dragonrot
Coin managements is a key part of the game. Buy pursues when you meet vendors to save coins on death. Which you can then later on sell back to them, before making a big purchase. Remember there is a limit to this and do not worry too much about sen. As it is easily regained once you learn to farm and through the use of certain items to grant you bonuses.
Dragonrot only takes effect from true death. That is why it is recommend to resurrect and run away to safety or a shrine to reset and retry. The initially penalty of Dragonrot is 15%, followed by another 3% until the lowest point of 3% Unseen Aid is reached. Do not worry however, it is curable later on in the game.
BONUS TIP: Notice those two icons above your healthbar? Well those are indications of your death protection. One is gained everytime you rest at a shrine and the other is gained through combat. In the case that you see it crossed out due to dying, do not be alarmed. By gaining a deathblow any remaining death protection will be returned.
Final Sekiro Tips
This final section will give you a brief overview of the important skills, items and tools that will be a fundamental part of your gameplay. The majority, if not all will be found in the early parts of the game. And therefore you are not required to go out of your way. Just keep to the previously mentioned statement about exploring and taking your time to uncover new secrets.
Early Skills To Acquire
- Mikiri Counter – Enables you to counter enemy thrust attacks, leading to a deathblow. This is a must have skill that requires practice.
- Suppress Presence – A latent (passive) skill that reduces the enemy’s ability to perceive you while in stealth. Enhancing your ability to move unnoticed.
- Run & Slide – Allows you to slide into a crouch while sprinting and ideal for those who begin to understand the power of momentum.
- Whirlwind Slash – A cleave combat art that is great for times when one is surrounded. And also easy to transition to from a block.
- Grappling Hook Attack – Allows you to launch yourself at an enemy with your grappling hook to perform a powerful rolling attack.
Important Items & Loot
There are essentially two items that are of the most importance when it comes to improving your survival in addition to those listed below:
The first is the Gourd Seed, which are used to increase the number of heals available on your Healing Gourd. A total of 9. And the other is the Pray Bead, four making up a necklace. Where each necklace then increasing your vitality and posture by 20%. A total 10 necklaces & 40 beads to collect.
Dousing Powder – for treating burns and also increasing your resistance to them
Fistful of Ash – to temporarily reduce enemy vision and give you the upper hand
Oil – combined with your Flame Vent Prosthetic, best used for strong enemies
Ceramic Shards – for getting the attention of unsuspecting enemies
Ako’s Sugar – increases your attack power
Ungo’s Sugar – decreases vitality damage taken by you
Gachiin’s Sugar – suppresses your sound and presence
Within this Sekiro guide, you have everything you need to know to find your way through the game. Focus on the fundamentals and bettering your ways of taking on the enemy. Try your best to avoid looking at too much information as this will diminish your experience of the game. If you get stuck in a fight or area, give it time. Go and practice, earn some xp, explore a bit; and you will often find your way.
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