Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Griffith

My posts are better.
Tabris said:
This is exactly what I did hah! Though it's pretty easy to quickly slaughter all the guys at once avoiding drunken fuckface. With a good deathblow and the dude to tank, he was a cakewalk.

He's a pure nuisance otherwise.
Yeah, a lot of the bosses seem very cheese-able at first, like when he takes a drink, or when others pretty predictably attack and can be dodged for a quick punish, but knowing that and actually blocking, waiting and reacting correctly every time is another matter. It's the old Souls question of can you survive long enough to effectively play so defensively, or are you just losing more slowly?

Currently I'm testing that very question with two new bosses, but I've only made a couple attempts on each so plenty more to learn. You're right about the mobs though, once you get your timing down to a parry/attack or two and a deathblow you can cut through them like butter. The AI is more hesitant sometimes too, more like people might be as opposed to the undead or monstrous beasts. Sometimes though they just don't react, like when you deathblow a guy from behind and his partner leasurely gets up on his feet before actually reacting and attacking. Those guys should fuckin' jump. =)

Bleac said:
Eh, it's still limited as far as RPGs go, and I think that is in order to have the player spend as little time as possible in the menus and instead focus on the world, story and the skill based aspects of the elevated combat system.
I would agree with that, and appreciate it too! No time wasted worrying about starting stats that don't really matter in the long run or essentially playing dress up.

Bleac said:
This statement causes me great turmoil. :void:
:guts:

Bleac said:
I mean, just because there is a most optimal way to play a game doesn't mean you have to play it that way. The problem with free will in video games in general is pretty much always the same, you're bound by the mechanical constraints of said game.
I'm just saying by the same token it may not be as open as it appears. It's illusory as you put it, speaking of which...

Bleac said:
The combat in Souls is fundamentally pretty simple. You have many weapon classes with individual movesets and animations that give you an illusory sense of freedom, but in reality it's all a very grounded system that comes down to 2 pivotal things: spacing and timing. The real freedom in Souls comes from the range of playstyles and builds
In a lot of ways what I think works about the Souls combat is it's essentially dumbfoundly simple, you move around and push R or L buttons to use what's in your left or right hand accordingly, but to the point of being broken in some ways, so there's no truly "optimal way" to play as you put it (there are easier ways of course, but you know what I mean). That's where the freedom to just figure out what works for you comes from, and then they give you a bunch of tools, or toys, to do that with a multitude of combinations under such simple parameters. To me the magic is in how little design there is sometimes: here are the rules, here are the tools, go play. Mario 64 reminds me of that as well, like it was as much a 3D Mario simulator as a game.

Bleac said:
seems to have done the opposite. It ditched playstyles and builds to make a better fundamental combat experience. I think it did a pretty damn good job; and don't get me wrong, Souls combat is great, one of the most defining of its genre
For better or worse, Sekiro is much more well designed. It follows the simplification, or focusing, of builds seen with the trick weapons in Bloodborne; from seemingly hundreds of weapons over the Souls series, to a couple dozen in Bloodborne, to literally one sword in Sekiro. It reminds me of Vagabond when a certain crazed swordsman loses an arm, then immediately binds it and muses that it's actually an improvement fighting with only one arm, more purely focused. =)

Of course, if less is more, less design might be more freeing. We'll see!

Bleac said:
I just want to make sure you don't mistake its appeal for something else entirely.
Right, I'll continue to watch your back as well to be sure you don't make any such glaring errors. :shrug:
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
Griffith said:
The AI is more hesitant sometimes too
They seem to hold back to regain their posture, which makes things interesting, because unlike Souls where the best thing to do was just wait for the enemy to attack, here you need to take the risk of initiating exchanges yourself and actually put pressure on the enemy, otherwise the fights can drag on long enough for you to lose focus and make one too many mistakes.

Griffith said:
I'm just saying by the same token it may not be as open as it appears. It's illusory as you put it
Many games employ this practice in one form or another to give off that heightened sense of freedom, I just think Sekiro does it less.

Griffith said:
For better or worse, Sekiro is much more well designed.
Griffith said:
Of course, if less is more, less design might be more freeing. We'll see!
We seem to pretty much agree that under the mountain of whipped cream and sprinkles of RPG elements and visual customisability of Souls, Sekiro has better design put into it. I don't know how freeing that actually is, because in a way it straight forwardly makes its own constraints very clear to the player without trying to charm you with a shiny new weapon. That seems to be people's main gripe with it, but that's arguably also what makes it good to others.

Griffith said:
It follows the simplification, or focusing, of builds seen with the trick weapons in Bloodborne; from seemingly hundreds of weapons over the Souls series, to a couple dozen in Bloodborne, to literally one sword in Sekiro. It reminds me of Vagabond when a certain crazed swordsman loses an arm, then immediately binds it and muses that it's actually an improvement fighting with only one arm, more purely focused. =)
Yeah, sacrificing the toys in favour of grown-up, pure sword fighting action. Take it or leave it, you know?

Griffith said:
Right, I'll continue to watch your back as well to be sure you don't make any such glaring errors. :shrug:
Hehe, sorry if that sounded a bit patronising, just trying to confirm that we were thinking about the same thing.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Bleac said:
We seem to pretty much agree that under the mountain of whipped cream and sprinkles of RPG elements and visual customisability of Souls, Sekiro has better design put into it.
Oh, not at all, by saying "more well designed" I wasn't making an overall qualitative judgement, just that it's a more focused and curated experience. YMMV, but the jury is still out for me. I'm just not enjoying it the same way as Souls, Bloodborne or Nioh, but we're taking almost a thousand hours versus what relatively little time I've spent with this. It took me a while to get into Souls too, and I also don't always click with every game of this kind, Lords of the Fallen or The Surge for instance. It could be I end up thinking Sekiro is the superior experience to the Souls games, or it could be it's different enough in ways I don't like that it's just not for me anymore.

I don't know how freeing that actually is, because in a way it straight forwardly makes its own constraints very clear to the player without trying to charm you with a shiny new weapon. That seems to be people's main gripe with it, but that's arguably also what makes it good to others.
That should appeal to me, I basically mained some basic variation of longsword or small greatsword in each of the previous games, and even started as a "swordsman" in DSII, so it's honing in on a style I've come to be very comfortable with.

Yeah, sacrificing the toys in favour of grown-up, pure sword fighting action. Take it or leave it, you know?
Hehe, sorry if that sounded a bit patronising
I don't know that I believe that yet. =)

Anyway, I don't know how grown up or mature Sekiro is compared to Souls or amy other game, it's definitely going for some elevation, if not revolution, of the form. But they're all toys in the end.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
Griffith said:
Oh, not at all, by saying "more well designed" I wasn't making an overall qualitative judgement, just that it's a more focused and curated experience.
That's pretty much what I meant as well. I guess my wording could have probably been better.

Griffith said:
It could be I end up thinking Sekiro is the superior experience to the Souls games, or it could be it's different enough in ways I don't like that it's just not for me anymore.
The only way in which it can be potentially superior to Souls is in regards to the combat. Much of everything else is just not directly comparable enough, at least that's what I believe.

Griffith said:
That should appeal to me, I basically mained some basic variation of longsword or small greatsword in each of the previous games, and even started as a "swordsman" in DSII, so it's honing in on a style I've come to be very comfortable with.
Pretty much the same here, straight swords are probably my favourite weapon class in Souls, so the sword centric gameplay in Sekiro is right up my alley.

Griffith said:
Anyway, I don't know how grown up or mature Sekiro is compared to Souls or amy other game, it's definitely going for some elevation, if not revolution, of the form. But they're all toys in the end.
I was speaking more figuratively than not. They're both just games after all, no doubt about that.
 

Death May Die

"That day you left, that's when I knew."
This game is killing me. From Software games have always sent me into a borderline rampage but this game is like a punishment. A punishment for never really committing and getting the hang of parrying, and developing the pin point timing and fortitude that is required for sweet victory. I wish I could say it was JUST the bosses and mini bosses driving me up a wall. Even the simple enemies give me a run for my money. Even though I've killed 100's at this point, I can never take any encounter for granted. You can never really lay back and relax in this game. I got killed by a damn Rooster more than once. My mind had PSTD flash backs to death-by-crow from Bloodborne. The only time I really ever get ahead of the game is with well planned and rehearsed stealth kill routines through trail and error. Maybe throwing a star at a poor dog from afar is the only real grace this game gives me. Every fight is like a mini PVP fight, or a Bloodborne Hunter Vs Hunter fight to me.

This game is something of a hybrid to me, but its own identity peers through like a slap to the face in just how more unforgiving it is than the others. If you not all in, especially in the boss fights, you are going to die. More work is required in this game than ever to master the tools given to you and never underestimate what you have to do to win. I remember the first real boss fight took me hours of studying and building up nerve. More than not I found out what my Sekiro was capable of doing through this fight alone. Sadly, I wish I could say this fight was enough for the rest of the game but no. Good Luck everyone. Please refrain from devolving into a cave man through anger and frustration so not to break the controller in your hands.

PS: My roommate asked me "You play this shit for fun? This is fun to you? You're having fun!?"
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Death May Die said:
This game is killing me. From Software games have always sent me into a borderline rampage but this game is like a punishment. A punishment for never really committing and getting the hang of parrying, and developing the pin point timing and fortitude that is required for sweet victory. I wish I could say it was JUST the bosses and mini bosses driving me up a wall. Even the simple enemies give me a run for my money. Even though I've killed 100's at this point, I can never take any encounter for granted. You can never really lay back and relax in this game.
I don't know, I'm pretty comfy among the rank and file, most, if you can't stealth kill, you just R1-spam to death, and if they're really tough you spam L1 or step dodge attack. Even the mini-bosses have become more manageable where I'm confident I'll get them on the first few tries. It's the BIG bosses that test my patience, though even some of them I've just been L1 tapping when I see the red circle and think, "Oh shit, I won!? I wasn't even in that mindset!" That's the problem most of the time, I'm not thinking that's how to win when it is.

Death May Die said:
This game is something of a hybrid to me, but its own identity peers through like a slap to the face in just how more unforgiving it is than the others. If you not all in, especially in the boss fights, you are going to die. More work is required in this game than ever to master the tools given to you and never underestimate what you have to do to win. I remember the first real boss fight took me hours of studying and building up nerve. More than not I found out what my Sekiro was capable of doing through this fight alone. Sadly, I wish I could say this fight was enough for the rest of the game but no.
Well, I still believe the key is just hanging with them as long as possible, getting used to their movements, learning how to not get hit or be overwhelmed/intimidated, and looking for openings from there. The rub here being you can't just chip away at them, at some point you have to develop a pace of attack or it's fruitless. But still, the most important match is usually that one where you know you're fucked early but you dig in and manage to hang in there long past the point you should have died and "get used to them." That's the breakthrough that lays the foundation to the build victory from. Then it just takes dozens of tries to execute! :iva:

Fuck man, I'm still not even jumping! I'll get frustrated by these dumb mini-bosses with attacks I can't dodge and realize later, like on the drive to work, "you're supposed to jump then, stupid!" There's two mini bosses that are almost identical except that one does a long seven hit combo, allowing you to destroy their posture, and the other only does like three and an undodgeable sweeping perilous attack that was nailing me every time because I wasn't even thinking about dodging vertically.

Update: Killed him this evening without getting hit. I'm having fun. :badbone:

Death May Die said:
Good Luck everyone. Please refrain from devolving into a cave man through anger and frustration so not to break the controller in your hands.

PS: My roommate asked me "You play this shit for fun? This is fun to you? You're having fun!?"
I ask myself the same question, "Am I having fun yet?" :ganishka:
 
I'm right before the final boss (I went for the best ending). I killed every mini-bosses, bosses and got all the gourd seeds and prayer beads.
Now I'm taking a few days break with the game before finishing it... some bosses really got me raging. :ganishka:
It's a fantastic game.
 
I do like how with each franchise From changes up the key gameplay elements to success, like rallying in BB and posture in Sekiro.
I'm going through the Temple of Kongu(?) now, and loving it. This game looks incredible on a PS4 Pro!
Once I beat the spear guy at the top of Ashina Reservoir, I think things clicked for me.
Aggressive block dancing is fun!
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Cronus! You're a well-known member! =)

I do like how with each franchise From changes up the key gameplay elements to success, like rallying in BB and posture in Sekiro.
I wish the resurrect mechanic was more prominent somehow, like if they'd just got rid of life bars altogether, had combat be pure posture, and allowed you to resurrect infinitely (kind of like the rewind mechanic in Braid). Then it's arguably even more challenging because you can't chip away at all, but you're not wasting time reloading after death either. Obviously there'd be more practical issues to work out with that idea, but something like that would have been cool. As it stands it's just sort of like a very finite healing item you can use even if you fuck up and die.

I'm going through the Temple of Kongu(?) now, and loving it. This game looks incredible on a PS4 Pro!
Hmmm, I'm relatively unimpressed on my regular PS4. It looks good of course, but due to the locations the design isn't as radical or impressive as Souls or, especially, Bloodborne.

Once I beat the spear guy at the top of Ashina Reservoir, I think things clicked for me.
Aggressive block dancing is fun!
THAT GUY! Me too, basically. I swear I almost R1 spam cheesed him to death in the house on my 2nd try before getting desperate to finish him (you know that feeling in Souls =) and blowing it. Then it was a nightmare of retries until I learned him inside-out and finally outlasted him.
 
Cronus! You're a well-known member! =)
:schnoz:
THAT GUY! Me too, basically. I swear I almost R1 spam cheesed him to death in the house on my 2nd try before getting desperate to finish him (you know that feeling in Souls =) and blowing it. Then it was a nightmare of retries until I learned him inside-out and finally outlasted him.
My problem is I just get too amped up and button-mashy - after I got to my happy zen place and beat him, I went back to some of those other mini boss shinobi and curbstomped them. So satisfying.

This is also the first From game to make me bust out laughing - thank you Armored Soldier!

Spoiler below:

RRRRRROOOOOOOBBBBBBBBEEEEEEEERRRRRRRTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I didn't laugh at that guy because the first time I beat him I try the deathblow and end up ineffectually kicking him into a wall. :shrug:
 
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Stay with it! This game is among the best in my opinion.

As much as I love Bloodborne, Sekiro just plays better to me - the combat system is deeper than Souls and just as diverse.
PVP would be nuts and probably buggy as hell.

I also like the change up of the pathing progression. It's not always opening a door for a shortcut, but it can be an easier way into a particularly tough area. Perfect example is the poison shinobi mini-boss inside of Ashina later on. Initially I was like this boss is impossible, but if you go another way you get to make a stealth choice, or deathblow the boss choice and cut his health in half.

Just got to the Fountainhead Palace. Owl was SUCH a good boss fight!
I feel like there is a really great Princess Mononoke moment here too :)
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Stay with it! This game is among the best in my opinion.

As much as I love Bloodborne, Sekiro just plays better to me - the combat system is deeper than Souls and just as diverse.
PVP would be nuts and probably buggy as hell.
IDK about that yet, Bloodborne was amazing fun and as much as Sekiro takes the rock, paper, scissors element and exchanges with multiple strikes, blocks, and parries to a whole new level, I don't know that it translates to a truly deeper or more fun style of combat. I also think there's still a case to be made for Souls style combat and even stealth being better (it still had stealth, it just wasn't so... formalized, which is the case for DS overall, less formal, more wide open). We'll see though, maybe I still just suck or am at a bad place in life to be playing it right now. I'm sure if I git gud and start rolling bosses, which I kind of was doing before Genichiro upped the ante, it'll be the best game ever. =) Since you can't level up there's never a point where you get TOO powerful/comfortable.

Just got to the Fountainhead Palace. Owl was SUCH a good boss fight!
I feel like there is a really great Princess Mononoke moment here too :)
Was the moment when he fell? Anyway, I'm at the exact same spot, and I agree, though I'm finding that if you just run and jump away constantly and wait they all have at least one attack that lays them out for a completely safe reprisal. =)
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
IDK about that yet, Bloodborne was amazing fun and as much as Sekiro takes the rock, paper, scissors element and exchanges with multiple strikes, blocks, and parries to a whole new level, I don't know that it translates to a truly deeper or more fun style of combat.
It's a shame you say that, because I feel just about ready to skip Bloodborne and DS3 and jump straight into Sekiro based on all the positive things I've read/seen about it.

Of course, I still need to finish RE2, start God of War, Horizon, and more... but the heart wants what the heart wants! :void:
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
It's a shame you say that, because I feel just about ready to skip Bloodborne and DS3 and jump straight into Sekiro based on all the positive things I've read/seen about it.
Well, I'm saying that as one adherent to another, not as a knock on Sekiro's gameplay per se, but more a kneejerk defense of my old faves, admittedly. Like, let's just press pause on it being better in a month than all these games that captivated us for the last decade. Part of me thinks Demon's Souls might still be the best of the bunch! Although I might think differently going back and not being able to block-parry or, ya know, JUMP, over attacks (Sekiro really did add dimensions). I'm just saying to give Sekiro a little time before we make it the best thing ever. There were seemingly retrospectives being written about it and its place atop the Souls foodchain within 48 hours of release.... ya know, before it was discriminatory in its inaccessibility and the fans were all gross ableist losers with nothing else in life to take pride in. =)

Of course, I still need to finish RE2, start God of War, Horizon, and more... but the heart wants what the heart wants! :void:
Horizon... ZZZzzz.... Dad of War... ZZZzzz... RE2... ZZz..AAAAHHHHHHH WTF!?!!

Shouldn't you also be starting THE WORST GAME OF 2018 (as reviewed by the world's best person ever =)!? Read Dead 2 is still better than any of these games in MY book, but if it's way more game than those other titles you mentioned maybe it'll just leave you that much more cold. Anyway, yeah, I'd start Sekiro if you have the time to dedicate to it, because my main frustration with it is if I don't keep up with it for a few days I feel like I'm falling out of practice, behind the curve, etc.
 
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I've finished Sekiro last week... the relief I've felt when I finally beat the final boss. I think I'll wait some time before going for the New Game+.
 
Was the moment when he fell?
Not quite. The moment when you enter Fountainhead is what I’m thinking of. Even the animation of the giant rope creature looks like the shishigami night walker!
I thought it was a nice homage anyway.

It's a shame you say that, because I feel just about ready to skip Bloodborne and DS3 and jump straight into Sekiro based on all the positive things I've read/seen about it.
I feel like you would be missing really great stuff if you did. Especially Bloodborne!

Of course, I still need to finish RE2, start God of War, Horizon, and more... but the heart wants what the heart wants! :void:
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Not quite. The moment when you enter Fountainhead is what I’m thinking of. Even the animation of the giant rope creature looks like the shishigami night walker!
I thought it was a nice homage anyway.
Ahh, I hadn't seen it yet because I hadn't yet entered the palace, was just at the point I could. Now I'm at the final boss and of course I find out that I inadvertently cutoff a bunch of cool optional areas, bosses and endings by beating the previous boss (very cool fight though, maybe the most awe inspring in the game, though one of the easier).

I feel like you would be missing really great stuff if you did. Especially Bloodborne!
Bloodborne >> Sekiro

1. Bloodborne: Victorian cosmic horror souls; best world, lore, weapons, monsters, mechanics, game.
2. Dark Souls: Demon's Souls as open world survival horror with grander, more stirring mythology.
3. Demon's Souls: The one that started it all, and still sharp compared to even its latest descendants.
4. Sekiro*: Deepens combat and stealth on a micro level, but limits it overall. If DSII was all armored hulks, this is all sword duelists.
5. Dark Souls III**: Souls' greatest hits; if not the best of them, compiles and remasters the best of them.
6. Dark Souls II: The truly darkest of the dark souls. As flame rises, so does it fade. Such is the way of things.

*I just barely reached the end, it can only go up in my estimation, though that's a tough top 3 to crack, but I do think it's possible.

**I really want to put this one higher for overall completeness' sake and personal enjoyment, I was super stoked to play it at launch and not disappointed (until I played Bloodborne), but docking it points for freshness.
 
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Not much of a PC gamer, are you?
I do game on PC, actually. But after I relocated to Japan, I left my rig behind. Have some older/cheaper hardware for the time being before I bring the PC back.

You're right in that I should have specified PC, regardless. I would just be more likely to play it on a PS4 at this point, since I may be able to get one for under 20,000 yen.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
You're right in that I should have specified PC, regardless. I would just be more likely to play it on a PS4 at this point, since I may be able to get one for under 20,000 yen.
No, it's fine, it was just a bit of teasing on my part.

Even if you eventually get your main PC back, buying a PS4 if you can find a good deal wouldn't be a waste, so go for it, surely.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Tying up loose ends before NG+, it's striking how much easier everything seems after the final boss, which, I'd heard it was a pain in the ass people spent days on, but wow what a pain in the ass! Really puts the likes of Gehrman to shame. I think I came to hate the first phase most because you're impatient to get past it, want to be perfect and save health, and it can be more unpredictable than those to follow. I once lost a ressurection on the first phase and couldn't ressurect on the final phase because of it, very frustrating, but by the end that too became automatic so it was just getting consistent enough with the final phase, but I digress. Anyway, I happened upon the Guardian Ape today and took him and his friend out while feeling like I was just thrashing around, not particularly efficient offense or sound defense, but after that finale they just didnt hit frequently or hard enough for it to matter. I hope I feel this way about the other optional bosses or the ones for alternate endings, but I'm guessing not. There's two in particular I'm anticipating/dreading. =)
 
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