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Thread: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  1. #101
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I liked reading about your trials and tribulations. They kind of mirror my own, with the key difference being I have the attention span of a neurotic goldfish and glommed onto another game and then another one and eventually forgot to get back to Sekiro.

    For what it's worth, in my journeys on the internet I've seen many people consider Owl (father) one of the most difficult fights in the game, so don't let the showboaters who've most likely studied the game's mechanics under a microscope get you down.

    I agree with everything you've written, and I want to add that it's probably From's most tactile game, which is a key driver in my enjoyment of its combat and compulsion to keep playing. The slash and clang of it, the flying sparks every time you parry, it's perfectly calibrated to feel satisfying, and it's almost like an illicit drug in how good it feels when you pull it off well.

  2. #102
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    Well, this is pretty much just my echo chamber now
    I've enjoyed reading these updates as well. In fact, it has motivated me to dedicate some time to try and push through the first part sooner rather than later, when I finally get some time to play this on the PS4.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    Storywise I was confused as usual. I watched some lore videos and was surprised at how much depth and detail they put in, but most of it wasn't very apparent without someone pointing it out, which makes me think that From is maybe better at worldbuilding than they are storytelling. And some of the sidequests I would never have figured out without the wiki or maybe after five or six playthroughs, so that's a strike against. But consulting the wiki is tradition with these games, so I didn't mind too much. I just wish they'd make it a bit easier to discover some of it on your own.
    The depth of storytelling in their games can be astonishing. It was one of the main reasons that, apart from getting better at combat, I enjoyed BloodBorne more the second time than the first time I played it (and to some extent, the third time as well). There are just so many layers of interwoven links across so many of its characters and backstory, that would be nearly impossible to get across on a single playthrough.

  3. #103
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    I agree with everything you've written, and I want to add that it's probably From's most tactile game, which is a key driver in my enjoyment of its combat and compulsion to keep playing. The slash and clang of it, the flying sparks every time you parry, it's perfectly calibrated to feel satisfying, and it's almost like an illicit drug in how good it feels when you pull it off well.

    It is addictive. I'm becoming a little bit obsessed with it. Incidentally, I've also been trying to learn Clair De Lune on the piano, and I find my brain is in the same zone when I'm working on getting a specific passage down as it is when trying to learn a Sekiro boss moveset. So I've convinced myself that getting better at Sekiro is good for my mental fitness in the same way as playing piano, and that way I feel a bit less guilty spending so much time on it. I'm back at the final boss in NG+ (it's pretty easy to just sprint past all the enemies when you already have all the items), and he's still really challenging although I beat my nemesis father on my first try, which was a huge rush. I'm not normally an outwardly excited person, but I've definitely cheered myself each time I finished that fight.

  4. #104
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Whew, playing this game without Kuro's charm is a huge rush. I'm on NG+4 and it feels like my first run again. The biggest difference is that without the charm you take damage when blocking unless you get a perfect deflect, so it's forcing me to learn the deflect timings better, and, failing that, use way more items. So far the hardest parts have been the first Owl and the true Corrupted Monk, who both just have so much posture that it feels hopeless, and the amount they take from you when you get hit is huge. For the latter especially I couldn't get the perfect timing after a few hours of playing, so I ended up cheesing the second phase (perfectly legitimate, though), and piling on sugars and bundled statues for the third. Oh well. On the plus side, the Owl (father) fight is so burned into my brain that I managed it in two tries without much difficulty. That's my favourite fight in the game, and I'm looking forward to the boss rush mode so I can play around with it and try different techniques. Sekiro is the first game I've played where I actually want to just fight the bosses over and over.

  5. #105
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Also, any Sekiro fan should watch this (minor spoilers throughout):

    Last edited by Aja; 29th Sep 2020 at 16:23. Reason: added spoiler tag

  6. #106
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    I still haven't played much of it yet but that video was pure awesomeness.

  7. #107
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Yeah, my favourite part is at the end when he’s parry spamming to the beat.

  8. #108
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    That video is glorious.

  9. #109
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I DID IT — I finished the game charmless and with the demon bell additional hardships. Last boss took me a few weeks practicing off and on, but it was a fun process. I had to study some Sekiro masters to get some of the timing down. And the weird thing is, I still want to go back and play it again. Sekiro might be my favourite game of this gen.

  10. #110
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2012
    Location: Taffing in a pub
    Well done Aja! I think I'll get back to this game eventually...

    P.S. loved the video!

  11. #111
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    So I picked the game up again this weekend, now armed with a new modern CPU. I got up to the bull enemy that brought my computer to its knees the last time and this time the whole fight was butter smooth. I first tried deflecting it for a couple of runs, and seems like it's certainly possible, but the bull doesn't always charge reliably head on and the timings on it are kind of stingy. So on the third try I just stuck to its ass and didn't even need to heal once. What a difference reliable frame rate makes. It still feels like such a bullshit gimmicky fight, though.

    Next, once I knew that beating the game was possible, I turned around and completed the whole Hirata estate in one go and got Lady Butterfly first try. I have beaten her once before when I was stuck at the bull, but this time it seemed almost laughably easy how many opportunities there are to punish her and how easily her attacks are deflected/avoided. Even though I haven't played the game for nearly 2 years, it seems like a lot of the muscle memory is still there.

    After all that I went back to where the bull fight left me off, eager to explore the rest of the world that was completely new to me from this point on. I had heard that the game stops being completely linear at this point and branches a little bit, so I first explored the castle area and its rooftops as it seemed like the main intended path. I wanted to get to the next boss, so I could then go off exploring and tick off all of the side branches before any major plot developments. The rooftops were generally fun and gave me a lot of Tenchu vibes, but I was a bit surprised to still encounter mainly trash mobs. I was expecting a lot more from the feather-cloaked ninjas, but aside from being a bit more mobile, they die very easily. All it takes is a flurry of attacks to break their posture. The ones on the kites were a bit more fun at least. The first one really took me by surprise. But they died just as easily. Then there were the blue-clad samurai in the castle tower that were more sturdy, but had highly predictable attack patterns and an easily punishable stab attack. The samurai miniboss was kind of interesting, though. The first attempt I was trying to dodge him, but he got a quick flurry of attacks in, depleting my whole health bar, and also killed me right in the middle of reviving, before my character could even stand up. The second attempt I was trying to deflect him to get a feel of his attacks, but after deflecting just two of his attacks he was suddenly open to a deathblow and the same happened with his second healthbar. So it's a miniboss that can kill you very quickly, but also dies very quickly, which is kind of neat. Then, as I was exploring the roof, I jumped up on another level and was suddenly dropped in a cut-scene and a boss fight with no heals left. A real dick move, From. Dark Souls at least had signposting and fog doors before big events like this. Oh well, I was mostly done with the area anyway.

    So that's where I am currently -- all caught up to where I was 2 years ago and even made some progress in a new area. The new boss fight seems interesting, at least on par with the butterfly lady, and I'm sure invested in a bit of a rematch, but I think I want to go exploring next. As much as I like boss fights in From's games, the main draw for me has always been the lore and the exploration in all its metroidvania glory.

  12. #112
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    You're at Genichiro, the first truly difficult boss and one of the best in the game. He's often cited as the first major skill-check. Once you get his timings down, it feels balletic and is a lot of fun.

  13. #113
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well, before I tackle the tutorial boss, I wanted to explore a bit, especially after being stuck at that damned bull and being unable to progress. Also, he looks like one of those progress-blocking bosses and if games have taught me anything over the years then it's, "When you see an arrow, you should head the opposite direction first".

    First I went to explore an abandoned dungeon and after an underground swim I found myself at Mt Kongo. This is probably the most fun I've had exploring the game yet. Grapple hooking around the place, taking in gorgeous sights, stealth killing enemies while ledge hanging or wall hugging, breaking into small hidden away temples... and I found the game's hard mode and turned it on. Seems I can turn it off any time as long as I don't forget I have it on and to be honest the game has been feeling a bit easy ever since I got past Lady Butterfly. Or maybe it's just that this time I'm not having to constantly fight Dark Souls habits, which were definitely a bit of a hindrance the first time around.

    There was also this armored warrior guy who I figured out how to beat pretty much the first time a wall broke. I actually tried to strip the armor away with the spear tool first, but looks like it's not meant to work on this enemy. Given how big of a deal the game seemed to make of it, though, I'm sure there's eventually bound to be some mini-boss/boss with poorly-fitting armor who is impervious to regular sword attacks. Seems like any time the game explicitly telegraphs a particular method (dodge counter before Lady Butterfly, lighting attack reversal before Gen'ichirou, firecrackers before horsy guy, flame vent before red-eyed miniboss), you can be sure that's going to play a huge part in beating the boss the easy way.

    Centipede guy was fun to fight -- just deflected him to death. Really, though, I feel like mini-bosses like that should be earlier in the game. Apart from him, the only notable enemies of the area were the strawhat guys, I guess. They sure jumped around a lot and gave me generally a fair bit of trouble unless I got them in a one-on-one situation.


    Then I went back to the reservoir where the game started and beat two mini-bosses. The purple ninja wasn't too bad, except for the cramped arena and being forced to fight the camera at the same time. Sabimaru, a new tool I picked up at the castle, was super effective against him and he also had an easily exploitable well-telegraphed thrust attack that proved to be his final undoing. I kind of expected the purple-cloaked guys to become a default enemy by now, especially since you come across their corpses every now and then, but I suppose they are still more of a mini-boss type of enemy.

    The spear guy, though, I don't know why I had such a difficult time against him, but it took me a lot of tries to beat him. Not a fun fight at all and made all the worse by the long run through a bunch of enemies. In the end, I just spammed the axe attack on him and with a couple of Mikiri counters added in the mix, that was the end of him.

    Next there was this terror dealing shaman guy down the well that probably needs divine confetti to deal any amount of significant damage to it, but since I didn't have very many of them I was hesitant to try and just ran past him.

    Down in the Abyss Ashina Depths I found a gun-toting bandaged enemy that was fairly tough to beat. None of the tools besides firecrackers seemed to work and the gun did insane amounts of damage to my posture, but dodging didn't seem like a reliable strategy either. This was the first time I seriously contemplated turning off hard mode and at last I resorted to using sneaking sugars and got one healthbar down to make the fight more manageable. Not one of my favourite fights, I have to confess, but still more fun than the Seven Spears guy at least.

    Behind the fog wall I was really bracing for a boss fight, from all the blood splattered on the floor and whatnot, but it actually led to a hidden forest. At that point, I was fairly exhausted from fighting the unfortunately translated Snake Eyes mini-boss and decided to call it quits.

    Right now, I guess I next finish exploring the forest I found and then there's also an area behind the castle from where I found Sabimaru I haven't thoroughly explored yet. There was also this one ledge in the poison swamp that I couldn't figure how to get up to, and I'm guessing I either need an ability for it (double wall jump?) or have to come from another side.

    Oh, and one of these undead things at the temple gave me a quest to deliver his exchange diary to some child or other, but I couldn't find a way into the inner sanctum or whatsitsname. There was one door opened from another side, so I guess it must be there somewhere, only you have to get there from some other place.
    Last edited by Starker; 5th Oct 2021 at 05:31.

  14. #114
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    I finally completed Sekiro on PC a few months ago, after placing the game on hold for 1-2 years (PS4 version originally) shortly after that boss, and I got through the rest of the game relatively quickly. I'm really not sure why I just couldn't gel with the gameplay at first but for some reason the hiatus did wonders to my playing skill. I feel that it probably had something to do with conquering the DS games in the PC man cave rather than the PS4 (although I've since beaten all 3 of them on the PS4).
    All that said, it's the hardest of the souls games so far. An amazing game, but a lot of it is just too difficult in my opinion.

  15. #115
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    There was also this armored warrior guy who I figured out how to beat pretty much the first time a wall broke. I actually tried to strip the armor away with the spear tool first, but looks like it's not meant to work on this enemy. Given how big of a deal the game seemed to make of it, though, I'm sure there's eventually bound to be some mini-boss/boss with poorly-fitting armor who is impervious to regular sword attacks.
    I remember being similarly confused. The game goes out of its way tell you about armor stripping (and I think there's even a conversation where some guard say something like, "If only we could get him out of that armor!" but then that's not the solution at all.

    The spear guy, though, I don't know why I had such a difficult time against him, but it took me a lot of tries to beat him. Not a fun fight at all and made all the worse by the long run through a bunch of enemies. In the end, I just spammed the axe attack on him and with a couple of Mikiri counters added in the mix, that was the end of him.
    I probably tried 30 times before I beat him. The trick, I found at least, was to catch his follow-up attack after a big swing: he always swings and then does a little upward swipe afterwards, and if you deflect both, he stumbles and loses lots of posture.

    Down in the Abyss Ashina Depths I found a gun-toting bandaged enemy that was fairly tough to beat. None of the tools besides firecrackers seemed to work and the gun did insane amounts of damage to my posture, but dodging didn't seem like a reliable strategy either. This was the first time I seriously contemplated turning off hard mode and at last I resorted to using sneaking sugars and got one healthbar down to make the fight more manageable. Not one of my favourite fights, I have to confess, but still more fun than the Seven Spears guy at least.
    One of my least favourite as well. Even watching the pros on YouTube beat it the correct way, the timing seems really arbitrary. I usually just force them to wander around in the poison pool while I crouch up overhead and let them die of poison.

  16. #116
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I went on to have some Dark Souls 2 flashbacks in the foggy forest, but it wasn't too bad, really. The big drunkard swordsman clone was wholly unremarkable, but the mist noble was a surprise. I even buffed with a sugar and prepared quickbar items for him.

    Mibu village finally had one of those purple ninjas as a regular enemy, but I was able to sneak up on him. Also, the lady with a basket on her head was one of the few challenging mini-bosses in a while that didn't feel like bullshit difficulty. You really have to be on point with deflecting and can't heal willy-nilly either. In the end, I just stood in one place and concentrated on deflecting and regaining posture and it worked well enough. Still, Lady Baskethead is probably my favourite mini-boss so far since the armored warrior, because it's not just relentless attacks like Centipede-kun, she doesn't have bullshit physics-defying grabs (that I saw, at least), the challenge is not in fighting the camera, she doesn't have a ton of underlings that you have to dispatch first, and she doesn't rely on a gimmick to be defeated like the spear-wielding enemies that are just very hard to deal with without Mikiri counter.

    At the end of Mibu village, I fought the third boss of the game, the Corrupted Monk. I actually didn't even think she was a true boss until I beat her, just a particularly annoying mini-boss, because she's actually not that hard without the insanely long health bar (took me a few tries though, since I got impatient and made mistakes). I'm not sure if I missed a mechanic on her, but nothing I tried really seemed to speed up the fight. Oh, and I apparently got a quest item the divine heir was seeking before I even knew the divine heir was seeking it. I guess I can now add precognition to the ability list next to resurrection? The water breathing technique you get as a reward also seemed very random, since swimming really hasn't been a big part of the game so far, not to mention you weren't able to dive even a little bit previously. Also, it meant I now had to go through all the levels again to seek out every little pond and stream I had come across and completely forgot about.

    Anyway, I did just that and went through all the levels again, discovering one more of those terror enemies in the process. Since I now had the purple gourd (a crucial seeming item that was just sold by a random merchant), I felt it was high time to tackle those, except I didn't have a lot of the divine confetti item. I looked up where to get more of it and accidentally spoiled myself on a couple more enemies/bosses it apparently works on. It apparently also seems to work on Lady Baskethead, though she never had any terror attacks that I can remember. In any case, limiting such a crucial item to a random enemy drop seems like a real dick move. I farmed the confetti until I had about 60 or so and proceeded to first lay waste to the shaman down the starting well. It took a few tries, but it wasn't too difficult. Just the buffs running out and having to manage the terror bar added an additional annoyance. A couple of times I just died instantly, seemingly without any buildup or getting hit by one of those balls. At one point I'm just hitting him and the next time I'm dead. Super annoying mechanic. The headless fights went similarly, though the underwater one was easier than I expected and the one in the forest I was able to beat first try. Again, buffs running out was a major annoyance, but the terror was at least more managable. You can actually deflect a lot of the attacks without getting a significant amount of terror and you can get a lot of hits in when they teleport behind you. The slow-down felt kind of annoying, but since the enemy is slow as well and the attacks are quite deflectable, it didn't feel quite as bad of a hindrance as terror did. I also didn't like the curse mechanic in Dark Souls and terror doesn't feel any less bullshit here.

    In any case, I then went on to explore the back of the Castle up until the Gun Fort where I was blocked by a locked door. Three mini-bosses in this area, all repeats: Snake Eyes (I looked up the name in Japanese and while it is indeed the literal translation of the name, in Japanese it actually refers to a bull's-eye pattern, which makes a great deal more sense what with all the guns and sharpshooting and all), Centipede-kun 2, and one more of those headless. Snake Eyes took a few tries, but probably due to all the practice, it was a bit easier this time even with two health bars. Also, much easier to retry without having to deal with the company first. Still don't like this mini-boss, though. Centipede-kun 2 was as easy to deflect to death as the first one. And the headless gave me my fourth infinite sugar, which means there's only one of them left somewhere. I didn't hate the area, but a lot of it felt like a repeat of what I'd already played. The regular sharpshooters were kind of annoying to deal with, but they die pretty fast once you actually get up close and personal.

    So that meant I had explored pretty much everything I could without fighting the shotacon boss. At this point, I haven't been very impressed with a lot of the bosses and mini-bosses, so this one really felt like a palate cleanser. It took me a couple of tries before I could reliably get to the third phase without healing too much and I spent three more tries trying to figure out the lightning reversal trick, but I either kept reflexively dodging or missing my timing, so I don't think I was able to pull off a single one successfully. As far as bosses go, Gen'ichirou is a solid one, though. You really need to learn his patterns, but once you do, there are plenty of opportunities to get a hit in here and there. And you can reliably heal as long as you mind the delay on the very predictable bow shot. I'd rate him on par with Lady Butterfly or even a bit higher, since he isn't as easily exploitable. The third phase also mixes things up a little and the lightning mechanic is an interesting add-on, even as I completely failed to make use of it. The third phase fake out I didn't really like though. It felt cheap and kind of cliche, especially as Lady Butterfly also had one in the beginning.

    Now I actually want to take a bit of a breather and maybe farm a little bit to get some better tools and skills. It feels like I've kind of fallen behind, perhaps because I lost so much gold and xp to careless deaths. Beyond that, there are two paths I can see. One is the locked door in Gun Fort that I now found a key for and the other is finding the Mortal Blade somewhere in Senpou temple that probably involves getting into the inner sanctum somehow.


    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    An amazing game, but a lot of it is just too difficult in my opinion.
    I'm only part-way into the game, but so far I'd be inclined to agree. The difficulty curve is very steep and plain weird in places and at least so far I wouldn't say it adds a great deal to the game the way it did in the Souls games or even the King's Field series. At times, it feels suitable and there are fun combat encounters in the game, but sometimes it's laughably easy and in other times it feels like you're just bashing your head against a very steep cliff and dying over and over again really takes you out of the fantasy. There's a fine difference between beating a challenge and grinding yourself through one, something that I feel the first Souls games (Demon's Souls and Dark Souls) understood better. And losing half your exp and gold and the dragonrot just feel like pointless punishments. In the end, they don't really matter a great deal, but there's also no risk and reward like with the corpse run mechanic where you can recover what you lost and where pushing yourself to explore further adds some tension. And I'm not so convinced of the upgrade trees really working out for the game either.

  17. #117
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Sekiro is probably the most difficult game I've ever finished, but I don't agree that it's too difficult. There should've been an easy mode or some accessibility options, but I'm glad the challenge exists as it is. I've played every Souls game but never felt like I was truly good at any of them; they always give you an easy path, a better weapon or armour, specific combinations that can trivialize big fights. I enjoy them for that. But Sekiro is the first From game where I actually became skilled (a pointless skill, I guess, but a skill nonetheless). As I'm sure you realize, some of the game's most challenging fights are still ahead of you, and a couple of them perhaps bordered on being too difficult on my first playthrough. But the resulting sense of satisfaction when I finally beat them was for me much greater than any Dark Souls victories, even if at times I was more frustrated, because I felt like I'd earned them. On subsequent runs they were markedly more manageable, and that sense of being able to meet the challenge and play at a higher level is the closest I've ever come to understanding the appeal of competitive gaming.

    I didn't love every aspect, mind you. I found most of the terror-based enemies annoying, and a couple minibosses have some bullshit grab attacks that defy space and time. Dragonrot sucks, too.

  18. #118
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Of course, it is is entirely subjective. What is an enjoyable challenge and an adrenaline rush for one is a pointless cramp-inducing grind for another. As someone whose first console was a NES clone, I grew up on games that were difficult for all kinds of reasons and quickly learned to differentiate which ones were tough but fair and which ones were difficult just for the sake of being difficult. And I'm sure some of the games I enjoyed, like Castlevania, were too difficult to enjoy for others. But there comes a certain point where the pursuit of difficulty leads to I Wanna Be the Guy territory and there's nothing left but to throw more enemies at the player, make them faster and more relentless and more tanky, have them do more damage, add variations to their attacks so that the player is forced to react instead of being able to rely on patterns, etc... to the point where it ends up like the agent fight in Matrix Reloaded. It's not hard to make a fight difficult. It's hard to make a difficult fight enjoyable. And I feel like From's later games have more and more focused on the difficulty to the detriment of other game elements like level design and lore and exploration.

    Personally, I feel that any significant difficulty in a game like this has to be earned. It should respect the player's time, it should fit the mood and tone, and it should enhance the experience. Notable spikes should preferably be placed at the high point of a chapter and there should be plenty of space in between the different high points with a suitable lead-up and downtime. Dark Souls I feel like more often than not nailed it. Timon and Pumbaa, the highlight of the game, come right at the end of a magnificent journey and if the endgame had been shorter (perhaps by the amount of a certain Lost Izalith), the pacing would have been even better IMO. And Gwyn is perhaps not the most difficult boss, but perfectly captures the pathos of the whole game.

    Sekiro, though, feels like a difficult enemy after difficult enemy -- more like a boss rush than an adventure. And it's exacerbated by a lot of the areas feeling tiny and cramped and the game not really giving you many adequate tools to deal with the challenges other than "git gud, scrub". And what I lament in From's games is precisely that shift of focus on "gitting gud" and being able to execute a perfect combination of button presses for extended periods of time over things like coming up with a strategy, being observant, and preparing properly.
    Last edited by Starker; 13th Oct 2021 at 05:03.

  19. #119
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    So, after a bit of farming, I went back to explore the Senpou temple. The priest guy had skedaddled and in his place was now a bell that led me to the game's puzzle fight with the three wise monkeys. It's one of the instances where the game again became bizarrely easy all of a sudden, but I quite liked the fight as a nice break and it was thematically fitting for the area. I spent some more time in the area to try to figure out the exchange diary quest, but I couldn't find the priest again.

    Next I continued exploring past the previously locked door in the Gun Fort shrine. The snake was fairly trivial to bypass now that I had the underwater breathing and diving ability. I got to the bottom of the monkey-filled valley and went to explore the poison bits after that. The white monkeys were the most notable enemies here, but not all that difficult when tackled alone. Lastly, I got past the snake part with the help of the monkey and got to the ledge I had trouble getting up to previously, so I could finally cross it off my list. For every Souls game I've been keeping a text file open to make a note of any locked doors, items I haven't been able to get to, too difficult mini-bosses to beat later, etc. I don't think I ever had more than 5 items in there for Sekiro throughout all my playthrough, which is not really a good sign, as far as I'm concerned.

    In any case, I went back to the monkey valley and picked a fight with the big monkey down the other direction. Fuck this fight, seriously. I thought the corrupted monk was obnoxious, but this ape takes the cake. All the jumping around, not letting you get behind him, taking up the entire screen when close, hard to deflect attacks, completely useless trees that mislead you into thinking they are supposed to be used in the fight and get destroyed anyway, huge health bar, a nasty grab attack... these things alone make the fight an exercise in frustration, but then there's the little surprise when the game gives you a fake victory screen and then takes it back. It's even more obnoxious since this is at least the third time the game has lied to you and the fight is already quite hard. I tried about 6-7 times to fight properly and then about the same amount trying to cheese the fight. There's a jumping grab that you can punish with several hits and when he's doing the temper tantrum on his back, you can get some hits in, if you're careful. I just mostly ran around the rest of the time. The next phase I just very patiently exploited this one attack when he slides on his stomach. When you jump over him, there's some 3-4 hits you can get in before the terror attack. A degenerate strategy, but it's an equally degenerate boss.

    Then, after a brief detour to kill the snake (if you know what I mean), I went to bring the MacGuffin back to Kuro and the world state changed. I actually thought to make a tour of the world to see what else had changed, but I was a bit short on patience, so I went straight to the castle. The purple ninjas finally made an appearance, a bit of an upgrade in challenge compared to the feathered ninjas. The one mini-boss inside the castle was fairly easily dispatched though, especially since he had a conveniently puppeteerable companion.

    And the game decided to drop another boss fight on me. Now this was a completely different fight from Gen'ichirou. I didn't dislike this fight exactly, especially since it was easier than the ape fight, but it seriously started to wear down my patience. Feels like the game has come to a point where it starts to get meta and try to anticipate player moves instead of giving you a predictable and easily understandable ruleset. Feinting attacks, not giving you any time to breathe or an easy time to heal, attacks turning into different attacks in the middle and so on. While you can get into a nice rhythm with Gen'ichirou and take your time find openings, this fight gives you no quarter and punishes you severely and harshly for any wrong moves. Also, the fights have started to drag on for so long and get so relentless that it's starting to feel as if the game is trying to beat you by giving you hand cramps.

    Also, the story and the character motivation so far baffles me. Why did my foster father fake his own death? Why show up now? What's his grand plan? Why stage an attack when he could have just achieve his objective by stealth? It all makes very little sense. Also, why am I fighting the subjects of my former lord and why doesn't he care even a little bit that I'm killing his subjects, people who are giving their lives to protect him and his home.

    Anyway, I looked up the endings, since the choice on the roof seemed to make very little sense and it seems I already stumbled on the best one by accident when I fed the old hag and got the divine child sick. The less good one is so convoluted, though, I don't know how you would normally figure it out. In any case, I did all the very specific eavesdropping events and opened up Hirata Estate 2. Now it's time for another break for farming, though. I have gotten quite a lot of the tool upgrades, but not really a lot of skills, and it looks like I'm in the late game already. I have really no idea why they make getting the skills so difficult. It's not like a lot of them even make a huge difference and the game-changers seem to be all fairly early skills.

  20. #120
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    The ape is a classic From Software boss, I think. In its second phase you can use your spear to pull the centipede out of its neck when it does that kind of wobbling sword slam, and it does a huge amount of damage.

    Hirata Estate 2 has my favourite boss in the game. I think you're going to probably not enjoy it

  21. #121
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, I already read it in the steps for the wossname ending. But it seems it's not actually necessary to defeat that boss, so I figure might as well skip it and save me the unnecessary frustration.

    I wouldn't mind the ape that much if the game didn't force me into a particular playstyle for the bossfights. You're supposed to be this skilled ninja who is laser-focused on "doing what must be done", but in the boss fights you actually don't much fight like a ninja. You always face the opponents in an arena of their choosing and face them straight on in a one-on-one duel. No sneaking up on them or using the terrain to your advantage, no matter whether you're fighting a dishonourable trickster or a damn dirty ape.

    As for the spear trick, I've no idea how you are even supposed to figure it out. I actually tried all the tools on him to see if he's vulnerable to anything, and the flame vent and firecrackers seemed to be the only ones remotely useful, though the first time I tried the firecrackers he fell on me and killed me in an additional screw you twist.

  22. #122
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    I wouldn't mind the ape that much if the game didn't force me into a particular playstyle for the bossfights. You're supposed to be this skilled ninja who is laser-focused on "doing what must be done", but in the boss fights you actually don't much fight like a ninja. You always face the opponents in an arena of their choosing and face them straight on in a one-on-one duel. No sneaking up on them or using the terrain to your advantage, no matter whether you're fighting a dishonourable trickster or a damn dirty ape.
    Reminds me of this classic moment in Mark of the Ninja: https://youtu.be/l2t9F7BWg6E?t=640

    "Kelly seems to think you'll face him like a glorious samurai."
    "Guess he doesn't know much about ninja."

  23. #123
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    As for the spear trick, I've no idea how you are even supposed to figure it out. I actually tried all the tools on him to see if he's vulnerable to anything, and the flame vent and firecrackers seemed to be the only ones remotely useful, though the first time I tried the firecrackers he fell on me and killed me in an additional screw you twist.
    Well, the wiki is how you figure it out. I had to research how to defeat many of the bosses, but for that's par for the course for pretty much every From game I've ever played.

  24. #124
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I don't think I've ever used a wiki to defeat any boss in a Souls game.

  25. #125
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    The third phase fake out [on Genichiro] I didn't really like though. It felt cheap and kind of cliche, especially as Lady Butterfly also had one in the beginning.
    I think this ties into the lore. Shadows die twice is the game's byline; enemies who do so labor under the same curse as Wolf. Enemies who die thrice have furthermore given themselves up to outside possession, like Genichiro with (the idea of) Isshin, or the ape with its dragonrot parasite. So maybe it's at that point in the fight that Genichiro decides to allow Sword Saint Isshin to possess him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starker
    But there comes a certain point where the pursuit of difficulty leads to I Wanna Be the Guy territory and there's nothing left but to throw more enemies at the player, make them faster and more relentless and more tanky, have them do more damage, add variations to their attacks so that the player is forced to react instead of being able to rely on patterns, etc...
    That's actually contrary to IWBTG's difficulty! Its immense difficulty comes in part from its troll jokes, but mainly because of how tightly its platforming sections are designed, and how little room for error they give you. Its difficulty comes from creativity, rather than its lack.

    Also, about Lost Izalith, I can partly forgive it for its lore ramifications. Like, the notorious cavern of dragon legs becomes very morose once you realize that the legs all come from the same nearly-dead dragon (the unique one in Valley of Drakes), who has been regenerating and losing them repeatedly over millennia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starker
    No sneaking up on them or using the terrain to your advantage, no matter whether you're fighting a dishonourable trickster or a damn dirty ape.
    There are a few bosses where you can take off one life bar via a stealth attack. The Corrupted Monk comes to mind. In the second version, you can hide up in the trees and sneak attack once.

    I was dubious about Sekiro at first, because it was built around my most disliked mechanic from Dark Souls, parrying. Most of the skills you (the player) learn in those games apply throughout: become better at dodging or stamina management, and that will help you in every fight. Parrying, on the other hand, is a very difficult skill to learn that only helps in a few fights. As if to compensate for its difficulty, it is disproportionately rewarding, to the extent that whenever parrying is possible, it is always the optimal strategy. (I'm looking at you, Gwyn.)

    Sekiro, thankfully, fixed those problems. Now that parrying is a core game mechanic, it helps in every fight, so improving the skill again improves your overall gameplay. It no longer applies to just one attack out of an array, but to every single attack, with different timings and nuances. The timing window for easier enemies is much bigger than before, helping you learn the mechanic gradually. (Not that I did. I dislike the mechanic so much that I only started practicing it a few bosses in.) And the fact that parrying damages poise rather than health fixes the Dark Souls balance problem. I'm delighted by these innovations to this one mechanic, and I hope they carry through to Elder Ring and beyond.

    I don't think Sekiro reaches the height of its predecessors, because it only permits one playstyle while Dark Souls and Bloodborne had multiple. Also, the post-Souls games have moved away from sword-and-board fighting, which is my favorite style (and probably the most effective, in the real world). So I hope there's a shift back to that, too.
    Last edited by Anarchic Fox; 24th Oct 2021 at 22:12.

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