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Thread: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  1. #126
    Registered: May 2004
    After the Owl fight, I wasn't much in the mood of another boss fight, since the game seemed to start throwing them at you at an accelerated pace, so I farmed a bit more and explored the newly changed castle. I found another one of those ogres and a purple ninja miniboss who both went down pretty easily. The ogre is still a very nasty fight due to all the grabs and unblockable attacks and a miniboss I didn't really want to see again. I also see a worrying pattern of throwing old mini-bosses at you in a more confined space -- the ogre of course, but there's also been the purple ninja in the well and the drunkard sumo guy with a sword. It's a lazy way to raise the difficulty if nothing else.

    I then went on to explore Hirata Estate 2 and fought one of those purple guys with dogs. Also a very annoying fight due to him summoning them immediately again. Well, it's not like the game shuts you in there, so I just ran out of the gate and dealt with them one by one as much as possible. And after that I fought drunken sumo guy 3, at which point the repeats started to feel tiresome. It's not the worst fight and he's fairly easy to deal with, but 3 repeats of such an unremarkable mini-boss is definitely starting to feel very uninspired. Also, why do they always come with henchmen you have to dispatch first. Just makes it more annoying than anything else.

    I tried a bit of the Owl 2 fight and confirmed it was crossing the boundary for me where fights get unnecessarily difficult, so I went back to the castle to advance the game, now that I thought I had done everything there was to do in the world. After a brief Ghibli cutscene (that I thought was wildly inappropriate for the tone of the game) I arrived at Fountainhead and the game somewhat predictably dropped me into another boss fight right off the bat. This time she went down a bit more easily, either because I had become stronger or they had nerfed her health bar, but I didn't like the fight any better. For example, she does this thing where she attacks you in a row precisely as many times as you have posture left, which felt very cheap.

    The area itself I did like a lot, better than Senpou Temple even. I appreciated how colourful it was and it was one of the first areas since Senpou that felt like it had proper size, although it was ultimately quite linear. The basic enemies were interesting both in their visual design and their moveset and I got to do the lightning reversal thing for the first time. I really didn't care for the minibosses though -- Flaming Bull 2 I downed the first try, but it's still a terrible mini-boss. And the final headless fight was meh as well as it was pretty much the exact same as the previous underwater fight, except you had to keep moving even more in more cramped conditions. And they threw in Shaman 2, the twist yet again being that you fight in a more cramped arena, oh, and surprise, a wolf throws down lightning from above. How refreshing. This time I had the purple umbrella, though, which made the fight far more trivial than the challenge was meant to be. Now I was really starting to get sick of all the repeats, though. And why did they decide to repeat all the terrible fights, instead of the cool ones like Lady Butterfly or Lady Baskethead or horsy guy. And now it's not only mini-bosses, but they are rehashing bosses as well. Even as the production values (and presumably budgets) have gone up, the content itself seems to have suffered. Dark Souls did a little bit of that as well, but there it was mostly to show you how much you had grown in power, as bosses became regular enemies to be dispatched in just a few hits.

    When I got up to the altar where it looked like examining something would, yet again, drop me in a boss fight, I figured I was getting in the final stages of the game with most probably only two boss fights left, so I started to finish off any leftover farming and tick off the remaining notes on my list. I got almost all the tool upgrades up to the final level (except the whistle upgrade) and lazulite shurikens, which wasn't as amazing of an upgrade as I had expected from final-tier weapons. I also fed sake to Isshin and the sculptor, since they looked like they would be the most likely NPCs to disappear. I still had some sake left for Emma as well, but she didn't want to drink or move back to the castle where I last remembered she did drink. I tried to teleport around to see if she wanted to move, but no dice. I figured this meant that she was in the middle of the end quest and I had to complete Hirata Estate 2 to get her to move, so I went and fought for over 3 hours and over 30 tries until I beat the boss and discovered I had pointlessly wasted my time and she simply doesn't move from the temple any more. As I suspected, that boss is seriously IWBTG territory. Hold back and you get punished. Try to get some distance, and there's an immediate follow-up attack, and another, and another. Try to deflect too much and you get worn down and instakilled. Dodge in the wrong direction and you're dead. Let yourself get hit and more than half of your health can be gone in an instant. Jump in any direction you're not supposed to and you're dead. It felt like at any time you try to play the game in any other way than the one specific way the game intends, you get immediately and severely slapped down. I don't think there has been a single boss in any of the Souls games that has been so punishing or so meta in trying to anticipate player behaviour. And this is still just the mid-game. I thought the ape was bad, but this is even more ridiculous.

    Speaking of which, afterwards I went to check out the blood marks I saw in Ashina Depths and I discovered there was Guardian Ape 2 waiting for me. Turns out the blood marks being there before the ape arrives was just lazy design. The fight wasn't any less terrible this time and the surprise was as eye-rollingly predictable as ever. Anyway, due to all the practice, I finished the first phase without getting hit, but the apes stuck together like they were glued on each other and I had a terrible time with the second phase. Any time I tried to fight one, the other would immediately jump in. They got me down to my last Estus and I even used the rice, but with a lucky firecracker throw I finally got some good hits in with the brown one and after it croaked, the fight with the remaining one was trivial to cheese, as I only fought him during that one low-jumping attack and ran away from all the rest. Oh well, at least it only took one try this time, though it was perilously close.

    Next I looked up guides to see if I had missed any secrets and got some more prayer beads and even a gourd seed I had missed. I also went back to the ape cave to yet again fight another one of those shaman dudes and finally got the upgrade to the whistle tool, which is now probably completely useless. I also got another scroll of skills from Isshin, which I confirmed is the final one, but I don't think there's enough game left to actually get enough skill points for any of them, unless there's a major area after Fountainhead. I then chased down the carp I overfed and got the last wares from the pot noble I chose. I also found the old hag I fed rice to, for another downer questline ending. Really, if it comes to jidaigeki, I just want a cool samurai or ninja fantasy from these types of games. I don't know why this one has to set you up for failure and misery quite so frequently. I couldn't advance Doujin's questline at all, even as I had some eyes my character apparently psychically knew he wanted, but I didn't want to send the monk guy to him and the samurai croaked while pining after his waifu. After I put the training guy to his final rest, I had done everything on my list and advanced all the storylines as best as I knew, including having the divine child become the fridge she for some reason wanted to be, so all that was left was to make the dragon cry.

    The dragon fight was not at all what I expected. A pleasant surprise for a change. As far as puzzle fights go, it's probably the best one yet from From. It looks suitably majestic, it uses established mechanics, and it doesn't result in instant death and a long run back when you happen to make a misstep cough*Bed of Chaos*cough. And, predictably, the game decided to reward your victory with a defeat, like it has done time and again after you achieve something. The game has been wearing me down to the point I'm losing my motivation to play it. It just feels like the game is throwing obstacles in your path for the sake of it, whereas Dark Souls used its difficulty to inspire a sense of adventure and make players feel jubilant after defeating an imposing challenge.

    Anyway, after Emma still stubbornly refused to drink any sake, for a yet another fuck you from the game, I went to look around the yet again changed castle and defeated a blue samurai miniboss that seemed pretty much identical to the one I already defeated before and died just as fast. Seemed that there were only two paths open at this point, so I went down the one that was opposite to where the game was pointing me. There I fought drunken sumo guy 4 and saw the sad end of this game's Patches and big childish monk guy. I got up to the Orangutan-san, but noped out as he was giving me serious Manus flashbacks. I then went the other direction and fought another Seven Spears clone, as the game seemed very insistent on repeating all of the terrible mini-bosses. Being able to puppeteer the companion made this fight easier than it would otherwise have been, so it took only 2 tries, but it's still probably one of the worst mini-bosses in the game, as far as I'm concerned. In any case, I made it up to the secret entrance door and stopped for now.

    As it is, it looks like I have only two things left to do in the game and both of them are bosses. That is, other than doing some mind-numbing farming to either get some skills that don't seem to matter much anyway at this point or to increase attack power at what seems like a fairly steep cost. I have gotten the final prayer bead and all Estus upgrades and I'm pretty sure I've finished all of the bosses and mini-bosses available. I guess I'm going to watch some blind playthroughs next to see how different people played and reacted to the game, as I don't have much motivation left to actually finish either of the bosses. Orangutan-san looked like a terrible boss, the kind that jumps around all the battlefield and takes ages to wear down his healthbar. And I'm sure Gen'ichirou has some bullshit surprises for me in store, if the past boss fights have been any indication.
    Last edited by Starker; 25th Oct 2021 at 04:52.

  2. #127
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Yeah, you're very close to the end. The fire demon is optional, and the other boss is the final one. This time around Genichiro's only bullshit surprise is a plot-related one. I've enjoyed reading your narrative.

  3. #128
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Congrats on beating Owl 2 in two hours less time than me. The first time I did it, I felt a combination of excitement, relief, and shame at how much time I had spent. But on subsequent playthroughs I really came to enjoy the fight and trying to perfect the technique. Once you learn a few of his tells (particularly that he swings his elbow out before he's about to throw firecrackers) it becomes easier to avoid his attacks, and I found that as I replayed it I was intuitively sensing them, which is an interesting feeling.

    Anyway, you've only got two of the three most difficult fights in the game left although you'll get a chance to use your whistle since you mentioned it. It's impressive that you stuck it out this far in spite of your feelings toward this game.
    Last edited by Aja; 25th Oct 2021 at 10:28.

  4. #129
    Registered: May 2004
    Yes, the firecrackers were the cause of many of my early deaths. If you dally or dodge sideways or try to jump away, you're pretty much toast. And my first instinct was often to dodge through it, except you don't really seem to get enough invincibility frames to make it work in this game.

    I'm currently watching this guy's playthrough and he beat him in 3 tries: Makes me wonder whether I'm just lacking skill for this type of game. 3 hours might be all the time I have to play on some days and to spend it all on beating just one boss is a tad too costly for casual players like me who don't play games professionally/competitively. Might be best to leave the really difficult games for the kids and instead play games like Dark Souls and Hollow Knight that are aimed towards gradual improvement and the metroidvania "choose your own difficulty" level design.

  5. #130
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Three times? That's insane. You'd have to be some kind of prodigy. I think rather than trying to beat these bosses in marathon sessions, though, it's better to practice a little bit at at time. Taking a day off and coming back later, I found that I improved more quickly than if I just tried to brute-force it. For the final boss in particular I beat him over the course of a week or so, playing maybe 40 minutes at a time, practicing. It doesn't feel as high-stress that way, that is until you get close to beating him.

    Hollow Knight is an interesting comparison for me because it's the only game I've ever stopped playing due to difficulty. I got halfway through the Path of Pain after about six hours of attempts, and feeling terrible with how much time I'd wasted, decided to cut my losses (I had done pretty much everything else except the final boss and a few of the ludicrous difficulty DLC bosses). The Hollow Knight bosses felt pretty close to Sekiro-level difficulty for me, the difference being that they weren't (for me at least) especially fun to lose to whereas with Sekiro I generally enjoyed the process of learning how to beat them.

    As for Owl's firecrackers, you have to dodge forward and to the right slightly. It takes practice to get it right, but I can do it 9 times of out 10 now.

  6. #131
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I finished Hollow Knight, but never stepped one foot on the Path of Pain, the rest of that level was bad enough, thank you very much. I'd've probably never finished the game if I didn't have my kids urging me on 'cause they liked to watch.

  7. #132
    Registered: May 2004
    I see Path of Pain much like the Hell Temple in La-Mulana, a completely optional challenge for masocore enthusiasts. But yeah, I had a similar experience in Hollow Knight near the end where it just drained my will to play with all the git gud challenges. The rest of the game wasn't too bad, though. As far as I can tell it's all the fault of dropping high-end extra challenge DLC content in the main game (Path of Pain, Godhome, Nightmare Troupe).

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