Launch is upon us! Many fans will choose to go into Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice completely blind, but if you’re looking to get some preparation in before you play we have compiled some tips and tricks that you might find helpful. As a reminder, Sekiro is an evolution of FromSoftware’s signature combat, so some of the tactics that worked in their previous games might not be so effective this time around…
Here are a few key bits of advice I’d give to players:
Deflection: Deflect is critical, and mixing consecutive deflects with aggressive attacks is the key to success in battle. If you don’t deflect an enemy’s attacks and try to rely on just dodges, you’re going to have a hard time winning against tougher bosses. This takes practice and is one of the toughest parts of the learning curve. Remember that you may have to deflect multiple times in rapid succession depending on the move your opponent uses, so learning what your opponent is capable of is a big advantage.
Mikiri: Unlock Mikiri Counter within your first two or three skill unlocks. Not only does it look cool to step on an enemy’s weapon, it’s just too good to not have and makes dealing with powerful stabby enemies much easier.
Heed Perilous Attacks: Learn how to deal with all the different Perilous attacks early. Recommend finding Hanbei the Undying on the Dilapidated Temple grounds, and doing all of his training (even the stuff you think you already know), it will be a big help. Also, doing all of his basic training unlocks a “free combat” option. Talking to him again after you’ve faced the first Samurai General in Ashina Outskirts unlocks advanced training options.
Revisit Enemies: If you’re getting destroyed by a boss or a midboss, don’t be afraid to leave, explore elsewhere, gain a few skills and stats and come back later.
Try New Skills and Combos: Experiment and make liberal use of the jump-kick for repositioning/interrupts and prosthetic follow-up attacks such as Chasing Slice for gap closing. These moves are extremely helpful for controlling the flow of combat.
Strategize: Much of the strategy in the game is based on how good your initiate is and if you’re bringing the right tools to the party. If you’re traversing a stage with a lot of regular enemies in it, look to stealth engage with Bloodsmoke, get a few quick stealth kills, and then it’s all about tactics.
Those are just some of the key suggestions, but we hope everyone will experiment and find the style and tools that suit them best.
For me I like to use the shuriken + chasing slice combo to quickly close the gap with a relatively isolated enemy. I’ll use a posture-damaging combat art to quickly break an enemy’s posture before others can reach me, and then I’ll make use of the invincibility frames of the deathblow I perform to avoid attacks from the rest of the enemies. If I can’t break his posture in time I might jump-kick backward off him to create space and reassess.
What I do after that depends on how close enemies are and what their strengths and weaknesses are, but if I’m swarmed I’ll throw a firecracker and blind them, and either take the risk of trying to attack and perform another quick deathblow, or sprint just out of attack range so I can keep them in front of me and avoid getting surrounded. From that point the battle’s begun, and it becomes all about knowing what my enemy is capable of, and responding accordingly.
If I’m in a 1v1 vs an extremely powerful enemy with fast posture regeneration, I might equip combat arts that are better at damaging vitality, as the lower an enemy’s vitality, the slower they regenerate posture. Then once they’re low I can start using moves focused on breaking their posture as fast as possible.
Good luck — we hope you enjoy Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice!