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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


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13 hours ago, robdood said:

I mean, it sounds like a neat update, but a bit weird timing wise, isn't it? Like 18 months after the original launch for a little update with soapstone messages, boss rush/rematches, and a few costumes? 

 

Maybe there's next gen versions coming, or something? 


There's a Stadia version coming. ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

This game is quiiiiite good.

 

Playing NG my habitual videogame item hoarding locked me out of the 'best' ending despite doing all the other steps, so I started doing it on NG+ with the bell demon active. Flew through that at a comical rate (about ten hours versus the eighty it took first time around), got to the last boss but ended up not being able to play for a couple of weeks. Going back to it having got a bit rusty I'm really getting my arse felt by that bloody penultimate stage :lol:. I can barely damage the fool but any posture I painstakingly rack up immediately disappears when taking a second to heal (which half the time in this phase just gets you hit again anyway). Guess I just need to get the parries perfect but it's painful when it's so much effort just to get to that point. If I can get through it I'm pretty confident since the lightning generally helps in the final part.

 

I really wish they'd separated the Genishiro part from it though, stuff like that has long been my one real complaint with FROM stuff. It's essentially four phases for this boss encounter, at times it can feel like they're just spamming health bars for the sake of it.

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Honestly, the final boss in this is probably one of the most exhilarating experiences I've ever had in a videogame.

 

Spoiler

That Genshiro fight is placed right before the actual final boss for very good reason: to be on the right form to beat Isshin you have to be at the top of your game and able to take out Genshiro in seconds. When you can do that consistently, it puts you in the right hungry frame of mind for the real encounter.

 

And that encounter is an absolutely mind-blowing and exacting experience. It genuinely feels like a real duel where the slightest mistake or flinch is punished, but where skill is rewarded.

 

I keep thinking of the kind of "cinematic" moments that some games regularly try to create using QTEs and suchlike, but I think they generally get relied upon because most developers do not have a well developed enough sense of game design language to know how to make the player feel that way but whilst in complete control and playing within a game's systems. In the final fight, Sekiro does this effortlessly. It's like the most iconic duels in all of cinema, but where you are so fully immersed in the conductibility, that you don't just feel like a badass: you understand what it is like to actually be one.

 

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Well, I respect your opinion Benny but I don't share it.

 

Doing Genishiro in seconds becomes as close as this game gets to a formality very very quickly, to the point where it diminishes things with repetition rather than adding to the experience. Hell, even the first SS phase doesn't take long to get to that point if I'm honest.

 

I don't think this boss took more than ten attempts in NG and having to go through the whole 'skip cutscene, Genishiro, skip another cutscene' thing every time to get to the real fight you need to learn felt tedious even then. God knows how it must be if you're stuck there for weeks.

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

Honestly, the final boss in this is probably one of the most exhilarating experiences I've ever had in a videogame.

 

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That Genshiro fight is placed right before the actual final boss for very good reason: to be on the right form to beat Isshin you have to be at the top of your game and able to take out Genshiro in seconds. When you can do that consistently, it puts you in the right hungry frame of mind for the real encounter.

 

And that encounter is an absolutely mind-blowing and exacting experience. It genuinely feels like a real duel where the slightest mistake or flinch is punished, but where skill is rewarded.

 

I keep thinking of the kind of "cinematic" moments that some games regularly try to create using QTEs and suchlike, but I think they generally get relied upon because most developers do not have a well developed enough sense of game design language to know how to make the player feel that way but whilst in complete control and playing within a game's systems. In the final fight, Sekiro does this effortlessly. It's like the most iconic duels in all of cinema, but where you are so fully immersed in the conductibility, that you don't just feel like a badass: you understand what it is like to actually be one.

 

 

 

Or, right, you can just use the absolutely massive arena to run about for ages and bait particular attacks off Genishiro to punish, then repeat for all phases of the final boss. 

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27 minutes ago, kensei said:

 

 

Or, right, you can just use the absolutely massive arena to run about for ages and bait particular attacks off Genishiro to punish, then repeat for all phases of the final boss. 

Sounds fun! No wonder people who play it this way have such dour opinions of it. 

 

 

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Sekiro knows exactly what it wants to be, and that's not going to gel with everyone, but it's a game design masterclass literally firing on all cylinders to achieve a very very specific goal of turning you into a lethal machine. When I started NG+ it was obvious what the game had been doing all this time, as the combat was no longer feeling like a struggle to fight for survival, but instead an engine to demonstrate and revel in your new found prowess.

 

It's the pursuit of mastery gamified and given flesh.

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I remember when I was having trouble at the end I tried that method and it seemed even more difficult than taking him head on. It would've taken an hour of circling to slowly chip him to death.

 

The first time I beat Guardian Ape I did use that method and it was a miserably long fight compared to the deflect and spear method, which feels great when you nail it.

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If you play the game trying to chip bosses down you'll never learn anything, which would basically make the entire game a massive time consuming chipping slog. It absolutely has to be learned eventually to properly enjoy it, which is just the way the game is. It's designed specifically for those who desire to master something, rather than to be given mastery over something.

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Yeah, slowly whittling a boss down that way then inevitably fucking up and taking attempt-ending stray hits because you're in there with them for ages sounds like a good way to make the experience more frustrating but it's good that different approaches are an option, I guess. Though thinking about it I sort of did the first Owl fight that way in NG because I thought you were supposed to go more for his health rather than his posture and it didn't take all that long really. Not sure how viable it'd be once the health and posture bars start getting buffed on later playthroughs though.

 

I do want to make clear that that moan was only a very minor niggle in something which I've loved enough to go straight into NG+ without a break, something I've never done with Souls or Bloodborne despite utterly adoring them. I'll defend FROM's design decisions to the hilt for the most part but each of their games has one or two things where I feel like they push their little tropes a bit too far (a particularly annoying run back to a fog door here, a multi-stage boss that feels more long-winded than epic there) and that just happened to be one for me, though obviously that sort of thing is always very subjective. Only tiny blips in the full context of what they do, but enough for me to sympathise with those who have less of a tolerance for it.

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I can’t blame players for whittling if their options get severely limited. I feel like I could have made a wiki page on some of the notes I had that listed boss attack strings and what happened when I tried to punish them in certain ways, so people will always seek to avoid chipping away health if they can find a more viable approach. The varying posture regeneration is a nice “difficulty slider” too - maybe you need to chip away at first but are confident in winning the posture war when it’s slower to recover. Or maybe you’re bad with your sword but you have some gear that can carry you the rest of the way. (Projected Force + the Suzaku Umbrella helped me near the end of the game.)

 

And even when you’re just waiting it out you can brush up on your deflect timing, so it’s not all bad. :) Since the posture bar is like an alternative health bar, there are effectively two ways of defeating enemies, so you’re learning both ways all of the time and deciding what works for you.

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16 minutes ago, Rsdio said:

What on earth is that cutscene about? Pleasantly WTF, especially his wooden wang.

 

I should do some reading on the inspirations for the lore in general, actually.

 

VaatiVidya has some good lore vids on this. Though Rope Man remains a bit of a mystery I believe.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just beat the Armoured bastard on the bridge after putting the game down for a few months. So exhilarating! Onwards, I’m determined to finish this game 8-)

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On 18/09/2020 at 22:34, robdood said:

Sounds fun! No wonder people who play it this way have such dour opinions of it. 

 

 

 

Because of course, the endless attempts at taking Genshiro down on the roof, where you have a cramped area where you can't employ such tactics to him down and spend the guts of a week dying and dying and dying and dying and just not being able to get the timing and button presses down was a hell of a lot of crack. Helped especially by the alert symbol being the same regardless of attack, so muscle memory would also do the item for the last attack dodged. 

 

In comparison the last boss went down in maybe an hour tops, and had a tangible curve of getting better with each attempt. When the game opened up and let me use the various tools it gave me and try different strategies I had a far higher opinion of it rather than forcing me to do things one way. I parried out some of the bosses, but some I was just never going to git good enough to do. 

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Does the PC version of this have an easy mode mod?

 

I binned the console version after 50+ stressful attempts at Genichiro Ashina atop the temple, and I’d like to see more, with a little help.

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On 18/09/2020 at 23:03, Benny said:

It's the pursuit of mastery gamified and given flesh.


I found it the gaming equivalent of revising for exams.

Moments of classic exploration and combat interspersed by the harshest punishment of learning by rote. I still pray for a reduced difficulty setting.

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