Underneath my yellow skin

Sekiro: the journey is now over

Ed. Note: This is end game shit, so there will be massive spoilers. I will be focusing specifically on the last boss fight and the ending I chose. So, yes, avoid if you’re in the middle of playing yourself, will be playing any time soon, or just don’t want to be spoiled.

Ed. Note II: Apparently, I had much to say before I even reached the last boss and the ending I chose. So, I will not be talking about that except lightly, but it’s still end game content.¬†

finally at peace.
Go into the light, Wolf.

I finished Sekiro last night.

I was tempted to end the post there, but I have much more to say about it, obviously. Also, note, I said that I finished the game, not that I beat the game like I normally would. Why? Because I don’t feel as if I beat the game–I feel as if I’ve outlasted it. I mean, I know I beat it. I remember the pain and the agony. So much pain. A lot of agony. There might have been some cursing involved as well. But, it’s been half a day since I finished the game, and I still don’t quite believe I did it. I will talk more about my feelings about it further in the post. For now, I want to talk about the last boss fight because it’s the epitome of my feelings for this game–also because I just beat it after two days and six hours of fighting it. Him. Them. You’ll see what I mean when I get there.

In between Owl (Father) and the final boss, there was one optional boss. I had heard tell of this boss being one of the hardest in the game if not the hardest. It is the second-to-last boss, and as I have written in past posts, I was so fucking tired by the end of the game. I go through this in every game because each one takes so much out of me, but it’s especially true in this game. Or it might be that the pain from the past has faded. I have another theory why the end of this game was much harder than the other games–you can’t summon. If something is going to get done, it’s going to be done by me and me alone. Yes, I understand why there’s a reason for making you fight solo, but I would gladly have welcomed some jolly cooperation for the last three bosses.

By the way. Speaking of bosses. There are over thirty mini-bosses in this game (33). Four Lone Shadows. Five Headlesses. Three Shichimen Warriors. Four sumo wrestler types, two of them Juzou the Drunkards. I have beaten this drum more than once, but it’s too much. I beat all of them except three Headlesses who I still might try but probably won’t, but I was rolling my eyes hard by the last third of the game because of all the replication. I would have cut out all of the clones, and there still would have been plenty of mini-bosses left.

Proper boss-wise, there are thirteen. Kinda, sorta. Depending on which path you take, but that seems to be the number I faced. That’s a really low number of proper bosses, by the way. The last boss on the path I chose is a two-fer, which I will get to in a second. Honestly, I wish there had been more proper bosses and less mini-bosses. Then again, facing the proper bosses was pretty significant each time, although some of them were optional. That’s not unusual for FromSoft games, by the way. There are always plenty of optional bosses in the games.

I’m sorry that I’m all over the place, but I still haven’t quite gotten over the fact that I’m done with the game. I have lived and breathed it for a month, and just like that, it’s gone from my life. I have said that I probably won’t play it again, and I think that’s true, but I’m not sure. There’s a part of me that says to try NG+, and there’s a part of me that is a bit bothered that I didn’t face one major boss (because the ending I chose doesn’t include that boss). For now, though, I’m done, but I haven’t deleted it yet. The last three fights took so much out of me, I am still dealing with the aftermath. I discussed in detail the Owl (Father) fight, and now I just have to decide what I want to say about the Demon of Hatred fight before moving on to the final boss.

From a lore perspective, the Demon of Hatred is a great boss.

*REALLY BIG LORE SPOILER*

phase one, done.
Demon of Hatred is a big boy.

The Demon of Hatred is the Sculptor consumed by his rage, pain, and hatred. When Ashina Castle goes into Night mode, I returned to the Sculptor only to find him gone and a cryptic note in his place. I think there was a note? I may have made that up. Anyway, I could still upgrade my Prosthetic Tools, thankfully, but the Sculptor was nowhere to be seen. I will fully admit that I did not figure out the Sculptor/Demon of Hatred connection on my own, but it’s pretty cool.

This fight was nails hard, y’all. There were three Deathblow icons over his head, and I knew it was going to be tedious. He actually reminded me of every demon king/fire demon in Soulsborne history, including Old Iron King, Old Demon King, and Laurence, the First Vicar. The last of whom, by the way, I summoned for because I couldn’t be arsed to beat him solo after a dozen or so tries. I kinda want to go back to Bloodborne and see if I could beat the three bosses in the DLC solo that I summoned for now that I’ve beaten all bosses in Sekiro solo.

Demon of Hatred has fire for his left arm, which is cool in theory but, really fucking annoying in practice. Oh, I should mention he reminded me of Manus as well because of his insane combos. The first phase is him swinging his fists around a lot, stomping on the ground, and one bullshit unblockable ground claw as he races across the arena. The kanji flashes on the screen so quickly, it’s nearly impossible for me to register it before he’s clawing me to death. Yes, if he hits me correctly, he can do me in one unblockable move. Which I think is utter bullshit. He also has a jump on the ground and land on you move that does considerable damage. After he finishes that move, he explodes in an AoE that pushes you well away from him. He’ll also do a head slam from time to time, which he does three times in rapid succession. If you get too far from him, he’ll throw fireballs at you. Me. At me.

Phase II is much of the same except he can do a ground burn from a distance that looks like a carpet of flames that can quickly kill me if I’m at all under full health. He does this after his perilous claw attack sometimes, but sometimes not. The other added move is fireballs that he flings at you, and these home to a certain extent. The way to deal with that is to spiral around him as you near him, then wait for him to finish, hold out his hands as if to say ‘ta da’ to get in a few jabs.

All of this is already a lot to handle. The funny/sad part is that I got him down to less than half of his third phase the third time I fought him, and then I didn’t get that close again until three hours in (and days later. I took my time with him). Phase III adds him casting perilous fire rings around you (and him) that you have to jump over, and then the flames stay for a long time. If I died to one of the rings and rezzed, I’d be in the ring as I rezzed and died again. That was fun, let me tell you. His other added attack was that after an unblockable charge, he could¬† immediately race back in the same direction with a trail of fire behind him.

By the way, resurrection is really cool, but the execution of it leaves something to be desired. Supposedly when you die, the enemy turns his back on you (and they are mostly hims), and you can resurrect to surprise them with a Deathblow. That’s the theory, anyway. In reality, they hear you the second you get up so it doesn’t really work. And, with many of the bosses, they just stare at your body, so you have to resurrect with them looking at you. In addition, only having one resurrection per phase with a boss is annoying. Yes, there are ways to get more than one rez per phase, but they are few and far between.

Back to Demon of Hatred. I will say that it was nice that I didn’t use the Shinobi Firecracker at all. Instead, I used the Suzaku’s Lotus Umbrella because it blocks fire and Malcontent because it makes the Demon of Hatred clasp his head in agony, much like the Music Box and Gascoigne in Bloodborne. I did try the cheese first–one of them I couldn’t do the jumps properly–and frankly, I was happy that I didn’t do it because it meant not fighting the Demon of Hatred at all. The second one I found actually harder than fighting because it contained the Demon of Hatred in one small area, and it was hard to tell where I was safe from all his attacks. Additionally, there was one attack you’re supposed to bait out and then get one hit on him. Yeah, no. That’s a long fucking fight. I did try it when I got the boss trapped in the area in the third phase and almost got him, but I got greedy and died before I could get the last few hits.

it was a mercy killing after all.
Demon of Hatred consumed by his own fire.

I was pissed off at the time because I just wanted it to be over, honestly, but I resigned myself to fighting the boss properly because the cheese was harder than just fighting him. I did not want to do it. I wasn’t sure I could do it. By the way, I’m sure Ian smiles to himself every time I rage to him at this point of the boss fight. He knows I’m going to fight until I win, no matter how much I say I’m not. He’s a sweetie, though, in that he never says, “I told you so” after I come back and exult over my win. Anyway, my stubbornness kicked in, and I just kept hammering at the Demon of Hatred because my pride told me I had to do it.

That really is all it is in the end. Once my brain engages, I can’t let go without extreme difficulty. As I’ve said, no one is holding me to this standard except me, and I’m not sure it’s a good thing. I will say that I do take pride in beating these bosses that I once thought unbeatable, and I know it sounds stupid since it’s just a video game, but I put hours into each boss, damn it!

The Demon of Hatred made me cuss more than once, I’ll admit. I raged. I shouted. I questioned why I was even doing any of this bullshit. I mean, it’s just a video game, right? Why was I putting myself through the agony? All rhetorical questions. I knew I wasn’t going to quit no matter how much I wanted to. I was so tired and I wanted to quit–but I was so close. By hour three or four, I was consistently making it to the third phase. I couldn’t quit when I could almost taste the victory!

I do know my limits, though, and how many times I should try in any given day. It changes from day to day depending on my concentration. With these bosses, I had to focus everything I had on any given boss fight. Even when I was singing along to The Pina Colada Song against Owl (Father), I would forget for chunks of the fight. Against the Demon of Hatred, I put on Psy’s Gangnam Style because I was getting too wound up, and I got him on the second try after looping the song. I couldn’t believe it. I was so hyper-focused at the end, I didn’t even realize I had him down so far until I did a quick glance and saw that I was maybe three hits away. After I did the third Deathblow, he told me to finish him. I mercy killed him, and he thanked me for it, calling me out by name. That’s when I knew for sure he was the Sculptor, and I felt really bad that he had become so consumed by his hatred.

I felt mostly relieved after this boss fight was over, but there also was a sense of pride. I had to use my rare consumables for this fight, but I actually did it the hard way. I took everything the Demon of Hatred had to throw at me, and while I was bloodied, I was not beaten in the end. I trembled and teared up after this win, and, yes, I immediately quit afterwards. I needed to savor the win for at least a day because I knew what was coming up.

As usual, this has gotten long, and I haven’t even touched on the last boss or the ending I chose. I will write a bonus post over the weekend, so until then, let me just say:

I BEAT SEKIRO!

 

 

 

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