Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: difficulty

Sekiro: therapy session is in

Ed. Note: I’m so close to the end, I can taste it. I want to write more about my frustrations with the game, but also just update how far I am in the game. Spoilers. Some. Maybe? Probably. Be forewarned.

are you proud of me yet, father?
I’m sure he just wants to chat.

We’ve reached #5 on the list, but I want to revisit #4 for a minute. Right now, I’m finishing up all the optional ending timelines so I can make the big decision of which ending I want when the time comes. One of the optional timelines includes me going into the past to the Hirata Estate, the second area I did waaaaaay back in the beginning of this game. It still has my favorite sen run, which, with the help of a Mibu Balloon of Wealth, nets me 1,000 sen in five minutes or so with no sweat at all. The boss at the end of this area was the first to make me contemplate quitting the game–Madame Butterfly. Lady Butterfly is her actual name, but it’s the same, really. After dozens of time dying to her, I read in the sub-reddit a single skill–Nightjar Slash–done over and over and over again will kill her. I was highly skeptical, but I tried it–and it worked the first time.

Did I feel guilty about it? No. The alternate would have been me not finishing the game. Well, or just leaving her (she’s optional) and feeling guilty about it. Either way, if it’s in the game, it’s a viable strat. And since there’s no way to summon, I used every trick that was available to me. There are other bosses that I learned tricks/cheese for, and I didn’t give a shit. Great Shinobi Owl was one of them, which ties in neatly with the Hirata Estate. Why? Because he’s the boss at the end of the area. After fighting two duplicate mini-bosses (one of the lone ninjas and the drunkard). So all of the bosses are replicated. You probably know how I feel about that at this point.

Fighting Owl (Father) is currently on my plate, and it’s a pain in the ass. I don’t want to do it, and a part of me is saying skip it because it’s not part of the ending I want. Another part of me is indignant at the thought of skipping him–the OCD/pride part of me. The problem is, I’ve gotten him down to half his first health bar, and I have no idea what the second phase brings. I’ve watched videos of the first part of the fight, and there is a *cheese* so to speak, but like most of the other cheese, it’s predicated on knowing the moveset of the boss. With the Great Shinobi Owl, the cheese (by the same YouTuber) was running around in a circle around him and baiting out one of two moves. Then, using Whirlwind Slash to hit him before backing away, resetting, and starting again. There was one move he did that I had to recognize quickly enough so I could throw firecrackers at him (one of the prosthetic tools) to stop his devastating combo.

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Sekiro: Dancing with the devil

*BONUS POST*

Ed. Note: More boss talk. More spoilers. All gold.

not again!
I win! Yeah, no.

The last we met, I was dancing with the devil, otherwise known as the Guardian Ape, phase two. In this phase, it felt as if I were dancing with the boss rather than fighting him. In fact, he reminded me of a combination of the Dancer of the Boreal Valley from Dark Souls III and Mytha, the Baneful Queen from Dark Souls II. It didn’t make it easier for me to deal with him, but it was an interesting observation.

I will fully admit that I was not into this fight. At all. I was tired of the multiphase bosses, especially when the first phase took so much out of me. As I said, the first stage wasn’t hard, per se, but it was grueling. If I made any mistake, I’d have to waste one or two Healing Gourds. I would have loved to have five of my eight left for the second phase, but I usually went into the second phase with one or two Healing Gourds and my three Pellets. That was not nearly enough healing.

Side Note: I like the way the Pellets are meted out in this game. In Dark Souls II, the Life Cems were plentiful and cheap, and I could carry 99 on me at any given time. Therefore, my usual MO was to use the Life Gems to make my way through the level, saving my Estus for the bosses. Or, use the Estus and top off with Life Gems whenever necessary if I was just running through an environment with no boss in sight. If I got low on Life Gems, I just bought more from the hag and didn’t think about it. In this game, Pellets drop randomly from enemies, and you can buy a limited amount from vendors. There is no limitless supply, so it makes me have to be more careful about when I use them. What I usually do is use my Healing Gourds for the level (and eight is usually plenty for this purpose), and I save my Pellets for a boss fight.

Side Note II: This is a side note to the side note. I fucking love that accessing the inventory means pausing the gameplay in this game. It hasn’t in the past, and I was never good enough to add things to my quick item bar during combat. I’m sure there are some Souls fans who are bitching about this change, but I like it. It means if I realize I need a certain item in a boss fight, I can pause and add it to the quick select. Back to the first side note.

I abused the Life Gem system in Dark Souls II, but I never felt good about it. It took away the tension of running out of Estus during a level, and the sight of a bonfire wasn’t as much a relief as it is in the other games (plus, way too many bonfires in DS II). In this game, the fact that Pellets are not unlimited and that I can only carry three at a time means I still have to think about healing judiciously. I can hoard the Pellets (which I do) until I really need them, and then, I can use them, but only until they run out. I can’t replenish them without significant grinding, which, while frustrating, is fair. I think Miyazaki struck the perfect balance with the Pellets in this game.

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