Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Isshin the Sword Saint

Sekiro: the last boss and beyond

Ed. Note: End game and NG+, so there will be spoilers abound. 

i. know. you. genichiro.
Gotcha, motherfucker!

Before I get to the last phase of the last boss, I wanted to say that I started NG+ after saving my game at the end of NG. Why did I save? In case there is DLC because no fucking way I’m doing DLC in NG+ and I don’t want to start another game. It’s not something I’d normally do, but I remember how frustrating it was not to have an optimal character for the DLC when I played Dark Souls III, and I did not want a repeat of that experience. Do I think there will be DLC? Not sure. I don’t actually think there will be, but you never know.

Anyway. NG+. I went into it with 10 Healing Gourds, all the Pellets in the world (200), and all the Emblems (999 in storage). I wanted to take on Genichiro when we were equally matched, and he wasn’t just going to be able to stomp on my head. I wouldn’t have my prosthetic arm, of course, which meant no prosthetic tools. Was I confident I could take Genichiro with 7 Healing Gourds (used three to get to him, much to my shame) and 3 Pellets? No, but I was going to give it my best shot. Plus, I had a nice fat health bar, better Posture, and all the Spiritfall items in my possession. I decided to use Ako’s Spiritfall because I knew the way to beat Genichiro was to constantly attack him. The biggest difference was that I knew him so I wasn’t intimidated. I had fought him for five hours and died to him probably 60 – 70 times. I had his moves down cold (except for that one swipe to my right that ALWAYS gets me), and I was not going to back down from fighting him. I stood tall, and I kept on the offensive. He still hit hard, though, and I had to use three or four Healing Gourds to get his first Deathblow. I kept my calm, however, and I knew I could get him. Whether I would or not, however, was a different matter.

Readers, I did it. I still had 2 Healing Gourds left at the end of the fight (and 2 Pellets), and it felt good. I knew I’d get nothing for beating him, but it was a matter of pride. I know you, Genichiro, and I am no longer intimated by you. That’s one of the best things about this game–about any FromSoft game, actually, once you beat a boss for the first time, the overwhelming fear dissipates. It doesn’t mean you’ll never die to them again, of course, but it’s half the battle in standing tall.

I whizzed through the first few areas, barely breaking a sweat. I killed the first real mini-boss, the one that I had so much trouble with and whom I avoided for so long in my first playthrough, without even getting hit (yes, I got the first stealth Deathblow on him per yooz). How far I’d come! In fact, I got further in two hours than I had in ten hours my first time through. I killed four mini-bosses (three, really, the first in the tutorial area hardly counts–the leader guy) while only dying twice to the Chained Ogre because he threw me off the goddamn cliff twice, and I died once to the two spear guys as they cornered me against the wall. That’s it, though. Three deaths. I didn’t even get my resurrection ability until the last death because I couldn’t rez when getting thrown off the goddamn cliff by the ogre.

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Sekiro: one last stance (a million times)

Ed. Note: End game. Spoilers. You definitely know the drill by now. 

for that is my calling.
My Lord regrets sending me to my death. Again.

I put down the controller for the day after two hours of fighting the last boss. I felt ok during Genichiro’s phase as long as I didn’t immediately eat it in the first ten seconds. I still think it’s funny that either he beat the crap out of me the minute I stepped into the arena, or I got through him with little care. The first phase of Isshin, the Sword Saint was also not too bad once I figured out my strategy. Running in circles around him, clockwise if possible, bait out one of two attacks, then get in two hits after his attack, then hop back. Rinse. lather, repeat. That took a long time, so sometimes, I would attack him, but that was more unpredictable. I preferred the running around him in circles strat for this phase.

Side Note: I was liberally looking up tips and strats in the last quarter of the game. I did it first to make sure I wasn’t doing the absolutely wrong thing. Then, after an hour or two of banging my head against the boss, I looked up the cheese. I’ll get to it that in a second. I was heartened to know that I basically was doing the right thing in general for each boss, even if I wasn’t doing it skillfully. I will say for the Corrupted Monk (True Monk), I just couldn’t be arsed to learn her moves properly. I wasn’t going to put in hours, and I don’t know why I balked with that boss when I went all out with the last three bosses. I think it’s because she didn’t seem that important to me. I know she is from a lore standpoint, but it’s not as if she were talked about all the time. In my mind, she was just this obstacle to me moving on with the game, and I didn’t feel invested in fighting her. In addition, having three Deathblow icons pissed me off (oh, I was so naive back then). Her second phase was utter bullshit (and, yes, I know I probably could have learned it), and it reminds me that the line between hard but fair and flat-out bullshit is razor-thin in these games.

I also want to say that yes, you can ‘cheese’ many of the end bosses in this game (most of the bosses, really), but you still have to learn the movesets well enough to bait out the moves you want–which isn’t easy. I mentioned before that the cheese for the Demon of Hatred was harder to navigate than actually fighting him, and I couldn’t achieve the jumps needed for the other cheese for that fight. I have my thoughts on cheese and an easy mode, which I’ll save for another post. Or later in this post if I have enough room for it, which I probably won’t.

Side Note to the Side Note: I will say that my constant hatred of FromSoft games in the second half makes me wonder if it’s a flaw of design or user error, or both. These games are really dense, and they’re above my pay grade. Supposedly, a first playthrough is going to take an experienced player 50 – 90 hours. This game took me 124 hours with a fifth of those hours being the top five hardest bosses in the game for me (more on that later, of course). And to be fair, I’ve gone back and played every game again, and even with Sekiro, I did some clean-up yesterday including killing the three Headlesses I had left untouched. I also grinded a bit to get some skills. Shadowrush for one, which is really useful, and I should have gotten it so much earlier. I was working on the Prosthetics Tree, though, so I left it until later. Then, the idea of grinding out 6 Skill Points at the end game was daunting, but there’s a known grinding spot that can net roughly 8,000 Skill XP in a minute or so which is about a third of a Skill Point in the end game. That made the grind not so bad, and I got both Shadowrush (6 Skill Points) and Ashina Cross (5 Skill Points). Plus one on the Temple Arts Skill Tree that cost three Skill Points. I may just do this ad infinitum until I get all the skills, but I kinda want to move into NG+.

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Sekiro: the wolf stands alone

Ed. Note: End game. Here lies spoilers. I *will* be talking about the end boss. You know the drill.


for my lord's honor!
Wolf assumes the position one last time.

I stood outside the final arena, taking a minute to ready myself. It was the same area as the first (tutorial) boss fight, and I was pretty sure it was Genichiro one more time. That man just can’t quit me! After I got my ass handed to me by him in the tutorial and Ian went through the same thing, I told Ian* that I wouldn’t be surprised if Genichiro was the last boss. Ian said he would show up again for sure. Well, he did, of course, halfway through the game. He was a hard skill check, and I never came closer to quitting the game as I did while fighting him atop Ashina Castle. When there was a cutscene after his second phase and he morphed into Genichiro, Way of Tomoe, well, I was ready to call it a day then and there.

Going into this fight, I was not feeling it at all. I was exhausted and weary, and I wanted nothing more than for it to all be over. Ian said maybe it would be like Gwyn when I finally reached him in Dark Souls–I got him in two tries. I was a pyromancer, and Gwyn, like all hollows, was weak to fire. With my pyro abilities and Quelaag’s Furysword, I made short work of him. I don’t think I’ve died to him since. I also found Nashandra/Aldia fairly easy in Dark Souls II except for Nashandra’s bullshit curse orbs. I don’t think it took me more than four or five times to get Nashandra and the same with Aldia. Gehrman/Moon Presence in Bloodborne was similarly easy with Gerhman taking five or six tries and two for the Moon Presence. Dark Souls III was different. The Soul of Cinder was a properly hard boss, and it took me a couple dozen tries to get him.

I didn’t think the last boss of Sekiro would be easy, though–especially not the path I’d chosen for the ending I wanted. The last quarter of the game, all of which was after my decision to go against my father, was backbreakingly difficult. It wasn’t any kind of fun or even engaging, and I really didn’t know why I was making myself finish it. I mean, yes, I do. It’s a FromSoft game, specifically a Miyazaki game, and I had my pride, damn it. I wasn’t going to let this game get the better of me, was I? I will fully admit that I was thisclose to calling it a day, and if there had been the ability to summon, I would have.  I would have summoned for the last three bosses and probably Genichiro in the mid-game, and I would have done it earlier and earlier.

Side Note: I’m reading some of the reviews and watching some of the videos, and all the people saying it takkes 45-50 hours to play the game just amaze the fuck out of me. I understand that it’s a different beast to have to play a game to review it, but I can’t imagine being able to get this game in that amount of time AND fighting all the bosses/mini-bosses.

Which, by the way, I defeated the other three Headlesses I had been avoiding. I did two of them in one go and one in two, so there was definitely no reason for me to pass them by. The first one had given me so much trouble, I had no desire to do the others. He was by far the hardest, though, and with the Phoenix’s Lilac Umbrella, I could deflect his bullshit attacks with no problem. With my fat life bar, I could take a few hits and not die. And with ten Healing Gourds, I didn’t have to worry about running out. He also didn’t do the bullshit ‘ripping out my ass’ move that he does in the first fight, so the four clones are really pale imitations. They’re not clones, by the way. They’re each individuals who give you one of five Spiritfalls which are items that take Emblems to use, and they mimic all the sugars. They don’t last as long, however, and they cost something like 5 Emblems per use, so I never used them. FromSoft nerfed how many Emblems they cost along with some other balance tweaks, which is nice. I’m still not going to use them very often, but at least it’s a viable option.

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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.

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