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