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Preparing for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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11/27/2018 10:39:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From Software and Hidetaka Miyazaki are at it again, Revitalizing the formula prototypes in Demon's Souls, Mastered in Dark Souls, And perfected (in my mind) in Bloodborne.
Sekiro is not, However, Traditional dark fantasy, Nor is it Lovecraftian horror, Focused as it is on taking the same lore-centric approach to Japanese myth that's made other games so captivating.

The difficulty is coming too, And rumor has it that Sekiro is harder than any Souls game to date.
If you've never played a Souls or Souls-like game, That statement probably lacks any real meaning. Understand that when people say one of From Software's masterpieces is "hard, " they mean it.

You will fail, And frequently.

You will be frustrated, Furious. You could even break your controller. But I'm here to tell you, Unlike in the early days of Souls, There are plenty of other games ready and waiting to prepare you for Sekiro.

I've discussed what games to play in this previous article, But the question of how to play Souls-likes remains.

There are three core concepts you need to understand to succeed in a game inspired by Dark Souls.

Pattern Recognition and Tells
Tool/Equipment Use
Caution vs. Aggression
Knowledge is Half the Battle

Unless you a savant, You will not defeat a Souls boss on your first try. You might not even get much past the first couple of areas without dying. This is not a fault of your skill, Reaction time, Or anything else. Rather, Your failure is an important part of the core concept of a Souls-like.

Like rogue-likes, In Souls, You are meant to learn from every encounter until you understand how a boss reacts to different actions. You have to ask yourself different questions as you fight.

Does healing cause an increase in aggression?
What's the average time between attacks?
Which attacks are common, Which rare?
Where can I safely dodge, Or better yet, Safely stand?

A thousand others.
For first time players, Answers will come slowly, Over hours of playtime and lost fights. Even veterans struggle with their initial run in a new title, If only because they haven't nailed down how to best the varied challenges in your way.

But what if you wanted to cut that time down a bit? What if there were a way to learn without getting your butt handed to you over and over again? Luckily, There is, But it takes patience and a true desire to learn.

The strategy is simple. Watch. Do not attack.
Try to answer as many questions as you can about the boss before swinging even once.

Bait out attacks.
Watch animations.
Learn the windup.
See if the follow-through does just as much damage as the main attack.
Check for large hitboxes.
Only retreat when you run out of healing items.
Repeat this process several times, Because bosses rarely use their whole arsenal in a single fight.

Once you feel comfortable with the initial suite of attacks and combos, Start going for damage. Now's the time to practice your dodging and weapon attack timings.

Using a big, Heavy weapon? See if you can get two hits in.
Short range? Test its limits.
Boss is quick on its feet? Find out where the damage windows are.
And so on.
Beware, However. Many Souls-like bosses have multiple phases, And unfortunately, The same rules outlined above apply to those as well. Of course, You have a chance to really test what you learned in the first phase as you work your way toward learning phase two.

Commit or Perish
There are those of you who don't want to take the slow and steady approach. You favor a head-first, Fast-paced style. Everything must die as quickly as possible, Even if you learn only one or two things per fight.

That's a fine way to play, But let me caution you. Blind aggression will invariably get you killed. There is an art to going fast.

You have to consider your stamina. Run out and you'll be vulnerable for an extended period.
The boss might have a counter to mindless swinging.
Maybe hitting the boss is not how to beat it.
I'm not advising caution here, Though, But rather that you take a more tactical approach to your aggression. Where before you waited to see what the boss would do, In this case, Do not hesitate. Get in there are give it a couple whacks. It'll attack soon enough.

When it does, Test your dodge timing, Especially if the attack has a long windup. Go for that extra swing whenever possible, And only back away when you need to heal.

Keep in mind that many Souls bosses react aggressively to healing, Having specific long-ranged attacks for both closing the gap on overly cautious players and catching healers mid-sip.

Most importantly, Don't be afraid to take a few hits.

Commit yourself to your attacks, Sometimes even if you know you'll take a hit. It isn't wasted damage, Because there will come a time, I assure you, Where you and the boss will both have a sliver of health, And something has to give. You might both die, But when you see "Victory Achieved" or "Mission Complete" or whatever else signals you win, It will all have been worth it. Also I found games like this https://bit. Ly/2zvF0tx. You have to defeat the fear of taking damage. There are some items in Souls-like games that encourage low health, And some bosses can be killed mid-attack, As they transition into their death animation the instant you beat them. If nothing else, Stopping your death in its tracks with your own skill will be one of the best feelings you can imagine.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks to follow the same basic mold as the Souls games. There are some marked differences, To be sure, But if you know one of them or a game like them, You are far better equipped to handle whatever comes next. The boss strategies will change as bosses get faster, Bigger, And more ferocious, But fighting them, At its core, Is the same as it ever was.

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