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Sekiro
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Synonamess Botch
Texas, y'all
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August 7, 2019 - 8:31 pm
Member Since: November 9, 2010
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FFCers and assorted Tappers!  I haven't been around these parts much lately, but I've still been playing a lot of games.  One of them is Sekiro.  I just finished it and it was amazing.  And hard.  Really hard, for me at least, but I'm not exactly a twitchy youngster.
It's a Miyazaki game through and through but departs from the Souls games pretty dramatically in its combat.  If Souls provides a sense of accomplishment through challenge, then Sekiro does even more so.  I'm not exaggerating when I state that some bosses and mini-bosses took me 30, 50, even 100 tries.  I didn't keep track but the final boss could even have taken 200.  But I kept coming back.  Maybe I just like punishment, but maybe it's just that good.
I can't wait to see what they accomplish with Elden Ring.

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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August 27, 2019 - 9:45 am
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I am spectacularly bad at Sekiro -- like you, not a twitchy youngster -- but I keep coming back to it. I mean I am really, really bad at the game. Like so bad. It has the Miyazaki flavor though, and like all his work, if you keep at it and learn from your past you'll improve. 

Elden Ring intrigues me. Overall it looks very Soulsian, at least in setting, which is just fine with me. A Miyazaki/Martin collaboration has some incredible potential.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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September 19, 2019 - 10:48 am
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Gahhh good job Botch. I wish I had continued to power through back when I put the game down in....March? April? I haven't played it since around then. I enjoyed it immediately, and appreciated how it threw all a veteran Souls player's knowledge out the window. I think they nailed that with Bloodborne, and from the 4-5 hours I played of Sekiro it seemed like they were nailing it there too.

I was just stuck on what was a really tough fight for me, and drifted away from the game. I have to go back to it because it's too good not to. I just haven't been playing a ton of new games this year. When I have spent chunks of time doing so it's been trying to wrap up stuff I didn't finish last year (finally beat Celeste!) or just going deeper into my favourites like State of Decay 2 and Dead Cells.

But here's the million dollar question for you guys: SEK-uh-Roh; or Seh-KEER-oh?

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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geggis
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September 19, 2019 - 5:50 pm
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Seh-KEER-oh!

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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September 20, 2019 - 5:34 pm
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It's totes SEH-kee-ro, according to Activision's press vid. I'd been calling it sek-EAR-o because I'm a disgusting American. A friend of mine calls it "sexy-row," which is actually pretty funny. He's good with names; he still calls Valkyria Chronicles "that schoolgirl tank game," to such an extent that this is how we refer to it. Schoolgirl Tank.

For what it's worth, despite writing an Impressions like I had a right to, I have yet to defeat what is essentially the first actual boss in the game—Lady Butterfly—though not for lack of trying. I love playing Sekiro, but when you hit a crazy hard fight, it's more like running into a wall... most of the time (as in Dark Souls), it's a hard game but you're still inching along, seeing new things. All I see is Lady Butterfly.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
Texas, y'all
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September 21, 2019 - 11:07 am
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Tappers out in force!
May i humbly suggest that you come back to Lady Butterfly a bit later?  Once you figure out her weakness, she's kind of a push-over.  But early on she can be very tough.
After beating the game, and let me digress here a moment to ponder why I kept coming back to Sekiro.  It is hard, but in the "hard but fair, and always teaching you something" way that Miyazaki excels at.  It's obvious upon reflection, but his games have no fail state, other than the player walking away.  I did put the game down for about a month while I played through Resident Evil 2 the 2nd run (and again, RE2 scratches an itch that few other games can reach).  And, similar to Max, I will often drift away from a game when I hit a tough wall.  But for some reason that I can't quite grasp, Sekiro wouldn't let me go.  I crashed like pitiful waves against so many of the bosses and mini-bosses (some of which are arguably harder than the bosses proper) but something kept driving me.  Maybe it's simply that I, an old dude who takes at least a bit of pride in being able to master Souls games, couldn't let this one break me.

Anyway, after beating the game, I restarted.  Not new game plus, just a plain restart.  I wanted to compare a second attempt to my first.  I absolutely wrecked everything in my path.  The first mini-boss that you meet, very early on, went down in a few moments.  Actually, that boss, General Naomori Kawarada (had to look it up, these Japanese names are like a string of random syllables to my ears) gave me an epiphany of sorts.  After dying to him many times, I finally just went at him like a madman.  Nothing else was working that's for sure.  It turns out, that is the key to beating him: unrelenting aggression.  It was this way with many other bosses.  They all have at least one weakness, that, once you learn to exploit, make the fight much easier.  Some mini-bosses you don't attack at all, just deflect until their posture breaks and you go in for the deathblow.  So to the extent that these poor reflexes are up to it, Sekiro honed me like no other game (even a Souls game) ever has.  And no other game, upon overcoming the final challenge, has given me the sense of satisfaction that this game has.

Edit: all the characters in the game say "SEH-kee-ro" with a rolled 'r'.  I played the game in Japanese with subtitles.  And after hearing some of the English voice acting, I'm glad I did.

Rule #2: Double-tap

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xtal
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September 21, 2019 - 1:17 pm
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Ahhh yes, I do agree with all of you: Seh-KEE-Roh. I started off saying it the other way, but then heard enough conjecture that I began to doubt myself. It's settled then!

I also played with the recommended Japanese voice acting. I haven't listened to the English, but everything I've heard says the default Japanese is the way to go. It definitely helps with immersion.

Maybe I can get some tips with where I'm stuck. I think I'm stuck at...the first mini-boss? Unless mini-bosses are any named character that has those dots over them (god what are those again? posture break things?) ... then I've defeated two of those guys and I guess I'm on the third mini boss.

Anyway, it's a fight where you approach shortly after you've left behind some burning buildings and skulk through a tiny bit of swampiness, and then you run into the fight with an AI ally. And it's like a big angry ogre-kinda-looking guy and a lot of minions. That's the fight I'm stuck on. I tried it probably 10 times and never really felt like I was close. My strategy was taking out the minions while trying to make sure the AI guy stayed alive so we could double team the boss dude. My strategy never worked.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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September 21, 2019 - 2:19 pm
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Xtal, you speak of Jouzu the Drunkard.

I too was stuck there for a while; here's some suggestions:

First, you can murder almost all his minions from stealth before triggering him OR the friendly samurai, which is ideal. Bank left when you're wading through the swampy area.

Second, if triggered, Jouzu himself will return to first position if you hide long enough. This causes him to regain any dots you've already stabbed out of him, but it also means you can retreat, regroup, and re-approach if you happen to get his attention before wiping out his minions.

Third, I finally beat him by (A) taking out as many regular dudes as possible from stealth, then (B) triggering the friendly samurai, who goes straight for Jouzu, then (C) using that time to quickly murder any remaining minions, then (D) doubling down on Jouzu, who will switch his attention between you and the other guy, buying you moments of respite. 

Handfuls of Dust are helpful to slow him down and get a few strikes in. 

He dislikes being set on fire, as most of us would.

I finally managed to take him out and keep the friendly samurai alive, which felt good. Be warned, though. After Jouzu is Lady Butterfly, and the game's actual bosses are... something else entirely.

Botch: I've given up on LB and did some exploring; this was a good move on my part. I discovered a pants-shittingly large snake (I actually texted a friend, what the actual fuck miyazaki when I first saw it). Now I'm working on the fellow with the big horse. Some of the Googles suggest tackling him before Lady Butterfly, and I do see a path to defeating him. It's a matter of getting the timing right.

But yes, Sekiro is a master class in Miyazakian game design... it doesn't cheat. Death is a teachable moment. Be careful, but know when to throw caution to the wind. And never forget there's no actual fail state. You can't lose what you don't have.

I don't have any skill with this game, so...

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
Texas, y'all
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September 21, 2019 - 3:39 pm
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Juzou the Drunkard wrecked my shizzle so many times.  What makes him so hard are all the mooks hanging around.  Steerpike pointed out that you can take these guys out, one at a time through stealth.  I quickly realized in this game that stealth is way OP, to the point that it can become a crutch for your skills.  However, in this case there's really no other way than to thin out the ranks so you can take on el-fatso 1-on-1.  I quickly abandoned the idea of keeping that AI ally alive, and after a while I completely ignored him.

Here's the thing with Juzou: he's fat, and he's slow.  He hits hard but his tells are obvious.  You, on the other hand, move fast, and hit fast.  Stick and move.  And make him pay for taking a swig.  There are two crucial skills in this game: jumping over sweeping perilous attacks (the ones with the red kanji) and Mikiri-countering the perilous thrust attacks (it's difficult to think of a more satisfying move than stomping on a tough opponent's blade).  But most importantly, reading the tells to know which one of those is coming, because some jerks do both.  Juzou only sweeps (well, he grabs but just don't get grabbed, fool).  Jump over his sweeps and punish them with the follow-up kick for posture damage.  Or just play it safe and stay out of their way since the arena is plenty big.

But if you want to semi-cheese him, read on.  You can stealth back-stab Jouzou, and you don't even have to clear out all the rabble to do it.  Get his attention, then run away into the water, but don't go too far or his deathblow markers will reset.  When he turns around, sneak up and back-stab.  Repeat.  Then go cry in a fetal position after Lady Butterfly tears you a new one, ha ha, j/k.

One last, key point that may be obvious to everyone else but didn't dawn on me until very late in my play-through.  You only lose experience from an incomplete bar.  If you have those numbers to the left of the blue bar "banked", they can never be lost.  So only go into tough fights when you stand to lose very little.  And oddly enough, the more you die, the less you subsequently lose since the bar drops by half.  Since some of the later skills cost five or more experience points, using this strategy is important.  Sen is another thing: you can lose it all.  But you can also bank money by buying those coin purses from merchants.  And get Mikiri Counter as fast as you can.

Edit: The soil-yer-pants snake was pretty cool I thought.  The mounted boss after that is, I believe, supposed to be your first proper boss.  He was one of the few bosses that i killed in only a handful of tries.  And it only took as long as it did because I thought I had to jump up and hit him and not his horse.  This reminds me of another way in which this game is thoroughly Miyazaki: revisit areas often, and explore every nook.  It's so easy to miss things otherwise.

Edit edit: I'm pretty certain the emphasis is on the first syllable: SEH-kee-ro

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