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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of those games that seemed like it had the chips stacked against it. For one, it was the third attempt at creating a universe by From Software. They had struck absolute gold two times already with Dark Souls and Bloodborne, so the chances that they could yet again create another compelling story that takes place in a fascinating world with unique enemies and an incredible combat system to support it was just something that seemed like a tough task to pull off.
For the first time, From Software was drawing on history with Sekiro, and that mixture of ancient Japan and horror went so smoothly together that it felt like Sekiro had been with us all along. The story being told in Sekiro is one of complete precision, and although it didn’t exactly have the most compelling main character, it was still an awesome plot to weave through that had multiple endings depending on what you chose to do throughout the game. The world was incredible, too, with classic ancient Japan fusing with some truly mesmerizing fantasy sights. It created a picture that revealed more and more of itself as you traveled further into the game. Soldiers with swords gave way to undead nightmares and even creatures of mythical nature as well.
Of course, none of that means anything in a From Software game if the gameplay isn’t on point, and we had no reason to worry about that either. Not only was the gameplay on point, but Sekiro created a combat system that completely undid what you learned in Bloodborne, Dark Souls, and really any action RPG you’ve ever played. That’s not a bad thing, as the result was a combat system that emphasized proximity to your enemy, and you somehow became far safer right up in your enemy’s face rather than rolling or dodging away like you used to in other Souls-like games. The parry mechanic, in particular, was groundbreaking, and being able to parry not only your normal enemies but the bosses as well brought a new layer of strategy to how you would normally take on the toughest challenges that From Software had to offer.
I have to admit, Sekiro kicked my ass. I’d been a seasoned vet of Dark Souls 1-3 and Bloodborne. I’d beaten all of them without too much trouble, so I figured that Sekiro wouldn’t be too much of a problem for me. Yeah, about that…Sekiro is the hardest game I’ve ever played. Despite the fact that you can literally have two lives, the combat system never quite clicked for me into absolute mastery like the way the Souls series and Bloodborne did. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, quite the opposite actually as I thought it was a brilliant system. I just sucked at it.
To help me out in dire times was the prosthetic tool system. See, our hero, Wolf, loses his arm in the opening moments of the game, and replacing his missing arm is now a rotating set of tools that you can use at the cost of something called spirit emblems. These tools come in forms, both offensive and defensive, and can combine with your normal attacks to deal some of the biggest damage in the game. There are tons to find as well, and we’re going to explore how they work and what they do.
Prosthetic Arm and Shinobi Tools
Only a few of these will ever be required to be found by you as a player. Without keen observation and exploration, it’s very easy to miss the majority of these, and while the game is certainly completable without them at your side, they not only make the game’s challenges easier to overcome, but they also make the game a whole lot more fun. Somewhat annoyingly, the best ones are governed by something called Spirit Emblems. These are a nonreplenishing resource that can be purchased throughout the game. That means you need to consider your spirit emblem pool very carefully, and it becomes an important resource to have a large stock no matter what fight you’re about to take on.
The grappling hook is the most useful tool in the game as you can use this to get around the multiple high areas of the game. You can also use it to escape combat quickly or even to deliver a flying attack through the air if you acquire the proper skill upgrade.
This is one of the only tools that you will automatically acquire during the game. It’s incredibly fun to use and turns Wolf into something of an ancient Japanese Spiderman. You can swing incredible distances using this tool, but most importantly, you can use it to escape from dangerous battles where you’re outnumbered or even bypass an area with enemies completely.
The mechanics involved with the grappling hook are simple. You will see either a red or green marking on the spots you can grabble to. Red means that the spot is either too high or far away to grapple to, while green means you can successfully grapple to that area no matter what. Some spots will have neither a red nor green marking on them, and for those, it just means this isn’t an area you can get to via the Grappling Hook, and you will need to find other means to get there.
In certain boss battles, you can use the Grappling Hook to escape from immediate danger. This isn’t always a safe haven as you can likely be hit by their attacks, but it can give you a moment of solace to recover some health or switch up the Prosthetic tool you’re using without getting in too much danger.
The Loaded Shuriken is going to be the first official optional Prostethic Tool that you’re going to come across in Sekiro. The Loaded Shuriken is a deadly ranged weapon and one of your only options for ranged attacks in the game. In order to use it, you press the Prothetic button to fire the Shuriken, but after upgrades, you can hold the button to charge up multiple hits. This item can be found in Ashina Outskirts and is located next to a corpse inside a building with a hole in the wall.
Although it’s one of the first tools you’ll come across in the game, it’s actually one of the most valuable. Throughout your journey, you’re going to be coming across a ton of different enemies, and some of those involve large and dangerous animals. When these beasts decide to change at you, timing a Loaded Shuriken throw at them can either cause them to stumble or at least do some bonus damage before you go in for a direct attack. As you upgrade the Loaded Shuriken, this becomes even more useful, and you’ll find it comes in handy against not only normal enemies but bosses as well.
The biggest benefit to the Loaded Shuriken comes from the fact that it is one of the only ranged weapons in the game. The majority of your Prosthetic Tools will have you fighting your battles up close and personal, so having a little bit of help while you’re a bit of distance away is a huge help. The range is not unlimited, though, so you need to be within reasonable distance for the Loaded Shuriken to work.
Once you get the hang of using the Loaded Shuriken to add extra damage to your assaults, you might want to consider learning to use it for other, more effective purposes. If you time it right, you can stop an enemy from recovering from posture damage. For example, if you are attacking an enemy or even a boss incessantly and you break their posture, you can unleash your normal deathblow attack, but then, instead of watching them recover (if they survive), you can use the Loaded Shuriken to stagger them and open up their defense to attack them even more in their staggered state. Learning to master this move, in particular, is one of the most valuable tools you can have in the game, prosthetic or otherwise.
Flame Vent is an awesome Prosthetic tool that can set your enemies on fire. By pressing R2, you will release a burst of fire in front of you, and this will deal both health damage and inflict constant damage. If you have the Living Force skill equipped, you will also do a horizontal slash and even light your sword on fire for a small period of time. In order to find the Flame Vent, you will have to go to Hirata Estate. Once there, you will find it by the campfire that is surrounded by enemies.
The Flame Vent can be acquired very early on and becomes one of the better Prosethic tools in the game as soon as you get it. Using the Flame Vent will burn your enemies, and it will cause not only damage upfront, but the burn damage will slowly eat away at them over time too. This is not an automatic effect, though, as you will need an item called Oil in order to get the most out of the Flame Vent.
If you use Oil on the enemy right before using the Flame Vent, you not only increase your Flame Vent damage but they will be set ablaze during the attack as well. A lot of enemies you face in Sekiro will be of the undead variety, and one thing they have in common is that they all are generally weak to fire.
Because of that fact, you want to keep Oil on you whenever you can, and if you’re going up a beast or undead creature, the Flame Vent is usually a great first line of assault against them. In From Software games, the weakness to fire is one of the most common themes, and in Sekiro, that song remains the same. In particular, when you come across Red-Eyed enemies, the Flame Vent will be devastating. The same goes for the foes that wander around in the Mibu Village.
The Loaded Axe gives you a method of completely breaking the enemy’s shields and guard. This is an incredibly useful tool that will get you through a lot of early encounters in the game. Pressing the Prosthetics button with this equipped will wind up a huge overhead slam attack that can shatter an enemy’s shield.
When upgraded, holding the button down activates a spinning attack before the slam. You can find the Loaded Axe inside a small house in the Hirata Estate. If you have the skill Fang and Blade, pressing your normal attack button after the Loaded Axe slam will trigger a second slam using both the sword and shield.
The Loaded Axe is an incredibly powerful Prosthetic Tool that can do some of the best damage in the game if wielded right. Throughout Sekiro, you will find that all the enemies you face have a certain amount of posture that needs to be broken if they are defending. In order to quickly get rid of those pesky posture bars, all we need to do is use the Loaded Axe, and we’ll chop right through those defenses and even shatter enemy shields as well.
The cost of the Loaded Axe, in the beginning, is somewhat high, but as you upgrade it, you can reduce the amount of Spirit Emblems that it takes to use. This makes it a far more viable option in constant combat scenarios, though keep in mind that using it over and over as your main form of attack will still drain your Spirit Emblems incredibly quickly.
Instead of using it as a main form of attack, consider the Loaded Axe as your punctuating attack or your attack opener. This will either open your attacking with huge posture damage or finish off your combos with a devastating blow. The Prosthetic Axe can work particularly well on certain bosses such as Genichiro or some later in the game that will be wielding a hefty posture for you to have to breakthrough.
If you unlock the Mid-air Prosethtic Tool, the Loaded Axe can be used mid-air, allowing for devastating attacks from above that will kill most enemies outright. With later upgrades to the Loaded Axe, you’ll unlock a technique called Whirling, and this will deliver a spinning slice before your normal slam attack. This attack can be extended depending on how long you press the button for; just be aware that the longer you spin, the more Spirit Emblems it will cost.
The Loaded Umbrella is one of the best defensive options you have in Sekiro. You can create a massive shelter by holding R2/RT, and you can also move as you deeply it. You can also deflect with it much like you can with your sword, and it deals more posture damage than your sword would. With additional skills unlocked in your progression tree, you can turn the Loaded Umbrella into an offensive weapon too, and you’ll be able to add a slash attack whenever the Umbrella is open. In order to find the Loaded Umbrella, you must obtain the Iron Fortress, and from there, you can buy it from Blackhat Badger inside Ashina Castle.
The Loaded Umbrella is the ultimate tool for people like me, who just plain suck at the parrying system. While it certainly is not a get-out-of-jail-free card in this regard, it will still be incredibly useful to you in a variety of situations.
While the Loaded Umbrella will block you from all damage, you still will take posture damage, so you cannot just infinitely hide behind this technique. Furthermore, it doesn’t block any sweep attacks, so if you’re going against a boss or enemy with this attack, you need to dodge it or jump over it instead.
The ultimate usage of the Loaded Umbrella comes from its ability to defend against projectiles. Certain bosses, like Lady Butterfly, will launch long-range attacks at you during the fight, and with the Loaded Umbrella, you’ll find yourself basically impervious to them while never taking enough posture damage to break your guard in the process. If you have the Projected Force skill, you can actually launch their attack right back at them. You can also use it to guard against grab attacks from both bosses and normal enemies alike.
Shinobi Firecrackers are important items that can stun any enemy, including bosses. This opens them up for attack and leaves them unable to guard. You can friend these at the Battlefield Memorial Mob merchant.
For me, the Shinobi Firecrackers are one of the go-to Prosthetic Tools no matter what the challenge is in Sekiro. They were easily my most used tool in the game, and despite their meager appearance, the effectiveness of the tool goes far beyond what you might imagine.
The Shinobi Firecrackers check-in as the second ranged weapon you can use in the game, though calling it a weapon doesn’t really do it justice. It’s more of a distraction tool that can be used to stun an enemy, opening them up for a long combo or completely ruining their ability to heal during a fight. If you’re fighting an animal, in particular, the Shinobi Firecracker opens them up for a huge combo lasting at least 4 to 5 hits, and sometimes that can be enough to win a fight outright.
The real magic of the Shinobi Firecracker comes when facing bosses. While some might consider it cheap, using these during boss fights can trivialize a few of them. If you don’t care about playing fair, and in this game, you shouldn’t, go into a boss fight with a steady supply of Spirit Emblems and try using these and mixing in a combo immediately after. It will not work for a lot of bosses in the game, and no matter what you do, you will run out of them, but for the bosses, it does work against you; you can use this method to make awfully short work of them.
Something to keep in mind while using them is that while the initial use will be effective, repeated uses of it will prove lesser so. This goes for whenever you’re facing a beast of some kind, and also for some bosses. They get over their initial shock at the sight of it, and the stun will not last long this time, if at all.
If you acquire the Chasing Slice Skill, it can be used in unison with the Shinobi Firecracker to deliver a follow-up attack right after its use, and this is a great way to open up a combo.
The Shinobi Firecracker does nothing against Apparition-type enemies, so make sure you don’t waste your Spirit Emblems by using these in a normal or boss fight against them.
The Loaded Spear is a heavy damage spear that can drag enemies toward you if they are small enough. It can also tear off the armor of larger enemies, leaving them vulnerable to attack. There are multiple attacks you can do with the spear, including a rush attack and a cleave that covers a wide area in front of you. You can find this spear in Ashina Reservoir Revisited.
The Loaded Spear may not appear to be that useful when you first acquire it, but as you reach the midpoint of the game, this tool will become incredibly important against several tough bosses.
During one of the toughest bosses in the game, the Guardian Ape, the Loaded Spear becomes a godsend. In the second phase of the fight, when the Guardian Ape has been decapitated, it will start to be controlled by an Immortal Centipede. If you use the pull attack that the Loaded Spear provides, you can yank it right out of the ape, causing a ton of damage to both its health and posture. You can use this attack on the ape after its fallen to the ground.
The secondary uses of the spear are pretty incredible against normal enemies, but keep in mind that using it against certain enemies will only work for damage purposes, and extra effects like ripping the armor off of enemies won’t work. This is true when facing the Armored Warrior.
There are several techniques that will add to the effectiveness of the Loaded Spear. Rush and Corkscrew Rush are two techniques that, when combined with the spear, will cause a ton of damage while using the spear, and at the same time, it will save you Spirit Emblems as well since the main form of attack is with your sword.
The Mist Raven is an evasive Prosthetic tool that can be used for several kinds of maneuvers. Pressing R2 will activate your Must Stance. Once you’re attacked in this stance, you will instantly move in the direction you press with the left analog stick. This basically gives you a teleporting move that grants some immunity to damage as well.
This tool will not work against grab attacks, so keep that in mind against enemies who employ this tactic.
You can find this item in the Hirata Estate. You first will grab the Mist Raven’s Feathers inside a hidden temple there and after that, bring it to the Sculptor, and he will convert it into the Mist Raven.
The Mist Raven is incredibly useful on a variety of occasions, but it becomes most useful when it’s upgraded as it can afford you a chance to catch your breath in otherwise overwhelming fights. Combining the Mist Raven with rushing attacks such as the Corkscrew Rush can evade enemy attacks while immediately providing you a deadly counterattack.
You can use the Mist Raven against some bosses, but the majority will see through this tactic, and you will find that you’ll still take damage from their attacks while using it.
You can find this unique blade in the Ashina Castle. When you’re in the Upper Tower- Antechamber Idol, head through the two doors and then jump down in the middle of the room, and you’ll find it after facing the enemies down here in a giant chest.
The Sabimaru is an incredibly useful Prostethic Tool that allows you to poison your enemy when you connect with it. This will damage your enemies over time and becomes incredibly useful against some of the tougher enemies in the game.
In particular, you’ll find this coming of great use when facing off against the Okami Warriors as well as O’Rin of the WAter. Upgrading this Prosethic Tool further will extend the length of how long an enemy gets poisoned for as well as the damage you’re dealing with it.
The Sabimaru is particularly effective against the Gun Fort enemies, so make sure you use it when facing these incredibly tough foes.
This unique item allows you to confuse your enemies and make them attack each other or to distract the enemy that you are targeting. It will also make monkeys, wolves, and dogs go crazy and attack anyone near them, friend or foe. It will not affect enemies like the Great Serpents, Blazing Bull, or any of the Ape or Fish enemies. You can use the Finger Whistle on a Headless, though if you’ve upgraded it fully and this is invaluable and gives you time to dispel the dangerous mist surrounding it. You can find the Finger Whistle by defeating the Guardian Ape. This will give you the Slender Finger item, and then you’ll need to take that to the Sculptor, where he will create the Finger Whistle.
The Finger Whistle is among one of the more useless items in the game. Although it’s effective against The Headless, those enemies are generally avoidable, so their real use comes against basic enemies and generally small animals.
In order for it to be useful against The Headless, you have to upgrade it to its final form, but even with that, The Headless will completely ignore it after you use it three times, slamming his sword down in the process and effectively announcing that he’s done with your games.
This is a Prosthetic tool that comes with a large fan that is used to make a wind cover that hides you from enemies and can even blow them away. You use it by pressing R2 to gather the vortex around you, and when you’re near an enemy, pressing it again will cause the enemy to suddenly face the other way. This will leave them open for an immediate death blow if you’re quick enough.
If you unlock the skill Living Force, you will imbue your sword with the power of Divine Abduction for one hit, and it will spin the enemy around on contact, giving you an easy kill. Using this tactic will also kill monks outright.
You can find this Prosthetic tool in the Sunken Valley. After the Gun Fort Sculptor’s Idol, you will find it and from there, bring it to the Sculptor to acquire the tool.
Divine Abduction is one of the more confusing Prostethic Tools in the game and can be pretty complicated to use at first. You need to be an expert at the timing here in order to get the most out of the tool, but when you do, you will become a devastating force against some of the tougher enemies in the game.
If you have a fully upgraded Divine Abduction, the following enemies will die instantly. Bare Fist Senpou Sect Monks, Staff-wielding Senpou Sect Monks, Masked Senpou Sect Monks, and the Taro Troop. As you can see, most monks will be destroyed in seconds with this technique, although minibosses like Infested Monks and Double-Glaive wielding Monks will not be killed instantly with it.
The Divine Abduction will not work on the majority of bosses, but some minibosses can be vulnerable to its attacks, such as Seven Spears of Ashina. It does cost a healthy amount of Spirit Emblems, though, so be wary about that when using it.
Question: What is the best Prosthetic Tool in Sekiro?
Answer: It’s hard to not say the Shinobi Firecrackers. They work on bosses and enemies alike and have saved me on more than one occasion. It’s all about preference, though, and I’m sure experts at things like the Loaded Spear will call them the better choice.
Question: Is Sekiro Multiplayer?
Answer: Unfortunately, Sekiro is the one From Software game of the past decade that doesn’t have multiplayer. It makes sense, though, as the Wolf is a singular character, and having multiple of him wouldn’t make any sense lore-wise.
Question: How long does it take to beat Sekiro?
Answer: Sekiro is a lengthy game, and finishing the game will take upwards of 60 hours to complete unless you somehow master the combat immediately.
I can confidently say that Sekiro is the hardest game I’ve ever played. It requires intense precision, laser focus, and mastery of timing to get its various systems down properly. Luckily, if you can’t figure all of those things out, you can fall back on the Prosthetic Tools, which will always be able to get you out of a bind. Hopefully, this guide shows you how to best utilize them, and you can become the Sekiro master that I never was.
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