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Sekiro came out of nowhere to become not only one of the best Souls-Like games out there but also one of the most completely enthralling action RPGs of all time. While the early trailers for the game had fans speculating that it was going to be a sequel to Bloodborne coming to test their skills instead, a completely original samurai game found its way into their hearts instead.
Coming from the gothic horror of Bloodborne and decaying Medieval worlds that Dark Souls had given us, the world of Sekiro felt much different compared to From Software’s titans of the past. It was refreshing and a much more enjoyable world to exist in, despite being arguably the most challenging game they’ve made yet.
I jumped into Sekiro expecting my 8+ years of experience with Souls-like games would give me an early advantage against whatever the game had to throw at me. I could not have been more wrong in my assumption. Not only do the tricks of the trade that got you through Bloodborne and Dark Souls not help at all here, they actually serve to actively hinder your progress.
See, instead of the dodging and rolling and blocking you’ve become accustomed to through the many games in the SoulsBorne catalog, in Sekiro, those tactics are pretty useless, and instead, you’re encouraged to take the fight right up close to your enemies and parry their attacks constantly in order to open them up for instant kill shots.
The combat system is mesmerizing and remains one of the tensest and most stressful ones in gaming history. In order to win against normal enemies and bosses alike, you need to learn their attacks and take them head-on in a system that emphasizes aggression and counterattacks more than any game that I can remember playing.
Along with the awesome combat system, you’ve got tons of unique lore, fascinating moves to acquire, and some of the most gorgeous areas that From Software has ever crafted. Against all odds, From Software managed to create a third incredible universe to explore, and it might just be the best one yet. Let’s find out what Sekiro is all about.
Players will explore the world of Sekiro through the eyes of Wolf, a samurai who has been left for dead after a brutal fight in the opening moments of the game. Unlike the worlds of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, this game is based in Japanese history, though the locations are entirely mythical in nature, and the surrounding war happening is completely fabricated as well. You will be exploring a Sengoku-era Japan throughout your time with Sekiro, and you’ll be exploring castles, various estates, Monasteries, and even some completely fantastical areas that I won’t spoil.
This area is one of the only safe havens of Sekiro. This ruined Buddhist Temple houses The Sculptor, Wolf, Emma, and many others that wander the land. The Sculptor helps Wolf out on his journey, while Emma uses the area as a research center to cure the ills of the land, mainly Dragonrot.
The outside of Ashina is among the most areas in the land. The site of many battles of the past, elite soldiers roam the area making sure no forces approach the castle. The main guardian of the land is Gyoubu the Demon, a hulking swordsman who patrols the main gate, and the bodies of those who have approached and failed are littered throughout the battlefield where you face him.
You will visit this land in the past, as thieves laid siege while the army was not protecting it. This massive estate sees its guardians turn against you when you arrive.
The Ashina Castle is the birthright of the Ashina Clan. Genichiro Ashina is the leader of the castle, and throughout it, there are tons of levels guarded by highly skilled samurai and special elite units as well. It is currently under siege from foreign forces, and after surviving several sieges in the past, the Ashina Clan has found itself facing its last days.
The Ashina give off a noble face to the public, but in the hidden darkness, the Ashina clan experimented with dark methods and disturbing techniques that summoned evil spirits that they could not control.
It is here where the corruption of the Valley begins. There is a poison that flows from this area that is slowly corrupting the world above, all spawning from the heinous experiments of the Ashina Clan’s past.
Senpou Temple, Mt. Kongo
The monks that inhabit Senpou Temple are not of the typical variety. They have abandoned the path to enlightenment and have turned their sacred halls into a destroyed place of worship. All of the monks have been corrupted by their search for immortality and the Revunating Waters, they believe will grant it.
These cliffs that surround Ashina Castle are defended fiercely by the Sunken Valley Clan. They are all slowly dying from exposure to the Rejuvenating Waters, and the more you travel the area, the more you will see the result that the waters can cause.
As you travel deeper into the land of Ashina, you will discover Mibu Village, a creepy yet calm land that houses immortal villagers. They tend to crops that are nonexistent yet seem at peace doing so, and they remain in this state due to their corruption from attaining eternal life.
This palace is a beautiful structure that appears to be a place of peace and healing, but it is here where the Rejuvenating Waters corrupt any living mortal who comes to imbibe it. It was originally an area that was a destination for wedding ceremonies, and before its corruption, it was a location that Okami Warrior women would visit.
Throughout the world of Sekiro, several clans have formed, with each one looking to achieve an individual purpose. For this reason, you rarely see clans in the game inhabiting the same area without getting into conflict with each other. So, while it seems like the game world is you against the world, that world is actually in constant chaos as well.
The Ashina Clan was founded by Isshin Ashina, one of the greatest warriors of the land who hailed as a hero and the one who defended his land against all opposing threats. In his old age, Isshin has turned to Genichiro, his adopted grandson, in order to withstand the incoming force that is closing in around Ashina Castle. The two of them plot together to use the Divine Heir in order to become immortal and win the war while saving the last of their clan in the process.
The Interior Ministry is the main force that is invading Ashina Castle when Sekiro starts. They heavily fear Isshin Ashina, but due to his age and illness, they have built up the will to finally attack. Fueling their attack is the invention of Fulminated Mercury, which creates gunpowder and gives them a serious leg up on the Ashina forces, who are still largely made up of samurai and archers.
Sunken Valley Clan
You will encounter this enemy in the game in the Sunken Valley as well as the Gun Fort, and their appearance will immediately be a disarming sight. They are bandaged heavily from head to toe, and this is from the lesions they have accumulated by drinking the Rejuvenating Waters.
It is said that only those of specific heritage can successfully take in this sacred water, and the result is what has happened to the Sunken Valley Clan. The effects taking over the clan are Necrosis, insanity, and, as you can see in the zombies of the Abandoned dungeon nearby, eventual mutation. Still, the warriors that are left defend the Sunken Valley with the last bits of life they have.
The Snake Eyes are a sect of the Sunken Valley Clan that is an elite group of women warriors who defend the Gun Fort and Sunken Valley. The two greatest warriors in this group are Shirafuji and Shirahagi, who Wolf will face off against during his journey.
All of the warriors in the Sunken Valley Clan have one weakness in common, poison. In the game, you will find in the item description of Sabimaru the following inscription “Wielded in wars of old, the blade’s blue rust was used to drive off inhuman Okami warrior women. Even now, it is likely to be effective against their descendants..”
This clues the player into their long-lasting weakness. There is an exception, though, and that is with Shirahagi, as she has gained a tolerance for poison due to her time in the bottom of the Ashina Depths.
Death and Resurrection
Death is a unique system in Sekiro, as with the title Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice comes the description of how the death system works in this game. Each time you die, you have the choice to resurrect on the spot you were killed. You can do this once for free every time you’ve rested at a Sculptors Idol, but if you do it outside of those times, you will spread Dragonrot throughout the land, which we will go over in a bit.
You can increase the number of times you can revive by defeating enemies or using special items. You play Wolf, who becomes blessed with the power of Resurrection after an encounter with Genichiro while trying to protect Kuro, the Divine Heir. Why you get gifted with the power to resurrect isn’t clear at first, but eventually, you will discover it is from your relationship with Kuro. Wolf is not the first one to be blessed with this power either, and that fact alone is enough to influence the noble Genichiro and Isshin Ashima to try and harness that power for their own survival.
Dragonrot is an ominously named disease that is spreading throughout the world of Sekiro. It can spread to the NPCs of the game, and this prevents any progression in their side quests. Each time you accumulate more Dragonrot, you will lose a percentage of a chance to get Unseen Aid, which can help immensely in tough battles.
Each time you die and respawn, you have a chance to receive an item called Rot Essence. If you receive this, the NPC that is associated with the item now has Dragonrot in the game world.
In the game, Dragonrot is described as the following
“The more one with the power of Dragon’s Heritage dies, the more a sickness known as Dragonrot spreads through the word. If one known to Wolf is coughing and wheezing, it’s likely they are afflicted with Dragonrot. The more Rot Essence Wolf has, the lower the chances of receiving Unseen Aid.”
This is a somewhat obscure definition for sure, but it does clue you in that this is going to be a very important system throughout the game. When you receive a Rot Essence item, it will carry a name with it, and from that point on, that NPC will begin slowly dying. The NPC it affects is chosen completely at random, so there is no way to make sure a particular NPC will be okay other than not dying.
Not only this, but multiple NPCs can get sick at the same time. When an NPC is affected with Dragonrot, they effectively become useless to the player, and approaching them will only yield coughs and wheezes from them instead of their normal dialogue.
NPCs will become sick, but they will not die from this disease.
If you die and revive via Resurrection, you will not increase your chances to get Dragonrot, so don’t worry about using your second chance in terms of possibilities to receive Rot Essence.
How to Cure Dragonrot
Now that you’ve been afflicting the whole land with this mysterious illness, it’s only right that you get a chance to cure it as well. In order to cause Dragon Restoration, you need to acquire the Recovery Charm Key Item. Once you get this, you can cure the people suffering from Dragonrot at a Sculptor’s Idol by using a Dragon’s Blood Droplet. This will cure all the people affected by it and take away the Rot Essence item in your inventory. This will also restore the chance to receive Unseen Aid.
How to Acquire the Recover Charm
When Dragonrot first occurs, you will be sent to the Dilapidated Temple, and there, you will receive the Rot Essence of the Sculptor. Talk to the Sculptor and then talk to Emma. Emma will tell you she will begin researching the disease and that you should return to her later to see what she’s come up with.
Keep in mind that if you have met other NPCs by the first time Dragonrot happens, you may get Rot Essence of them at this point.
Come back to Emma after resting at a nearby Idol or return later in the story, and you’ll see Emma hunched over the Sculptor taking blood samples; she will then ask you to get another sample from someone else who is infected.
This conversation only happens once another NPC you’ve talked to has gotten sick with Dragonrot, so you might be inclined to cause this at this point.
Go to the NPC who has Dragonrot other than the Sculptor, and you’ll be able to get a blood sample for them. Return to Emma and give her the sample. Rest at an Idol, then return to her later. When you come back to her, she will have created the Dragon’s Blood Droplet and Recovery Charm to cure the illness.
This mysterious disease seems to appear without reason for the majority of the game. It isn’t until you manage to finish Emma’s questline that the true nature of the illness is revealed. It all revolves around Wolf’s ability to Resurrect, and this ability is given to you through your relationship to the Divine Heir.
The problem is that the Divine Heir’s blood is stagnating. This means that the force you normally draw on to resurrect is getting weaker and weaker, and instead, that life force is being drained from other people to make up for the loss. The people getting infected with Dragonrot are the result of them unknowingly giving their own life force in order to keep you alive.
Further building on the idea of Dragonrot is your encounter with the Divine Dragon. During your fight, you will hear the Dragon coughing, suggesting that he is infected with Dragonrot as well, which shows you the length that Kuro is going to keep you alive.
Sekiro begins amid a conflict that has already taken shape. It begins in the Sengoku era, where Japan has been cut into tons of different nations that seem to be entrenched in never-ending warfare. In one of these nations lies Ashina, the land the game takes place in. This once-peaceful realm has been overrun with invaders from foreign lands.
Twenty years prior to the events of Sekiro, Sword Saint Isshin Ashina decided to retake his homeland. On the back of his incredible swordsmanship, his countrymen joined his cause, and under his command, Ashina was finally reclaimed, and a period of peace once again took over.
Right before the events of Sekiro, Ashina has fallen under an invasion once again. The invaders this time are from the Interior Ministry, and their goal is to unify all of Japan under one banner, once and for all.
In response to this invasion, Genichiro Ashina, the grandson of Isshin, has taken up control of the army and is willing to do anything necessary in order to defend his homeland. This leads him towards a desperate move. With no other options and a powerful force closing in, Genichiro kidnaps the Divine Heir in hopes that his power can save his homeland. The Divine Heir is defenseless, with no hope left to save, for one thing, his loyal guard, the Wolf.
Kuro- The Divine Heir
The one that the entire conflict in Sekiro revolves around, Kuro is the last surviving descendant of an ancient clan; he was raised in seclusion as a shinobi and is the adoptive son of Ashina’s minister, Hirata. Although just a boy, he’s incredibly calm under horrible circumstances and has a gentle air about him that makes him seem wiser than one might assume. Genichiro Ashina kidnaps him in the hopes that the power his divine heritage holds could be the key to saving his kingdom. Rescuing him from this fate is the driving force behind the tale.
The Owl is your mentor throughout the game. He adopted Wolf after the war ended and is essentially a father figure to him. He dedicates his life to living by the Iron Code, as well as protecting Kuro. His ideas eventually clash with Wolf’s idea of morality, which leads to a conflict between the two.
The primary figure behind everything that happens in Sekiro, Isshin, is a hero of the land who has defended Ashina Castle for years since initially taking his land back as a warrior long ago. In his old age, he has tasked his grandson Genichiro with defending the castle as he is too weak to command the defense himself. Isshin befriends Wold during the game, only to betray him in the end in order to try and ensure the Ashina Clan lives on with one more victory.
The grandson of Isshin Ashina, Genichiro, is tasked with the defense of Ashina Castle from foreign invaders. When the odds became too stacked against him, desperation forced his hand, and he kidnapped the Divine Heir. Genichiro is a tragic character who you face during Sekiro, and he is not inherently evil. He is a man forced up against a wall, with his heritage in danger of being wiped out for good and nowhere left to turn. He believes that Kuro can grant him immortality and the power to save his land.
Wolf’s encounter with Lady Butterfly is one of the more memorable ones, and that’s due to you coming up against someone that knows you very well. Lady Butterfly is an acquaintance of Owl who has joined forces with Isshin Ashine to retake the land. She is one of the mentors Wolf and has taught him much of what he knows. She has dedicated herself to keeping Kuro both safe and captured for the Ashina Clan, leading to a showdown between her and Wolf that is both emotional and incredibly difficult.
Creatures of Sekiro
There are many encounters you will have throughout your time with Sekiro, and often, many of these bizarre creatures you fight will come and go without explanation. Only by deciphering item descriptions and carefully listening to the words of NPCs can you begin to deduct just what their purpose is in this wild world.
One of the more disturbing creatures in the game is the Headless. These are headless warriors that wander the depths of the world. When defeated, they drop an interesting item called Ako’s Spritfall. The item description reads, “Fallen, headless spirit of Ako and that “headless are the ruined form of corrupted heroes.” These hints show that maybe all of the Headless is part of the spirit of a corrupted Hero named Ako. The Headless share things in common with a horrific creature from Japanese folklore known as Kappa.
Shura is one of the most obscure concepts in the game that actually ends up playing in heavily to one of the endings in the game. The idea of Shure comes from the Buddhist concept called Asura, which is a clan of pure evil that is constantly in battle with a more benevolent clan. In the world of Sekiro, those with nothing but lust for battle and blood become Shura, who are people that only kill for the joy of it. It is a form of being possessed that can end up being the fate of Wolf if a certain path is followed.
One of the most intimidating encounters of the game is against the Divine Dragon. This mysterious being immediately has something in common with Wolf, and that’s the missing arm. Divine Dragon goes by another name as well, and that is “Ancient Deity of the Everblossom.” While this may seem like just a fancy name, during the story, Owl rips the branch off an Everblossom tree in Ashina.
The branch he rips off happens to be on the left side of the tree, and the arm the Divine Dragon is missing is on the left side as well. Did Owl realize what he was doing and was helping his adopted son out without being obvious about it? The answers are never told, but this being a coincidence seems far less likely than Owl possessing some hidden knowledge.
The Guardian Ape is a tragic boss that you must fight multiple times during Sekiro. He is an undying animal that has been infested with a demonic centipede, which keeps him alive regardless of the damage he incurs. He is simply an animal seeking his death because of the death of his mate, whose skeletal remains you can find in a nearby area.
His connection to Wolf comes from a story told to you by the Sculptor. Previous to your arrival, the Sculptor tells you he trained with female shinobi named Kingfisher. When you defeat the Guardian Ape, in its stomach, you will find the item Slender Finger, which suggests she met her end against this terrifying foe.
Folding Screen Monkey
Although they serve as one of the most frustrating puzzles to solve in Sekiro, they are actually one of the main protectors of the Divine Child of Rejuvenation. While they aren’t exactly great warriors, they simply serve to waste the time of whoever threatens the child in the hope of people losing interest and leaving the child alone. While this may seem like a pretty tough way to protect someone, when you face off against these guys, you can see the bodies of warriors past that apparently died from exhaustion, so their methods are not totally useless.
Question: Is Sekiro multiplayer?
Answer: Unlike most From Software games, Sekiro does not have a multiplayer currently. This is likely due to the fact that it has an individual main character, while all of the other SoulsBorne games have custom characters. The combat system also only has one primary weapon, so PVP would not be nearly as interesting as the other games by From Software.
Question: Is Sekiro the Hardest From Software game.
Answer: I’ve beaten Dark Soul 1-3, and I’ve also beaten Bloodborne twice. I have not beaten Sekiro. It’s got some of the toughest bosses I’ve ever seen, and despite the increased mobility, I just can’t seem to overcome the final few bosses of the game.
Question: Is Sekiro a long game?
Answer: Sekiro is one of the longer journeys in the SoulsBorne series, and it will likely take you upwards of 50 hours to complete everything there is to see.
Sekiro is one of those games that immediately grips you and immediately challenges you. At the start, you’re going to be lost in more ways than one. The story may seem obscure, and the combat is going to force you to get good really fast, but as you master the combat, the story also opens up explaining the conflict you’re stuck in the middle of, and before you know it, you’ll have all the motivation in the world to fight for your beliefs, and you’ll even have the option of seeing multiple endings depending on certain choices you choose to make throughout the game.
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