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ThornBrain
Jan 25, 2011



(Fantastic art by mischievousart/Lore Cox)

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a 2019 ninja/Chanbara-styled action game by From Software and directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki. Much in the vein of their previous beautiful and maddeningly difficult Dark Souls and Bloodborne games, Sekiro is a case study in masterful worldbuilding, subtle storytelling and gorgeous art direction combined with incredibly difficult to master gameplay that's so satisfying when you do.
While mechanically very similar to its predecessors, Sekiro shakes up the From Formula in several key ways: the Western RPG aesthetic has been replaced with one that's thoroughly Japanese, taking place in feudal Japan and soaked deeply in the country's mythology, folklore, and Buddhist traditions. Exploration is made faster and more fluid by allowing the player to jump logically (press a button) rather than stupidly (hold down the run button and press it again) and using Wolf's prosthetic to grapple and fling yourself around. You also actually know what you're doing; you play one specific character, Wolf the shinobi, on a quest to rescue your master, the young but precociously wise Lord Kuro.

The game also ups the ante on the difficulty by doing away with the online multiplayer aspects of the previous games (co-op, writing out warning messages for other players, invasions), instead focusing on a single player experience where the player must learn from every single one of their mistakes and fight every vessel-bursting boss all on their own. You also don't have a bevy of weapon options anymore; you have one katana, and aside from a handful of side attachments for your prosthetic that are more for utility than damage, you must do everything with that one katana. Dodging is no longer reliable, and you must instead build up your parry/deflect instincts to survive, especially because reducing enemy posture is far more important than reducing their health.

It's no surprise that the difficulty of the game was a major conversation when it came out, what with everyone trying to play it like Dark Souls or Bloodborne when it requires its own muscle memory. But like its predecessors, a headaching first run of the game will eventually give way to a fantastically rewarding experience, as everything From Software does great is on full display.
If you gave the game a shot and it completely turned you off, I don't blame you, but maybe with this LP I can convince you to give it another chance. Let us begin.

----------------


In the mountains of Japan lies Ashina, a region on the brink of war mere decades after Lord Isshin Ashina reclaimed the land for his clan. There, a shinobi named Wolf is tasked with protecting Lord Kuro, a young boy gifted with the Dragon's Heritage: the power of resurrection. But with Ashina endlessly caked with blood, Isshin's grandson Genichiro captures Kuro to use his Dragon's Heritage to end all war for his homeland. Wolf must brave the wartorn region to rescue his young master, and there will be more than a few seemingly impossible blockades in his way. Luckily, blessed with Kuro's Dragon's Heritage, this shadow can die twice.
Will it stay that simple, though? It never does.

----------------


This is essentially a 100% LP of the game: beating every boss and miniboss, showing how to reach every ending, finding every collectible, going a few rounds in New Game+, and showing off everything the game has to offer. I'm reasonably good at the game... now, but much of the LP was recorded with only my second run ever, so I will vary in skill until we pass the endings. It won't be a constant death-fest at least.
Joining me on co-commentary are Mugiwara Yoshi and JigglyJacob, neither of whom have played with Sekiro but have different experiences with Dark Souls. We have a penchant for silliness, but I try to temper that as we go along; this is a dark, brutal game. I'm also playing with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles, so I've eschewed the usual Edited commentary/Uncut commentary format, and I have a tendency to explain what's happening to emphasize important details to try to keep viewers abreast of what's happening and what should be payed attention to. In short: if you find our constant talking annoying, I won't blame you for that either.

If you enjoy this LP, consider supporting my Patreon. Patrons get to see parts ahead of everyone else.

----------------

Content Warnings: Lots of blood, violence and dismemberment; some strong horror themes including body horror and grotesque monsters; abuse and violence against children; and probably a lot more. It may not be Bloodborne, but there's still a lot of dark, horror themes in there. Proceed with caution.























































ThornBrain fucked around with this message at 21:40 on May 19, 2020

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Sylphosaurus
Sep 6, 2007


Since Iīm one of the outliers on this forum who was a bit disappointed with Sekiro and returned it after three days itīll be interesting to watch your LP and see if there was something fundamental I missed with how to play the game.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Looking forward to this one. I've only beaten Sekiro fairly recently and while I still think it is a step back from the Souls games in some areas, it is definitely a massively satisfying experience.

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD




Pillbug

i contend that OOKY SPOOKY NOW YOU'RE IN JAIL is a perfectly cromulent Dark Souls plot summary

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Yesss one of my new favorite games
Its such a cohesive and complete experience, dropping the multiplayer meant they could focus solely on delivering the tightest experience.

Also its the only from game to tell you EXACTLY what you need to do well.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009




From what I remember there's also some connections to Tenchu here, particularly Tenchu 3 which was also developed by FromSoft. That was even more of a stealth game than Sekiro, which at the least has moderately deep combat.

While posture is more important than damage it shouldn't be neglected. I dunno how exactly it works but dealing damage does make it harder for your target to regain posture. In particular this matters for the opening Genichiro Ashina fight, because your opponent is fairly passive compared to later enemies and can be beaten with a lot of aggression.

RareAcumen
Dec 28, 2012






Wolf as an actual wolf is good but part of me was really hoping you'd make the joke that Star Wolf O'Donnel is acting as a bodyguard here.

I'm blown away to hear that a From Soft game actually has a plot that makes perfect sense

*once you beat it for the first time.

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD




Pillbug

Earlier shitpost aside this has me wanting to give the game another try. I stalled out real early, at... Jyobu the Drunk I think? on one path, and just after first meeting something in a canyon on the other route at the time. Just stopped making progress and gave up. Maybe I'll learn something here!

Miz Kriss
Mar 17, 2009

It's only an avatar if the Cubs get swept.


Hoo boy this looks like a game I know I'll be terrible at, but it's fascinating to watch. I'll see how this fares considering I've literally fallen asleep while watching others play the Souls games and Bloodborne.

SpruceZeus
Aug 13, 2011



NGDBSS posted:

From what I remember there's also some connections to Tenchu here, particularly Tenchu 3 which was also developed by FromSoft. That was even more of a stealth game than Sekiro, which at the least has moderately deep combat.

if i'm remembering right sekiro did in fact start life as a tenchu sequel (and then dropped that as it eventually became more of its own thing)

and in practice this game plays more like a mashup of tenchu and metal gear rising than it does like dark souls

Ometeotl
Feb 13, 2012



It's MISSEL! Or SISSLE!
I confused myself...





This is definitely my least favorite of the From Souls-esque games. It's too bad but oh well.

megane
Jun 20, 2008



Sekiro has the best minute-to-minute combat of the Soulsbornes, in my opinion, but stumbles on... all the other stuff that makes up a game. And, you know, that's fine, combat is what we're here for. But it still felt like they missed a lot of opportunities. The lack of character customization was a big one for me.

Oxygen Deficiency
May 19, 2008





One of my fave games of the year, just so insanely good.

Raposa
Aug 4, 2007

That post went quite well, I think.


I'm here from the Sekiro thread to ask one question.

Obey the Iron Code ending first? Truly the funniest option for an LP.

Blaziken386
Jun 26, 2013

I'm what the kids call: a big nerd


Raposa posted:

I'm here from the Sekiro thread to ask one question.

Obey the Iron Code ending first? Truly the funniest option for an LP.
Given backing up saves is a thing, and I'd imagine all the endings would be shown off, that ending is the first one available

paragon1
Nov 22, 2010

FULL COMMUNISM NOW


Grimey Drawer

Ciaphas posted:

Earlier shitpost aside this has me wanting to give the game another try. I stalled out real early, at... Jyobu the Drunk I think? on one path, and just after first meeting something in a canyon on the other route at the time. Just stopped making progress and gave up. Maybe I'll learn something here!

That miniboss is pretty hard if you haven't beaten the first actual Boss. You gotta get past the canyon.

azren
Feb 13, 2011




Been really looking forward to someone doing this. I love the Soulsborne games, but I suck so hard at them, and this already looks like it would kick my rear end on an unprecidented level.

WaltherFeng
May 15, 2013

50 thousand people used to live here. Now, it's the Mushroom Kingdom.

Sekiro is my GOAT even after 200 hours of play

ThornBrain
Jan 25, 2011




Time for a 50 minute crash course in Sekiro combat and tactics.

Lulti
Nov 27, 2016


That completely unnecessary explanation of the concept of pausing and the shock of it are the best things I've listened to in a while.

Lord_Magmar
Feb 24, 2015

"Welcome to pound town, Slifer slacker!"


So quick point in episode one, itís not a tengu but a Nightjar that attacks if you defeat Genechiro. Specifically you get hit by a shuriken in the back and Genechiro proceeds to cut your arm off anyway.

Also episode 2 you mentioned not being able to block thrusts, but I think youíve missed that the block button when held blocks, but tapping it deflects. You can deflect thrust attacks, but you cannot block them. The Mimir is still better but yeah.

Itís also worth noting that Kuroís charm only punished blocking, not deflecting, and in general it is better to deflect an attack than block it in Sekiro.

Lord_Magmar fucked around with this message at 08:24 on Oct 20, 2019

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Lord_Magmar posted:

So quick point in episode one, itís not a tengu but a Nightjar that attacks if you defeat Genechiro. Specifically you get hit by a shuriken in the back and Genechiro proceeds to cut your arm off anyway.
Fairly sure they wear tengu masks, both seem valid descriptions to me.

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at 10:35 on Oct 20, 2019

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Armpit stabbing is a thing because it's difficult to properly armour that area without restricting mobility, and since it's also fairly hard to hit it's often left unarmoured. Making it a good place to stab armoured warriors if you get the opportunity.

Lord_Magmar
Feb 24, 2015

"Welcome to pound town, Slifer slacker!"


anilEhilated posted:

Fairly they wear tengu masks, both seem valid descriptions to me.

Okay true, it's more that Tengu as a name matters for later.

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD




Pillbug

wait, firecrackers?

drat, I got stuck not much farther from this point, and I'm learning I missed huge pieces of the game

RareAcumen
Dec 28, 2012






Ciaphas posted:

wait, firecrackers?

drat, I got stuck not much farther from this point, and I'm learning I missed huge pieces of the game

Ooh, man, you're gonna be really steamed when he gets the other four swords.

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD




Pillbug

RareAcumen posted:

Ooh, man, you're gonna be really steamed when he gets the other four swords.

long as he gets a Zenos-style mechanical golf bag to carry and use all 5 katanas mid fight

Polsy
Mar 23, 2007



Is it only large enemies that refill the resurrection meter or is it just that smaller enemies don't count for much and the meter only displays in 1/8th increments?

ThornBrain
Jan 25, 2011


Polsy posted:

Is it only large enemies that refill the resurrection meter or is it just that smaller enemies don't count for much and the meter only displays in 1/8th increments?

They all refill the meter in varying increments, but the bigger enemies do refill it more. I think it's randomized whether you get the res energy in general though, so you were probably just seeing me not get any some of the time.

Lord_Magmar
Feb 24, 2015

"Welcome to pound town, Slifer slacker!"


As far as I'm aware you always get res energy, but the amount can be very small at times. Bosses specifically though are designed to give a huge amount with every deathblow so that you can trade kill for kill kind of.

WaltherFeng
May 15, 2013

50 thousand people used to live here. Now, it's the Mushroom Kingdom.

Theres also a consumable that gives you more resurrection energy from deathblows, if that wasnt mentioned yet.

Though its unlikely you'll ever use it because the meter refills pretty fast.

GodFish
Oct 10, 2012

We're your first, last, and only line of defense. We live in secret. We exist in shadow.

And we dress in black.


I noticed you said that you throw the ceramic shards near the enemies - this is what I thought at first too - but if you lock on and throw it so the shard hits the enemy directly, they work a lot more effectively. Throwing it at the ground usually will only move them a few feet.

WaltherFeng
May 15, 2013

50 thousand people used to live here. Now, it's the Mushroom Kingdom.

GodFish posted:

I noticed you said that you throw the ceramic shards near the enemies - this is what I thought at first too - but if you lock on and throw it so the shard hits the enemy directly, they work a lot more effectively. Throwing it at the ground usually will only move them a few feet.

Yeah, a lot of people are confused by this. They are meant to be used like pebbles / throwing items in Souls series. You can use them to pull enemies away from crowds so you aren't immediately surrounded by 3-4 guys. At first Wolf doesn't have enough tools to deal with groups so this is one of those Souls strategies that actually work in this game as well.

Dr Christmas
Apr 24, 2010

Berninating the one percent,
Berninating the Wall St.
Berninating all the people
In their high rise penthouses!


According to some video I watched, probably by SoulsBourneKiro loremaster VattiVidya, ceramic shards gently caress up jumping enemies just like shurikens do.

WaltherFeng
May 15, 2013

50 thousand people used to live here. Now, it's the Mushroom Kingdom.

Dr Christmas posted:

According to some video I watched, probably by SoulsBourneKiro loremaster VattiVidya, ceramic shards gently caress up jumping enemies just like shurikens do.

I could see this being useful against certain enemies if you wanted to use something besides shuriken prosthetic. A neat trick. I'll have to try it later.

Gridlocked
Aug 2, 2014

MR. STUPID MORON
WITH AN UGLY FACE
AND A BIG BUTT
AND HIS BUTT SMELLS
AND HE LIKES TO KISS
HIS OWN BUTT
by Roger Hargreaves


I was not good at this game. Loved loved loved Dark Souls series, but Sekiro was not my jam. I'm one of those run around and dodge DS players so that was already not going well from the start. But then my PC seemed to chug a bit under Sekiro which was disappointing from a visuals point of view. It just didn't really gel with me the same way DS did.

Hoping a Straw Hat No LP will re-invigorate it for me.

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

me irl


I am interested to see this game played through by people knowing what they're doing. So keep it up!

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD




Pillbug

Samovar posted:

I am interested to see this game played through by people knowing what they're doing. So keep it up!

Even in these supposedly "fumbling" early stages ThornBrain is doing so much better than I did, it's kind of unreal. Must have died two dozen times before I progressed to the ol' red-eye they mentioned

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE



Nap Ghost

Ciaphas posted:

Even in these supposedly "fumbling" early stages ThornBrain is doing so much better than I did, it's kind of unreal. Must have died two dozen times before I progressed to the ol' red-eye they mentioned

How's it going bad at ninja-game buddy?

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vdate
Oct 25, 2010


I have to say, this game presents an interesting contrast to the direction they took Bloodborne - in that game, you didn't really even have a block button so much as a ranged parry, but you got a high-functionality-low-cooldown dodge in exchange that all the focus seemed to be put on. This one seems to have done something akin to the same thing, but in completely the opposite direction, by taking the dodge button away (or at least not giving it the same functionality as a Souls game), leaving you your block perfectly intact, and instead putting all the focus on melee parries and posture as your (and enemies'!) second health bar. Presumably they've considerably tightened up/standardized consistency on what the parry-windows for attacks are as part of that refocusing, same way Metal Gear Rising did for its parries.

Very much enjoying the videos so far, so I'm looking forward to this week's entry to see what new interesting things we'll find in our attempt to be Samurai Shinobi Jack Wolf.

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