Final Boss.....I think I have to give up

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#1 Posted by Sahalarious (772 posts) -

Obvious spoilers here but I think this is truly the hardest fight I've ever experienced in my 24 years of gaming. I've been on this guy for almost a week, and am barely ever able to get him down to even his third form. I loved this game so much, beat just about every optional boss, but just can't fuckin swing it. anyone else dying here?

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#2 Edited by doctordonkey (1825 posts) -

He's definitely unique, in that Fromsoft games don't usually have difficult final bosses, he's not a pushover like most of them. He's basically a culmination of everything you've learned up til' now. He reminds me of Sigrun on Give me God of War difficulty in GoW. Tons of unique moves in a large moveset, and you have to memorize all of them. How many prayer beads do you have? You should have 9, or 10 if you went for the Purification ending. You should also have 12 Attack, or 13 if you went for the Purification ending.

Don't be afraid to back up during his Iaido strike (when he sheaths his sword and walks at you slowly), back up and remain sprinting until he finishes the animation, you can run in and get 3 hits in before he starts parrying. His big overhead swings during phase 2 & 3 can be side stepped, you don't even need to be sprinting, so stay close and wait for him to slam down, then get 3 or 4 hits in. Another technique is to charge an Ichimonji during these vulnerable states, this causes a boatload of posture damage. Don't do the Double Ichimonji though, you'll probably get punished from the end lag, just charge a single one.

Speaking of posture, not letting a bosses posture bar regen is huge for most boss fights. If you play the long game, whittling down his HP bar, you have to play super safe and be in it for the long haul, because his HP bar on all his phases is huge. I'd recommend playing this boss fight fast, win quick or lose quick. Great tool for this is the Lazulite Shuriken, because it keeps his posture bar from refilling when he backs up, and if you took the skill for it, allows you to close the gap almost instantaneously. Another thing, you will not have your posture broken if you continue to deflect every blow. Even if your posture is maxed out and at the breaking point, deflecting will not break posture no matter what. If you have your posture broken after a hit, it's because you failed to deflect it.

Another prosthetic that's good for this fight is Lazulite / Piercing Sabimaru. Whenever he is vulnerable from his Iaido strike or overhead slam, you can get a full combo from it, and two combos will poison. The Lazulite Sabimaru can potentially poison in one combo, depending on if he stands in the mist for a couple seconds afterwards, but Piercing also does the trick. You can also use Projected Force at the end of the Shinobi tree and use flame vent, you can cause burn status after potentially just one use if you keep up the pressure. Otherwise two.

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#3 Edited by Efesell (4504 posts) -

This was the best fight in the game for me and the perfect example of what that game was good at. I started at a point of bewilderment at how I was even supposed to approach it and an hour later was finishing the fight in 2-3 minutes.

In addition to the above if you want just a little bit more of an edge that might make all the difference go about picking up the Dancing Dragon Mask which allows you to pump 5 skill points at a time into it to increase your attack power.

Also remember that the combat is arena is HUGE and he's on the whole a pretty chill boss that waits for you to make moves to punish more than creating openings for himself. So if you find that you really need a moment just sprint in the opposite direction and collect yourself. It's also useful in baiting him to do one of the easiest moves to punish since he will almost always do a running leaping attack after phase one if you do this and it's slow and easy to parry.

In a way the real battle is against phase 2 and once you learn that reliably you will more or less have won the battle. Phase 3 is just that same thing again but with a lightning attack that he will most likely use to destroy himself.

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#4 Posted by FrostyRyan (2921 posts) -

mother fucker I can't even get past the fucking bull with the fire head early on


and I've beaten all these souls-esque games

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#5 Posted by SethMode (2006 posts) -

@frostyryan: Fire crackers, and forget trying to dodge, just parry and take the flame damage. And try to get behind him if you can. He doesn't have a rear kick like the general on the horse did.

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#6 Edited by Nodima (2613 posts) -

@frostyryan: I found this boss really interesting from a design perspective. It never stops never stopping, yet in practice its attack patterns mirror the boss right before it pretty closely and I felt like the lessons it taught you were pretty valuable going forward. There's a prosthetic you can use to stymie it a little bit, but otherwise for me this was the first boss in the game where beating it was entirely dependent on you realizing what mechanic(s) the designer wanted you to focus on during the encounter. It's also the first fight that really exposes this camera (and maybe more importantly the lock-on system) as something that unfortunately can't handle the high pace of some of these fights, so you get to learn all about that too.

Anyway, seeing posts about this boss have me A) curious if I'll ever make my way to it considering I've never seen the end game of a Soulsborne and B) if it will utterly humiliate me should I ever make it there.

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#7 Edited by tunaburn (2081 posts) -

@frostyryan: he was really easy actually. I just held down run and ran circles around him while hitting him when he slid to turn around. Just stay close to him and full sprint.

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#8 Posted by Efesell (4504 posts) -

The bull is great because it's there to remind you that you are really fast.

You can do so much to so many enemies (at once, even) once you understand that basically nothing in the game can move like you do.

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#9 Posted by SethMode (2006 posts) -

@nodima: I didn't have AS MUCH of a camera issue with him as I did that awful Lone Shadow Swordsman. That fight was hard enough to get a grasp on early without the camera and lock on completely hanging me out to dry regularly.

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#10 Posted by soulcake (2774 posts) -

Download cheat engine download infinite life table = win.

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#11 Edited by Sahalarious (772 posts) -

@frostyryan: the bull was really hard for me until I realized firecrackers+he doesn't have a rear kick

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#12 Edited by Noobsmog (147 posts) -

If you can get him to his 3rd phase you can win. Just play it super safe and counter his lightning strikes. After 3 he should be at half health or below and pretty easy to finish off.

Also yeah, be incredibly aggresive at breaking his posture. If you don't let up you can end his phases in like 30 seconds.

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#13 Posted by Sahalarious (772 posts) -

I get him down to the spear phase and haven't really made serious progress there. need to beat my head against this for awhile. one guide recommended running the entire time but he has some huge range on those sweeps and im eating damage like crazy. this is not a bad fight i was just able to fudge my way through the rest of the game

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#14 Posted by Brackstone (909 posts) -

I found the umbrella quite useful for this fight, it gives you a lot of room for error. As long as he's not doing a sweep, it's a good panic button. If he goes for the attack where he sheaths his sword, on the second hit you'll get knocked back pretty far while under the umbrella, but the first hit you can just tank. So you can use that to get used to the timing and use the L1 spin/parry move with the umbrella to parry the second hit. You won't get knocked back, you'll deal good posture damage and half the time you can get a followup hit to his hp afterwards, or at least another good hit to his posture. If you want to parry it the hard way, watch his sheath, there's a glint as he puts the sword away, and as he draws. The second glint is what you use to react to the move.

Any of his big horizontal attacks with the spear you can actually jump over if you're right up next to him, giving you an opening for some attacks before you land. Even though they look like it, they aren't actually sweeps as far as the game is concerned (unblockable sweeps where the symbol pops up), so you can block or parry them too, but you get less of an opening to hit him afterward.

Also regarding sweeps, I think he doesn't have very many. The one he does from his sheathed stance only seems to occur if you try to rush him or attack him after he sheaths the sword, if you stay back a little, he never seems to do it, and that's the only one I can think of.

Once you get to the second or third form, he has a lot of thrusts, so you'll have tons of opportunities for mikiri counters and at least one hit to HP afterwards. If you see that unblockable symbol pop up, most of the time it's a thrust.

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#15 Posted by Sahalarious (772 posts) -

Its time for me to move on, im pushin 30 and might just be too slow for this motherfucker. maybe once im done with the air force and can use my ADD meds again i'll give it a shot, but this is getting silly. signing off.

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#16 Posted by burncoat (558 posts) -

I just beat him after a night away and a few drinks.

Best advice I can give is to treat him like when you first fought Genichiro (or at least how I dealt with Genichiro). Rush him down and only stop attacking to deflect his attacks. He takes a lot of posture damage from deflects, relentless attacking, and counters. There's unfortunately not much to do but recognize his attack patterns and hope that he likes to counter with easy moves you can spot. For his first and second form I would just attack and try to bait out an easy sweep or thrust I can counter and give a bunch of posture damage.

I actually found his 3rd form the easiest because lightning is really easy to counter and opens him up for massive vitality and posture damage.

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#17 Posted by Strathy (189 posts) -

Just stick with it, learn the attack patterns and you'll get there. The only truly bad thing about this particular fight is that you have to do the increasingly rote Genichiro phase (and skip cut-scenes) every time. Considering the sheer number of times the majority of players will have to replay this one, a faster way of repeating it would have been appreciated.

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#18 Edited by briarpack (335 posts) -

On my first playthrough I banged my head against this boss for a good three hours. I think Genichiro is there just to put you on tilt, he would get a hit in and I would just start seeing red, I never even got to Isshin's third phase in that time.

Isshin's phase one is a bit tricky at first, but if you keep up the pressure his moveset is pretty limited with a lot of moves that are easy to counter and punish. Phase two is a nightmare, but there's a loop you can do that prevents him from pulling out his spear, making that phase a breeze. And like others mentioned, phase three is very easy because of the lightning.

Here's video of that loop, I messed up towards the end of the phase, but got lucky and managed to keep the loop going. Basically, you hit him once, he'll deflect and then do one of four things:

  1. Tries to hit you: Deflect it.
  2. Starts walking to your right to do a thrust: Hit him to interrupt it and deflect the counter.
  3. Dashes and goes to a 360 degree (blockable) sweep: Deflect the first hit, then get close and deflect the sweep, get back in his face and hit him to keep the loop going.
  4. Goes for an overhead slash (Ichimonji): Get close, start walking to the left and you'll avoid the first slash then get back in front of him and deflect the second.

The downside of that loop is that if he breaks out of it, you'll have done pretty much zero damage to his health and he'll regain his posture quickly, so you'll need to keep up the pressure if that happens. If you find the opportunity, it would be wise to prep at the end of phase one and use Divine Confetti to do at least a tiny bit of chip damage during phase two.

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#19 Posted by Mike (17994 posts) -

This is the first time in the game that I have taken a long break and come back but still not made any real progress. I think the one single thing I am worst at in Sekiro is dealing with sweep attacks, so once the third phase starts I just get destroyed. I can get through the first phase without taking any damage, but after that I guess I need to spend more time learning his patterns. I haven't quite got down what I should be doing in response to his different attacks.

It is annoying having to repeat the Way of Tomoe phase over and over, though.

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#20 Posted by Cedar_Bend (3 posts) -

instead of just playing the fight over and over, record yourself playing the fight. I learn more watching a 1 minute clip on 3/4 speed than I do in 10 fights. You are normally so occupied with, you know, not dying, that you don't get to notice the subtly different animations that tip the boss's hand. For instance, in first phase when he has sword sheathed and is about to do a wind slash, if he tracks you, he will do a vertical slash you need to dodge with either circle strafing or step dodge, but if he leaves his back to you he's going to sweep attack.
Just start recording your fights and anytime you feel like you can't figure out what to do on an attack, watch for any tell that will help you out. And if you can't figure it out, get the hell out of there. Most attacks have range limits, so if you can see it coming and can't avoid it in range, run.
Last thing, an actual couple of tips. In phase one, when he Double Ichimonjis, deflecting the first hit will cause him to do a vertical wind slash. Immediately step dodge forward once, and sideways once. You should always end up right next to, but not in the slash path and you can get between 1 and 3 hits. In Phase 2, go mostly defensive. His attacks with the spear leave him very open. Blocking any large attack with the spear should give you a couple of hits, but don't push. He will punish you, especially with his hop back sweep attack. The hop back sweep is probably his most dangerous attack since he can immediately combo back into a new series. Phase 3 is all defense. All of your damage can come from lightning reflection and following in when he is shocked. Focus on avoiding everything else and get the timing down for the lightning. Once he gets shocked do some damage and then back off. Heal while he is shocked if you need to. Your health is worth more than his. Also, don't forget to equip a good ninja skill like Ichimonji. If your posture is about to break and you get a shock status on him, Ichimonji will substantially reduce your posture buildup.
If anyone is still stuck, hit me up and I'll try and put together a video about the fight, I have mine on record. Or send me footage of you playing and I'll try and send pointers. Best of luck out there.

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#21 Posted by Admiral_Crunch (79 posts) -

Ugh. Hearing about all of the trouble with the last boss is making me anxious. I had a LOT of trouble with Genichiro the first time. I just finished the Hate Demon after hours of banging my head against the wall and the last boss is all I have left.

Sucks that I missed a couple of boss fights (and prayer beads) because I didn't know about some hidden eavesdropping.

I dunno if I'll play this again like the other From games. This one isn't as gripping as the others, and I liked Nioh better for samurai/shinobi combat and settings.

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#22 Posted by Ares42 (4359 posts) -

@admiral_crunch: Genichiro should be a wet noodle by the time you get to the last boss. Depending on when you take him on the first time he's sorta the boss that teaches you to play correct, then you have the entire game to hone that skill. Once you meet him again you'll probably be surprised at how basic his moves actually are.

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#23 Posted by SecondPersonShooter (900 posts) -

@admiral_crunch: I found Demon of Hate and the final boss to be of equal difficulty, or at least, took me around the same amount of attempts.

Demon of hate is a great fight that really utilizes the Wolf's fast as fuck sprinting speed to be essential to success, and it's really the only fight in the game that does this, but damn does it take practice.

The final boss is difficult for different reasons, where the Demon of Hate is a learnable fight, the final boss will probably always be a challenge every time I fight him. But after a lot of time spent kn hin, I really only have trouble with the third phase (if you consider it four phases).

If I dont take down genichiro with no damage, I usually die on purpose. After that, the sword phase I probably get through 75% of the time with no problems, especially taking advantage of some of his telegraphed combo-into-thrist maneuvers with the Mikiri

But that phase after that, jesus christ. I have no advice; I have never done this phase and felt like I has any real sort of control over the fight.

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#24 Posted by Slowpork (60 posts) -

For me it was about getting close to him and R1, L1, R1, wait for sign, R1 him before his animation and then R1 and L1 all over again.

The second (actually third) phase mainly game down to only L1 and an occasional R1.

The third phase was staying close parry as much as possible. And when the lightning attack came I jumped in the air to lightning stun him.

The second Isshin phase is the worst of the three, but you can always Sprint away from him and gourd up.

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#25 Posted by Strathy (189 posts) -

We believe in you

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#26 Edited by Humanity (18780 posts) -

@ares42: it’s also a matter of upgrades I think. I have not beat the game but I actually got sort of lost and sidetracked for hours. After naturally making my way to the top of the castle I didn’t see the grapple point and just assumed that was it - I then continued to beat several other bosses and mini bosses without having ever faced Genichiro or opening up the second act of the game. By the time I actually looked things up because the game was feeling aimless and confusing and got to him I beat him on my second try and it only took that long because his “secret” phase has a bunch of bullshit attacks that you need to learn basically by getting hit. Of course that isn’t an annoying humble-brag, I’m not that great and the framerate during that third phase certainly does no favors to the strict parry nature of the encounter. I just had accumulated a ton of extra gourd seeds and life beads and was able to learn on the fly while getting damaged instead of dying after a hit having learnt nothing at all.

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#27 Posted by Admiral_Crunch (79 posts) -

@secondpersonshooter: Yeah, as much trouble the Demon gave me, it was actually a pretty fun fight. Honestly, the fight wouldn't feel to out of place in Bloodborne. It was all dodging and running for me.

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#28 Posted by kmj2318 (38 posts) -

A thing that helped me with this fight is realizing that I should be attacking him more often. Because it's a boss I feel like I should just wait for his attacks, but that not the best way. You can attack him twice, on the second attack you'll get a deflect, then he will attack, which you deflect instead of attack. Being aggressive makes this fight much easier.

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#29 Posted by Sahalarious (772 posts) -

i can reliably get to the spear phase now, but have a hard time. I know i should be able to block but find myself taking damage and not really knowing why. I still only blame myself but this is getting ridiculous haha

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#30 Posted by gerrid (698 posts) -

I beat him this morning, on the classic "one last try before I REALLY have to leave for work". Just an incredibly fun fight, you have to master a lot of techniques. I actually cried out in anguish when he had a 95% full posture bar on the final phase and...I ran off the cliff. I'd just used my final Divine Grass and then fell off. I thought I was done, ruined it, but luckily I spawned back in and got in a Mikiri counter on a thrust to finish.

The thing I love about this fight is that at first it seems literally impossible. I had the same worry that I'd never be able to finish the game after trying it a few times. Use up 8 healing gourds and have only 1/5th of his health, no idea what to do, getting punished by everything. This is beyond me.

But the mastery ramp is so quick - after a few fights I was swatting down the first phase in 30 seconds with no damage, just by getting confident and being aggressive. It just feels SO good to take the fight to the boss in a real duel rather than plod about trying to read big animation tells and dart in for damage and dart out again.

The thing I had to learn was to always be the aggressor, always make the first move from neutral. You reduce the variables in the fight so much by doing this, and are prepared in the rhythm of combat to block anything that comes your way anyway. Attack attack block. That way you aren't just waiting about for his attacks and trying to figure it out, but instead forcing him into a more predictable pattern.

Also, for the spear phase, I just abused the firecrackers and the mikiri for posture damage. He does quite a few thrusts and they are well telegraphed.

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#31 Edited by darklingscribe (59 posts) -

@sahalarious: Just keep trying and you’ll get it. It took me around a week to get him. What helped me was to just turn off the game when I’d get too frustrated, because after a certain point my own anger would prevent me from learning the fight. So I’d play the fight for around 40 minutes and then be done for the day. Each time I’d get a little further. Then last Wednesday I finally took him down. After that I loaded my pre-fight cloud save and took him down again in a few more attempts, then loaded my save for a 3rd time and took him down after a few more deaths.*

Once the fight clicked for me I was able to kill Sword Saint Isshun 3 times in about an hour without really needing the prosthetic tools (but the axe was great at knocking Genichiro out of his Mortal draw animation at the very beginning). The fact that I could win the fight again pretty quickly after my first win showed me it was more a matter of practice than luck. Also I’m 35 and never thought of myself as having great reflexes, so if I can do it you can do this too.

*(I don’t have the free time to go into NG+4 for all the endings, so I save scum to get them in my first playthrough).

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#32 Edited by Random45 (1807 posts) -

I kept dying to the Demon of Hatred, and I was just getting sick of it, so I decided to just hurry up and beat the game so I can just move on to NG+. When I got to the final boss and saw that he had three life bars, and then he wrecked me within a minute, I just couldn't do it anymore. I'm positive that with a lot of patience and deaths I COULD beat him, in fact, I know I could have beaten him, but I just didn't feel like putting myself through that. It just reached the point where I was no longer really having fun dying so much, and was just getting more and more upset.

I've managed to beat every Dark Souls game and Bloodborne, but Sekiro is where I'm throwing in the towel. I just don't have the patience for this kind of thing anymore.

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#33 Posted by Humanity (18780 posts) -

@random45 said:

I kept dying to the Demon of Hatred, and I was just getting sick of it, so I decided to just hurry up and beat the game so I can just move on to NG+. When I got to the final boss and saw that he had three life bars, and then he wrecked me within a minute, I just couldn't do it anymore. I'm positive that with a lot of patience and deaths I COULD beat him, in fact, I know I could have beaten him, but I just didn't feel like putting myself through that. It just reached the point where I was no longer really having fun dying so much, and was just getting more and more upset.

I've managed to beat every Dark Souls game and Bloodborne, but Sekiro is where I'm throwing in the towel. I just don't have the patience for this kind of thing anymore.

Yah I just want to say you're not the only one.

I have a very similar experience: beat all the Souls games, beat Bloodborne numerous times and got a platinum trophy in it, and while I generally like how Sekiro plays I don't have that same drive as I did in the previous entries to keep going. When I got to that final boss I had the exact same feeling as you, like ugh.. I just don't feel like doing this. Which is strange, because all previous Souls games kept me engaged, they made me want to push forward and get better. I tried that last fight about a dozen or so times with varying degrees of success. The first few times I got through the first Genichiro phase easily and then something happened where I kept dying to him constantly. The same mikiri counter timing I've been using the whole game suddenly seems to not be working to the point where I looked up YouTube videos to see if I've been doing it wrong this whole time. After a bit of grinding I got to about half of the first phase of the real boss and felt mostly tired. Not tired like, tomorrow I'm going to study these patterns and get this, but tired like I don't know if I want to dedicate all this time into learning these patterns.

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#34 Posted by someoneproud (582 posts) -

There's a real easy way to beat him if you can get to the spear phase(s). If you run away from him he'll follow and if he stops to start attacking once he gets closer, loiter around outside of his range and keep an eye out for a thrust he adds to the combo sometimes. If he insists on following/not stopping I just blocked/deflected it with L1 spam and got back to running.

When he does the jumping attack, run around his left/screen right (counter clockwise) and it seems to miss every time and is a perfect opportunity to get a free hit and chip his health with little to no risk. If you are doing this and countering the thunder attacks he gets to 50% health pretty quickly.

Once his health is down a bit, continue staying out of range of sweeps/that charged sweep attack/the combo where he largely stands in one spot. Punish when he does the thrust after the standing combo, the lightning attacks and the jumping attack and he drops in no time.

Only a few of his attacks have any hope of hitting if you stay at range and those can easily be punished to turn the tables. Not the most elegant/flashy way to beat him but it works consistently for me.

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#35 Posted by j-mack (86 posts) -


I'm in the same boat. I've put a decent amount of time on Demon of Hatred and Isshin with very little to show for it compared to the earlier bosses. I can estimate how long it will take for me to master their attacks and it's much, much longer than I want to spend.

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#36 Edited by Jesus_Phish (3878 posts) -

@j-mack: It doesn't take as long as you might think. I thought the same, after beating Tomoe and getting instantly wrecked in the first proper phase I didn't see how I could get through it without banging my head off a wall but once you break it down, his three phases are actually quite quick to get through.

I was able to get through Tomoe and the first phase without taking any damage, it was really just the spear that messed me up until I realized if you just stay close enough it's easier to block it and you can get some attacks in. So whenever he tried to back up I just dodged right up into his face.

His last phase is the easiest I think. He slows down and once you figure out the timing on lighting reversals it's gg.

I really liked the fight. When I finally beat him I had given myself "one last try" and put on this song and I beat him by the time the song was over. It was an incredible feeling.

Loading Video...

Also like a stubborn idiot I refused to take off the bell demon once I applied it. I'm going to NG+ the game and I'm not touching that bell or giving the charm away.

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#37 Posted by Humanity (18780 posts) -

@jesus_phish: Well I got it. Weirdly enough I don't think I ever fully understood Genichiros phase. Sometimes I would wreck him with one long volley of attacks and deflects. Other times he would kill instantly. Similarly for the first sword phase of Isshin I never really quite understood some of the patterns. There is a specific set of moves you do to trigger his thrust that you can mikiri but I'll be damned if I know which ones. The spear phase wasn't that bad actually. There was only one set of attacks that didn't feel safe where he would completely break my posture before typically doing the mikiri. Two bullshit things I hated about this phase - first, whenever you would mikiri, depending on the terrain sometimes my hit would catch him other times it wouldn't and his recovery from that stun seemed really quick. Second, the lunge he does whenever you heal, which at times seemed like it zeroed in on you from across the field was ridiculous.

There were two times where I basically got his last form to a completely full posture bar and then die from a combination of unguarded gun shots and a thrust or a mikiri that somehow didn't register. Those were tough moments. Also fighting Genichiro every single time was incredibly annoying when I just wanted to get back to learning the patterns of the sword phase.

Overall I think this is great groundwork for them to build on. Plenty of really great ideas in Sekiro that I would love to see them expand upon. The posture system is quite brilliant and a whole new way of playing these games that I would never have thought of. While I thought Bloodborne had amazing interconnected level design, Sekiro really takes that to a whole new ..err..level. That said, the location and enemy variety is, obviously because of the setting, a lot more limited. Wasn't a huge fan of the back tracking and the repeated Ashina Castle visits especially since those areas didn't really change a whole lot apart from enemy placement. Ashina outskirts were a little better in that regard.

Anyway, I guess no one really asked about my opinions on the game as a whole but after finally beating it, and I'm sure plenty of folk here know the high of finally besting Isshin, I did feel I needed to get some of this stuff off my chest. Funny enough after playing through Bloodborne I similarly though "this is great but if they make another one and iron out the technical issues then this could be amazing." Then they went ahead and made a whole new game which ironically still had some technical issues although not nearly as bad as Bloodborne was at launch. Would be nice to see another Sekiro but hey man, who knows anymore, those FROM guys have gotten pretty unpredictable!

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#38 Edited by Seikenfreak (1533 posts) -

Edit: Oh, for thoughts of last boss specifically (Saint Isshin), Geni phase was pretty easy, Isshin sword phase was the hardest, then spear phases were easier. Took a bunch of tries and I was getting close to my pissed-off limit, but I did it in one sitting and didn't need to come back another day so it wasn't too bad.

I finished my first playthrough this past weekend with I guess what people are considering the "true" ending. Around 55 hours on the clock. Overall, I think it's a very high quality game.. but I must admit that, either the magic of the From Software recipe has lost some of that pzazz, or just that Sekiro's aesthetic and theme had a little less variety than the Dark Souls games? But I also did enjoy most of, if not all of the areas.

In terms of the difficulty curve, I seemed to have the same arc as many others where it felt extremely brutal up to the first main Ashina Castle boss fight. For some reason after that point I had about the average amount of trouble for a Souls game. Handful of tries per boss. Most mini-bosses I was wrecking. I cleared as much stuff in the single playthrough that you can I think.

Now, since I'm only a few trophies away from Platinum, I'm going back and forth on whether I want to bother or not. I'm eager to see how much easier it'll be for me to blow through the game since I kinda know whats up.. but also not looking forward to grinding out tons of skill points to finish out the trees.

Anyway, awesome game but who knows if it'll stick my GOTY #1 spot like many of other From Softs' games have. Not aware of anything else I'm personally very interested in coming out the rest of this year.

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#39 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3878 posts) -

@humanity: The terrain certainly led to moments like that. At one point during a Genichiro phase, the fuckers sword bounced off the tall rock and ended up hitting me because it was deflected by the rock. I saw your screenshot and was impressed to see how many spirit emblems you had by the end, where as I'd gone through about 20+ myself (knife + pellet + healing from first two deathblows). A lot of that was spent avoiding that "lunge" you mentioned by triggering the umbrella.

I liked the verticality of this game and what it brought to the traditional souls experience. I'm not sure if I think it's as interconnected as Bloodborne, maybe it is but it felt like there was a lot less opening a door or a gate and finding you've spent the last hour exploring an area only to unlock a shortcut back to it.

As for more, I'm not sure what ending you got - I managed The Return, which you can see them spinning into DLC or a second game rather easily.

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#40 Posted by cannonballBAM (792 posts) -
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#41 Posted by Quantris (1302 posts) -

Reached & beat this fight yesterday. I spent less attempts on it than I did for the fire demon.

I found the huge arena made the sword phase somewhat straightforward...his "cross" move is completely punishable by just running out of range and then attacking him after, and he loves doing this move. Personally I had more trouble with the spear phase but after a few tries I managed to learn what his attacks in that phase mostly were.

The time I beat it I actually was pretty sloppy---I missed a bunch of the lightning counters (swung instead of jumping) but managed to heal past them. I used the purple firecrackers a lot when I started smelling blood.

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#42 Posted by Sahalarious (772 posts) -

@cannonballbam: noope! haven't had much time though end of the semester derailed gaming and now MK11 is another distraction, plus a new playthrough of hollow knight. But it sits there haunting me every day

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#43 Edited by Humanity (18780 posts) -

@jesus_phish: Yah I didn't use any prosthetic tools in that fight. Not because I'm good, because I'm not really that great at Sekiro - it must have taken me easily over 30+(if not way way more) tries to finally beat this last boss. I didn't use them mostly because they would make me panic - like I would use the umbrella once and then suddenly I would inadvertently begin turtling until my poise broke and I died or I ran and got hit by the gun+lunge combo dying instantly. The entire boss fight really seems to rely on being extremely aggressive or else you will die from getting hit too many times during the prolonged encounter. Also if you keep in his face, even during the spear phase which has the highest chance of poise breakage, there is a lesser chance of him using the more tricky attacks. Eventually I just learned how to do the fight by deflecting, attacking, retreating when absolutely necessary and generally keeping this poise bar filled.

Don't get me wrong, I most certainly tried some cheese tactics early on - you know.. running around and waiting for him to do the leap then running to the side and getting a hit in. Thing is that took so incredibly long I didn't have the patience for it. The fight can stretch out to 20 minutes easily if you're trying to whittle him down one hit at a time and to die after all that is the worst. So I hunkered down and just did the fight over and over again, while also watching videos to see which moves he does when and how to respond to them. Some people have really crazy and ballsy tactics like I saw during the spear phase when he does the huge unblockable AOE spin, some folk would stand right in front of him during the charge up only to hop up at the last second to also get some poise damage from kicking off his head. Those are ballsy moves that I quickly abandoned. For a while there I was dodging through his charged sword slice during the first phase when he grabs the hilt and there is a flash. I saw someone do it and it required to dodge twice in very specific timing - seemed right. Later I realized that during the sword part you can easily run way from all his specials and it's much safer and you also get a hit in.

EDIT: Oh and I just got the standard severance ending. I actually killed both snakes and got all that stuff not knowing what to do with it, but in true FROM SOFT fashion I don't think I would have ever in a million years figured out the proper steps to get the ending for which you use the Snake parts. When I talked to the girl and saw her dialog started looping I just left - it doesn't seem to make sense to have to talk to her getting the same dead ends until she suddenly starts saying something new.

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#44 Edited by Jesus_Phish (3878 posts) -

@humanity: There's a really nice skill you can get which turns the umbrella into an attack. You're right that if you try turtle under it you're going to have a bad time, but you can use it, then take a step forward while the boss is recovering and then attack back and do some decent enough posture damage. Staying on him at all times seems like the most valuable strategy for the fight.

I'm actually very glad to see they made some adjustments to the spirit emblem cost of the tools and the combat arts because the high cost of a lot of them made me just completely ignore them. Now in NG+ I'm going to experiment a lot more with them as I go through it. It also helps that with NG+ money is basically pointless so you can just turn it all into spirit emblems.

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#45 Posted by Captain_Insano (3511 posts) -

I had to post.

I just beat this boss. (I'm lumping Genichiro and Isshin together)

I don't know how many hours it took me. I'll say between 5 - 10.

The frustrating thing (although I was never properly infuriated) is that I worked out how to beat this boss, I just couldn't execute it, and any one mistake really could result in a huge punishment.

I got to a stage fairly easily where I could beat the first phase with no damage and in pretty quick time. However a lapse would result in failure. If I died in this phase, I didn't even bother resurrecting.

After many more hours, and a lot of struggles early on, I worked out the patterns to phase 2, and would similarly take little to no damage.

Now phase 3. Holy hell.

The biggest problem for phase 3 is that I never got to practise it that much, because any time I fully died, I had to go through bloody phase 1 and 2 again. Every damn time. I worked out the patterns, but executing on this was tough. This was the phase where I felt it would occasionally 'cheese' me, though not really, usually more my own mistakes.

I only made it to the very last phase three times. My heart was almost out of my damn chest on that final one where I finally beat that bastard.

Then the game asked if I wanted to start my second playthrough.

GTFO Sekiro.

I can finally be at peace.

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#46 Posted by FrostyRyan (2921 posts) -

I actually didn't find this boss hard. In fact, the first time I even got to phase 3, I beat him!

Genichiro and his first phase are pretty easy to get down. It's that second phase you gotta worry about. Lighting reversal followed up by charged double ichimonji will pummel him

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#47 Posted by Captain_Insano (3511 posts) -

@frostyryan: That's the thing with From games

Sekiro - I found phase 3 okay but phase 2 just really bogged me down.

In Bloodborne I got stuck for hours on that bloody Vaccuous Spider boss, even though I knew how to beat it, but I breezed past some others described as being really difficult. When it clicks, it clicks, but when it doesn't it is pain.

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#48 Edited by berfunkle (184 posts) -

While playing Sekiro, I kept telling myself that I wouldn't be able to finish, but that I would keep at it as long as I could. I'm 55 years old and I beat him after a few tries. Would I have beaten him more easily if I was 25 years younger? Who the hell knows! What I did do was check out strategy tips on YouTube. In the end, I didn't follow any of them exactly, but they did give me insight on the boss's move set which helped greatly.

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#50 Posted by inevpatoria (7439 posts) -

I know I'm a month late but I just reached this boss and I think it'd bring me some catharsis to do some requisite bitching.

While I really like Sekiro, this final boss fight and the few before it--basically the last few hours of the game--have really codified what I dislike about From Software's design. Sekiro seems like the ultimate distillation of what the studio does exceptionally well, as well as what about their enduring pursuit of difficulty feels artificial.

I remember the first time I played Dark Souls 3, the first time I fought the Nameless King and watched helplessly as his dragon mount zipped around an arena in which I had no clear depth perception. I remember the aggressive, relentless frustration I felt as the camera lock-on mechanic was being exploited by the boss's disorienting flight over and over. At the time I thought, "They can't really have designed this battle around the limitations of the game's mechanics, right?" Eventually, I summoned help to overwhelm the boss because I just wasn't making headway and, emotionally, I wasn't willing to scream at the top of my lungs over such an overtly anti-player, anti-design experience anymore.

Fast-forward three years to Sekiro, which is largely From's tightest and snappiest game. My time with the game has been long, slow. An hour here and an hour there over the course of two months, slowly inching my way through the game's myriad challenges. For the most part, this is my favorite game of the year. Nothing else feels like Sekiro when all the dominos fall in place, when you're wasting no movement in a dance with a lethal opponent. It makes you feel just as lethal.

But there are moments of--and I don't think this is a word--embunglement. Situations where you can see From struggling to make otherwise reasonable encounters difficult for the sake of it. Because that's who they are, that's what they do, that's their reputation. Players are supposed to feel gratified, after all, as if they've earned their victory.

Take the Lone Shadow Longswordsman, for instance, an early game mini-boss whose leaping ability and whirling strikes wouldn't be so onerous if it weren't for the fact that Sekiro must face him within an office cubicle.

By this point in the game, there's a chance you've already fought an Interior Ministry ninja at Hirata Estates, which also means there's a chance you understand the basic techniques the Longswordsman will have at his disposal, which also means there's a chance you'll nullify the presumed difficulty of the fight. So the fight is placed in a box where the camera, particularly when locked on (and you'll really want to be locked on), crashes against the geometry of the wall at nearly every angle, forcing the camera to the ground or to peer through Sekiro's character model as he backs into a corner. It's a truly miserable fight, if only because its challenge comes from a layer of design that feels self-aware, self-reflexive, antagonistic in intent to the game's fundamental interactivity. "Here's what our camera model can't accomplish" the fight seems to say, "and here's where we're going to push our players."

It never feels accidental, is the real frustration. It feels like From knows exactly where their systems fail on a technical level and then proceed to build enemies and fights that exploit those failures for the purpose of creating padded hardship. Sure, you can fight something like the Longswordsman without locking on. That's an option. Just like it was an option with the Nameless King in From's last game. It doesn't really solve the problem--the problem From created in response to an inadequacy in their own design. But it's an option, sure.

The thing I hate, then, is that there's no antecedent, no clear signpost that, hey, this is the way you should play. Nothing in the game up to, or even after, this point gives the player the inclination that there is significant benefit to playing like this. Except in this one very isolated, very specific instance.

Moments like these pop up throughout Sekiro. And it isn't limited to just the camera's wild behavior.

There's a fight with a possessed ape, which feels every bit as earned and gratifying as From wants it to be. But then, not ten minutes later, Sekiro faces down the ape a second time. Except here, a second ape--even faster and more aggressive--joins the fray, despite it being well established that you really can't fight two enemies at once with the way the Posture system operates and the paltry amount of damage you can withstand.

Near the endgame, an optional boss ripped straight from the beastly archive of Bloodborne ravages an open plain. Through the entirety of Sekiro, you've reached the understanding that dodging is out of the question, save for key exceptions, usually individual attacks. You don't have the distance or the invincibility-frames of the roll that a Dark Souls or a Bloodborne might offer. So you prepare to face this monstrosity carrying dozens of hours of training blocks and parries. Yet, this boss is coated in fire. Every attack, no matter how well-blocked or deflected, scalds your health. You will die if you stand and fight. So, the game insists, you must dodge. Or, more likely, you must sprint. Sprint in constant circles around its heaving thighs and giant, hilarious hitboxes to whittle away at its interminable health pool, while the tornadic camera makes wild, sweeping, unpredictable motions, sometimes entirely counter to your inputs on the controller.

Once again, From Software builds an experience as a hard counter. Not as a hard counter to your ability, but to your abilities. Instead of correcting the problems of their mechanics or their camera or their hitboxes or their enemy design, they go the opposite way, ensuring that these shortcomings are the very definition points of the fight.

It's less like fighting a boss and more an exercise in prayer. Even when you know the boss's every move you achieve victory only on the condition that the game allows it. The pieces have to fall in place.

So when I reach the final boss--or bosses rather, Genichiro and his grandfather, in more phases with more health than Sekiro has ever faced before--I'm flush with exhaustion more than frustration. Because here we are, shoulder-deep in a field of silvergrass with enemies whose attacks I, again, can't make out by sight. And, of course, if you kill Genichiro but die to Isshin you must start the entire fight from square one, from the initial fight with Genichiro. Because in From Software games forward progress isn't progress at all unless it is absolute.

I don't think I'll quit. It'll take me hours or days, probably. And after I beat it I'll probably dip back in to mosey through the first half of a New Game+. I like this game quite a lot, and I like From Software even more. But people aren't wrong to start calling the studio out on some of its nonsense.

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