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?
Final Boss.....I think I have to give up
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.
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.
@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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Tries to hit you: Deflect it.
- Starts walking to your right to do a thrust: Hit him to interrupt it and deflect the counter.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
@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.
@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.
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.
@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.
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.
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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