Sekiro: our top combat tips to get you started

By Kirk McKeand, Thursday, 18 April 2019 09:55 GMT

Sekiro might be the latest game by FromSoftware, but you won’t be able to rely on everything you’ve learned from Dark Souls and Bloodborne here.

This game is much faster-paced, you have fewer crutches – no levelling or summoning – and you can use stealth to gain an advantage at the start of combat.

Here are some tips for being a badass ninja, though we can’t guarantee you won’t die less than twice.

Be aggressive

Dark Souls teaches players to hold back and wait for their opportunity to strike. There’s a bit of that here. But brute force and timing is the best way to break through an enemy. If you want to whittle down a boss’s posture, you need to keep up the pace. Keep attacking, and make sure you time your blocks to land with their strikes. Attack, attack, block, block, attack – find the rhythm that suits the encounter and settle into it.

Figure out how to avoid different attacks

If a kanji appears above the enemy, it means they’re about to do an unblockable attack. These come in three forms: thrusts, sweeps, and grabs. For grabs, you need to dodge away. Thrusts must either be sidestepped or countered with an unlockable move called Mikiri Counter – this asks you to tap dodge while stationary as the thrust comes in, allowing you to stomp on the spear. For sweeps, you need to jump over them. If you do jump over a sweep, make sure to jump off the enemy with another tap of jump while mid-air for big posture damage.

Use stealth to cheese hard encounters

A lot of the time, you can thin the ranks before you enter combat. Use corner cover, perches, and vegetation to creep up on enemies unseen. Even many of the game’s minibosses can be stealth attacked and this will take one of their two life bars down instantly, making the following fight half as difficult.

Don’t be afraid to run away

Sometimes you get your arse kicked – it’s a fact of life. Luckily, the grappling hook often gives you a chance to get away and recuperate. There’s nothing wrong with running from a lost battle, coming back and showing them who’s boss. You are a ninja after all and you need to kill ingeniously.

The axe attachment is damn good

Once you have the axe for your prosthetic arm, there’s really no reason to ever take it off. Not only can it break through shields, but it’s a big damage attack that’s handy for hitting minibosses in the back and taking off a chunk of posture damage – abuse it as much as you can.

Listen to the enemy

Eavesdropping is a new mechanic in Sekiro. If you get near an enemy with something interesting to say while in stealth, you will get the option to listen in. Pay attention and they might just give away a tip or two to beat an upcoming foe.

Actually get skills

It’s easy to overlook the skills menu, since Sekiro doesn’t have a traditional levelling system, but there’s plenty in there besides the Mikiri Counter that will help you in combat. The Whirlwind Slash and Palm Strikes are some of my personal favourites. Check out our Sekiro best skills guide to see which ones you should grab.

Sekiro guides

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