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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

10 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

We’re used to dying time and time again thanks to the Dark Souls games, but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice takes the biscuit.

Thanks to its combat system that’s different to what we’re used to, and the inability to simply level up and give ourselves a better chance of survival, we’ve died playing Sekiro more than ever. We’ve learned some things during our time spent with it though, things that we wish we knew from the outset.

The good news is that if you’ve not started playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice yet or have just started, you can learn from our mistakes. Here are some tips, that if followed will undoubtedly make your time playing Sekiro a little bit easier. It’ll still be hard though, so don’t get too cocky!

Forget what you know

Thanks to the likes of Dark Souls and Nioh, we’re used to dodging incoming attacks in games rather than blocking them. Forget that, to succeed in Sekiro you need to stand your ground and attempt to parry attacks instead.

Emerging victorious in battle in Sekiro is all about breaking your opponent’s posture in order to open them up to a deathblow. Wailing on them with your own attacks is one way to do that, but the best way to break your opponent’s posture is to gracefully deflect their attacks. That means hitting the block button just as their attack is about to hit. It takes some getting used to, but once you’ve mastered standing your ground and deflecting attacks, Sekiro becomes much easier. You just have to watch out for the attacks marked with red kanji that you can’t deflect…

Use stealth where possible

Being a shinobi, it makes sense to eliminate your enemies via stealth where possible rather than facing them all head on. Look for ways to get above or behind enemies without being seen, then you can perform stealth attacks to take most of them out instantly.

You’ll know when you can perform a stealth attack as a red mark will appear on your opponent. The mark is especially helpful when you’re dropping onto opponents or jumping at them.

While all standard enemies can be instantly killed via a stealth attack, bosses are another story. You can, however, land one deathblow on many bosses, taking away one of their life bars at the start of the fight. So, always look for ways to stealth attack bosses where possible to give yourself a much better chance of survival.

There’s no shame in running away

Thanks to your agility, the world of Sekiro feels much more open than say, Dark Souls 3‘s Lothric. As such, don’t hesitate in running away if things aren’t going your way.

Climb onto the top of building, scale walls or simply run like hell to get yourself out of danger. Then, either lick your wounds and visit a Sculptor Idol to start over again, or regain your composure and go back for another try.

Many enemies in Sekiro will forget they ever saw you if you keep out of their sight for a while, so running away before mounting another attack is often a good tactic to use if you find yourself overwhelmed.


While you can charge into Sekiro if you wish, pushing on from one unsaid objective to the next, it really does pay to explore.

Only by exploring are you likely to find a wealth of items that will prove helpful on your journey, and we’re not just taking about medicinal pellets and pots of oil. You’ll find items that allow you to make new Prosthetic Tools, which come in particularly useful when fighting certain enemies and bosses.

Take the Flame Vent, for example, you obtain it by taking an item from the bonfire early on in the Hirata Estate area. Did you know that it makes fighting the Chained Ogre much easier? He’s afraid of fire in case you didn’t know.

Eavesdrop whenever you can

It may be rude, but eavesdrop on enemies’ conversations when you can. You learn all sorts of things by eavesdropping in Sekiro, such as where valuable items might be found or what certain enemies are scared of.

Without eavesdropping, we wouldn’t have known that the Chained Ogre was scared of fire, for example, or that there’s a Prothestic Tool to be gained from a large Pagoda somewhere in the Hirata Estate.

Farm some skill points

Like in most games, you need to acquire skill points in order to unlock new skills in Sekiro. Unlike in most games, however, you can lose much of your progress towards acquiring a new skill point by dying.

When you’re close to gaining a new skill point and have a feeling that a boss or something equally challenging lies ahead, maybe backtrack a little and take out some small fry in order to ensure your skill point before pushing on. At the beginning of the game, it’s also worth farming some skill points by taking out easy enemies around the Ashina Gate and Hirata Estate areas once you’ve got the basics of deflecting attacks down.

Don’t bother with the healing upgrade

When you’ve got some skill points to spend, don’t be silly like us and spend four of them on upgrading Emma’s healing item potency. It makes so little difference to how much health is restored that it’s actually insulting. Use those four points on something more useful instead, like unlocking the Mikiri Counter, which comes in particularly useful when fighting enemies with spears. And you’ll have some points to spare.

Visit the vendor on the top of the hill near the Ashina Gate

As you’re making your way through the Ashina Gate area in Sekiro, you might spot a hill with what seems to be a tent with some crows perched on it. You’ll want to get on top of it.

After talking to the old woman who gives you a bell, proceed onwards and look for a way up on the left. If canon fire starts raining down on you, you’ve gone too far ahead. You’ll need to use your grapple ability to get up to the tent, but once you do you’ll find that there’s a vendor there.

The vendor on the top of the hill will sell you Robert’s Firecrackers, which can be used to create a new Prosthetic Tool. He’ll also allow you to buy some coin pouches which come in handy seeing as you lose half of the money you’re carrying when you die, and some medicinal pellets. You may as well stock up when you can.

Counter Special Attacks

Preceded by a red kanji icon, special attacks come in three varieties in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – thrusting, sweeping and grabs. Unfortunately, unlike pretty much all other attacks in the game they can’t be blocked or deflected. They can be avoided or countered though.

To conquer Sekiro, learn to react to seeing the red kanji icon by observing your opponent and figuring out what kind of attack they’re going to do. Then, avoid or counter the attack as necessary. Find out more about avoiding or countering special attacks here.

Make use of Hanbei the Undying

When you’re at the Dilapidated Temple, head to the clearing that’s at the side of the exit that takes you to the Ashina area. There you’ll find Hanbei the Undying, an NPC who’ll let you train with him until your heart’s content.

If you want to brush up on your sword fighting skills or try out all those arts you’ve unlocked in Sekiro, Hanbei is your man. He really is always happy to cross swords with you. You’ll often find some useful free items in the box that he’s standing near, too.

Want more help with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice including where to find the remainder of the Prosthetic Tools? Check out the rest of our guides for the game here

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