We really can’t wait to play Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the newest offering from the developers of Bloodborne and Dark Souls. That’s why we’ve been taking a good look at all the information we can get our hands on about this upcoming ninja epic. And after finding out everything we could about the mysterious main character and the beautiful but deadly world he lives in, we’ve turned our attention next to another major feature of the Sekiro universe.
As you’d expect from a FromSoftware game, the boss fights look absolutely incredible. Also a bit scary, but incredible nonetheless. And after a lot of shinobi-worthy research, we reckon we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect from the bigger set-piece battles.
1. Boss fights have multiple stages
Boss battles in Sekiro aren’t quite as simple as just hitting the baddies until they fall over. Each of Sekiro’s boss fights is a multi-stage endeavour, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on your health and items – remember, healing gourds and respawns are a limited resource, and you really don’t want to run out at a critical moment.
Fortunately, you can monitor your progress through a battle by keeping an eye on the boss character’s health bars, which very helpfully serve a dual purpose. Yes, they tell you how much health the boss has remaining, but they also come with small health pip icons, which represent the different stages of the fight. Wipe out their health bar in order to clear a health pip and proceed to the next stage.
Each stage of a boss fight brings a new twist to the fight. Stay on your toes and look for openings, and remember that while you do have a grappling hook that can pull you quickly out of harm’s way, you mustn’t ever assume that the boss can’t follow…
2. Every boss fight requires a different strategy
One feature of Sekiro that we’re very excited for is the ability to really take advantage of the entire boss arena. Some bosses can be taken down using stealth, while others require a more brutal hand-to-hand combat approach, and others can be attacked from above using the grappling hook, or ninja tools like throwing stars and firecrackers.
And that’s something that From Software marketing and community manager Yasuhiro Kitao was really keen to point out in a recent interview – because no two boss fights are the same, they’ll require you to utilise lots of different skills and abilities. You’ll need to adjust your strategy on the fly and make the most of every weapon in your arsenal.
Oh, and here’s a hint – it’s well worth taking a close look at the environment around the boss arena before the battle begins (and that includes listening to the NPCs), because there could be hints for taking down the boss hidden in the most unlikely of places…
3. We’re really freaked out by The Corrupted Monk
Of the bosses we’ve seen so far, the monstrously large Corrupted Monk might win the prize for being the creepiest. We recently took on this particular boss in an hands-on event and it tested all of our abilities. The fight itself takes place on a scenic bridge surrounded by falling red Japanese maple leaves, with the whole arena looking extremely pretty.
It somehow gets more beautiful when the demon-masked boss starts whirling its gigantic nagamaki blade around, causing scarlet leaves to swirl in its wake. Of course, you won’t have much time to admire the view, because the Corrupted Monk won’t go down without a serious and protracted fight, involving shadowy decoys, swirling mist, and powerful sweeping attacks. And that horrible, eerie mask. *winces at the thought of it*
4. There’s more than one Lady Butterfly
We caught a glimpse of Lady Butterfly in one of the story trailers, and gameplay footage released by Game Informer shows how she is not to be trifled with.
Armed with long kunai knives and able to dance overhead on razor-thin wires, she can also summon multiple illusory decoys which morph into tough butterfly projectiles if they aren’t cleared quickly. Basically, she’s a trickster who will punish you if you don’t pay rigorous attention to her. Make sure you do.
5. There are optional bosses
Yes, it’s true – following the storyline means you encounter plenty of bosses, but there are other, super tough bosses waiting for you off the beaten track. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after them though, as defeating a boss allows you to grow your shinobi skill set. One of the earliest bosses in the game, for example, unlocks the path to customise your prosthetic arm. So if you decide to root out every single boss fight the game has to offer, it’s likely that you’ll be rewarded with some very interesting loot indeed.
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