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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries - Part 1

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries - Part 1

Roughly three years ago, I picked up a copy of the then-newly released Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The game was (and is) a FromSoftware soulslike title that distanced itself somewhat from the company’s beloved Souls games by shifting towards more of a focus on narrative, complete with a unique, uncustomisable protagonist in the titular Sekiro, also known as Wolf. At the time, I had enjoyed Sekiro, but was unable to get very far into it. I tend to bounce between thinking of myself as pretty good at playing videogames and as rather terrible. With soulslike games, I’ve often found myself a little too cautious to defeat many of the bosses and Sekiro was no exception. For three years, I found myself stuck in the Ashina Outskirts Chained Ogre miniboss fight, unable to get past the large enemy and also incapable of making much headway in the Hirata Estate either.

However, thanks to Artura Dawn’s excellent guide on cheesing that Ogre fight, I was finally able to make some semblance of progress. Below, I’ll recount my experience of revisiting Sekiro in an effort to see just how far I can make it. I’ll wait on revisiting the opening segments of the game until I get to any sort of New Game Plus, because I do not want to fight the Chained Ogre any more times than I have to, so please accept my apologies and let’s get into it.

After putting my Sekiro disc back into my PS4 and waiting for the game to install, I found myself not by the Stairway Sculptor’s Idol before the Chained Ogre miniboss fight like I had thought, but rather the Estate Path Sculptor’s Idol in the Hirata Estate. Before deciding which area I wanted to tackle first, I checked my inventory to see if I held the Flame Vent, a tool for the Shinobi Prosthetic that was integral to slaying the Chained Ogre. Thankfully, I did indeed already have it! However, I lacked the Spirit Emblems to use it. Each attack made with the Flame Vent cost five of these Emblems, and I only had two. Admittedly, after three years of absence, I had also forgotten the controls. I needed to practise and rehone my skills if I was to even have a chance against the Ogre.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Hirata Estate Overlook

On the one hand, I could have teleported to the Dilapidated Temple to duel Hanbei the Undying over and over. He would be a perfect tool to relearn the basics! However, given that Hanbei is, as his title states, “undying,” defeating him wouldn’t actually net me any Spirit Emblems. After all, those only drop from dead people. Instead, I thought, why not give the Hirata Estate another shot?

After a couple of false starts, I was leaping up to the rooftops and down onto the poor soldiers’ heads with relative ease. I still seemed to struggle when I was facing more than one enemy, but I’d managed to reach a point where anyone left alone was easy prey. There was one moment where I’d mistaken a Remnant for an item that I had missed inside of a building, which led to my knocking over a lamp and alerting everyone left alive nearby. I fought bravely, managing to slay those next to the building, but not without them taking some large chunks out of my Vitality bar first.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Hirata Estate Shortcut

Pressing on, I was soon noticed again, this time while killing one of the soldier’s dogs. Understandably, I was once again pursued, though by fewer people this time around. As I cut through the soldiers, it came down to me and a man with a torch. Even with little Vitality left, I wager that most people would assert that a shinobi with what is essentially a flame thrower should clearly be the victor in this scenario, but the torch-carrying soldier proved that anything can be dangerous on the battlefield. With wide slash after wide slash, I was constantly on the verge of burning and unable to properly dodge. By the time I snuffed out the torch man, I was on my last chunk of health, my Healing Gourd completely dry.

As I made my way to the already-opened shortcut that would wrap back around to the Sculptor’s Idol where I’d started, I began to worry. I’d managed to grind up enough Spirit Emblems for the big fight, but clearly I had not scrounged up as much skill as I had hoped. Would I be ready for the Chained Ogre? There was only one way to find out.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Stairway Tree Over Two Soldiers

I fast-travelled back to the Stairway in Ashina Outskirts for my fateful battle and… messed up a little bit. Leaping onto the nearby tree branch, I saw two soldiers at the bottom of the stairs, one sitting and one standing. I made my descent, running through the first guy of the downstairs duo no problem. However, I was too slow in my subsequent duel with the standing soldier, losing a little bit of health and a lot of time. Enough time that the Ogre escaped and noticed me running past him. Oh well. I continued dashing up and around to the upper level with the spear-wielding soldier and beyond him into the corner cliffside. There, I was easily able to defeat the spear man, as we were positioned such that every thrust of his spear did nothing but bonk against the tree in between us. What fun! Thankfully however, I didn’t bask in my easy victory too long, as the Ogre was upon me immediately after I killed the soldier.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Spear Guy Behind Tree

In a panic, I evaded the red-eyed monstrosity and fell down to the ground. For a few minutes, I tried to wait him out, but the Ogre would not budge, even after losing sight of me! Soon, I was tired of waiting and made my advance, sneaking back around to where I’d so easily dealt with the spear guy, ready to attack the Ogre from stealth. Only, my foe wasn’t there? I took a moment to pick up the nearby Mibu Balloon and crept forward, trying to see any sign of the Chained Ogre. He had to be nearby; I’d only fallen a short distance and besides, I could hear his grunts… I sure did feel a bit silly when I saw that he was just a little below me. It seemed he had fallen down to a ledge between my position and the ground.

I leapt onto him with a backstab (or a headstab?), taking out his first health bar in one go. Our duel had taken a tad longer to set up than I’d planned, but I was technically back on track. Once we were both on the ground, I pulled out the Flame Vent and burst the Chained Ogre with its flames, tacking on five strikes with my blade as he reeled from the pain. He attacked, trying to crush my head in, but I was able to bob and weave around this larger enemy, finding another moment to blast him with flames. But this time, my position was less than perfect and, while the Flame Vent struck true, I wound up too distant to deal all of the extra blows I was supposed to. I could only manage two hits, but even those few attacks proved too cocky and my error was soon punished as the Ogre decked me in the face. From there, I was cautious. He would attack and I would dodge, attacking once or twice every time. I was merely chipping away at the behemoth’s Vitality until the inevitable occurred: The Ogre caught me in his arms and seemed to crush me into the dirt. In moments, I was dead and the attempt seemed to have ended in failure…

Good thing shadows die twice.

A few moments passed and I was up again, using the last of my Spirit Emblems to cover the Ogre in flames. As he seemed to ignite in pain and terror, I swooped in close and sliced him six times. It was reckless to do more than five, yes, but I was desperate. With that sixth hit, the Chained Ogre was no more, falling to the ground in defeat. I sat there in shock. This miniboss that I had struggled with so long ago vanquished in my very first attempt after putting off our reunion for so long! It was only in the aftermath, as I read the description for my newest Latent Skill, Shinobi Medicine Rank 1, which improved the effectiveness of my healing items, that I realised: I’d done the whole fight without using any. Unless you count returning from death, I suppose.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Shinobi Medicine Rank 1

The Shinobi Medicine I earned was right: This Chained Ogre that had been gravely injuring me time and time again was truly a worthy opponent.

Erin McAllister

Erin McAllister

Staff Writer

Erin is a massive fan of mustard, writes articles that are too long, and is a little bit sorry about the second thing.

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