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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries - Part 2

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries - Part 2

Welcome back to my Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries, a series following my attempts to survive in this difficult soulslike game. Last time, I came back from the dead to finally defeat the Chained Ogre, which was a feat three years in the making! After having finally “gotten good,” it was time to continue exploring Ashina Outskirts…

The path up the Stairway cleared, I shot my grappling hook towards the opening at the top of the gate. Landing safely inside, I looked around, spying two directions to take, left and right down a hallway… and another big hole smack dab in the middle of it all, looking out over the building’s inner field. I picked up the nearby Nightjar Monocular and used it to look around the area. The field seemed to be a shallow pit filled with crates and military equipment, sloping down from a path that circled the area. Thankfully, the rooftops seemed fairly accessible, so jumping around to stay up high would be feasible. There seemed to be a small group of soldiers milling about and standing guard, with another miniboss at their centre: General Tenzen Yamauchi. He looked to be a more heavily-armoured soldier, but with two health bars, so I knew he meant business. That seemed odd to me: Another big fight so soon after the Ogre? Either way, I wasn’t going to jump through a big hole unless it was the only way forward.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Yamauchis Field Overlook

Looking a little further around, it looked as though the area in front of me was somewhat open from the left, with the right side primarily consisting of the building I was in and a large pair of doors. With that in mind, I took the right path, reasoning that I could possibly check out some side content before the big fight. Sadly, after turning a corner, I came upon a locked door, signalling this was a dead end. However, given that the door was more “inoperable from this side” than “locked,” this was probably going to become some sort of shortcut later on, so I wasn’t too worried. Disappointed for now, I turned back and crept along to the other end of the hall.

This end of the building was far more profitable, with a Gourd Seed and a Ceramic Shard lying around. The shard I could understand being left unguarded; it’s essentially a piece of a broken pot that I could throw to catch someone’s attention. Very helpful, but I’d still expect that to be lying around in someone’s garbage or strewn around amidst their belongings. However, the Gourd Seed was the real big find, as it was a rare item usable to upgrade my own Healing Gourd. I’d only been able to get another seed by murdering a prior miniboss, General Naomori Kawarada, who’d kept it on his person. I suppose this general either didn’t know about the incredible goods in the area he was guarding, or he was confident no one would be able to get close enough to root around in the building.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Left Hallway

The only other point of interest in this room was yet another giant hole in the wall, looking out onto that same field I’d seen moments ago. There were two major differences here though. First was that this opened directly onto the ground right next to several patches of grass, which could allow me to sneak around the area for a short while, possibly picking off several of my upcoming opponents. Second was the soldier running at me with a sword; it seemed that my little exploration of the room had been a little less stealthy than I’d anticipated! Thankfully, I’d noticed my foe in time and was able to fight him off. The closed quarters were a bit of an issue, but between knocking over a couple of torches and slashing wildly at the new enemy, I was able to get through it with only a small amount of health lost. Even so, I wasn’t exactly comfortable progressing at this time, so I took the opportunity to retreat. After all, I had a Healing Gourd to upgrade!

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Emma Options

Slipping back to the Stairway Sculptor’s Idol, I fast travelled to the Dilapidated Temple. Looking at it for the first time in three years, I was once again impressed at just how darkly beautiful it was, covered in snow and old sculptures. That said, I wasn’t going to be staying long. I ran up to Emma, or rather, ran up to her before being forced to slow down — Sekiro wasn’t about to run around in the actual temple. Either way, I briefly spoke with Emma about current events as she used the Gourd Seed to add a third charge to my Healing Gourd. I then thanked her and walked back. For a moment, I considered heading back to the miniboss and giving them an attempt, but instead I walked over to Hanbei the Undying. He was always up for acting as a combat dummy for Sekiro and I wanted to get some practice in. I’d managed to use a couple of strategies to somewhat trivialise the Chained Ogre before, but my next big fight didn’t seem to have any obvious weak points. I primarily focused on relearning the Mikiri Counter, a special move that allows one to step on an opponent’s blade to leave them wide open to attack. For a while, I struggled with the ability, but I eventually figured out roughly the right timing. I was now as ready as I would ever be.

Back at the Stairway, I quickly made my way up to the building ahead, cutting down the few enemies in my path. Inside, I went to the left, careful not to move too quickly or knock anything over, and out into the field. Before anyone could take notice, I slipped into the grass on the right. This was a bad idea, because this patch didn’t really lead anywhere, so I tried to make a swift course correction. Thankfully, no one saw my brief error.

Moving forward now, I found my way behind a soldier with a rifle and silently ended his life. From here, I could walk down to the field’s lower level, where I could see General Yamauchi waiting, or around the corner, where there was another soldier on guard with others in the distance, including one soldier that seemed to be patrolling that area. Taking the easier of the two paths, I sidled up against the battlement between me and the stationary soldier and tried to fling a shuriken at the man’s head. I soon learned that either Sekiro couldn’t actually throw shuriken from behind a wall or that I had absolutely terrible aim, even locked on to the enemy. My projectile flew right into the wall, succeeding in nothing but alerting both my target and the patrolling soldier. I waited for them both to get closer before engaging in battle; I took a few hits, but was able to take one of them down.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Almost Surrounded

However, before I could do much more than that, the other enemies in the area were beginning to swarm around my position, so I rushed ahead past my foe, dashing and grappling about to evade swinging swords and flaming arrows. After getting some distance, I managed to manoeuvre myself to the rooftops overlooking the field, waiting for the soldiers to forget about me. They soon did, allowing me to work my way back around and behind one hidden soldier, who soon became an equally hidden corpse. I was next able to drop down below and sneak up upon that pesky guard I’d tried to hit with a shuriken earlier, and he was taking a dirt nap before long as well. I had gotten into a groove and managed to avoid getting spotted as I murdered my way through the camp until it was just me and the good general.

General Yamauchi had stopped moving when I came down to his level to strike, catching him from behind with a backstab, and taking out one of his health bars: The fight was on! I dodged away from a few wide strikes, slashing at the general whenever I thought I could get a good hit in. We traded blows, both of our health bars decreasing steadily… only, I was taking more damage than I was dishing out. I was able to properly execute the Mikiri Counter every time Yamauchi left himself exposed to the technique, but I struggled to keep up with the wide slashes of his blade. I tried to experiment, dodging backwards and to both sides, but I was unable to puzzle out the secret to circumventing his technique before I faced my doom. Not even a second life could save me, though I had managed to wear the general down to half of his remaining lifebar.

Soundly defeated, I woke back up at the Idol by the Stairway, thanking my lucky stars that the game decided to grant me Unseen Aid, which left me with my experience points and money completely intact. I gave the fight another run, but this time I failed before even facing the boss: not quite managing an early backstab, getting swarmed by the various enemies, and then timing out before I could attempt an escape with my second life. Truly embarrassed, I began to doubt that I would see anywhere near the level of success I’d achieved in my first attempt.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Rifle Guy Dead

Yet I was unwilling to throw in the towel quite yet. This time, I retraced my steps, stalking the combat field, and stealthily ending the lives of all the general’s men. Earlier, I hadn’t been quite as quiet as I had hoped, so General Yamauchi had taken his position slightly higher, right around where that stationary soldier I had tried to throw a shuriken at had been standing. I dropped down behind the man and stabbed him in the back once more. We fought, him taking several slashes from my blade as I led him back to the bottom of the field’s shallow pit. I played the man more carefully, only allowing him to get in close when he was setting me up for a Mikiri Counter. Not the most sporting strategy, but in this way, I wouldn’t even have to dodge his wide strikes.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Yamauchi Death

It was a long fight, but after around six counters, he was down. I’d ended up dying once again and using all of my Healing Gourd, but I had done it. Another miniboss down! He dropped a Prayer Bead, a special item that, when combined with three other beads, would increase both my Vitality and my Posture. With Yamauchi’s Prayer Bead safely stowed away I now had three, leaving me one away from this powerful boost to my stats. As I picked up the nearby Scrap Iron and double-checked the area for any other loot that I might have missed, I began to wonder if I should attempt another miniboss that would net me my fourth Prayer Bead, back at the Hirata Estate…

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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