I’m Playing Sekiro Like A Total Coward

I’m Playing Sekiro Like A Total Coward

A long time ago, someone gave me a piece of advice that’s remained true even today. The way people play video games is often an expression of their personality. Arrogant, brash types tend to be more aggressive, take more risks. Shy and retiring types tend to hold back a little more, often filling the support-type role.

As for me? I tend to be overly reckless. Which isn’t great when you fire up a game like Sekiro.

Sekiro is an infinitely more aggressive game than Dark Souls and Bloodborne, so in a lot of ways Sekiro is much more up my alley. I’m the kind of gamer who enjoys butting their head against a wall, particularly a multiplayer challenge. Nothing teaches you to be humble more than trying to play Starcraft 2 on the Korean server.

But everyone has a limit. And after dying for the fifteeneth or twentieth time grinding against the Chained Ogre, my patience eventually ran out. I was getting marginally better at the inputs, but then I’d cock up one or dodge back into a space with a little less room than I needed, and I’d be totally fucked.

One time, a fight finished in three seconds flat because I mishit the dodge, rolled forward, got grabbed and ended up being thrown off a cliff.

“Fuck this game,” I thought. So I did the gamers special – ALT+F4 – and went to the kitchen to think over things for a while.

I’m Playing Sekiro Like A Total Coward

Eventually, I came to appreciate that I didn’t have all the tools I needed. Like most people who aren’t diehard Souls veterans, I ran into the Chained Ogre and continued butting my head against that because, well, I hadn’t seen anything else.

But a quick bit of backtracking found an old lady with a bell, which eventually lead me to the Hirata Estate. It was there I was in a much more comfortable position for headbutting – lots of random low-level mobs and dogs to grind against, helping me recover the endless amounts of XP and coins I’d lost like an idiot.

At least until I hit the shinobi hunter, or as I like to call him, “That arsehole with a stick.”

After losing at least five skill points through a mix of stubbornness, bad dodges and accidentally aggroing Enshin without meaning to, I figured I’d at least go back to the devil I knew. The approach I had wasn’t working, and I didn’t feel like I was learning anything either. I seemed to do fine whenever I practiced against Hanbei the Undying, Sekiro‘s excellent tutorial dummy.

But at least against the Unchained Ogre, I could reliably knock off at least one of the health bars. A lot of his more deadly attacks are fairly well telegraphed. I knew I could reliably do damage against it. And as an added bonus, I finally had the weapon I was supposed to have: the flame that lets you deal with “red eyes” characters a lot better.

The scars of my previous losses were still healing over, however. And Arsehole With A Stick had beaten me well and truly into submission. I wasn’t a reckless fighter anymore: I was just a straight up coward.

So how does one cowardly fight their way through a mini-boss?

One fight against the Unchained Ogre went haywire because the nearby spear grunt wandered into the fight halfway through. Wanting to avoid a repeat of that situation, I charged past the ogre and straight towards the spearman, hoping to eliminate that from the fight.

I also figured it would at least give me some space to continually retreat from. I’d tried the tactic of retreating down the stairs, but I’d gotten caught on the sides and been thrown off before, so I figured at least this way I was further away from the cliff face.

And then, I wondered, there was the edge itself.

How well do mini-bosses deal with being on the precipice? As it turns out, not well at all.

I’m Playing Sekiro Like A Total Coward

Traditionally, you can only grapple to the Unchained Ogre after dodging an unblockable attack. But on the cliff face, Sekiro decided I could grapple to the Ogre as much as I wanted. And having ground my way to unlock the post-grapple attack in the Hirata Estate, that meant I could beat the Ogre with some truly disgusting play.

Instead of dodging backwards and coming in for some quick slashes after the Ogre missed an attack, I simply jumped off the cliff. On the way down, the game would let me grapple back to the Ogre – regardless of what state the Ogre was in. After a couple of slashes, I could just fall of the cliff again, avoid anything the Ogre did, and grapple back for some more attacks.

It’s a truly shameful away to approach a boss fight. I can’t imagine actual shinobi would be thrilled at the level of cowardice. You face your opponents straight up, not by diving off a cliff to avoid their attacks.

But you know what? Fuck Sekiro. The game is deliberately hard, and delights in punishing its players as much as possible. So if there’s a way for me to get my own back, at least until I become sharper with my deflections and dodges, then that’s how I’m going to proceed. That’s the end goal at the end of the day – finding a legitimate way (even if it is a deplorable one) to proceed, rather than simply hitting a wall until frustration forces me to quit.

Games are meant to be fun, even the challenging ones. And if that means discarding a bit of shinobi pride? The Ogre and Arsehole With A Stick can eat it. Now I just have to find a way to cheaply deal with that fly-kicking Purple Ninja. I wonder if can he fall down the nearby cliff…


  • I understand how you feel. Though I beat the ogre on my first try due to sheer luck because I had already found the flame vent, the shinobi hunter was extremely difficult and made me consider my life choices in buying this game. Eventually I cheesed him probably through a bug. I was running away because I didn’t have any resurrections and found that he had followed me back to the sculptors idol at the front of the estate. I attacked him and found that all he did was block my attack and he never attacked me so I just preceded to attack him until his posture broke and he died. I have never felt both so relieved and so cheap at the same time…

    • I am with you on that one. Not sure why a lot of people are having trouble against chained orge I got him first try also but without flame vent lol, but then hit the “wall” of difficulty with the dang shinobi hunter. But found as I play through the story and kill more generals and bosses my play time is becoming a whole lot easier. Not sure if its due to extra hit points or just knowing when to block/deflect but the more time I put in the better I found.

  • He who fights and runs away something something.

    I feel like From maybe needed to telegraph how to defeat the Shinobi Hunter as they do with the ogre with all the hints about fire. He’s an equally early boss and there seem to be a lot of people banging their collective head against him instead of picking up the skill needed to make him a triviality.

  • Nothing wrong with being a sneaky ninja. You have a bag of dirty tricks for a reason.

    For me the Ogre’s biggest frustrations were because of the programming, not the fight. Soulsborne games have always had dodgy hit detection on grabs by big enemies so even if it visually whiffs, you still get grabbed and just teleport to their hand. There’s also the tracking. In one fight the Ogre did a 90 degree turn mid attack.

    Then I learned that jumping is a far easier way to avoid grabs than timing dodges perfectly. Then I learned that jumping away all the time just dragged the fight out and let his posture recover so I went ham and defeated him in a minute or two.

    Speaking of large enemies, I’m currently running into those same frustrations fighting a particular Kratos cosplayer.

  • I didn’t have any trouble with those fights but I did use the absolutely filthy ledge hang cheese against Seven Spears because I got so sick of clearing his area before fighting him.

    • Loaded axe r2 followed by r1 followed by r2 repeat and he gets melted, took me 2 tries with that strat. It’s confusing coz the spear prosthetic is found near by and he has armor? But it seemed useless

      • I’ll have to give that a go next time.

        FYI the spear can only strip “makeshift” armor which is sometimes worn by the big slow guys. It doesn’t remove regular armor.

  • Oh wow! I tried using the precipice with the Ogre, but more-so to get him to fall. Ended up doing it the normal way after about 10 times. I went to Hirata after Gyouma, so I dunno if I artificially made things harder. I must say I’m loving the game despite not being a DS veteran. Parrying takes me back to Soul Calibur and Ninja Gaiden, so the game feels pretty natural. I love the quality of life improvements like getting to face a boss close to a save point and fast travel. I gave up in Demon Souls when I couldn’t even reach the 1st boss, let alone defeat him.

  • On the last boss atm. For me it’s the endurance of a four phase fight that is absolutely draining me. I know the first 2 phases pretty well now, but having to go through them each time to learn the 3rd phase is killing me. Game has still been a blast though.

  • It’s a truly shameful away to approach a boss fight. I can’t imagine actual shinobi would be thrilled at the level of cowardice. You face your opponents straight up, not by diving off a cliff to avoid their attacks.

    But you know what? Fuck Sekiro.


  • Don’t even bother with the purple ninja, just run in, open the doors to the pagoda-thing, grab the item, and bail. Unless you want to beat him on principle, in which case I can’t help you.

    This is my first From Software game so I developed a bit of an ego when I beat the chained ogre on the second try and the shinobi hunter on the third. But then I was thoroughly beaten back into crushing submission when I came to face Lady Butterfly and the dude on the horse. Ouch. I have since beat them both after about 30 tries each, and I’m starting to wonder whether the time investment vs. reward is balanced enough in ‘reward’s favour for this game to be worth it.

    • I’ve repurchased on PC after a few days with Xbox 1X and the difference is night and day. It feels like a different game. Bosses I had problems with the first time around I beat first go.

      • Do you feel like this is due to playing on a different platform (better framerate, different controller etc) or because of the familiarity of going back to the start and seeing that the initial hurdles have become easier from experience?

        • I did consider that, but I went back and did some practising with the mentor guy and it’s definitely a better window to deflect on PC. I reached the same point in my Xbox playthrough in one session. Surely a lot of that is familiarity though.

    • You can beat the purple ninja by agro’ing him, turning around and jumping off the cliff into the river.

      He will also jump off the cliff, but apparently can’t swim.

      Some might say it’s not honorable, but look it’s not my fault he’s an idiot.

      • Purple ninja in midair above water: “It was at that moment I realised I had made a huge mistake”

        I’m not too fussed about beating him in any legit way as his health bar doesn’t even indicate he’s a mini-boss. I just hope common regular enemies don’t get as hard as him later on… which they probably definitely will.

  • @zico I really don’t know why these consoles keep boasting about 4K etc when they can’t even reach a steady 60fps lol.

  • the easy peasy way to deal with the Shinobi Hunter is to use the Mekiro Dodge which is one of the first unlocks available in the skill tree. You have to wait for him to wind back his “unblockable” thrust move and when you see the red kanji symbol appear above your head, dodge INTO THE THRUST. Your character should stomp down on his staff and you can immediately follow up!

  • I feel like I want to play this game, but I just don’t have the spare time to waste on learning phases of boss fights etc. Honestly, I sort of feel like the game must be poorly designed if you have to die 20-30 times before understanding how a boss works.

    • It’s more fun in practice. Dying still feels good for some reason. Probably because you learn a little bit every time you get hit

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