Sekiro is an unbelievably difficult game. You don't need us to tell you that. It was instantly criticized upon release for being too difficult, and some people infamously called for an "easy mode" to make the game more palatable and welcoming. Easy shmeesy. You're never going to get better if you need an easy mode!
Luckily, we're here to give you a few pointers. Contrary to popular belief, the game is not entirely impossible. Very difficult, yes, but certainly not impossible. You just need to know the right things, and have the right stuff!
These are ten things you should know to make Sekiro easier.
This should go without saying, but parrying is your best friend in Sekiro. Unfortunately, a lot of people come into Sekiro expecting another Soulsborne game and put far too much emphasis on dodging. And dodging is a great way to get yourself killed. If you want to survive, you'll have to learn how to parry. This can be very difficult at first, as you essentially have to learn an entirely new mechanic and must forget all that you knew about From's previous games. But the rewards are more than worth it.
9 Spam The Parry Button
If you absolutely must, you can spam the parry button to your heart's content. A large part of this game is based around rhythm, knowing your opponent's moves, and successfully timing your parries to their programmed and well-timed attacks. But it can get frustrating learning everyone's attack patterns. In that case, there's nothing wrong with simply spamming the parry button. The game is quite lenient in its timing, and if you simply spam parry, you're guaranteed to find success. Wear your opponent down instead of chipping away at their health!
8 Emphasize Defense
But seriously, wear your opponent down instead of chipping away at their health! This isn't Dark Souls or Bloodborne - the enemies will attack you relentlessly, and you will need to make split second decisions regarding attacking, defending, dodging, or jumping.
And in the midst of all that, you need to time YOUR attacks with scary precision to chip away their health bar. Or just... don't. Simply focus on staying defensive and parrying your opponent's attacks. You will eventually tire them out and break their posture, allowing you to perform a deathblow.
FromSoftware knows that they made a tough game. Fortunately, they were nice enough to include a practice mode so you can get the hang of the game's sword and parry mechanics. To the right of the Dilapidated Temple is a small path leading to Hanbei the Undying. Hanbei is an NPC who will gladly help you with your technique, and talking to him is a great way to sneak some practice in without dying for the 847th time and losing all your skill progress and money. The poor man is there for a reason. Take advantage of his existence!
6 Use Your Items
It's easy to get caught up in all the excitement and frustration. We get that. Unfortunately, many players are so determined to nail the game's sword mechanics that they forget entirely about their items! These items are in the game for a reason. A lot of them are easily found throughout the game, and many can be purchased for quite cheap from various merchants. Their abundance and price is the game's way of telling you to use them. There's no shame in resorting to an Ako's Sugar or Gachiin's Sugar if you find yourself in a tough spot.
5 Mikiri Counter
We can't stress this enough - get the Mikiri Counter as soon as you can! The Mikiri Counter is a purchasable skill that allows you to stomp on an enemy's sword as they're thrusting it towards you. Not only will this protect you from a horribly dangerous (and potentially one-shot) attack, but it will deal an enormous amount of posture damage to your enemy. This is especially needed once you reach Ashina Castle and face off against the Fencers. They will absolutely destroy you without Mikiri Counter. Seriously, get it!
4 Sneak Up On Mini Bosses
As if Sekiro wasn't difficult enough, you also must contend with the game's numerous mini bosses. And don't take the word "mini" lightly - these enemies will make you cry if you let them. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to defeat a mini boss, including stealth! Many of the game's mini bosses have multiple "stages," which makes defeating them even more difficult and time-consuming.
Luckily, you can sneak up on many of these bosses, deliver a deathblow, and eliminate one of the stages without even fighting them! It won't work twice, however. Once you get their attention, it's up to you and your skills with a blade.
We cannot emphasize the importance of the firecrackers enough! If you get ONE prosthetic tool, make it the Shinobi Firecracker. This thing is insanely useful and will do wonders for your progress. For one thing, they will stun the enemy for a couple of seconds, allowing you to get in a few useful hits. But if you find yourself outmatched and/or outnumbered, you can throw them down and make a quick escape. They can be used both defensively and offensively, and they are amazing.
2 Buy Prayer Beads And Gourd Seeds
Prayer beads and gourd seeds are your friend. Prayer beads can be strung together to increase your max vitality (health) and posture bar, and gourd seeds can be given to Emma to increase the number of uses of the healing gourd. These are found throughout the game, but you can also buy them (for a hefty price) from various merchants. Do this. We cannot stress enough how important these items are to your progress, and the money spent on them is more than worth it.
1 Make It To Genichiro
If you're still having trouble, try making it to Genichiro. Most Sekiro fans admit that they found the early game incredibly difficult but that everything clicked after fighting Genichiro atop Ashina Castle. He's a major skill check and essentially teaches you all that you need to know going forward. If you soldier on and defeat him, the game's mechanics may click for you as well and you may find the remainder of the game a far easier and smoother experience.
The student who acquired the drive has been given a life sentence and others who watched it will do five years hard labor.