Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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General Advice

  • You can come back to the area accessed with the bell from Ashina Outskirts later if you're having trouble, but it's worth at least visiting as soon as you can for a couple of useful Shinobi Tools.
  • Some controller users prefer moving the "Use Item" to the face buttons and "Switch Prosthetic Tool" to the d-pad to make item use in combat easier.
  • There are some hidden doors in the game, opened by pushing up against them. Don't bother hugging every random wall, but keep an eye out for particularly conspicuous spots.
  • If you're saving up for an item or don't have anything to buy but don't want to lose your money to repeated deaths, you can "bank" your coins by buying bags of sen from merchants at a very slight loss. The first merchant is semi-hidden and can be found in the Ashina Outskirts, before the castle area.
  • The game's Dragon Rot gimmick is curable early on through a side mission with Emma. The cure, Dragon's Blood, is a finite resource. If utilized correctly, there's more than enough in the game regardless how much you die.
  • Dying enough times will award you with a sculpture of the victim you have infected with Dragon Rot. These NPC will no longer be able to complete any quests associated with them. Only use Dragon's Blood when needed.
  • Do not forget to equip Prosthetic Upgrades (these are their own item) and Combat Arts when you unlock them.
  • Strength is gained from defeating bosses and using the memory when you rest.
  • The exp ceiling increases with each level you gain.
  • Skills you should invest in first are the following: Mid-Air Deflection, Breath of Life: Lite, Suppress Presence, Ascending Carp, Descending Carp, Chasing Slice, Fang & Blade, Grappling Hook Attack, Emma's Medicine: Potency
  • Final tiered skills are situational at best, with the exception to Living Force found in the Prosthetics tree.

Combat & Killing Enemies

  • It's better to time your Deflects a bit too early rather than a bit too late as the window is relatively lenient and being too quick means you'll still at least block any normal attacks.
  • You can hold down the attack button for a charged-up stab.
  • You can assassinate enemies while hanging from a ledge or from behind a corner if they're close enough. Ceramic shards are useful for this task.
  • Look for opportunities to shave a Deathblow pip off of stronger enemies in the world by opening the fight with a stealth attack. Note that this only works for the first pip as they heal back if you try to disengage.
  • Experiment with your Shinobi Tools freely, you get plenty of uses for them and many difficult fights can be made easier by using the right tool at the right time.
  • Use your candy and item buffs. These are extremely potent, common/cheap, and can be considered another tool when facing a difficult boss.
  • You can block/parry just about everything in the game. The exceptions are rare and are mostly boss gimmicks (such as screams).
  • Holding down block is the fastest way to restore your poise.
  • A handy trick to keep enemies from regenerating poise is to throw a shuriken at them.
  • Enemies regenerate their poise slower the more vitality damage they have taken.
  • If your enemy is using wide sweeping attacks (like a halberd) dodge less. Block and/or jump more often.
  • You can run by holding down dodge. This is extremely handy with larger enemies.
  • Divine Confetti is a very rare item used for optional bosses. Avoid fighting glowing enemies in dark areas your first time through an area.
  • Utilize Combat Arts and learn their timing. Some are situational and can be considered traps for your skill points. Ichimonji deals good vitality and poise damage. Mid-game skill
    Praying Strikes: Exorcism
    is fast and does great poise damage.

Exploration & Quests

  • You can swim, and later, you can dive underwater with an item.
  • Goldfish are this game's "crystal lizards", enemies that flee when they see you and drop rare loot when killed; however, unlike the other games, goldfish that are scared away return when you rest.
  • Look up and down. There is a lot of verticality in this game with loot that is easy to miss.
  • There's not a lot of gated content. If you feel that a boss might be too hard, continue to explore to collect more seeds or beads. You will eventually need to complete Ashina Castle to progress, however.
  • Enemies that are immortal require you to have a story item before you can deal with them. The exception being
    zombies which you have to defeat twice
  • Restoring the mask with the pieces you find/buy allows you to spend five points on one strength upgrade. It's mostly for NG+.
  • An NPC that asks if you have mastered any skills just means if you have invested in a skill found at the end of a skill tree.
  • When you pick up the two pinwheels, these are important quest items and your decision for which to hand-in cannot be undone. For clarity, white leads to a lore friendly route. Red & white leads to a shop upgrade with more crafting supplies. Do not send them to the dungeon.