From Before I Play
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  • Don't button mash
  • Heavy attack isn't that much slower than light attack and can work fine as your main attack button
  • If you interact with the training dummy at your home base there are a series of trainings that go through the basics and are highly recommended. The same dummy also lets you do free training where you can practice against any enemy you've beaten including bosses.
  • You have two basic defensive moves - a dodge and a parry - and you'll want to get comfortable with both.
  • Parry is probably the "better" option since it helps build up the enemy's structure meter, but is more risk/reward and enemy grabs can only be dodged, not parried.
  • Despite how the animations look, there are only two different dodges. L1+left, back, or right all dodge enemy normal/high attacks while L1+up dodges sweeps.
  • Button inputs are relative to your character and also work in reverse (e.g. forward -> back -> heavy attack and back -> forward -> heavy attack will do the same move in opposite directions).
  • The throw (square + X) is very good and can be done when the enemy is stunned after taking lots of hits or a successful parry. You can throw enemies into each other to create space, throw them off ledges/over railings, or into walls.
  • It's personal preference and if you play enough you'll unlock everything permanently, but I recommend unlocking the Environmental Mastery, Ground Counter, and Slide Kick skills early on.
  • You can replay previous missions and if you beat it at a lower age that age is used going into the next mission as well as the shrine choices you made.
  • When you restart an area you go back to the age you were when you started it, losing any progress made, which isn't as bad as it sounds.
  • I recommend focusing on learning moves permanently, you do this by buying them 5 times before a reset, so just keep buying the same move until it's permanent.
  • Skills that have a lower age limit can still be upgraded to permanent as long as you started it before going over the age limit.
  • Items are also permanent, and often a key for a door in one level will be in a future one, so you'll have to back track and replay the levels to get all the endings and such.
  • Don't neglect your focus abilities, they are really helpful in a pinch and the bar refills fairly quickly.
  • Make sure to search around for weapons in arenas. There's no time limit, so running away to look for a pole to fight with is perfectly fine.
  • The only good way to regenerate health is by doing finishing moves.
  • Actually use the moves you are unlocking. It's temping to just button mash when you have an opening but the specials can do more damage. More importantly, a lot of them are important to controlling space and distance, allowing you to close quickly with enemies or knock them down temporarily.
  • Strongly consider not using the shortcuts you unlock unless you just want to practice on a boss. Unless you are a "SL1 Dark Souls" person you want the shrine upgrades and skipping to a boss usually only provides one.
  • Also, work on your score because the highest score upgrade option (the red ones) is hugely beneficial in getting fights ended, which ultimately is your goal.
  • Bosses, at least the first 4, are in some ways technique (i.e. "learn gud") checks. The second boss, for example, is very easy once you get dodge-parries down (he keeps swinging the stick at your head so time the ducks), and if you've invested anything into the "gain focus from parry" red skill you can quickly rebuild your focus bar for easy damage.