Sekiro: Combat refers to the main means of advancement through Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Players can opt for Stealth to thin out enemies in areas, but eventually, they will run into situations that must be resolved by engaging in a fight.

 

Sekiro Combat

 

Combat Information

In combat, Sekiro weilds a katana on the right hand for normal strikes and a prosthetic arm on the left that allows numerous Shinobi Tools.

 

Health & Posture

Players have a Vitality bar that indicates their total health pool. When the health bar depletes, the player dies. Players may then opt to Resurrect if they have a Resurrection charge; a player that chooses not to, or can't, suffers True Death and must restart from the last Sculptor's Idol they rested at.

Posture is a special mechanic somewhat similar to Poise and Stamina from the Dark Souls franchise. Represented by its own bar on the middle of the UI, the posture gauge will fill up as the protagonist is attacked, and if it is fully filled the player will be open to deadly attacks by enemies. Enemies also have posture meters, and overwhelming their posture enables the player to perform a Deathblow on them. 

Perilous Attacks

Perilous Attacks are special abilities that cannot be guarded, and a red Kanji meaning "Danger" flashes over Sekiro's head to indicate when an enemy is performing them. To defend against them, Sekiro must use a defensive technique specific to the type of Perilous attack. There are four types of Perilous Attacks: Thrust, Sweep, Grab, and Lightning.

  • Sweep Attack - Cannot be Guarded or Deflected. Sekiro can Jump or Step Dodge to avoid damage, and jumping off an enemies head while they are sweeping deals significant Posture damage.
  • Thrust Attack - Cannot be Guarded.  Sekiro can Deflect the attack, or better yet use Mikiri Counter for even more Posture damage
  • Grab Attack - Grab attacks cannot be Guarded or Deflected; a well-timed Step Dodge or Jump can avoid them.
  • Lightning Attack - Lightning cannot be defended against except through a technique known as Lightning Reversal: jump, get struck by the lightning, and while airborne, press the attack button to redirect the lightning back to your opponent before you reach the ground. 

Guarding

Guarding is an important combat mechanic in the game; it nullifies incoming damage of basic attacks to Sekiro's Vitality. However, damage from any basic attack that is imbued with special properties will not be nullified completely. It is important to note that Guarding does not entirely nullify Posture Damage that is inflicted but somehow reduces it somewhat. Listed below is the percentage of how much Vitality damage is reduced versus certain attacks.

  • Physical Attacks - 100%
  • Piercing Attacks - 50%
  • Thrust Attacks - 0%
  • Spirit-Based Attacks - 25%
  • Fire-Based Attacks - 33% 

Deflection

Deflection is important mechanic in Sekiro. If you time your Guard and use it within a half second before the enemy attacks lands, Sekiro will deflect the attack with his katana, inflicting Posture damage on the enemy and opening enemy for a counter attack. It is not advisable to repeatedly tap the guard button in hope for a successful deflect because this reduces the window of time you have.

Death & Resurrection

When players die, they have an option to resurrect on the spot they were defeated. This ability is available for free once every time Sekiro rests at a Sculptor's Idol, and additional charges are powered by defeating enemies in combat or by using certain rare Quick Items.

Skills

Skills and Skill Trees are the special moves and passive abilities available to Sekiro as he progresses through the game. These abilities can be enhanced in their efficiency and frequency. Players can obtain such upgrades by defeating Bosses or by purchasing them with Skill Points, acquired by earning EXP from defeated enemies.

Combat Arts

Combat Arts are special moves that the player must equip through in their inventory. Once equipped, they can be activated by pressing the Attack and Guard buttons simultaneously. These moves are generally powerful and each one offers different utility in combat. Some Combat Arts cost Spirit Emblems to use. 

Prosthetic Arm & Shinobi Tools

The player's left arm has been replaced by a Prosthetic Arm that can be fitted with Shinobi Tools found in the world which can aid Sekiro in combat. The player can equip multiple tools at the same time, swapping to them on-the-fly.  Please see Prosthetic Tool Upgrades for information on more powerful tools that become available through progression.  Shinobi tools include (but are not limited to):

  • Grappling Hook: Available from the start; allows you to traverse the maps vertically.
  • Loaded Shuriken: Projectiles to attack enemies
  • Loaded Axe: Useful for breaking the defenses of enemies
  • Loaded Umbrella: A defensive "shield" to guard against some incoming attacks.
  • Shinobi Firecrackers: Projectiles that startle animals and blind enemies.
  • Loaded Spear: An extendable spear that can pierce through enemy guards and tear off armor. 



    • Anonymous

      04 May 2019 10:22  

      I’m sure most know this however I’ve not seen it mentioned anywhere. The key is in the sound. There’s a very noticeable difference in the clashing of the swords when an enemy has deflected rather than blocking and as soon as you hear it that’s your sign to immediately stop your attack and be ready to counter.

      • Anonymous

        25 Mar 2019 22:33  

        How do i jump on top of the enemy's head? I get it from time to time when i jump over the perilous sweep attack but not quite sure how to pull it off consistently.

        • Anonymous

          11 Mar 2019 16:06  

          Resurrection Mechanic: based on video content released as of 11 March: 1. You have 2 resurrection charges (the pink circles in the bottom left). 2. The charge on the left is the one you earn through killing enemies and shows a circular progression meter. 3. The charge on the right is the free one you get from respawning or resting at Sculptor's Idos (Checkpoints). 4. If you use a resurrection charge, your resurrection ability becomes locked (indicated by the charge icons being crossed-out). 5. You can unlock it again by killing more enemies, the more difficult the enemies, (the higher the chance of it being unlocked) or by dying and respawning at a checkpoint. Not sure if resting at a checkpoint unlocks it. Enemies that have "Resurrective Power" will unlock it... this is indicated by pink sparkles that fly from them to you after you kill them. 6. If your earned charge (the one on the left) is full, it will stay full until you use it, regardless of death or using the free charge on the right, meaning as soon as you unlock it you can resurrect again. 7. If your earned charge is spent, as soon as resurrect is unlocked, you can start to recharge it (shown by the circular progression meter). I believe only deathblow maneuvers recharges it. 8. What remains unknown is if you can have more than 2 charges, but given the title "die twice" most likely it will stay as 2.

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