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Moments In Sekiro That Made Us Want To Rage Quit

The road to beating a FromSoftware game is often paved with extreme difficulty, frustration, and rage. In some cases, a broken controller or two litter the sides of that path. Anyone who played Dark Souls not-so-fondly remembers their fight with Ornstein and Smough, and you've probably called the Nameless King in Dark Souls 3 a couple unflattering names. Now people are forging new, painful memories of their hardships in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Why would anyone put themselves through all this torture in a video game?

It might be hard to believe, but that moment of success feels all the better after those struggles. Sekiro provides incredible rushes of adrenaline at every turn, barely giving you a moment to stop and enjoy the beauty in the environment. For every flowing waterfall or breathtaking temple, there's always an enemy nearby that's ready to cut you down.

In some ways, Sekiro provides harder challenges than Dark Souls or Bloodborne ever did. Even the small fry are more relentless than before, coming at you in larger numbers. The big bosses will more often than not add a lot to your overall death counter. So as you'd expect, alongside the joy of success, From's romp through feudal Japan comes with a mountain of moments to make you want to rage quit, too.

Dragonrot: salt in the wound

Unless you're exceptionally gifted and skilled, you'll run into a boss in Sekiro that feels like beating your head on a brick wall. You run into the meat grinder again and again, hoping maybe this run will be the successful one. Honestly, you're lucky if you had this kind of trouble with only one boss.

However, every time you die, you have a chance of spreading Dragonrot throughout the land. Every time Sekiro comes back, the people he came into contact with might contract Dragonrot. In the context of the overall plot, this causes victims to cough and feel sick. The game implies that they can die because you're seeping the life from them. In terms of gameplay, Dragonrot can prevent you from progressing in certain side quests, depending on who's afflicted. It puts a damper on your overall experience, especially if you're in the middle of pursuing a side quest. Furthermore, the way this information gets delivered to you feels like salt in the wound.

After the fifth or tenth time you respawn at a Sculptor's Idol thanks to a boss, a window pops up, telling you who now has Dragonrot. In worst cases, more than one window can show up, really hammering home the point that you've died a lot. Nothing feels more frustrating than the game explicitly telling you that you're bad.

Genichiro Ashina's final form

Genichiro serves as one of the major bosses in the game, both in terms of the gameplay and the story. You actually meet him pretty early in Sekiro, as he caps off the tutorial section by being an extremely difficult boss. Nine times out of ten, you'll lose that fight, and your reward comes in the form of an amputated left arm.

A couple hours more into the game and you'll fight him again, but this time, you're better equipped. You need to maintain a measured yet aggressive offensive on him, properly deflecting every one of his moves. Dodging will more often than not fail you. But after the grueling marathon of clashing swords, you finally land the second deathblow and defeat him.

Just kidding.

Another cutscene plays, and as Genichiro strips the heavy samurai armor off his body, a lightning storm starts forming around the battlefield. Then you're thrust into yet another fight with him, but this time he's faster. Oh, and he can harness the power of lightning, hitting you with shocking attacks that can kill you in one hit. All Sekiro wants to do is claim revenge for his lost limb, but Genichiro really doesn't make it easy. On top of that, the unexpected and powerful second form really throws you off guard, making an already difficult fight far harder.

Running around like a headless ape

While you're out gathering incense ingredients for Lord Kuro, you'll get to explore the various locales Sekiro has to offer. One of the more off-the-wall places would be the Bodhisattva Valley. You'll jump across multiple pools of poison and fight monkeys with swords. When you get to the end the area though, you'll realize there's no more monkeying around in this valley.

You'll be confronted by the Guardian Ape, who guards a cave you're trying to explore. The arena stretches far, with trees you can grapple to cover distance quickly. However, the big ape can run and jump just as far and fast. He presents an intimidating and tough battle, considering the wide reach of his attacks. When you land that deathblow, Sekiro leaps up and dislodges a giant sword from the ape's neck, using it to decapitate the beast. The "Shinobi Execution" screen shows up, signaling that you can rest easy and return to an idol to recover.

But then the headless beast wriggles back up, carrying the sword and his head in each hand. This beast is ready for a round two you weren't expecting, with a completely new set of unpredictable attacks. Let's just say a few more NPCs might contract Dragonrot after some more frustrating deaths. Now you also have to deal with the fact that the game outright lied to you, considering that initial "Shinobi Execution" wasn't as final as it should've been.

O'Rin of the Water wants your tears

In one of the creepiest locations in the game, you'll find an NPC named O'Rin of the Water. She stands in an open field in Mibu Village, which is dark, drab, and full of undying, feral villagers. You'll likely hear her before you see her, since she's playing a shamisen. If you talk to her, she'll ask if you've seen Lord Sakuza. No matter how you respond, she'll become violent, and the fight begins.

O'Rin gains a ghostly appearance when the fight starts, and her moves can best be described as floaty. Her damage, on the other hand, is ruthless. One hit can take out a big chunk of health or destroy your posture, and she's often launching multi-hit combos at you. Combine that with her quick movements and she becomes a dangerous, unpredictable opponent. You'll die to her many, many times, all because you didn't properly anticipate a deflect.

Luckily, she's an optional boss, and you can run right past her. But if you're determined to fight her, get ready to die a lot. In many cases, you'll die before you even know what hit you, making it difficult to even practice against her. For a non-essential boss, she provides a challenge to rival some of the most frustrating opponents in Sekiro.

Monkeying around

Aside from gathering all the incense ingredients for Lord Kuro in the middle of the game, you'll also need to collect the Mortal Blade. This odachi can sever an opponent's immortality, but at a great cost to the wielder. Finding the weapon, however, can prove to be more difficult than expected.

At Senpou Temple, have Sekiro pray and ring a bell. Then he'll wake up at a palace in the sky, where you have to hunt down four monkeys. They represent parts famous maxim, "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, do no evil." This means one can hear you from far away, one can see you from far away, one will always alert the others when it spots you, and the fourth one stays invisible for the whole fight.

While this 'fight' acts more like a puzzle, it's still surprisingly easy to die here. If you don't take things slowly and carefully, the monkeys will continuously run away from you, and you won't be able to catch up. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out the gimmick to each monkey, and it's a different way of thinking compared to the other bosses in Sekiro. Meanwhile, ethereal white monkeys will spawn and attack you, dealing terror damage. The added danger forces you to think under pressure, because when they surround you, say goodbye to this life.

A most embarrassing death

Sekiro, much like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, presents a ruthless challenge to its players. While all the bosses present their own hardships, it's almost just as easy to be killed by basic cannon fodder. Given the right circumstances, an attack dog or even a typical foot soldier can take down your shinobi. In many cases, the game can overwhelm you with sheer numbers, throwing more than five enemies at you at any given time. No matter how skilled you are, dealing with a mass of enemies is never easy.

Sometimes, though, you could simply mess up. Average enemies often do enough damage to be legitimate threats to your life. Missing a parry or two could put you in a bad situation. There's really nothing worse than seeing the "Death" screen at the hands of a bad guy you've killed dozens of times. It destroys your confidence and makes you mad at both Sekiro and yourself.

Nonetheless, the reality of the matter is that you can just as easily die to a random goon as you can to a major boss. It may not happen as frequently, but it can be far more demoralizing and aggravating. No one would blame you for walking away from the game after that.

The most unlucky encounter

If you've ventured through the Ashina Depths or to the Gun Fort, you've probably run into one of the most obnoxious enemies in the game. These minibosses, dubbed "Snake Eyes," carry a very powerful, long-range rifle that destroys Sekiro's health bar from afar. Even with a couple prayer bead necklaces, which increase your health, two or three shots will end you.

The encounter in the Ashina Depths puts you at a severe disadvantage. No matter how you enter the large room, you'll be far away from Snake Eyes Shirahagi. And here's the worse news: there isn't much you can use for cover. Her pinpoint accuracy ensures she'll hit you unless you're moving very quickly.

Luckily, the encounter with Snake Eyes Shirafuji in the Sunken Valley takes place in a smaller space. However, you will find an army of gunners picking at you from afar. If you position yourself poorly, you won't even last five seconds. If that isn't a recipe for frustration, then what is? With both encounters, death by long-range rifle happens commonly. It rarely feels fair to die at the pull of a trigger when all you have is a sword, but these two miniboss encounters offer up a heaping pile of bullets with your name on them.

The wildest divebomb

Ashina Castle provides Sekiro players the first major bump in difficulty. You're no longer dealing with the lowest-ranking soldiers of the army. Now you've got to deal with the Nightjar shinobi, who prowl the rooftops hunting for trespassers like you. No longer can you skulk on the high ground above your prey, because now you're being hunted by these vigilant ninjas who can see you from miles away.

Their eyesight, formidable attack patterns, and long-range shuriken can throw anyone off guard during this castle infiltration. You have to be on your toes to just barely survive this grueling rooftop gauntlet. But even the most grizzled warriors can't prepare for what comes at the end of all this.

When you're mere seconds away from the next sculptor's idol, a tengu-masked shinobi will come flying at you. You probably won't even see it coming, but you'll definitely hear it. By the time you can react, though, your health bar will be close to empty, if not completely gone. It feels unfair to cap off an area with the first difficulty spike by blindsiding you with a wacky yet high-damage attack. If you already resurrected before reaching that spot, you might just be out of luck and have to run the gauntlet again. Whether you have the motivation to do that, however, is another question.

The Legend of Sekiro's Lost Woods

The entire Hidden Forest proves to be one of the most irritating areas in Sekiro. A thick fog obscures every bit of this location, so you can't see too far into the distance. What's worse is that most of the enemies, who look more like ghostly apparitions, don't even appear until they're attacking you. These illusions show up frequently, so you have to react quickly all the time. Too bad their damage isn't illusory. Somehow, you can get sucker punched from the front and not even see it coming.

This problem escalates the further you get into the forest. The fog spawns more than swordsmen to fight you. Swift-moving attack dogs and faraway archers join the fray, attacking you unexpectedly. The archers might be the worst, considering you have to guess where the arrows are coming from and can't see the source until it's right next to you.

Perhaps the scariest and most annoying thing in the Hidden Forest is one of the minibosses you can run into. Take one false step on the initial tree branches and you'll fall right to the ground next to the Headless. This huge beast creates an aura that slows you down, and every hit he lands builds up your terror gauge. Needless to say, many enraging threats lie in wait within the forest, goading you to quit the game.

The ambiguous, perilous red Kanji

In Sekiro, a majority of enemies can execute what's called a perilous attack. When they're about to do one, a red Kanji symbol will pop up, telling you to get ready. None of these attacks can be blocked. Some can be deflected, but not all of them. Wide sweeps can be jumped over, while thrusts can be countered by dodging toward your opponent. Grabs, however, can't deflected.

Don't worry if that last paragraph confused you. The whole system comes off as pretty complex. Within the game itself, you can't rely only on the flashing red Japanese character. You need to pay attention to the animations of your opponent and anticipate their next attack. Unfortunately, a lot of attacks in Sekiro are poorly telegraphed, making it difficult to guess what's about to happen without a lot of trial and error.

Even after practicing dozens of times against one enemy, it's unbelievably easy to trip yourself up. That red flash conditions you to react three different ways, and under pressure, your muscle memory could easily make a mistake. When reacting the wrong way gets you killed, it's easy to become frustrated with yourself and Sekiro. Toward the end of the game, you could probably say you've died countless times because you reacted to a perilous attack the wrong way.