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"Your death won't come easily..."
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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an Action-Adventure game developed by FromSoftware and published by Activision. The game released on March 22nd, 2019 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It is directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls fame.

The game is set in the last years of Japan's Sengoku Era, in the fictional province of Ashina.note  As the whole country was plagued by war, Isshin Ashina staged a coup against the previous lord and managed to wrest control of the province after a key battle against General Tamura. Incidentally, a shinobi named Owl crossed paths with a young boy roaming the battlefield. Impressed by his composure, Owl then offered the boy to join him.

Twenty years later, the boy has grown and become the Wolf, a shinobi of the Ashina clan. He is tasked with a critical assignment in the face of the shogunate's attempts to centralize power: protecting Kuro, the Divine Heir to the Dragon's Heritage, which makes him and those of his choosing immortal. The pair are captured by a radical faction within the clan led by Genichiro Ashina, who hopes the Dragon's Heritage can turn the tide in the otherwise unwinnable war against the shogunate. Wolf, whose oath is to Kuro and not the clan at large, attempts to engineer an escape, but this goes awry when Genichiro intercepts them and severs Wolf's left arm in battle, leaving the shinobi unable to resist as Genichiro carries Kuro back into the fortress.

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Some time later, Wolf awakes in a dilapidated temple to learn he has been nursed to health and given a prosthetic arm hiding an array of weapons by a mysterious Sculptor of wooden Buddhas. Bound by the Iron Code of the Shinobi, Wolf must now assault Ashina Castle to bring back Kuro at any cost—and thanks to the Dragon's Heritage, death is only a minor obstacle.

The gameplay of Sekiro has shifted in several ways from the template of the Souls series, letting go most of the RPG elements such as weapon and armor customization or stat builds. In exchange, it adds the movement options and stealth of Tenchu, and Wolf's prosthetic left arm also serves as a combination of trick weapons and a grappling hook, enabling him to use a selection of special tools which add unique spins to combat. The game's combat system is also much more developed than in past titles, allowing Wolf to attack directly, deflect strikes, dodge out of grabs, jump above sweeping attacks and either deplete the enemy health bar or fill a Posture bar to perform a Shinobi Deathblow, killing the foe instantly. The game also leaves behind the Western Fantasy for a brand new setting based on feudal Japan with a slightly more defined story. However, Souls fans will still recognize the brutal difficulty, dynamic enemies, and very frequent deaths.

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Tropes in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • "White Spirit Emblems" - small paper effigies used in Onmyōdō - can be found in the environment or picked up from slain enemies to fuel Wolf's Shinobi Prosthetic (other than the free-use Grappling-Hook Pistol).
    • One of the upgrades for the Loaded Shuriken you can get is the "Sen Throw", which lets you chuck handfuls of coins at enemies - it costs money as well as Spirit Emblems to use.
  • Achilles' Heel: Some bosses and enemies, while extremely tough in a regular matchup, can become absolutely trivial if certain moves or prosthetic tools are used against them. For example, enemies with glowing red eyes like the Chained Ogre are afraid of fire, making them vulnerable to the Flame Cannon, shield-bearing enemies usually have their posture (and shields) instantly broken by the Loaded Axe, the Shuriken deals heavy damage to jumping enemies, including Lady Butterfly.
  • A.I. Breaker: A lot of the bosses have quirks in their AI that can be exploited to cheese them out. One of the more egregious examples is the Snake Eyes boss in the poison pit, who can be tricked into standing in the pool of poison and shooting at you behind cover while her health slowly degrades.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Snake Eyes found in the Sunken Valley and Ashina Depths, and the Okami found in the Fountainhead Palace. The former are even descendants of the latter.
  • And the Adventure Continues: It happens for the Dragon's Homecoming ending. The Divine Child absorbs Kuro into her own body, and Wolf decides to accompany them on their journey west, to return the Dragon Heritage to Divine Dragon's birthplace.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Ashigaru patrols are sometimes accompanied by mangy, wolf-like hounds. Quick and fragile, they aren't that dangerous in open combat... but are excellent at detecting Wolf when he's sneaking around.
  • Animal Motifs: All shinobi hailing from Ashina have an animal thematically attached to them. For starters, they all call themselves by animal names such as "Wolf", "Owl", and "Lady Butterfly", and their fighting style is inspired by said animal. Additionally, the Sculptor, formerly known as "Orangutan", fought with ferocity and savagery similar to the Guardian Ape, enforcing his past training among the monkeys.
    • Ashina is associated with the Koi Carp and aquatic life. Their combat style, when learned, has several moves with 'Carp' in the name. It is explained that they learned it from Fountainhead Palace. When visiting the Palace, players will combat Okami Warriors, who use the same "Floating Passage" combo that Genichiro does.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • While direct combat has become more difficult, a number of mechanics have been implemented to soothe the player's frustration. Perilous Attacks, which require specific counters, are signaled by bright red "danger" kanji flaring up above the hero's head. Opening the menu now freezes time, allowing the player to consider what items to use at their leisure. Enemies will not attack Wolf while he's performing a Deathblow, waiting until he's done to strike again.
    • If Wolf falls from mortal heights, he will just respawn from where he fell from with some damage instead of being instantly killed, Zelda-style.
    • Like the Bonfires of Dark Souls, Sculptor's Idols can restore Wolf's vitality and Healing Gourd uses, but will also respawn enemies. Unlike Bonfires, which apply all three effects automatically, at Idols you must specifically select "Rest" from the menu, meaning you can safely access the Idol's other features without refreshing enemies.
    • You start with the infinite-use Homeward Bone Expy (with no penalty for using it like the Darksign has) already in your inventory, rather than it showing up near the end of the game when you'd be rolling in enough cash to buy a never-ending supply of regular ones anyways like in Dark Souls II and III. It does take a few seconds to activate, during which Wolf is vulnerable, so it can't be abused to escape a bad combat situation without risk.
    • Merchants stock limited numbers of 100, 500, and 1000 Sen pouches in their inventory as a means of letting you safeguard money so that you don't lose it upon death in case Unseen Aid doesn't activate. About the only downside is "buying" these pouches costs the equivalent of the amount of Sen they carry plus 10%.
    • Most of the Mini-Bosses do not lock the player into their arena with fog gates, and those that do tend to only block the route past them, not the way you came in. This allows for a quick getaway to heal and recover if things go badly. The only downside is that if the boss loses aggro it recovers all its health.
    • When Sculptor becomes the Demon of Hatred and leaves the Dilapidated Temple, a workshop will be left at the spot he was, allowing you to fit and upgrade your prosthetic weapons without him.
  • Anti-Villain: The Ashina military aren't evil, just desperate. Constant assaults on their territory are causing them to slowly become exhausted and overstretched, with even their main castle slowly becoming a deteriorating wreck. The outskirts of their castle are a desolate war zone, and most of their army seems to have been reduced to dispirited recruits who are nowhere near the skill of an average samurai. As a result, they believe that sacrificing Kuro in a dark ritual and using his blood to make themselves unkillable will be the only thing capable of saving them.
  • Arm Cannon: Wolf's prosthetic arm has a little spool-like wheel that is primarily used to reel in his grappling hook - but it can be loaded with classic ninja weapons like shuriken, effectively making it this trope.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Armored Warrior mini-boss is wearing a heavy suit of medieval armour that makes him completely immune to Vitality damage. Your only way to defeat him is break his Posture, and even then, Wolf is forced to push him off a bridge because nothing else would do the job.
  • Arrows on Fire: Archer bandits in Hirata estate are equipped with these. Some of the enemies in Senpou Temple use throwing knives with the same effect.
  • Artifact of Death: The Mortal Blade, whose real name is Gracious Gift of Tears, as well as its counterpart, Open Gate. It is said to be cursed and able to kill even immortal beings, but it cannot be drawn; Wolf discovers that whoever draws it dies on the spot, and he only manages it thanks to the Dragon's Heritage. The blade doesn't hurt Wolf upon further uses and can be used to perform the special skill Empowered Mortal Draw, letting Wolf make a particularly powerful slash with the Mortal Blade. Genichiro managed the same feat through reckless consumption of the Rejuvenating Sediment, mimicking Wolf's Immortal Oath, and was able to use roughly the same skill.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The enemy AI is quite stupid whenever the player uses stealth. Enemies may jump off ledges trying to pursue Wolf, their pathfinding can lead them to get stuck on objects, and so on and so forth...
  • Ascended Glitch: Though not actually a glitch, Dark Souls I players using Dung Pies to deliberately give themselves Poison and become immune to the Blowdart Snipers's Toxic effect can hardly be considered a developer-intended use of the item. This game introduces Contact Medicine, an item with the express purpose of protecting you from Poison by giving you a weaker form of it.
  • Assassination Sidequest: When you meet the Tengu of Ashina, he asks you to kill Senpou Assassins in the vicinity of the Ashina Castle gate. As a reward, he gives you the ability to develop in the Ashina Skill tree.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: This is true for most groups in the game. Bandits raiding Hirata Estate are led by a humongous Juzou the Drunkard, generals of Clan Ashina are the deadliest warriors they can field (with their patriarch Isshin Ashina as their most powerful swordsman) and the Sunken Valley clan is led by the Snake Eyes, the two most formidable sharpshooters among them.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many of the higher-tier Prosthetic Tools can be quite powerful, but often come with downsides that their lower-tier versions might lack, such as greater Spirit Emblem consumption, longer wind-up times, or advantages that are very narrowly situational. Fortunately, even after unlocking higher-tier versions, the game still allows the player to equip the lower-tier (and more generally applicable) versions of Prosthetic Tools they have already unlocked.
  • An Axe to Grind:
    • One of Wolf's offhand weapons is the Loaded Axe, a spring-action axe that he can use to destroy shields and heavily damage Posture - although the long windup makes it useless against quick enemies.
    • Some bandit enemies in the Hirata estate are armed with massive two-handed axes.
  • Back from the Dead: One of the game's main gimmicks, justified by Dragon's Heritage allowing the Divine Heir to bless one person of his choosing with eternal life. Once you die, you can activate a limited-use ability to resurrect on the spot and continue the fight, although the resurrection is on a cooldown and Wolf only gets half his health bar. Smart players can use this to their advantage - enemies and even some bosses will resume their usual patrol after killing you, creating openings for nasty sneak attacks.
  • Back Stab:
    • As a shinobi, Wolf can sneak up on enemies and backstab them with his katana, automatically killing them (although the noise may attract nearby enemies). It works exceptionally well against mini-bosses, who can be sneaked upon and backstabbed to instantly eliminate an entire health bar.
    • Happened to Wolf himself in the finale of his first memory of Hirata Estate, forcing Kuro to bound him to the Immortal Oath.
  • Badass Grandpa: Both Isshin Ashina and Great Shinobi Owl are getting on in age, to put it mildly, but they are no less badass for it. Lady Butterfly was a gender-inverted example.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: It happens for the second boss battle against Genichiro. Thanks to the rejuvenating waters, he survives the battle against Wolf and gets away.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final battle against Sword Saint Isshin takes place during a thunderstorm.
  • Beneath the Earth: Wolf can visit several caverns in the mountains, although they are home to monsters of all sorts. For instance, there is the Serpent Cave hidden at the bottom of the Sunken Valley, which is the lair of the Great Serpent and some other abominations. There are also several iron mines that are property of the Ashina.
  • BFS: The massive, hideous warrior Jouzu the Drunkard, wields a suitably sized poison-coated Ōdachi.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: While Genichiro is your Arch-Enemy throughout the game, he's only doing what he feels is necessary to stop the Interior Ministry from razing Ashina to the ground. Meanwhile, Great Shinobi Owl is still alive and playing both sides against each other so he can claim the Dragon's Heritage for himself and become God-Emperor of Japan.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Ashina Castle definitely qualifies.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies:
    • Large exploding crickets can be found in areas associated with infested people or creatures.
    • The infested themselves are hosts to huge Creepy Centipedes, allowing them to come back to life indefinitely after death. The monks of Senpou Temple are all infested, as is Hanbei the Undying and the Guardian Ape.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Immortal Severance. Wolf and Kuro are able to end the Dragon Heritage, ensuring there's no more conflict over obtaining the immortality it grants. But it involves sacrificing Kuro, which Wolf reluctantly carries out.
    • Purification. Instead of killing Kuro, Wolf sacrifices his own life to ensure Kuro lives.
  • Blade Lock: In spite of the emphasis on sword fights, Sekiro only features this sparingly. One of the most notable moment is that if Wolf chooses to disavow the Owl - he tries a sneak attack on Wolf, who sniffs it out and blocks the blade fast enough to impress his old man. A brief blade lock happens too when Wolf performs a Deathblow on Isshin, who resists a bit and block the blade briefly.
  • Blade on a Stick:
    • Spearmen ranging from lowly ashigaru to mighty samurai are a common sight among Wolf's foes, and pose a particular challenge due to them tending to favor unblockable thrust attacks that must be dodged or deflected. However, Wolf can nullify much of their deadliness with the anti-thrust "Mikiri Counter" skill.
    • One of Wolf's Shinobi Prosthetics is the Loaded Spear. It is a blade that telescopes into a large spear, allowing him to attack enemies from further away or pull them in.
  • Blade Run: In a very Shadow of the Colossus-esque moment, you will mostly likely finish off the Divine Dragon by running up the blade of its skyscraper-sized BFS while it's downed and then stabbing it in the eye. Even if you choose to simply grapple to its eye instead, you'll still have to stand on its sword in order to deliver the final blow.
  • Blade Spam: The "One Mind" ability used by Isshin Ashina and usable by Wolf after defeating them. It creates a sphere of blade slashes around the user that are stated to be so fast that the swordsman looks like they're not even moving.
  • Blinded by the Light: One of prosthetic tools at Wolf's disposition is the Shinobi Firecracker, which launches a handful of exploding firecrackers, meant to destabilize enemies with sudden light and sound. It allows him to interrupt some otherwise unstoppable attacks and is particularly effective against beast type enemies which are easily frightened by it.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Wolf losing his arm in grisly detail at the game's start certainly sets a tone. Stealth kills and visceral attacks cause vast waves of blood to erupt from enemies - this game somehow manages to out-gore Bloodborne. One of the visual options is to have blood effects mild (read: realistic amounts of blood) or the default of On, which means everyone has High-Pressure Blood.
  • Body Horror: The Centipede Men have metal legs sticking out of their limbs and backs, mimicking a centipede's appendages. The sight is even more horrifying with their chieftains, the Long Arm Centipedes Sen-Un and Giraffe, who have their mangled bodies scaled up.
  • Body Motifs: A missing left arm. Some key characters and even supernatural creatures have had their left arm severed for various reasons. The Lone Shadows hide their left arms under a long cloak, mimicking this effect, and only unleash it when Wolf's careless and open to either poison or projectile attacks.
  • Book-Ends:
    • If Wolf makes choices that will benefit Kuro, the first and last boss battles in the game will happen on the same field just outside of Ashina's outskirts. Both will feature Genichiro as well.
    • The first "real" boss of the game (as in, it gives a Memory rather than a Prayer Bead) has the Red Baron nickname of "Gyoubu the Demon". At the end of the game, an optional Bonus Boss can be fought in the same place you fought Gyoubu... and it's an actual demon.
    • The first cutscene after the prologue had a background sound of wood being chipped and carved rhythmically. In one of the endings, it also starts with the exact same background sound, but made by a different person.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Wolf can unlock many flashy Combat Arts such as a Spin Attack and some high-flying martial arts moves, but the one most players find to be by far the most useful is Ichimonji, a.k.a. "hit with your sword really hard", and its upgraded version, "hit with your sword really hard twice". It does respectable damage to both health and Posture, recovers your own Posture on use, and can even be charged. Anything stronger tends to suffer from the Awesome, but Impractical caveat of costing Spirit Emblems to use.
    • While the various Prosthetic Tools all have their uses, the Shuriken will end up your go to general purpose tool. It's the first one you acquire, cheap to use, easily upgraded gaining a charge attack that costs no extra emblems, can pick off various weak enemies like gun-packing lookouts or dogs while keeping you at a stealth friendly distance, and even in New Game+, where the enemies become stronger, the charged version will continue to serve you well against them. To top it off, upgrading it to Lazulite form requires less of the exceedingly rare material than the others and will ease any fall-off the previous versions suffer from in NG+.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Genichiro Ashina wields both a bow and a katana, easily switching between the two on the fly.
  • Break Meter: One of the main gameplay mechanics. Wolf and all his enemies have what is called a Posture gauge, defining how much their guard has been broken. One way for Wolf to defeat enemies is to fill out their Posture bar with perfect deflects, attacks or other abilities, at which point they enter a special animation, leaving them vulnerable to a Finishing Move. Likewise, Wolf will be staggered for a sizable amount of time if his Posture is broken.
  • Broken Bridge: Literally; several prominent bridges leading into Ashina Castle proper have been destroyed, forcing Wolf to take a circuitous route through the Sunken Valley to get in. Since there are still Ashina ashigaru on both sides, it's implied they did it themselves to stymie any would-be invaders. In the finale of the game, the Interior Ministry fixes the main bridge and launches an all-out attack on Ashina Castle.
  • Brutish Bulls: Two of the bosses in this game, the Blazing Bull and the Sakura Bull, are bulls with fiery hay attached to their horns.
  • Call-Back: Once again in a FromSoft title, you face an opponent in a beautiful field under the moonlight.
  • Cannon Fodder: The Ashigaru that make up the rank-and-file of the Ashina clan's forces and serve as the basic mooks of the game. When the Shogunate finally attacks, they barely even present a speed bump for the Ministry soldiers.
  • Cast from Hit Points: If Wolf is low on Spirit Emblems, a special item named the Ceremonial Tanto allows him to convert part of his health into supplementary Spirit Emblems just like blood bullets.
  • Central Theme: Death in various shades. While death is always a theme in From Software's games, Sekiro displays it most prominently; Kuro's immortality is ruining more lives than it saves: those who desire it go to inhuman lengths in obtaining it, while the mechanics of actual resurrection create a horrible, painful plague. Various characters find themselves tempted by the prospect of violence; even the gentle Emma mentions that killing a demon excites her. The Wolf himself is shown to have little in his life beyond killing, and acquiring the Golden Ending requires him to rediscover his innocence and kindness.
  • Checkpoint: The Sculptor's Idols are scattered across the world, serving as resting points for Wolf where he replenishes his Healing Gourd, manages his skill tree, and travel from idol to idol. Their presence everywhere is another hint toward Sculptor's real identity.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During the rematch with Genichiro, you learn that if you're struck by his lightning-enhanced swipes while in midair, you can direct it back at him by the time you hit the floor. This is the major mechanic in damaging the Divine Dragon, as well as a smaller mechanic in Sword Saint Isshin's final phase.
  • Cocky Rooster: One of the enemies Wolf can face are large black roosters that will attack on sight and also crow, alerting enemies to his presence.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Divine Abduction is a Prosthetic Tool made from a large fan. While it isn't a conventional weapon, the gust of wind it releases when Wolf uses it is so strong it can turn an enemy on his back. The Double Abduction and Golden Vortex upgrades can even make certain enemies disappear on the spot.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard:
    • The Bestowal Ninjutsu only states that it extends your sword's reach. What it doesn't tell you is that it greatly increases your attack power and pierces through enemy defenses.
    • The game explains that Dragonrot is inflicted due to the recipient of the Dragon's Heritage forcibly draining the life energy of those around them in order to come back to life, with repeated deaths drawing power from more victims. However, the wording is ambiguous enough that some players chose to instantly die instead of reviving out of fear of acquiring additional Rot Essence. That is the opposite of what the game actually wants you to do; the revival mechanic is considered Wolf's own life energy (give or take the enemies he killed to restore a Resurrection node), so he can revive mid-battle as much as he wants. It is actually dying and being sent back to a Buddha statue that risks harming NPCs.
    • As described in the entry for Guide Dang It!, Divine Confetti is not just a requisite for fighting Apparition-type enemies; it is a legitimate damage buff in the same vein as the various Resins and Papers from the previous FROM games.
    • In what is likely a translation error, the Dragon's Blood Droplet item is rather vague with its ability to "slightly increase Resurrective Power". What it actually means is that you can consume it to get rid of the black line preventing additional resurrections post-revival, which normally requires performing a Deathblow to erase. This gives it surprising utility in some situations, such as the final phase of a boss fight.
  • Continuing Is Painful: If Wolf dies "for good", he loses half of his money and current experience. Moreover, a plague named the Dragonrot will eventually spread to almost every NPC he's met if he keeps dying too many times. The Dragonrot itself mechanically punishes Wolf by lowering his chances of keeping his experience and money upon death, and halts NPC quest lines as long as it's not cured.
  • Corrupt Church: The monks from Senpou Temple have strayed from Buddha's teachings and indulged in horrible experimentation to unlock the secret of immortality. Said experiments usually involve Creepy Centipedes and fusing them with various, often unwilling subjects. Wolf can pay them a visit and discover for himself how corrupt they have become, as some of the monks have become immortal abominations, host to various centipedes and crickets; he can also come across several semi-feral Centipede Men abominations (whom the monks may have been responsible for creating), and the Divine Child of Rejuvenation reveals that she is the only survivor of many children who have been experimented upon.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In contrast to Souls titles, rolling is not the end-all, be-all to dodging attacks, due to extremely limited i-frames that won't protect you from grabs, sweeps, or thrust attacks (unless you have the Mikiri counter, in the latter case, but then you have to remember to dodge toward them). Your damage output, especially against bosses, is also considerably lower since they can block attacks typically, necessitating a careful battle of attrition until you can wear them down to the point of inflicting Deathblows. At the same time, parrying has returned to being more predictive than reactive.
  • Dark Fantasy: Just like past FromSoftware games, with some horror elements thrown in. Unlike previous settings though, it's set in a fantastical version of actual feudal Japan rather than a Constructed World based on European countries.
  • Deader Than Dead: What the Mortal Blade is used for, as it can permanently kill Immortal creatures, such as the Infested Monks and the Headless Ape.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Fountainhead Palace, home of the Divine Dragon and coveted font of immortality, turns out to be one of these. The place is beautiful, but its "nobles" are hideous monsters that either devour or enslave any humans who actually arrive there.
  • Death Is Cheap: Mechanics-wise, it is defied with a vengeance. Upon each death, the Dragonrot will continue to spread and get worse, affecting many characters and preventing the advancement of their sidequests.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: To perform a deathblow on enemies, Wolf has to deplete their Posture gauge, which recovers if the attack isn't pressed. However, damaging their Vitality meter will make the recovery of Posture slower. The end result being that a fight is typically won after dozens of small hits that manage to slip past the opponent's defenses, gradually weakening them before they're finally finished off.
  • Decomposite Character: This game's Big Bad Genichiro Ashina and his grandfather Isshin Ashina act as this to Gwyn from Dark Souls series. Just like Gwyn, Isshin Ashina is a lord of great renown and power who carved up mighty kingdom only for it to fall apart in his twilight years. Just like Gwyn, Genichiro Ashina goes to extreme measures to stave that fall.
  • Developers' Foresight: After reviving, the player's first instinct is probably to get some distance from the thing that killed them, and use a healing item to get back to full health. The thing is, Genichiro Ashina seems to know this, and if you try it, will line up an extra-powerful arrow shot. If the player knows that Genichiro Ashina knows this, they'll most likely be hammering the deflect button during the heal animation in a desperate attempt to avoid getting hit. The devs, knowing that the player knows that Genichiro knows, created a unique animation for when the player successfully deflects the arrow.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Mikiri Counter is one of Wolf's strongest moves. If an enemy is going for a thrust-type Perilous Attack, Wolf can dodge into it to stomp on his enemy's weapon and deal massive damage to their Posture. This move is so strong that successfully mastering it can turn deadly engagements into child's play, especially since breaking an enemy's Posture allows you to perform a Shinobi Deathblow on them, shaving off a health bar or outright killing them instantly.
  • Disability Immunity: The powdered medicine known as Contact Poison can inflict a weak poison effect on Wolf. While it may seems useless, it is preferable to the stronger version some enemies or hazards will inflict, making Contact Poison situationally useful.
  • Doomed Hometown: The Hirata Estate, former home of Kuro. Alas, it was pillaged and burned down by bandits, at which point Wolf witnessed the death of his father, the Owl, and was granted Resurrective Immortality by Kuro for his loyalty. Wolf can revisit a memory of the Estate while it was burning into cinders.
  • Downer Ending: The Shura ending, where Wolf is corrupted by the Dragon Heritage and becomes the demon Shura, mercilessly slaughtering anybody who steps foot in Ashina.
  • Dramatic Thunder:
    • During the second boss fight against Genichiro, a thunderstorm starts. Genichiro takes advantage of its lighting to imbue his weapons with the element.
    • The final boss battle also happens during a storm, Isshin using the lightning of Tomoe to power up his katana and halberd, while Wolf is forced to consider the lightning as a stage hazard.
  • The Dreaded:
    • A few times throughout the story, players learn about "Shura." In Buddhism, it is one of the alternate names for Ashura, the demigod of war. For Japanese folklore, the war god is often used to refer to individuals who are fighting in a seemingly endless battle and must do so with brutal and inhuman means. You don't get to see the Shura, but you do get a glimpse of those who "become" Shura in the Downer Ending, in which Wolf, having been forced to follow his father's order to kill Kuro after spending nearly the entire game trying to save him and killing one of his own allies as a result, goes on a mindless killing spree and commits what's considered to be the most tragic massacre in the entire Sengoku period. To put it in simpler terms, the Shura is a demon that cannot be allowed to manifest. Even Isshin Ashina is wary of the damn thing and has more or less made it his life goal to kill anyone who is on the verge of being consumed by Shura before it's allowed to manifest.
    • On a more human scale, the Interior Ministry's encroaching presence is talked about with a lot of fear. When they do show up, several Ashina soldiers can be seen fleeing in terror from them.
  • Dual Boss: After defeating the Guardian Ape the first time, Wolf can find it in a new location and fight it again. After depleting its first health bar, it calls in its wife for backup, and Wolf will then have to deal with two giant, murderous apes at the same time.
  • Dung Fu: The Guardian Ape can leap into the air and hurl a massive boulder of its own crap at Wolf that inflicts Poison.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Just after defeating Gyoubu Oniwa, Wolf can come across a tall masked man presenting himself as the Tengu of Ashina, said man having just defeated some unknown shinobi in purple garb. It turns out, the Tengu of Ashina is none other than Isshin himself, who meets Wolf before the shinobi even hears about him. The scene also foreshadows the invasion of Ashina Castle by forces of the Shogun, and Tengu is retroactively revealed to have been slaying their scouts.
  • Early Game Hell: Used to great extent to punish players who rely on Dark Souls tactics to get by. Your Estus equivalent only carries one charge at the start, it will take a while for you to get it up to three, and you can only carry around three of the Lifegem equivalent at a time. The only way to get stronger is defeat bosses, which cannot be purely stealth affairs either. And to top it all off, your stealth isn't even all that useful until you get a couple of upgrades for it.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Navigating areas is much easier compared to prior From Software games due to Wolf's expanded moveset, which enables him to avoid direct combat by stealth-killing enemies, running away from them, or avoiding them entirely. Checkpoints are frequent and are often placed right next to the boss arena. This is counter-balanced by the bosses being much harder and aggressive. Mandatory bosses block progress to the next area until defeated, and you're incentivized to kill optional bosses as they hold most of the prayer beads needed to increase your Vitality.
  • Edge Gravity: Unlike its predecessors, this game has a jump button, which means you won't go off a ledge without jumping over it deliberately.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Besides the miniboss versions, there are also several "regular" Ashina samurai who are fierce fighters in their own right, in both the armored and unarmored variety.
    • The Spear Adepts of Senpou Temple are highly agile fighters with a large HP pool and a variety of unblockable attacks.
    • At the end of the game, the Interior Ministry invades Ashina Castle with a force of highly skilled Red Guard warriors. They are clad in distinct red armor and all armed with dual katanas, with some also carrying flamethrowers or powerful guns that shoot flaming rockets. They are also backed up by the deadly purple-clad Lone Shadow ninjas, as well as red-clad dwarf assassins.
  • Enemy Chatter: Wolf can eavesdrop on his foes, allowing him to learn useful hints for dealing with an upcoming foe or area. It also tends to reveal bits of the lore or even just the enemies' feelings and general mindset. For instance, he can hear a Ashina footsoldier weeping over his dead horse - his lamentations will provide a hint on defeating the area's boss.
  • Enemy Civil War: After Wolf acquires the Shelter Stone from Mibu Village, he will revisit Ashina Castle under assault from the Interior Ministry's forces. These new enemies will also battle the Ashina soldiers, creating some three-way battles.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Some of the enemies are Japanese macaques, who only attack Wolf because he is intruding in their territory. He can come across a whole troop of them gathered around a single spot. Some monkeys even wield katanas and muskets, including rarely encountered white monkeys who dual-wield katanas with masterful skill that puts even the Interior Ministry soldiers to shame. One boss is a giant ape that, naturally, uses Dung Fu attacks in combat.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Even putting aside the demons and mutated animals, Wolf is often dwarfed by his human opponents as well. This is likely a gameplay consideration for players to be able to read the enemies' movements better.
  • Evil Is Easy: The Shura ending is the easiest ending to get, simply requiring you to obey Owl when he reappears in Ashina Castle and then win two fights. Doing so skips the entire last act of the game, and the final battles against Emma and Isshin are significantly easier than the final boss battle against Sword Saint Isshin in the other endings. It's also deliberately anticlimactic as a way of saying "You Bastard!" to the player, offering no resolution for any of the plot threads up to that point.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Wolf can collect various objects scattered across the map to unlock new Prosthetic Tools for his left arm. He can also gather other materials such as ore or chemicals to further upgrade said tools.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Wolf can use a drug named Bite Down, which usually was a Cyanide Pill of a sort for captured shinobi. However, due to his resurrective powers, he can use it to "fake" his death without consuming one of his resurrections. You can even get an infinite use version in the form of a Hidden Tooth, obtained after using the Mortal Blade to permanently kill Hanbei the Undying.
    • Wolf discovers that Great Shinobi Owl has been faking his death too, setting events in motion so that he could take the Dragon's Heritage for himself at the right moment.
  • Fartillery: The Guardian Ape will sometimes attempt to run away and get some distance between itself and Wolf, leaving behind a fart cloud that inflicts Poison.
  • Fat Bastard: The Headless minibosses, who all resemble bloated, waterlogged corpses. They are former heroes of Ashina, their corpses having all ended up in wet areas.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • To have his ties to immortality severed, Lord Kuro needs several exceptional ingredients. It's up to Wolf to travel the country and gather them.
    • The Divine Child of the Resurrection has her own quest to unlock the Return ending, all requiring certain items to be collected and returned to her. Some of the subquests also require fetching an item in exchange for the one you're trying to get.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: Genichiro ultimately wants to save Ashina from being conquered by the Shogun.
  • Filk Song: Rebirth, Courtesy of Miracle of Sound.
  • Finishing Move: One of the game's core mechanics is that to kill an enemy, the player can fill out a Posture gauge (representing how much the enemy's guard has been broken) before performing a Shinobi Deathblow on them. Incidentally, depleting the enemy's health bar also creates a Deathblow opportunity, but failing to take it results in the Posture of the enemy recovering a bit. The Deathblow immediately kills a normal enemy and depletes a single health bar from a boss. However, it should be noted that the Posture gauge tends to recover quickly if the enemy has a lot of health left, and bosses usually require multiple Deathblows to put down.
  • Flash Step: The Mist Raven prosthetic tool allows Wolf to perform one, leaving on his wake a dark trail and raven feathers. It is used to perform invulnerable dodges in order to get away from troublesome situations. It can be further upgraded to the Aged Feather Mist Raven to perform the dodge even more rapidly, or the Great Feather Mist Raven to create a fiery trail that hurts enemies.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The Divine Realm that Wolf can visit to battle the Divine Dragon that resides within it. It is mostly a grey plane whose floor is made of clouds, making it difficult to judge perspective.
  • Flunky Boss: On her second phase, Lady Butterfly will occasionally retreat and summon illusory enemies to fight you.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: By taking a secret passage back at the Ashina Outskirts to the Senpou Temple, Wolf can toll the Iron Bell of Senpou, calling the demon sealed within which brings misfortune. It mostly serves to increase the difficulty of the game in exchange for better loot, and the demon can be warded away by an item.
  • Gang Up on the Human: During the war sequence at the end of the game, it's not uncommon for the warring Ashina and Interior Ministry troops to set aside their differences just to kick your ass if you intervene in their fights.
  • Gargle Blaster: The Monkey Booze, made by chance out of fermented fruits that were hidden in tree hunks by monkeys. Its flavour is described as being exceptionally strong, both Emma and Sculptor tell that it burns the throat, and Tengu jokes after having a cup that this is how it feels like to breathe fire.
  • Glass Cannon: Wolf. As a shinobi, he mixes acrobatic movement with quick, decisive attacks, but his light armor means he can't take too many hits.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The "Praying Strikes" Combat Art allows Wolf to unleash a series of rapid attacks with his arms and elbows, dealing unblockable Posture damage.
  • Goomba Stomp: Wolf can perform a Jump Kick which lets him stomp on enemies' heads. Normally it doesn't do much except stun the enemy momentarily, but if the enemy is in the process of doing a sweep attack, it will do significant Posture damage.
  • Golden Ending: Surprisingly, it is possible to circumvent Kuro's or Wolf's Heroic Sacrifice by having The Divine Child absorb Kuro's soul and journey west to return the Dragon Heritage to the Divine Dragon's birthplace. Reaching that ending, however...
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: A key gameplay feature is Wolf's prosthetic grappling hook, which adds a vertical element to exploration and can be used to zip toward enemies. This is probably the biggest artifact revealing this game's Tenchu roots. The grappling hook can be used on specific anchor points of trees of roofs, allowing Wolf to reach vantage points, and several parts of the game will require multiple well-timed uses of the grappling hook on these anchor points to navigate through the mountains and not fall to his death.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Due to a big case of Artificial Stupidity, guards get out of alert state as soon as Wolf disappears from view, do not notice dead bodies, and can easily miss a ninja in an orange haori hiding in tall green grass.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game's two secret endings (Purification and Dragon's Homecoming) require quite a number of steps that wouldn't be immediately obvious to anyone going in blind. The eavesdrop ability is presented to you, but at no point of the game it is told to you that you can also eavesdrop on the NPCs, triggering special dialogue options that allow you to discover a path toward the secret endings.
    • One very helpful thing that game never tells you? Divine Confetti actually does extra damage to every enemy, not just Apparitions.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted. The setting features primitive, inaccurate matchlocks that deal little damage (unless you're in the air), but they can stun Wolf and leave him open to more dangerous attacks. Gunners of the Sunken Valley clan wield surprisingly powerful hand cannons that deal heavy damage from afar, which is quite a pain when several snipers are set on each side of a valley with steep cliffs and few hiding spots. The gunmen of Interior Ministry carry matchlocks that fire powerful flaming rockets.
  • The Gunslinger: The Sunken Valley clan. Having fortified an iron mine into their personal fort, they are sitting on a literal mountain's worth of ammunition. All of them use firearms of some variety: most use archaic but powerful one-shot hand cannons, with some bundling them together like a primitive shotgun, while a few (mostly those working for the Ashina) even carry literal cannons. The most redoubtable of them are the Snake Eyes Shirahagi and Shirafuji, who are so skilled with their hand cannons, they can mix up their shots with melee strikes.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Wolf can keep a fistful of ash in his inventory, throwing it at an enemy to temporarily blind them.
  • Healing Potion: The Healing Gourd, a special item given to you by Lord Kuro. It was invented by Emma who discovered the Gourd Seeds that constantly leak the Rejuvenating Waters, and Wolf can take a sip of the water inside the gourd to heal. It is similar to the Estus Flasks of Dark Souls, in that it has a set number of uses that replenishes at checkpoints. The Healing Gourd can be upgraded with Gourd Seeds that magically replenish the supply of rejuvenating water in the gourd, and the more seeds one finds, the more sips Wolf can take from the Gourd before it runs out.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kuro wishes to get rid of the Dragon's Heritage so that no one will murder for it anymore. However, it will either require Wolf to kill Kuro, which the boy readily accepts, or Wolf to kill himself with another ingredient in hand to free Kuro from immortality.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Executing enemies results in a glorious splash of blood flowing as Wolf takes out his blade. There's even a perk that allows him to use enemy's blood for creating a smokescreen.
  • Hint System: Eavesdropping is largely meant for this (though it also lets you solve some sidequests). A man crying over his dead horse (an accident involving a loud explosion spooking the beast) is your clue that someone else on a horse coming up might not like loud noises...
  • Historical Fantasy: It might be a fantasy story with magic, giant monsters and ninja prosthetics, but according to the game's intro, Sekiro is set in the later stages of Japan's Sengoku period, and further examination into the subject reveals that much of the game takes inspiration from the real-life Ashina clan.
  • History Repeats: Heavily implied, since many hints point toward the Sculptor being a former shinobi, with Wolf taking up his mantle as if he completes the Immortal Severance route, waiting for a future shinobi to rescue another lord blessed with the Dragon's Heritage.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: Many of the things associated with the Fountainhead Palace are referred to as divine, such as the Divine Confetti that allows you to damage supernatural enemies. But water from the palace turns people into monsters, while the Dragon's Heritage itself can corrupt men into bloodthirsty demons.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The tutorial boss fight against Genichiro is lost as soon as he breaks your posture once. It's possible (though extremely difficult) to win, but all that nets you is a slight variation of the followup cutscene, where Genichiro is slightly more wounded and winded and needs a distraction before he can slice off Wolf's arm.
  • Hopeless War: The Ashina clan are engaged in one against the Shogunate. While they've managed to fend off several attacks by the Interior Ministry (as shown by the massive field of corpses outside Ashina Castle), they're steadily losing ground and are running low on resources and manpower. The vast majority of their remaining troops are relatively unskilled ashigaru, their collective morale is almost at its breaking point, and their fortifications are largely in ruins. This has driven them to desperate measures, from training ogres and giant bulls to fight for them, all the way to kidnapping the Divine Heir to make themselves unkillable. And when the Interior Ministry finally attacks, it all ends up being fruitless, with Ashina's forces being utterly crushed in a brutal Curbstomp Battle.
  • Immortal Breaker: The Mortal Blade can kill otherwise immortal beings. Problem is that everyone who's ever tried to draw the sword from its sheathe has immediately died. Fortunately for Wolf, death is not permanent for him.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: There are normal humans who are skilled with the katana (Wolf himself able to parry bullets if the player has the necessary reflexes), but then there is Isshin Ashina, the Sword Saint. When you happen to fight him, he demonstrates supreme swordfighting skill, using Blade Spam to create an impenetrable sphere around him or casually making shockwaves with a slash of his katana. Wolf can learn these too after he defeats him.
  • In the Back: At the end of the Hirata Estate memory, Wolf is stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant. However, a sharp-viewed player can recognize the Owl's large katana.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Attacks to NPCs simply phase through them with a visual indicator that they're taking no damage.
  • Jidai Geki: The setting is feudal Japan with some fantasy and science-fiction elements such as a Grappling-Hook Pistol prosthetic arm.
  • In Vino Veritas: Wolf can acquire four types of sake and give them to either Tengu, Emma or the Sculptor, who all gladly have a cup and will in their relaxed state of mind reveal specific pieces of their past, as well as bits of lore.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Owl will do this in his boss fight, begging for mercy after the first deathblow. Waiting too long will have him pounce on Wolf and do massive damage. Attacking him while he's talking will cause Owl to resume the fight and compliment Wolf for seeing through the bluff.
  • Kaiju: The, for lack of a better word, rope golem that takes you to Fountainhead Palace near the end of the game. Its waist is literally above the cloudline.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Since the setting is Sengoku Era Japan, katanas and assorted blades are common weapons, wielded by Wolf and the many enemies he faces during the course of the game.
  • Kill It with Fire: All red-eyed enemies and those corrupted by waters of the Fountain fear fire, and inflicting fire damage will stun them for a moment as they get terrified by it. Thus, it is recommended to equip the Flame Vent when expecting to face such enemies.
  • Kite Riding: The roofs of Ashina castle are guarded by Nightjar ninjas, who sometimes ride kites and can spot Wolf from afar thanks to their "vantage point". They also happen to let themselves fall and rapidly glide toward Wolf for a violent Dynamic Entry.
  • Level in Boss Clothing: The Folding Screen Monkeys barely attack you. Instead you have to track them down and take each of them out using the tricks available in the Hall of Illusions.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Hidetaka Miyazaki's previous titles, thematically Sekiro is borderline sunny. While there's a ton of bloodshed, the characters who die at the end of their quest lines typically Go Out with a Smile, having fulfilled some form of unfinished business. The Historical Fantasy setting at least ensures the world isn't on the brink of dying anytime soon. And most unexpectedly of all, it's possible to Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Many of the bosses and minibosses are larger than Wolf, but move with grace and agility. A prime example is Great Shinobi Owl, who appears hunched and bulky but can rapidly maneuver around the battlefield.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: These are the two major offensive elements used in the game, and happen to occur the most on opposing sides of the overall conflicts:
    • Fire is associated with humanity, accessible through both technological advancements and magical means. Wolf himself has many fiery gadgets at his disposal, the most obvious being his Flame Vent prosthetic tool, while the Interior Ministry is packing alchemical rockets and flamethrowers used for burning Ashina to the ground. Sculptor mutates into a flaming demon powered by resentment and the lingering grudges of the dead. The Great Shinobi Owl was once capable of summoning an owl familiar that can transform into a divebombing firebird.
    • Lightning is associated with divinity; a part of Ashina was supposedly blessed by the gods, and the Fountainhead Palace was eventually built there. Those who call it home (or those whose ancestors descended from there, including Genichiro and Isshin), are capable of channeling electricity into their attacks. The presence of the Divine Dragon itself can be felt through the constant thunderclouds enveloping Fountainhead Spiral.
  • Loot Command: You can push a single button to remotely collect everything slain enemies can drop, skipping the tedium tediousness of collecting loot from one foe at a time.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • The architecture of the Fountainhead Palace and the appearance of its inhabitants are a throwback to the classical Heian era of Japanese history. This is reflected by the fact that the area is named Minamoto (源, "source-of-the-water") in Japanese, a reference that ends up obscured in the English localization.
    • The Divine Dragon is referred to in Japanese/Chinese as "櫻龍", literally meaning "Sakura Dragon".
    • The titles of two of the Long Shadow agents - namely Longswordsman and Masanaga the Spear-Bearer - would probably be more accurately translated as "Swordfeet" (太刀足, "Tachiashi") and "Masanaga the Spearfoot" (槍足の正長, "Yariashi no Masanaga") respectively, referencing the deadliness of their kicks.
    • In the original Japanese, O'Rin refers to Jinzaemon as "あの子" (ano ko), roughly meaning "that boy" when used to refer to an adult male, often in a parental sense.
    • The names of the Sugars/Spiritfalls directly describe their effects; for example, "Gokan" (吽護) roughly means "sturdy body", fitting for an item that reduces the amount of Posture damage taken. However, these are left untranslated in the localizations.
    • The original Japanese names of Juzou the Drunkard (うわばみの重蔵, "Uwabami no Juzō") and Tokujiro the Glutton (牛飲の徳次郎, "Gyūin no Tokujirō") would be more literally translated as "Juzou the (Great) Serpent" and "Tokujiro Who Drinks Like a Cow". In this case however, the English translators did manage to mostly convey the intended meaning of these titles, as "Uwabami" is indeed used as a common term for "Drunkard" in Japanese, while "Gyūin" is generally used to mean something akin to "Drinks Gluttonously".
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: One of the Prosthetic Tools you can use is the Loaded Umbrella, a foldable metal umbrella that serves a shield against all attacks, ranging from projectiles to Perilous Attacks, but costs Spirit Emblems to use. Upgrading it allows the Umbrella to protect Wolf completely from certain status effects, specific types of attacks, or be used as an Attack Reflector.
  • Magical Flutist: Some of the Palace Nobles can be found playing flutes, which they use to perform sorcery. The first of them, the "Mist Noble", can be found in a valley conjuring an Ominous Fog and illusions of enemies within it. Others can be found in the Fountainhead Palace.
  • Magitek: The Shinobi Prosthetic appears entirely mechanical, but the Universal Ammunition it uses are paper talismans born of regret, and later upgrades to its gadgets impart mystical abilities to it like flame that burns apparitions or that use alchemy, so it clearly runs off of more than science as we know it.
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • The black-caped samurai of the Interior Ministry wear fearsome red masks.
    • The Okami warriors in the Fountainhead Palace are all masked to hide their inhuman nature. However, their abnormal blue limbs already expose their monstrosity.
  • Marathon Boss: Both final boss fights have you fight against two different bosses in quick succession. The Shura ending has a one phase battle against Emma followed by a two phase fight against Lord Isshin, while the other endings have a one phase fight against Genichiro followed by a three phase fight against Sword Saint Isshin. In both cases, dying at any point will force you to repeat the entire battle from the beginning, just like the Nameless King in Dark Souls III.
  • Mind Manipulation: Wolf can learn the Puppeteer Technique, allowing him to mind control enemies he's backstabbed and turn them into temporary allies before they die. This technique is actually the key to unlocking a few secret paths.
  • Mini-Boss: The game features a large variety of mid-bosses who, like regular bosses, tend to have multiple health bars and must be taken down by depleting their poise meter and using visceral attacks. Usually, they are particularly skilled human warriors.
  • Mirror Boss: The Great Shinobi Owl is a shinobi who uses some of the same tools that Wolf has in conjunction with his katana, making his fighting style very reminiscent of Wolf himself. He even imitates Wolf's revive ability, offering a fake surrender after being downed, hoping to retaliate when his opponent thinks they've won.
  • Money Multiplier: The Mibu Balloons of Wealth or Possession can respectively increase the amount of sen and items Wolf receives from slain enemies for a short time.
  • Mook Maker: Some of the priests of Senpou Temple act like hosts for locusts and can produce them indefinitely. Locusts can swarm Wolf and prevent him from locking on more dangerous enemies.
  • Mooks: Local Ashigaru (semi-professional foot soldiers) swell the ranks of the Ashina, and are led by the far more dangerous Samurai. Individual Ashigaru can be killed with ease, but they can be a surprising challenge in groups - and they are almost never stationed alone, so stealth is the best option to thin their ranks before engaging.
  • Motifs:
    • Immortality is the story's central focal point in terms of themes and messages, and much of the game is spent exploring this concept and its potential pitfalls. The absence of death is represented in-game in one of two ways - the first is to become "infested", which causes a centipede to burrow itself inside its host and reanimate it from within upon death. Those who know about Shintoism will pick up on the fact that centipedes are a symbol of kegare, a concept that relates to moral/spiritual decay. The other is to become associated with the Divine Dragon and its blood, which carries its own baggage - if it doesn't mutate you into a horrific Half-Human Hybrid of man and carp, then it will still age you to the point where you're forced into a symbiotic relationship with the Dragon itself. Either way, Immortality is treated as a bad prospect despite the benefits within the narrative, as even those blessed with the Dragon Heritage still run the risk of either killing those around them or having their blood be used to make men into literal demons. It's telling that in three of the four endings, Kuro and Wolf reject Immortality, as both see it as far too dangerous for any one man to have.
    • Adoptive familial bonds, which affects three characters in different ways and levels. Wolf, Emma, and Genichiro were all taken in after being orphaned by war, inheriting most of their foster family's skills and knowledge. Yet, they each find a different way to confront their familial responsiblity in their adulthood.
      • Rejection: Wolf, despite being trained extensively as a shinobi by Owl and Butterfly, ends up refusing to follow their paths and desires. He fights and kills the latter, despite then not knowing her motives, and he betrays Owl's expectations of him in all four endings to varying degrees.
      • Balanced: Raised by Dogen and the Sculptor, Emma had a strict but fulfilling childhood, maturing into an intelligent, just, and kind woman who holds great affection for those who raised her, but is not blind enough to avoid chastising them for their mistakes.
      • Acceptance: Genichiro was taken into an esteemed samurai family with tremendous wealth and influence, and adjusted well. Yet, it could be argued he loved his family and clan too much, as he openly admits that he'll resort to any immoral and inhuman way necessary to protect and preserve the Ashina Clan.
    • Marriage is also a recurring theme, though not as strongly enforced throughout the game. Several bridal palanquins are scattered throughout the world, with some clearly meant for 'brides' (sacrifices) for deified creatures. One boss in particular is mourning his 'mate' when you arrived, and later will resurrect her in a latter encounter. There's plenty of Ship Tease around as well; for instance, Lord Takeru and Lady Tomoe's relationship being hinted as more than a normal master-retainer one, and Kuro and the Divine Child of Rejuvenating Waters literally sharing their bodies, thoughts, and feelings in the secret ending.
  • Multiple Endings: Given that it's by FromSoftware, multiple endings shouldn't be too surprising.
    • Shura: One of the earliest to obtain. Wolf agrees to Owl's orders to kill the Divine Heir. In response to this, Emma and Lord Isshin battle Wolf, though the latter does so to prevent Wolf from becoming Shura. They both fall, and Owl gloats that the country is now theirs for the taking... until Wolf drives a blade through his chest and kills him. The Divine Heir arrives to witness Wolf picking up the Owl's blade and realizes in horror that his once loyal vassal has now become a demon.
    • Immortal Severance: Wolf refuses to go along with the Owl's orders to kill the Divine Heir. He then obtains the ingredients for Dragon's Tears in order to prevent the Dragon's Heritage from falling into the wrong hands. However, Wolf arrives to find Genichiro having dealt a mortal blow to the Divine Heir, leading to a final confrontation with him and a newly revived Isshin Ashina. After both are slain, Wolf delivers a Mercy Kill to his former lord. He is last seen taking up the profession of the Sculptor with Emma, who returns his prosthetic to him, believing that a shinobi will seek strength, just as he once did.
    • Purification: The events play similarly to Immortal Severance, except instead of killing Kuro, Wolf sacrifices his own life to achieve Immortal Severance, thus sparing Kuro. Now mortal, Kuro pays his respects to Wolf's grave before leaving on his own journey.
    • Dragon's Homecoming: If Wolf performed an extra quest to assist the Divine Child and obtain a Frozen Dragon Tear from her, Kuro instead is absorbed into the Divine Child's heart. Carrying Kuro's soul inside her, the Divine Child decides to travel west to the Divine Dragon's birthplace and return the Dragon Heritage rather than sever it. Wolf decides to accompany them on their journey.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Some Samurai characters will begin the fight by announcing loudly who they are and what are their greatest deeds, true to samurai tradition.
  • Mythology Gag: Although this game is not part of the Soulsborne franchise, FromSoftware was bound to include several references to it.
    • A unique upgrade material for the Flame Vent is a piece of pine resin that continually burns with faint embers long after it should, i.e. Charcoal Pine Resin.
    • Contact Medicine protects Wolf against Poison by giving him a weaker version of it, a reference to how Dark Souls I players would protect themselves from the Toxic-enducing Blowdart Snipers of Blighttown by using Dung Pies to give themselves Poison, a functionally identical but weaker condition.
    • One miniboss is a towering man in impenetrable heavy armor, who can only be defeated by making him fall off the edge of the arena. The Iron Golem of Dark Souls I was a giant suit of Animated Armor, and making it fall off the edge of its arena was the most efficient method of defeating it.
    • A giant snake is One-Hit Killed by plunging down on it from above, much like another giant reptilian creature, the Ancient Wyvern of Dark Souls III.
    • Like in Bloodborne, it's possible to send certain NPCs to meet their doom at the hands of a Mad Doctor.
    • Two endgame bosses are a gigantic white dragon wielding a magical green sword that fires energy waves out with slashes, and a monstrous, ape-like demon with an oversized left hand. In short, Seath, Moonlight Greatsword, and Manus equivalents.
    • The Demon of Hatred (a.k.a. the Sculptor) is stunned by the Malcontent (an upgrade for the Finger Whistle), like how Father Gascoigne is stunned by the Tiny Music Box. Like with Gascoigne, it will only stun the boss a few times before it stops working. To further drive the comparison home, the Tiny Music Box was something Gascoigne and his wife shared, while the Finger Whistle and Malcontent's Ring both originally belonged to the Sculptor's old shinobi training partner. Both items stun their respective bosses because their sound triggers memories of loved ones which momentarily allow them to Resist the Beast.
    • Wolf can unlock the ability to coat his katana in an enemy's blood, extending its range. Lady Maria could do the same thing with her own katana and her own blood.
    • Speaking of Lady Maria, an accidental Mythology Gag arises when giving the Sculptor Monkey Booze. He reminisces about his former shinobi partner, who would play "his" Finger Whistle whenever the two of them took a break from training to drink Monkey Booze. Except once you find the Slender Finger used to create the Finger Whistle (which the Sculptor recognizes as being his old partner's finger), its description says it belonged to a woman. Looks like the translators once again goofed as they previously did with the Old Hunter Bonenote  and Pharis's equipment.note 
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The demo level for Ashina Outskirts is a mismatch of different levels in their final designs, all pieced together to offer the most diverse experience. In the game proper, the enemies and set pieces of the demo are much more scattered. For instance, the Corrupted Monk isn't fought in the Ashina Outskirts at all but near the Fountainhead Palace.
  • Ninja: Besides our protagonist, there are various other shinobi lurking about, who tend to be the most agile and tricksy foes in the game; the tengu-masked Nightjars patrol the roofs of Ashina Castle, short dwarven assassins do the dirty work for Sempou Temple, and the Lone Shadows spy upon Ashina for their shogunate masters. And that's not getting into Wolf's former mentor Lady Butterfly and his adoptive father Owl, aged master shinobi who are some of the dirtiest fighters in all of Ashina.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even compared to other games by FromSoftware, head-on combat is even harder than Dark Souls or Bloodborne in order to encourage creative solutions. Wolf is a shinobi who has little health, no armor, no shield and limited healing items - but the enemies are still just as tough, requiring only a couple of hits to kill him and being generally faster. But more importantly, the direct combat abandons the shields as well as nerfs the dodge in order for the players to master up to three ways of defending themselves at the same time. Even resurrection is not optimal, as Wolf comes back with only half a health bar. Nonetheless, the grapple hook has considerably diminished the dangers the environment can present and allows Wolf to flee from normal fights.
  • Noiseless Walker: What Wolf can become if he unlocks the Suppress Sound skill, allowing him to make no noises when moving and making him even better at stealth.
  • Notice This: Most out-of-the-way ledges Wolf can climb up or sidle along are cracked and chipped, creating clear white streaks on dark stone.
  • Off with His Head!: A unique Finishing Move that Wolf can perform on the Guardian Ape, twisting the odachi that's already stuck in its throat. Seconds after, the Guardian Ape comes back to life, grabs his head and the sword and continues to fight you.
  • Ominous Fog:
    • As usual for FromSoftware titles, a barrier of fog will lock you into boss battles.
    • The path leading to Mibu Village is heavily shrouded in fog, and ghostly illusion enemies roam around within it, endlessly respawning until the source of the fog is dealt with.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The Senpou Monks constantly repeat Buddhist prayers when idle, lending a sinister air to the temple.
  • Optional Stealth: As a ninja, one of Wolf's best tools is stealth. Nothing prevents him from walking at ground level in the middle of the road to openly confront the Samurai and monsters on his way; on the other hand, Wolf can scale walls, hide in bushes, and attack from stealth, allowing him to even the odds a bit before showing himself. It's ultimately up to the player to decide how sneaky of a shinobi they want to be.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Some supernatural foes are described as "Apparition type". They are incredibly resistant to all attacks, to the point where applying Divine Confetti to the sword is basically the only way to reliably deal damage to them, and their attacks inflict a special Terror status effect that can kill Wolf outright.
    • Beginning at duskfall, certain isolated areas such as the Sunken Valley or Mibu Village will be populated with the vengeful spirits of dead mooks, only manifesting when you get close enough to them. While they don't require Divine Confetti to damage, they can really mess with your sense of enemy placement. Since these 'ghosts' were dependent on which area you've visited previously, it's likely this represented Wolf's 'karmic debt', which was insinunated by the Sculptor's conversations. They're literally remnants of the people Wolf has killed.
  • Palette Swap: Several miniboss and boss types are recycled throughout the game, generally with slightly different appearances, but largely identical mechanics. For example, the Blazing Bull is recycled into the Sakura Bull, and Juzou the Drunkard has two other doppelgangers that can be fought after he's dealt with.
  • Parrot Exposition: Whenever someone introduces a new concept to Wolf, he has the habit of repeating the term in an interrogative manner, just so the game can drive home that it will be important.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Wolf can attach the poisoned blade Sabimaru to his prosthetic arm, using it in quick slashes to build up a poison status on enemies. It can be even further upgraded for added lethatity.
  • Power-Up Food: A number of consumables that can make Wolf stronger for a short time.
    • Red Ako sugars increase attack power.
    • Blue Ungo sugars decrease vitality damage received.
    • Yellow Gokan sugars reduce posture damage taken.
    • Green Gachiin sugars boost stealthiness.
    • Dark red Yashariku sugars greatly increase attack power, at the cost of halving one's maximum vitality and posture.
    • The Divine Child can also give out a magical rice that restores Vitality. Kuro can use this rice to make an even more powerful buff item.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Genichiro Ashina serves as Wolf's greatest rival during the course of the game, as the shinobi may have to fight him up to three times, all battles marking the end of an act in the storyline.
    • Since it is infested by a centipede and thusly is Undying, The Guardian Ape has to be fought twice, the second time giving it the true death thanks to Wolf's recently acquired Mortal Blade.
  • Remixed Level: Ashina Castle and Ashina Outskirts, after the Ministry invasion. Powerful new enemies and minibosses appear, certain areas are blocked off by fires and barricades, and siege towers with snipers are set up everywhere, making for a large difficulty spike. Overlaps with Remilitarized Zone.
  • Samurai: Unsurprisingly, samurai feature predominantly among the Ashina's best warriors, with even the lowliest of them far superior to common foot soldiers. When the Interior Ministry invades, they bring in their own master samurai, some of whom even have guns!
  • Scenery Porn: The game is full of gorgeous mountain-scapes, home to beautiful fortresses, temples and monuments to Buddha. Wolf gets to navigate through them too.
  • Secret Underground Passage: A secret underground passage connects the Ashina Castle to the Dilapidated Temple. Unlocked at the end of the first act, the passage allows Wolf to meet rapidly both the Sculptor and Kuro.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: There are two in-game methods that allow the player increase the game's difficulty if they so choose to:
    • There is a location in Mt. Kongou that can be accessed as early as Ashina Outskirts known as Bell Demon's Temple. There, Wolf can ring an iron bell and be possessed by a Bell Demon that boosts enemy health, posture, and damage (likely simulating the next NG+ cycle). In exchange, foes have improved drop rates. Wolf can opt out of the sinister burden by dispelling the demon from his inventory.
    • Going into New Game+ will reveal that Wolf was possessing a key item called Kuro's Charm by default, preventing all damage from going through his blocks. Giving the charm back to Kuro at the beginning of the game will remove that effect; Wolf must maintain consistently perfect deflections to avoid taking damage, while holding the block button and spam-blocking become riskier to perform. If it proves too much, Wolf can ask for charm back by talking to the Sculptor.
  • Self-Recovery Surprise: Some bosses harbour a centipede parasite that will trigger a surprise resurrection after the boss is seemingly killed. Both Guardian Ape and Corrupted Monk battles have the eponymous boss receiving what should be an indisputable mortal blow yet coming back from death to resume the fight.
  • Sequential Boss: Several bosses are like this. There is Genichiro Ashina, who during his second boss fight will shed his armor and begin using the Lightning of Tomoe, becoming much more agile and having lightning attacks in his arsenal. There is also the Guardian Ape, which gets beheaded by Wolf but comes back to life as a headless body wielding the very sword that decapitated it.
  • Sequel Hook: The Dragon's Homecoming opens this up as a possibility. Having decided to return the Dragon's Heritage to its birthplace instead of cutting it outright, Wolf takes Kuro to the Divine Child of Rejuvenation so she can be a shelter to his soul. She leaves Senpou Temple and Ashina in monk garb, with Wolf accompanying her as they journey westward. A Journey to the West, if you will.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Fulminated Mercury upgrade material goes for the obvious one: its Flavor Text describes it as a "tweak of chemistry".
    • The cutscene where Wolf is carried into Fountainhead Palace by a gigantic Shimenawa effigy resembles the same scene in Princess Mononoke of the Great Forest Spirit moving through the forest in its "nightwalker" form during the night.
    • The "Sen Throw" shinobi prosthetic tool is one to fictional detective Heiji Zenigata, who used coins as a tool to help him catch criminals.
  • Signature Move: The Ashina sword style's most recognizable move is the practitioner performing a short jump before making a vertical downward slash. It deals heavy vitality and posture damage, and most major members of the Ashina clan wielding the sword can use it. There is also the Ashina Cross, a special move involving unsheathing one's sword at high speed to perform a dual horizontal then vertical slash, which the most powerful practitioners of the style perform.
    • As you advance throughout the game, several enemies' initially unique movesets become available to you. For example, Genichiro's 'Floating Passage', learned from Lady Tomoe, can later be purchased from a merchant. Isshin's 'One Mind' and 'Dragon Flash' become available once you defeat both his young and old self in the final battles.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The game leans toward perks. Set amount of experiences are converted into skill points that can be invested to unlock unique passive perks or special moves rather than continuously upgrading stats. However, a less visible skill score also applies, as Wolf performs specific actions and becomes better at them with practice. There are five specific skill trees focusing on one type of gameplay each.
    • The Shinobi Art tree focuses on making Wolf an all-around better ninja. One set of these skills allows him to be even more agile during combat by unlocking dashes and somesaults and multiplying the ways he can deflect, another lightly enhances his stealth, and a few skills increase the amount of Spirit Emblems he can hold.
    • The Ashina Art tree makes Wolf a better Master Swordsman. The skills unlock some of the Ashina sword style moves, increase the Posture damage he can deal, and decrease the Posture damage he takes.
    • The Prosthetic Art skill tree focuses on enhancing the use of the Prosthetic Arm during combat, unlocking useful properties for each Prosthetic Tool, combinations of prosthetic tools with close-combat moves, and a couple more increases to Spirit emblem capacity. It also contains two skills that boost the effectiveness of healing items.
    • The Temple Art skill tree makes Wolf somewhat of a Bare-Fisted Monk, unlocking hand-to-hand combat moves. Moreover, it can unlock passive perks that will support him, such as increasing the duration of the buffs provided by the sugars or increasing the amount of money and frequency of items dropped from enemies.
    • The Mushin Art skill tree combines the final skills from the other trees into powerful new Combat Arts.
  • Smoke Out: One unlockable ability allows Wolf to turn the blood of fallen enemies into bloodsmoke, creating a large cloud of red mist that lets him re-enter a stealth mode.
  • Soft Water: Falling into water will negate all fall damage, though falling too far will cause Wolf to take damage and respawn before hitting the ground.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Wolf realizes that Isshin Ashina is the same guy in the Tengu getup that he met earlier after being called "Sekiro"; the name that the Tengu gave him.
  • Spell Blade: Living Force, the final skill of the Prosthetic skill tree allows Wolf to imbue his sword with the effect of certain Prosthetic Tools. For example, the Flame Vent will create a Flaming Sword.
  • Spiritual Successor: Sekiro at one point was planned to be a Tenchu title; it still shares the focus on vertical acrobatic movement, stealth elements, and the feudal Japanese setting.
  • Standard Status Effect: There are five, called Status Abnormalities. Just like in past titles, a bar needs to be filled before the status can trigger.
    • The Burn status effect is triggered when hit with too many fire-based attacks. When Wolf is burning, he cannot regenerate Posture and his health is slowly chipped away by the fire damage. It can be cured with Dousing Powder.
    • The Poison status effect triggered when hit with too many poison-based attacks. When poisoned, Wolf's health is slowly chipped away by poison damage. It can be cured with Antidote Powder.
    • The Shock status effect is triggered when hit with too many lightning-based attacks. Once shocked, a huge part of the health bar is drained and Wolf is paralyzed for a few moments. This can be avoided by taking the initial electrical attack while airborne, and attacking, which will redirect the lightning with minimal damage to Wolf; he will only be affected by the Shock status if he touches the ground.
    • The Terror status effect is triggered when hit by apparition-type enemies or other unnerving attacks. It causes instant death if fully applied. Its buildup can be prevented with Fearlessness Powder or Pacifying Agent.
    • The Enfeeblement status effect is uniquely applied by the inhuman nobles of the Fountainhead Palace and causes Wolf to temporarily age into an old man, dramatically reducing his health, preventing resurrection, and limiting his abilities to a slow walk, a pitiful hop, and a single weak slash. Any enemy can easily finish him off while he's in this state, though he can regain his youth by killing the noble that Enfeebled him.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The Fountainhead Palace is filled with enemies that will quickly inflict a devastatingly crippling status effect on Wolf upon spotting him, making stealth practically mandatory to get through it.
  • Storming the Castle: After the prologue, this is essentially Wolf's main goal for the first half of the game; Lord Kuro has been taken by Genichiro Ashina and is currently held prisoner at Ashina Castle, forcing Wolf to fight his way up from the outskirts to the central tower.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Wolf can easily swim underwater indefinitely, handwaved with the "Mibu breathing technique" shinobi trick.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Wolf can learn some rather unnatural fighting techniques such as Dragon Flash, in addition to more mundane abilities. They're so supernatural, Wolf must use White Spirit Emblems to activate them.
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: Genichiro performs this gesture after cutting off Wolf's arm.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Wolf's Shinobi Prosthetic holds various tools for him to use alongside his sword.
  • Sword Lines: While most sword attacks look normal, several bosses and specific weapons leave luminous trails. Sometimes, they are lit with elemental power or are sacred blades such as the Mortal Blade. Sometimes, the effect is here to signal that the strike is just that powerful. Lord Isshin's more powerful strikes leave white lines behind them and can deal damage even if guarded or deflected.
  • Sword Sparks: Parrying enemy attacks is a core mechanic of the game, so the sight of seeing two blades grinding each other with bright sparks flying is a regular occurrence.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Sekiro features several mechanics from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, tweaked and tailored to fit the setting:
    • The Healing Gourd is an Estus Flask in all but name: you have a set but upgradable number of heals that replenish at checkpoints.
    • Pellets are essentially Lifegems, although you can only hold up to 3 at a time.
    • Sculptor's Idols are similar to bonfires: they serve as checkpoints, heal the Player Character and refresh the Healing Gourd, but will respawn every regular enemy in the area.
    • The Shinobi Prothestic is an evolution of Bloodborne's trick weapons: a tool that augments the player's moveset and grants special attacks.
    • The Ceremonial Tanto damages you for a percentage of your max HP in exchange for giving you 5 extra Spirit Emblems. In other words, it works just like [[Video Game/Bloodborne Blood Bullets]]. The differences are that the Tanto damages you for 50% of your max HP instead of 30% and only has three uses, which replenish at checkpoints.
    • The Five-Color Rice is essentially a jug of Prism Stones/Shining Coins, except instead of being able to carry 99 at once, it only has 5 uses before needing to be replenished at checkpoints.
    • Owl, when fought at Ashina Castle, throws smoke bombs that prevent you from healing for a short time, just like Lloyd's Talismans and Undead Hunter Charms.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: One of the key tools to severing Kuro's ties of immortality is the Fushigiri ("Mortal Blade") - a famed cursed sword that kills anyone who unsheathes it, powerful enough to destroy even what can be considered immortal.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Perilous Attacks will deal massive damage if they land. Luckily, the game forecasts this by having a massive red kanji appear over Wolf's body just before they use it. The player can counter them in different ways, but crucially, Perilous Attacks always belong one of three different types. The player must choose the right way to dodge the attack, as getting caught by it will often result in instant death.
    • Thrusts must be either Mikiri'd or deflected. Dodging is possible too, but thrusts often have tracking, making it possible for enemies to redirect their attack to where you're dodging to and get you anyways.
    • Sweeps must be jumped over, since they go under your deflection and are difficult to dodge out of. However, if perfectly deflected, the players are rewarded with a heavy posture damage and occasional special animations which temporarily stun the enemies.
    • Grabs need to be dodged away from. Notably, grabs can also come in the form of sweeps, in which case they need to be jumped over instead.
  • Take a Third Option: Done in incremental ways, at that.
    • If Wolf decides to stay loyal to Kuro, then he is faced with the cruel choice of either killing his lord to sever the ties of immortality or disobeying his master's will. Instead, if Wolf does specific actions at specific times to trigger special dialog options with Emma, then he can learn there is a way to kill himself instead to make Kuro a normal human. It requires him to acquire the Everblossom flowers from the Owl from the memory of the Hirata Estate.
    • Alternatively, Wolf can also start a quest with the Divine Child of Rejuvenation for her to give Frozen Tears. That way, Wolf can instead have Kuro be absorbed into the Divine Child, at which point both travel west to the birthplace of the Divine Dragon in order to give back the Heritage.
  • Teleport Spam: If Wolf is taking constant damage from burning or poison, he can spam teleport with the Mist Raven. This is especially useful when using the mildly poisonous Contact Medicine. It is not a glitch or an oversight - the game encourages you to do this with the following hint:
    Mist Raven's description: "Some shinobi also use this medicine for a specific technique. Poison is said to expand the mind."
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Katana-wielding monkeys will sometimes throw their sword at Wolf if he is far enough away. Whether it works or not is essentially up to the player's skills.
  • Title Drop: The protagonist is usually just called "Wolf" ("Okami") by everyone who knows him. It's only a little ways into the game when an NPC wearing a Tengu mask interrogates him and, being given no name, decides that this wolfish, one-armed man should be called "Sekiro."
  • Undead Abomination: The Buddhist Monks of the Senpou Temple on Mount Kongo rejected Buddha's teachings of accepting the impermanence of life in favor of seeking eternal life through immortality. Experimenting with the Rejuvenating Waters, the monks have since gained emaciated mummified forms (similar to the real life sokushinbutsu), overrun with centipedes and other horrifying vermin. Those in the more advanced stages of corruption have massive centipedes sprouting from a hole in their abdomens.
  • Underwater Ruins: Parts of the Fountainhead Palace's are completely flooded, and Wolf can swim a bit amidst the underwater ruins of the building. However, a Great Colored Carp that resides in these waters will attempt to kill him.
  • The Unfettered: The Iron Code demands this of all shinobi. A samurai is bound by a code of honor, greatly limiting his strategic options; a shinobi must simply accomplish the mission at any cost, no matter the methods.
  • Universal Ammunition: The usage of all the various Prosthetic Tools cost Spirit Emblems - paper dolls that hold souls of the dead.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Outside of halting certain NPC questlines and reducing chances for Unseen Aid (which one shouldn't be dependent on), inflicting Dragonrot on the people Wolf meets does not significantly affect gameplay or the overall story in the long run; you are free to go through the entire game in the wake of a Dragonrot epidemic of your own doing. At the same time, the game still encourages you to cure victims anyway. The item description on the Dragon's Blood Droplet says it best for the reason why: "The incessant coughing must cease."
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: A sidequest allows you to send either the witless Gentle Giant Kotaro or the friendly samurai Jinzaemon Kumano to the "care" of Mad Doctor Doujun to be experimented on.
  • Villainous Underdog: The Ashina Clan are just fighting for survival against the much more powerful Interior Ministry.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Lady Butterfly is this for players who go through the Hirata Estate immediately after it unlocks, which makes her the first true boss encountered. She's fast, aggressive, has a second phase that's a lot more difficult without some rare items, and the player won't have much in the way of healing to fall back on.
  • Warrior Monk:
  • Was Once a Man: Quite a few enemies are corrupted or mutated humans.
    • The Headless are the restless ghosts of warriors who died for their country.
    • The villagers of Mibu are normal people mutated into zombie-like monsters by the corrupted waters of the Fountainhead Palace.
    • The Demon of Hatred is the Sculptor, mutated into a grotesque monster by his own rage and envy.
  • Water Source Tampering: The origin of Mibu Village's plight. Their river has been polluted with water from the Fountainhead Palace, slowly turning them into monsters.
  • Weapon Stomp: The skill named Mikiri Counter allows Wolf to step on the blade or shaft of a thrusting attack and deflect it downward, heavily damaging a foe's Posture in the process. It looks really great, and because it allows Wolf to easily counter thrust attacks, it is recommended to obtain the skill as soon as possible.
  • Wham Line: During the boss fight against the Demon of Hatred, Wolf recognizes who it was...note 
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?:
    • Kuro is immortal due to his Dragon Heritage, but he wants nothing more than to be rid of it, having come to view its mere existence as a corrupting influence on mankind, since it turns out a lot of people really want to live forever and don't care what kinds of unspeakable acts they have to commit to achieve it.
    • Hanbei is immortal due to being "infested", but he wants to be rid of it so he can die to atone for failing to protect his master like a samurai is expected to.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Chained Ogre enemy has an array of wrestling-inspired moves, including dropkicks, elbow drops and suplex-like throws.


Alternative Title(s): Sekiro, Shadows Die Twice

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