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  • Accidental Innuendo: When you defeat Hanbei the Undying upon your first meeting, he tells you to make use of his immortality as a punching bag. The way he worded it, however, sounds like something else instead:
    Hanbei: A warm body that can't die might prove useful to you. I volunteer mine.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • While it appears players must contend with the Great Colored Carp underwater, no Boss Battle is ever triggered. Instead, players must simply navigate through its domain without being spotted to reach the rear building of Fountainhead Palace safely. Furthermore, to kill the Carp requires feeding it a specific type of bait, after which it dies off-screen and can be found in a previous, mandatory location.
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    • Despite being a Physical God with divine powers, the Divine Dragon is brought down to a strictly mechanic-based puzzle boss with Boss Arena Idiocy, the player will have to shoot 5 lightning bolts at the dragon by using the lightning splashed roots that conveniently grow around the dragon. Despite going down in 5 hits, the fight certainly feels epic.
    • The Great Serpent, despite being another Physical God, goes down to a QTE after a pretty short stealth sequence.
    • Shigekichi of the Red Guard. He is the only named Interior Ministry officer in the game and thus presumably a figure of great importance lore-wise. A whole stage leads up to him with you cleaving through many tough enemies on the way to his camp at the request of the dying Ashina troops who are being curb-stomped. Despite all that build-up, he's pretty trivial. Aside from a couple of new moves and a different model, he's identical to Juzou the Drunkard, a Warm-Up Boss you killed a few hours into the game. His slow and lumbering swings are very easy to dodge, and his perception is crap so you can land a stealth death blow with little effort before the fight even begins, knocking off half his health. The only challenge is that, if you do die to him (possibly, because his health is scaled to end game levels), you have to clear out all his minions again before fighting him again (unless you want to get ganked), which can be tedious.
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  • Awesome Art: The game is very much living up to the precedent set by previous games, with feudal Japan looking absolutely stunning thanks to the art direction.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Is the Demon of Hatred an exciting Bonus Boss and a brilliant Call-Back to previous Souls bosses, or an incredibly unfair fight that punishes you for using tactics that the game has been pushing you to learn and adapt?
  • Best Boss Ever: FromSoftware are no strangers to making awesome bosses from the Souls games and Bloodborne, and Sekiro brings its own contenders into the fray.
  • Broken Base: The lack of DLC since its launch. A good, refreshing practice signaling a complete game, or a underbaked story with many plotholes still unanswered?
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Many players will end up using Double Ichimonji throughout the whole game without ever equipping another Combat Art. It inflicts heavy Vitality and Posture damage, recovers your own Posture on hit, charges up relatively quickly, and costs no Spirit Emblems, making it one of the most effective Combat Arts in the game.
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    • Before that, expect many to use the Whirlwind Slash; Easily spammable, good Area of Effect, and free, not to mention, the very first combat art you'll probably find. Unlike the Ichimonji however, it does relatively low damage and falls closer towards Boring, but Practical.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The dwarf assassins may not be particularly durable, but their tiny limbs make it difficult to effectively anticipate their attacks; combined with their agility and poison attacks, it means that even just a pair of them can quickly shred any careless player. In addition, several of them wear large hats that double as shields but are still far faster than normal shield-bearing enemies, which means that hitting them with the Loaded Axe is much tougher.
    • The fire-wielding Nightjar Shinobi. They're about as much of a Fragile Speedster as the normal variant, but the burn debuff they apply can stack very quickly if you aren't careful.
    • For the majority of the game, Lone Shadows are rare enemies that appear only on a singular basis in out-of-the-way areas, usually as a mini-boss. And for good reason - they hit like a truck, have long combos, are as disgustingly quick as they are acrobatic, and can easily parry Wolf's attacks from affecting their generous health pool. What makes them so awful is that halfway into the game's second act, during the Ministry's first invasion of Ashina, they become a common sight in Ashina Castle. Good luck fending off as many as four Lone Shadows at once!
    • Fencers, the blue shirted swordsman that like to do that thrusting stab with little warning are certainly a force to be reckoned with if you haven't mastered the Mikiri counter, they inflict massive damage and come in numbers, fortunately you can backstab most of them.
    • The Shotgun wielders at the Sunken Valley Gun Fort. Huge damage, high posture bar, and low probability chances of being flinched. One is bad enough, but two of them, or at least one backed up by the not-as-bad normal riflemen are a recipe for disaster.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: From the moment he showed up in the preview material, General Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa caught people's attention. His grandiose performance combined with a fun (if not especially difficult) boss fight made for a memorable and popular character.
  • Even Better Sequel: Even though it's a Spiritual Successor by design, it's probably the best Tenchu game ever made, with the combination of it and Souls resulting in a truly special experience. It's gone on to be critically acclaimed, and is considered one of Miyazaki's best works.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: A lot of fans ship Sekiro and Emma due to having a similar relationship to the Fire Keeper and the Ashen One.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Dororo (2019). This is due to the fact that not only are their settings being nearly identical, but both have protagonists that have prosthetic limbs who are accompanied by a Tagalong Kid.
  • Fountain of Memes: Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa, due to having the most memorable performance in the entire game. Pretty much every one of his battle cries has become a meme at this point.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Loaded Umbrella is one of the most useful Prosthetic Tools, since it blocks both HP and Posture damage while also having a larger timing window for deflection. Its two elemental versions, Phoenix's Lilac Umbrella and Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella, also allow you to No-Sell all Terror and Burn buildup respectively. The Lilac Umbrella turns apparition-type minibosses like Headless and Shichimen Warriors into complete jokes, especially since its Fang and Blade follow-up attack deals holy damage, eliminating the need to use Divine Confetti (which is pretty rare) to deal more than pitiful Scratch Damage. It's also pretty handy against the Headless Ape's scream attack if you accidentally get caught in it. Meanwhile, the Lotus Umbrella is extremely useful against the Demon of Hatred, whose attacks are mostly fire-based.
    • The Shinobi Firecracker is highly useful in situations where the player is surrounded by multiple enemies and prove to be quite effective against bosses by interrupting their attacks and leaving them open to counterattack. Many players have gone through the game rarely, if ever, using any other tool, finding nothing else to be as effective as just spamming firecrackers and attacking the stunned enemies.
    • Empowered Mortal Draw, while time-consuming to unlock due to the sheer amount of skill points needed to even have it available to acquire, deals absolutely ridiculous damage even on higher New Game+ cycles on top of being quite fast and a very long range.
    • High Monk, the final skill in the Temple Arts skill tree. Not only is it fast, but the posture damage it deals stacks up very quickly. It can also be used in lieu of a mid-air kick against a sweeping attack, essentially making it a Mikiri Counter for sweeps, if Mikiri Counter damaged vitality on top of posture.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The use of centipedes as an Immortality device - those with a passing knowledge of Shintoism will know this arthropod symbolizes kegare, the concept of spiritual defilement. Those infested with a centipede to gain immortality, like the monks of Senpou Temple, are morally decayed.
    • History buffs and Sengoku period enthusiasts will get a kick out of the game's period-correct architecture, armor design, and sociopolitical background, especially the Heian period architecture of the Fountainhead Palace.
    • While FromSoftware's Soulsborne entries are no strangers to analysis on the cycle of death and rebirth from a Buddhist perspective, the setting in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice outright showcases Buddhism's influence on the game's themes and storytelling which reaches all the way to its multiple endings. In general, a working knowledge of Buddhism (such as references to Sokushinbutsu) can make playing through and analyzing the game very rewarding.
    • Throughout its boss fight, the Demon of Hatred repeatedly strikes a kabuki pose known as a genroku mie, which in traditional kabuki theatre is meant to indicate heightened emotion, usually anger. Quite appropriate for a creature literally created by wrath.
    • The rope golem that transports you to Fountainhead Palace is, in fact, a massive shimenawa, which in Shintoism is a rope meant to mark the border between this world and the spirit world.
  • Goddamn Bats:
    • The crickets in the Abandoned Dungeon and Senpou Temple. They barely do anything, they just harass you with annoying jump attacks that do almost no damage and make it difficult to lock on to the actually dangerous enemies because there's usually about a dozen of them on screen at the same time.
    • Guard dogs wherever they appear in numbers. They go down easily and deal comparitively little damage, but are agile and often accompanied by stronger enemies who are typically alerted to your presence by the dogs and become far more difficult to defeat with the dogs leaping at you.
    • Maneater Carps aren't very dangerous, but they often appear in groups to harass you in the water. They can be particularly infuriating when found near Treasure Carps, as they can make it more difficult to catch up with the former and kill it for its precious scale before it disappears.
  • Good Bad Bugs: You're supposed to fight Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa - but you can also just climb out of the arena. Follow that up by hanging out on a roof near a ledge, and he'll steer his horse right off a cliff trying to get to you. The exact same strategy works on the Demon of Hatred.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: Some people have criticized the game for being too hard - be it due to the punishing difficulty, the Dragonrot making continuing even worse, and the absolute hell that is early game. A few even criticize it as being Fake Difficulty. Others dislike the emphasis on parrying and strict timing windows, especially since the game doesn't offer other methods of combat the way similar titles do. Many argue that these are just teething pains of players attempting to play the game like a Souls title and encountering problems due to incompatible styles. Another thing to note is that Sekiro lacks some of the difficulty mitigating features the Souls series has, such as being able to grind levels to brute force your way past difficult bosses and summoning co-op partners, as well as boss fights that often limit outside-the-box tactics and force the player to instead win difficult swordfights with few, if any, "shortcuts."
  • Magnificent Bastard: Usui Ukonzaemon, better known as The Great shinobi "Owl", is a talented ninja who once stood alongside the Ashina Clan. Betraying the clan to hunt the Dragon Heritage manifest in Lord Kuro, Owl directs the Interior Ministry and bandits to assault the Hirata Estate while faking his death. Suspecting his partner, Lady Butterfly of treachery, Owl has his adoptive son Wolf deal with her while disappearing so he can play all sides against one another. Returning to claim Kuro, Owl plans to seize all Japan with the dragon heritage and even upon his defeat, uses his final breath to express his pride in the ninja Wolf has become.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Isshin Ashina, The Sword Saint, since the man embodies being a Combat Pragmatist, right down to bringing a gun to a sword fight. Helps that he's also considered to be one of the hardest bosses From has ever made, and for good reason.
    • Since he is so easy to beat, fans have taken to jokingly treat the Mist Noble miniboss in Ashina Depths as the game's biggest That One Boss, collectively coming up with various reasons why he's so difficult, like having ridiculous amount of deathblow markers.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Mist Noble has already gained infamy as the easiest miniboss in the whole game, making even previous pushovers like Pinwheel and the Witch of Hemwick look Nintendo Hard in comparison.
    • Despite being a reasonably challenging enemy, Genichiro Ashina himself is often jokingly considered a perpetual loser, as he tries to kill Wolf on up to three separate occasions and fails each time, with him committing suicide in order to summon Isshin after his final battle when he realizes that he'll never be able to defeat Wolf. Adding fuel to the fire, it is possible to actually "beat" him during his first encounter, which also forces him to resort to outside aid in order to win, thus furthering the meme. Furthermore, he's unceremoniously killed offscreen by Owl in the Shura ending. Fans like to contrast him with his Memetic Badass grandfather, leading to fan art such as this.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Dark Souls, but everything is a dex build. Explanation 
    • "MY NAAAAAAAAAAAME! IS GYOUBU MASATAKA ONIWA! AS I BREATHE, YOU WILL NOT PASS THE CASTLE GATE!" Explanation 
    • Calling the game Sekiro: Shadows Die A Lot.
    • Woo Guy Explanation 
    • Sekiro needs to respect its players by adding an easy mode. Explanation 
    • You cheated not only the game, but yourself. You didn't grow. You didn't improve. You took a shortcut and gained nothing. You experienced a hollow victory. Nothing was risked and nothing was gained. It's sad that you don't know the difference. Explanation 
    • "ROBERTOOOOOOOOO!"Explanation 
    • "Hesitation is defeat!"Explanation 
    • "Mada mada..."Explanation 
    • John Sekiro Explanation 
    • Anagrams of Sekiro in different languages, such as "Eroski" (Spanish supermarket chain) or "Sokeri" (Finnish word for sugar).
    • A shinobi would know the difference between honor and victory.Explanation 
    • The Parry DanceExplanation 
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Deflecting the big overhead slam during the second phase of the Guardian Ape boss battle produces a noticeably louder deflect sound, signaling that you just opened a brief window to deal some serious damage as it lays down stunned.
  • Player Punch: An intended mechanical example by the developers, given how Dragonrot works on a narrative level. The game guilt-trips you for your numerous deaths by dropping Rot Essence of infected NPCs into your inventory, complete with item descriptions describing a bit of their background and how they are struggling with their newfound illness. When Wolf speaks with the victims, they can barely manage their words in-between bouts of sickly coughing.
  • Quicksand Box: A large number of players seem to put off fighting Genichiro for as long as humanly possible, when he is intended to be fought fairly early as the third "real" boss of the game. They assumed that he was the final boss and that the game would end after beating him, not realizing he was merely the Disc-One Final Boss, so they end up exploring everywhere else it's possible to go and even clearing out some mid-to-late-game areas before finally coming back and curb-stomping him with an overpowered character.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Players who found out that Divine Confetti does extra damage vs everything rather than just to apparitions such as the headless are not amused by the fact that the umbrella slash technique removes the buff immediately. This wouldn't be an issue, however, if not for that fact that said slash is easy to do, and is often done by muscle memory.
    • The Dragonrot mechanic penalizes you for dying by making it impossible to progress the questlines of the afflicted characters AND reducing the chance that you won't lose XP and money upon death. It also makes the afflicted characters visibly and audibly suffer. You can cure this using a rare and expensive item...but the cure doesn't prevent any characters from being afflicted again, meaning that the cures become Too Awesome to Use unless you look up a guide to know when it's actually important to progress a character's questline (and where to find the rare item). This is a particularly bizarre mechanic for FROM, since they've always given the player an easy way to mitigate or strictly limit the degree of penalty for dying in their games, but no such thing exists in this game.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The first duel between Wolf and Genichiro, both for the Scenery Porn and for perfectly showcasing the "Soulsborne meets chanbara" aesthetic of the game.
    • The fight with the Guardian Ape, specifically the surprise of it standing right up after being beheaded.
    • The Final Boss fight against Sword Saint Isshin, primarily for being one of the hardest fights to ever appear in a FromSoftware game.
  • Squick: It just wouldn't be a Hidetaka Miyazaki game without some.
    • The Headless' grab attack; it teleports behind you and then literally tears part of your soul out through your asshole.
    • The Guardian Ape spends much of its first phase farting massive clouds of noxious gas and pelting you with lumps of shit the size of a station wagon.
    • The Senpou Assassins and Taro Troops are, respectively, hideous little dwarf men and hulking babyfaced ogres who both prefer to go around in little more than loincloths.
    • Sword Saint Isshin introduces himself by literally crawling out of the lifeless body of his grandson like a crab shedding its shell. It's almost as bad as the Orphan of Kos's intro.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • A lot of fans became very apprehensive when it was revealed that Activision would be publishing the game, given Activision's reputation as a big AAA publisher that meddles with games, pushes for aggressive monetization and is relatively quick to delist games that aren't Call of Duty from the digital distribution stores, as happened with the James Bond games, Guitar Hero series, and Transformers: Devastation. However, FromSoft has insisted they have full creative control over the final game and, according to the Steam page, it was self-published in Japan and published by Cube Joy in Asia.
    • Sekiro and its lack of character customization and Role-Playing Game elements has turned off some players more accustomed to the Soulsborne experience.
  • That One Boss: Has its own page.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Some people are put off by the fact that the game does not use the "Soulsborne" formula that put FromSoftware on the map. Others argue that after five Soulsborne games in a row, the developers every right to try something new. And despite the changed gameplay, the game still borrows a lot from Soulsborne in visuals, atmosphere, and even the mechanics.
    • There is a trend where hardcore Soulsborne fans have a somewhat sour opinion on the game due to it not having the features that drew them into the series in the first place (weapon variety, character customization, number-crunching, etc.), and consider what Sekiro brings (posture system, narrative focus, freedom of movement, etc.) to be insufficient.
    • Some players are not as interested in Jidai Geki and Historical Fantasy aspects of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice as others, and thus consider the game's level design and artstyle to be less compelling and/or boring compared to the Western Fantasy-inspired aesthetics of the Soulsborne series.
  • Toy Ship: Kuro with the Divine Child of Rejuvenation. This one is almost canon since they literally merge souls in one ending.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The Taro Troops, particularly Kotaro, can come across as this due to their babyish faces and childlike personalities.
    • The Okami warriors are murderous, deformed Fish People, but can appear endearing at a distance when they're playing kemari or performing dances.
  • Uncanny Valley: Old Dragons of the Tree have unnervingly human faces.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Sekiro has a few under-utilized mechanics.
    • There's a few secret shinobi doors located throughout the world, the most obvious one being the secret passage between the Dilapidated Temple and Kuro's Room due to its human-outline. Aside from a few hidden rooms that edge on Guide Dang It! since the secret doors are never elaborated on, the mechanic's not very widely used throughout the game.
    • Related to this, wall jumping provides an interesting way to get around the environment, but there are few places where you can actually do it and it's not integrated with combat or exploration much at all.
    • Minor environment destruction is present in the game, where Wolf can slash at boxes, stacks of books, etc. and even bumping into these objects can create noise that alerts nearby enemies of your presence. However, aside from a handful of instances that can lead to a few treasures, environment destruction is almost largely cosmetic.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A lot of players thought that Kuro's was a girl the first time they saw him. It doesn't help that he is voiced in both Japanese and English by a woman. To be fair, he is rather young.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: FromSoftware's decision to center a game around parrying requires crisp animations and creative ways to telegraph attacks without trivializing its combat. The result? Sekiro is the studio's most intricately-animated title to date, having warriors transition seamlessly into their next attack, beasts swing with realistically wild abandon, and etc. Once again, FromSoftware has set a new animation standard for future titles to overcome.
  • What an Idiot!: Genchiro capturing Kuro forces Wolf to honor his oath to protect Kuro by getting him out of the country. In his quest, Wolf goes on to kill practically every leader, secret asset, elite guard, and hero that Ashina still has available to it. Wolf even kills several supernatural creatures that would've made the Interior Ministry's occupation much more difficult up to and including one of the area's local gods. Given Wolf's immortality, it would've been a much better idea to send him out of Ashina to eliminate much of the Interior Ministry instead. Wolf probably would've done so too as doing so would've indirectly have protected Kuro.

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