This will be a comprehensive playthrough where you fully explore the world, find all collectibles, and defeat all available bosses.
The game starts with an introductory cinematic that lays the story foundation. When you first gain control of your character, you have no weapons, barely any health, and cannot run. Pick up the Ornamental Letter, which tells you to carefully make your way to the Moon-view Tower. Move forward and you will be prompted to jump and then wall jump; do so to get to an outside area called Ashina Reservoir. You will see two large buildings ahead in the distance and as you move forward, you will notice a wall on the left with specific markings where you will be told that can be used to hug the wall. Do so and make your way along the cliffside to reach the next area. Once you get across, you can peek out to see the Moon-view Tower off in the distance.
Stop hugging the wall and you will get a notification explaining stealth. By crouching in tall grass, moving slowly, and staying out of the enemy's line of sight, you can often sneak up on (or past) enemies without being noticed. If an enemy senses you, a black triangle will appear above his head and start to turn yellow. Once it turns completely yellow, the enemy becomes alerted and will start to look around for you. You can still deal stealth deathblows when an enemy is on alert with a yellow triangle, but it's more difficult to sneak up on them without being detected. Should they fully detect your presence, the triangle will turn red and they will actively seek you out. You cannot deal a stealth deathblow on an enemy who is aware of your presence.
Some nearby enemies will be talking and you want to carefully make your way towards the building on the left where you will get a notification about underfloor movement. Continue through the tall grass to remain undetected, heading under the building and you will see your first Eavesdrop prompt at an enemy above you- do so by pressing when within range and you will get some background/story info. Exit through the opening ahead and continue through the tall grass towards the Moon-view Tower. You can get another Eavesdrop opportunity as you continue forward.
Drop down to a ledge below and you will be prompted to hang from the cliff. Notice the white markings along the cliffside- these will appear throughout the game as places that can be grabbed on to, either to climb up or to shimmy along. Hang from the ledge and shimmy across to the other side, then climb up and continue forward. Jump across a gap and you'll see another shimmy spot on the right. As you approach you'll get a lesson on jump ledge hanging, so do so to reach the next ledge. From here, jump, climb, and shimmy left to the hole in the side of the tower, then climb in to trigger a cutscene where you are introduced to Kuro, the Divine Heir.
After this scene, the first trophy will unlock:
Talk to Kuro again to receive the Healing Gourd, which is the Sekiro equivalent of the Estus Flask in Dark Souls. This reusable healing item can be used once for now but you will be able to increases maximum uses as you progress through the game. Equip the Gourd in your first quick items slot, then use it to restore some health. Head up to the top of the tower to find a Pellet, a single use healing item (equip this in another quick item slot), then open the door at the bottom and head outside. You will be given a brief explanation of posture and deathblows.
There are a few enemies patrolling outside that can be killed from behind if you're careful, but you also might have to fight them directly if they get alerted to your presence. This will be your first opportunity to engage in combat, specifically to practice deflecting attacks (as opposed to just flailing away and defeating enemies through brute force, which will likely work against these weak enemies). Kill the first two enemies and you will receive a notification about using Deflection. The next enemy is stronger and will block your attacks, so time a deflect properly, then deal the deathblow.
You will see two enemies guarding a doorway, so kill them and then two more beyond the doorway. Continue forward to meet your first real challenge- a mini-boss named Leader Shigenori Yamauchi. Mini bosses require two (or more) deathblows to kill. Carefully attack and deflect Yamauchi's attacks to fill his posture meter, deliver a deathblow, and repeat to kill him.
You will find a locked door at the end of the path, so make your way around to the right and you'll see an elevated bridge in the distance. Run onto a thick tree branch and jump across to grab onto the top of the wall, then climb up, continue forward along the wall, and jump up to grab onto a ledge that runs along the side of the bridge. Shimmy to the right and you will get another Eavesdrop opportunity, then climb up when you can. Follow the path under the bridge and kill a small enemy on the other side before doing a ledge hang on the left side. Shimmy all the way left, then drop down and pick up another pellet before continuing forward to the door at the bottom.
Inspect it and you can blow the whistle to call for Kuro, which triggers a brief cutscene. Talk with Kuro again, then continue along a tunnel path and you will reach an open outside area
. Continue forward to trigger another cutscene, after which you will be attacked by Genichiro Ashina.
It is expected that Genichiro easily defeats you, but it is actually possible to win this battle (although extremely unlikely until you get a firm grasp on the combat). The game advances the same either way- your left arm is chopped off, the Divine Heir is taken away, and you are left for dead.
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