After a brief cutscene, you will receive the Shinobi Prosthetic, unlocking a trophy:
Talk to the Sculptor for some backstory. As you exit his hut you will see the first Sculptor's Idol outside. Head to it and you will be prompted to use to commune. Do so to get a brief Sculptor's Idol explanation. You can grab two Pellets nearby and a Light Coin Purse around the back of the Sculptor's Hut. Off to the right, you can find Hanbei the Undying, an NPC who can teach you the basics of attacking, deflecting, and dodging. You should definitely practice combat with him before moving on.
Next to Hanbei is the Offering Box, which is where important items that you fail to collect and are no longer accessible end up. This applies to certain items sold by NPCs or found in areas that you lose access to through story advancement.
Head through the wooden arch and you'll get a Grappling Hook notification that explains how to grapple around. Approach the tree branch and when the grapple point turns green, press to grapple to it, then continue forward to reach Ashina Outskirts. Grapple across another gap to find a Sculptor's Idol- use it to unlock fast travel between idols. There are enemies patrolling the area ahead and after killing the first you'll get a notification about acquiring enemy loot (hold to pull in the sen and any items that defeated enemies drop, press to pick up items found on the ground throughout the world). You will also receive experience for killing enemies that starts to fill an experience bar.
If you hug the right side of the area you will find a cliff below that you can drop to with a cave that contains an Ako's Sugar. Grapple back up the main path and continue exploring this area, killing enemies and grabbing any items around. You'll reach an area with three dogs and a ledge with a Sculptor's Idol. Dogs will charge and jump at you, which can be deflected to perform a deathblow just like with other enemies. Rest at the idol, then grapple onto a nearby building ledge and go in through a hole in the wall. You'll see an item next to a corpse on the left- the Shuriken Wheel.
You'll then receive a basic prosthetic tools explanation
Use the previous idol to travel back to the Dilapidated Temple. You'll see a new NPC, Emma the Physician, outside the Sculptor's hut. Talk to her to find out about the Healing Gourd and how to upgrade it, then go inside and talk to the Sculptor. Choose "Present Shinobi Prosthetic," then "Fit New Prosthetic Tool" to access the Create Arm Tools menu. Choose to create the Loaded Shuriken (Prosthetic Tool 1/10) from the Shuriken Wheel, then equip the Loaded Shuriken via the equipment menu. Head back to the Sculptor's Idol and you'll get a notification explaining Spirit Emblems, which are basically ammo for prosthetic tools. Commune at the idol and travel back to Outskirts Wall - Gate Path in Ashina Outskirts.
Grapple back into the nearby building ahead and look out the hole in the opposite wall.
You'll see a lone warrior to the left of a banner on the other side of the area. This is General Naomori Kawarada (VIDEO
), a mini-boss that requires two deathblows to defeat. For mini bosses, you want try to deal the first deathblow from stealth. Drop to the ledge beyond the hole and circle around the area to the left to get on the roof behind him undetected, then either drop down and sneak up behind him or run and jump from the roof to perform a plunging deathblow. He will be the strongest enemy you've faced thus far and is capable of killing you very quickly with his attacks, which are strong and quick. Remember that unless the red kanji appears indicating a perilous attack, all of his attacks can be deflected. You'll need to figure out the timing and pattern of his attacks and deflect when you can, then counterattack.
Defeat him to receive a Prayer Bead (1/40) and a Gourd Seed (1/9). Then return to the Sculptor's Idol, travel to the Dilapidated Temple, and give Emma the Gourd Seed to increase Healing Gourd uses by one. Travel back to the Outskirts Wall - Gate Path idol and make your way back to the roof from where you jumped onto General Naomori Kawarada for the first deathblow. Looking out ahead, off to the left you'll see a platform with a tent and several crows.
Straight out and off to the right you'll see a building, some raised tower-like structures, and a platform with some enemies.
There are actually several enemies in this area, including a large Sumo-like enemy behind the raised platform behind the tall tower that is best dispatched from behind (direct combat with him is pretty tough). Also be aware of the enemy in the building left of center as he will shoot you with a rifle. Carefully kill all of the enemies in this area and loot the items, then find another building in the back of the area
with a woman standing inside on the second level. Tell her "I'm not your son" to receive the Young Lord's Bell Charm
, then talk to her son to to the left of the house. You can also break some boxes at the base of the house to find three Light Coin Purses. If you look off to the left, you'll see that the path leads past some enemies and into another large building.
Before going through the wooden arch, grapple up to the left to reach a platform at the base of the raised platform from earlier with the tent on top. You'll see another grapple point up above
- use it to reach the top and interact with the NPC in the tent to unlock an achievement:
Purchase Robert's Firecrackers by using Light Coin Purses to get the 500 sen required. Looking back towards the building in the distance you'll notice an enemy with a cannon on a platform. Be careful with him as he will shoot you if he sees you. Drop down on the left, grapple across a gap to a tree branch and you'll see a different grapple icon on a branch ahead:
This type of grapple icon indicates a swing point- you will continue forward with momentum rather than grappling to it. Use it to cross the gap, then sneak around the right to the enemy with the cannon and kill him from behind (me will drop a Black Gunpowder, an eventual upgrade item). There are three enemies down below and it's up to you whether or not you want to bother with them. If you head to the ledge to the left of this platform you'll see a grapple point on a branch below with some platforms that you can explore if you'd like, but there's nothing important down there.
Make your way over the roof of the large building to see an area ahead with a Sculptor's Idol off to the right. Commune and rest at the idol, then travel to the Dilapidated Temple. Have the Sculptor Fit New Prosthetic Tool, then create the Shinobi Firecracker from Robert's Firecrackers (Prosthetic Tool 2/10) which is a useful tool for stunning enemies, particularly beasts. I use this prosthetic tool far more than any other as the stun effect works against normal enemies and bosses, allowing you to get some damage in, interrupt their attacks, or regroup/heal. Note that after using the firecracker on bosses, they will be immune to the effect for 15 or so seconds so you can't just spam it to keep them stunned.
Travel back to the Outskirts Wall - Stairway idol, drop to the path below, and backtrack to the large building to find an NPC seated in the doorway. Select "That night?" from the conversation and he will offer information for 10 sen. Pay him for some information on the Hirata Estate and an alleged previous meeting. He offers more information for 20 sen; pay him and he will tell you about a "tube with fire blasting out of it" and you will receive the Flame Barrel Memo which makes mention of a bonfire. Mental note. This NPC, Anayama the Peddler, will now become a vendor with inventory available after resting at an idol. You can do so, then return to him to see his inventory and he will ask you to find out what the Ashina Samurai are in need of. Turn around and you'll see some red beams of light on the ground.
Interact with this Remnant for some backstory, then head through the open wooden door for an Eavesdrop opportunity
. You'll see an enemy in the distance with his head covered, bound and tied up. This is the Chained Ogre (VIDEO
), another mini boss that can be pretty tough.
NOTE: You must kill the Chained Ogre to progress, but if you struggle to beat him, you can skip the rest of this area for now and go back to the Dilapidated Temple and instead follow the path to Hirata Estate as explained below.
First, kill the two nearby enemies. Then rush up to the ogre and around to the left and take out the spear enemy (the ogre will wake up and break free). Quickly run back towards the idol until the Ogre loses aggro, which you know happens when his health bar disappears. Then sneak up along the cliff on the left to get behind him for a stealth deathblow.
Unlike with almost every other enemy, you want to dodge the Ogre's attacks rather than deflect them. He will do a two-hand smash, a series of three kicks, an elbow drop, a flying dropkick, and a perilous grab, so try to anticipate what is coming and dodge out of the way. After dodging an attack you can likely counterattack two or three times before needing to dodge again. Chip away slowly until you can perform the second deathblow to kill him, earning a Prayer Bead (2/40) and a latent skill that increases the potency of health recovery items. Then grapple into the hole in the building at the top of the steps and pick up the Nightjar Monocular from the nearby corpse. Look left and you'll an item on a corpse at the end of the hall- a Gourd Seed (2/9). Grab it and head back to the Sculptor's Idol, then travel to the Dilapidated Temple and have Emma reinforce your Healing Gourd up to three uses. She will discuss several other story related matters and direct you to talk to the Sculptor. Talk to him to receive the Shinobi Esoteric Text, which unlocks the first skill tree (assuming you've gained a skill point by now). Head back to the Sculptor's Idol and you will be told about acquiring skills.
For now, the only skill tree available is Shinobi Arts. The first skill you want to get is Mikiri Counter, which costs two skill points. This skill allows you to counter an enemy's perilous thrust attack with (you can practice this skill with Hanbei after unlocking it). Moving forward, you want to get Whirlwind Slash and then A Shinobi's Karma: Body to open up Breath of Life: Light, which is incredibly helpful as it restores health each time you perform a deathblow. You need 1, 2, and 5 skill points, though, so it may be a while until you have enough. For now, travel back to the Outskirts Wall - Stairway idol.
Note: Whirlwind Slash is a Combat Art that must be equipped in the inventory menu. Use it by pressing + .
Head back into the building beyond where the Ogre was again and look out through the hole in the wall. You'll see a few enemies around, including the next mini-boss- General Tenzen Yamauchi (VIDEO).
Under the tree out on the right is a small enemy that rings a bell when he sees you to alert everyone else. Your goal here is to clear out all the normal enemies, then back up so that Yamauchi loses aggro, then go back and deal the first deathblow from stealth. He is a slightly more difficult version of General Naomori Kawarada- deflect/counteract and be ready to jump over his perilous sweeps or Mikiri counter his perilous thrusts. Once you kill him, you'll get a Prayer Bead (3/40).
There is a path to the right of this area that leads to what seems to be a dead end on a broken wooden platform (you'll see a Divine Confetti and a note about a dangerous "Headless" on the side of the structure).
There is a grapple point on a tree branch ahead
and from there, if you look down you can see a ledge that can be grabbed on to. Jump towards it and press to grab on
, then shimmy left and climb up. Jump down to a platform below and enter a cave, dropping down and crawling through a low path to proceed. Once the cave opens up, you can see the Headless enemy below, but stay away from him and instead exit the cave to the right. Once outside, look up for a grapple point, then use it and follow a series of grapple points to reach an area above. Grapple up and into a hole on the side of a building
and open the door that was locked on the other side. Follow the hallway around and you'll be back to the area where you fought General Tenzen Yamauchi.
If you go to the back of this area you'll see a broken bridge that would lead to Ashina Castle, but you need to find another way to get there.
Grapple to the tree branch down and to the left of the bridge and jump down to a platform with a Sculptor's Idol, then travel to the Dilapidated Temple. "Pray" at the Buddha statue to the left of the Sculptor to trigger a cutscene and you will be transported to Hirata Estate... three years earlier?
Commune with the nearby Sculptor's Idol. Walk to the edge of the cliff and the estate will loom large in the distance.
You'll notice smoke billowing from a fire- a bonfire, perhaps? Jump off the cliff and grapple on the way down to avoid fall damage, then interact with the injured man on the hill. "Ask what happened" and "Ask what year it is" for backstory before jumping down to the bridge. Go to the left side to find a Dousing Powder at the end of the bridge, then go right through a gap in the wall to get to the riverbank. You'll find an item behind a giant stone- a Treasure Carp Scale
. Grapple back onto the bridge and make your way across. You'll be attacked by dogs on the other side (which can be killed easily with shurikens). Grapple over the wall to find a Sculptor's Idol, but before pressing on, grapple back over (towards the bridge) and head left down to the river where you'll be attacked by another enemy and dog. Swim out to the island of rocks to the left and grab the Light Coin Purse and talk to the NPC in a barrel, Pot Noble Harunaga, who sells items for Carp Scales. You will need to purchase the Floating Passage Text eventually in order to make one of the final skills available, but you don't have to worry about it now.
Note: the Mask Fragment is one of three parts of an item that allows you to use 5 skill points to increase your attack power. Do not bother assembling the mask or wasting skill points to increase attack power. Trust me.
There are a couple of fish swimming around nearby that drop Treasure Carp Scales if killed, but it's not necessary to hassle with chasing them down. When you're done here, head back to the idol. The path ahead leads past a few enemies and to a door that is currently locked. To the right of the idol is an area with several enemies, so climb over the wall to clear them out and loot items. On the far side of this area is a tree branch that can be grappled to.
This next area has more enemies, dogs, and an archer on one of the roofs. Carefully clear the area and collect items, then approach the bonfire and pick up the item within to receive the Flame Barrel
, a Shinobi Tool.
Continue along the path past a dying man who tells you about the Shinobi Axe in the temple
(which is in the small area on the other side of the wall across from him). There's an Eavesdrop opportunity down the path to the right
, so listen in, then head the opposite way to open the door that was blocking the path from the Sculptor's Idol. Head back to the idol to rest, then return (you can go over the wall/tower by the idol to avoid the enemies along the path). Once through the previously locked door, approach the doors on the right for an Eavesdrop opportunity
, then take out the enemies (grapple to the roof over the door and stealth kill one first). A third enemy in the building on the left may notice you. Once it's clear, open the marked door.
Pick up the item inside- the Shinobi Axe of the Monkey
, a Shinobi Tool. Use the Homeward Idol to return to the Dilapidated Temple and have the Sculptor create the Loaded Axe (Prosthetic Tool 3/10) from the Shinobi Axe of the Monkey and the Flame Vent from the Flame Barrel (Prosthetic Tool 4/10). You will then receive the Prosthetic Esoteric Text
, which opens up a new skill tree. The only skill of immediate interest is Grappling Hook Attack, but the priority is still to get to Breath of Life: Light in the Shinobi Arts Tree. With that said, head back to Estate Path in Hirata Estate and make your way back to the two guys you Eavesdropped on along the main path (just beyond where the Shinobi Axe of the Monkey was).
Climb onto the left wall and get onto the roof overlooking the two enemies at the door. Do a plunging attack onto the one with the axe, then kill the other. Climb back over the roof you jumped from and talk to an NPC trying to open the door in the area below. It's Anayama the Peddler from the Ashina outskirts, the NPC who offered information for sen and mentioned 1) an item in the bonfire and 2) having met you before. Here, he talks about a three story pagoda that likely contains treasure. Grapple over the other structure in this area to find a Bundled Jizo Statue. Head back to the main path and grapple over the door that the two enemies were trying to get into. There is an Eavesdrop opportunity in here as well as two options for dialogue (one gives you an Antidote Powder). Return to the main path and follow it until you see a normal enemy and two shielded enemies. You can destroy their shields with the Loaded Axe (which opens them up to an immediate deathblow). Beyond them is a bridge that leads into the next area.
This area contains four normal enemies and another mini boss- Shinobi Hunter Enshin of Misen. Kill the normal enemies, then back up as far as you need to to lose Enshin's aggro so you can deal the first deathblow via stealth.
Enshin of Misen (VIDEO) is equipped with a spear that grants him a long range. Deflect his normal attacks and be prepared to Mikiri counter his perilous thrust. Defeat him to receive a Prayer Bead (4/40) and go through the doors ahead to reach a Sculptor's Idol. Choose "Enhance Physical Attributes" and redeem your four Prayer Beads to receive the First Prayer Necklace, which permanently increases vitality- health and posture- by 20% (if you skipped the Chained Ogre to come to Hirata Estate, you'll won't yet have four Prayer Beads).
Make your way down the path and you'll see a grapple point on the left side. Use it, then look up and to the right and you will see the three-story pagoda that Anayama was talking about. Jump into the river and swim to the right and under the bridge until you see another grapple point. Grapple out and follow the path to the end where you can break a bamboo wall to enter a cave. Do a consecutive wall jump to get to the top where you'll see a set of steps that lead up to the pagoda.
Before you approach it, notice a purple samurai on the roof. This Lone Shadow samurai (VIDEO) is far stronger than any other normal enemy you've encountered to this point and will be very difficult to kill. They are prevalent later in the game, both as a standard enemies and as mini bosses. He uses a few different attacks, the most dangerous of which is a five kick combo that starts with a low spinning kick and ends with a perilous kick that can be Mikiri Countered. He hits incredibly hard and deals a lot of posture damage even with perfect deflections, so a more practical strategy is to run by him to the pagoda and and loot the item inside, which is Mist Raven's Feathers, a Shinobi Tool. Then run away and travel back to the Sculptor's Idol. Make your way along the path until you reach a bridge where you'll see a sumo-type enemy on the other side. Instead of crossing directly into him, go to the left side of the bridge and you'll see a tree branch that you can grapple across to. If you want to kill these enemies, jump up and immediately stealth kill them sumo guy before killing the rest. When you're done, head up the path towards the burning area.
You'll find Owl sitting against a large rock- talk to him to advance the story and he will give you the Hidden Temple Key. The only way out now is to grapple to a tree, then onto a tall pagoda. From here you need to grapple down to a small hut along the cliff, then across to another, and then across to a third. From here you can drop to a ledge behind a small building; go around the left and stealth kill the nearby enemy. You can Eavesdrop on the two enemies to the right at the entrance to a cave. There are a couple more enemies out to the left and another in the cave- it's up to you whether you want to kill them all or just run into the cave and climb up and out at the end. Once you reach the top, you'll be in a burning village area with a Sculptor's Idol around the corner.
Commune and rest, then follow the path around to the right to reach a large open area. There are several enemies along the path and a couple more in the building on the right. Your goal is to get to the larger open area on the left where the mini boss Juzou the Drunkard (VIDEO
) is flanked by several minions. There is a tall rock that can be grappled on to in front of the area with all the enemies and to the right of this rock is a friendly NPC, Nogami Gensai, who will help you with the battle once you talk to him (hold of before doing so).
Start by killing the two enemies in the building on the left, then follow the outer path around to stealth kill a shielded enemy standing in front of Juzou. It will get a little chaotic as you run around the area and take out the rest of the normal enemies while staying away from Juzou so he doesn't smash you. Once they are dead, run away to lose Juzou's aggro, then sneak back and deal the first deathblow from stealth. Immediately run over and talk to Nogami so he will join the fight. With Juzou's attention split between you, this battle should be much more manageable.
After defeating Juzou you will receive an Unrefined Sake and a Prayer Bead (5/40). Continue forward into the building and explore the left side to find a hallway with a mural at the end. Hug the wall here to activate a secret door (GIF) and enter a new area that contains a few items and a treasure chest with a Prayer Bead (6/40). Exit this area the way you came and you can break through a wall ahead and on the left (or go around via the way you entered this building) to make your way to a Sculptor's Idol. There are two NPCs in this area, one of which will give you a Snap Seed. Continue forward and "Shift the Tatami aside" to reveal a path that leads to a locked door. Unlock it with the Hidden Temple Key and you will see the Divine Heir in a large room with a burning roof. This area is where you fight Lady Butterfly, who is optional for story progression but required for achievement purposes. There is no urgency to defeat her now and doing so will be rather troublesome, but feel free to try if you'd like. Instead, travel from the nearby Sculptor's Idol back to the Underbridge Valley idol in Ashina Outskirts and progress in that direction so that you can improve damage and vitality before bothering with Lady Butterfly.
Drop down to a platform below and continue forward down a couple more platforms until you get the mid-air grappling hook notification. You will see a grapple point across the gap that is too far to reach, but you can grapple to it by jumping towards it and grappling in mid-air. Quickly run across the branch and platform to hug a wall at the end and a giant snake will appear and survey the area. You need to get past this snake with stealth, so wait for it to look away and then grapple across to a branch, then jump to the platform below with some tall grass and crouch within so the snake can't see you.
Wait again for it to look away and quickly run and jump across to another grapple point, then get into the nearby cave as quickly as you can.
Exit the cave and turn left. Jump across a gap and quickly crouch in the tall grass. When it's safe, move up to a wall that you can hug. If the snake attacks you, try to get back to the gap in the ground just outside the cave and grab onto a ledge. Shimmy all the way to the left and watch the snake- as soon as he looks away, climb up and rush to the huggable wall. Shimmy across a gap to the right and the snake should not see you. Wait again for it to look away and then quickly get into the nearby enclosure and press to "Enter Palanquin". The snake will start to look inside and once it gets close enough, you'll get a deathblow prompt on its eye. Press and for a brief QTE, then run in the direction beyond the palanquin (GIF). Quickly grapple to a branch, carefully run across it and when you get to the end, look up and jump for another grapple point (a swing) that you can use to reach a final grapple point in a cave. Run through the cave and once outside you'll see a grapple point across a gap.
Grapple to it, then grapple up a few more times to reach a Sculptor's Idol. I suggest that you continue saving your skill points until you can get the Breath of Light: Life skill from the Shinobi Arts tree, but the Grappling Hook Attack skill in the Prosthetic Arts tree will be helpful against an upcoming boss.
Jump over the nearby wall, stealth kill the closest enemy, then quickly jump back and you should go unnoticed. Drop down to the ledge below the idol and follow the wall around to an Ako's Sugar, then jump up and grab onto the wall. An enemy will approach from the left and once he gets close enough, do a hanging deathblow to kill him. There are a few more enemies in this immediate area- two in the open area ahead that you can Eavesdrop on, one with a gun in the structure in front of you, and a large sumo guy behind this structure. Climb up and quickly stealth kill the gunner, then back into the corner to try to avoid detection from the two enemies below. Wait for the large enemy to walk past and stealth kill him from behind, then finish off the remaining two however you see fit. Loot the area (there is a Heavy Coin Purse in the building below the gunner), then grapple up to a nearby ledge to find another red light Remnant. Kill the patrolling enemy beyond the nearby broken wall and look right to find a squatting enemy under a tree that you can Eavesdrop on. Do so (he mentions that beasts can be startled- perhaps with the Shinobi Firecracker), then stealth kill him. Run up the nearby steps to find some pellets and a locked door, then grapple onto a tree and then the nearby roof overlooking an enclosed battlefield.
Drop down and prepare for the first major bass- Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa (VIDEO
This boss will be on his horse for the whole battle and wields a large spear. It's important to remember that except for his perilous attacks, every attack he does can be deflected and since he doesn't attack that quickly, getting your posture broken isn't the end of the world. You could even guard his attacks practically forever as long as you manage posture build up. You want to be very careful in attacking him directly as if you overcommit to attacks, you won't be able to guard or deflect his attacks and you'll get punished.
As soon as you drop in, charge towards him and attack several times until he rides away. From there, try to stay close, chip away at his health, and be prepared to deflect his attacks. Guarding is better than getting hit but in future encounters, try not to rely on guarding and instead aim to deflect whenever possible.
You can use the Shinobi Firecracker to make his horse rear up, which provides some time to get in a few attacks but be careful as his counterattack will usually come quickly.
He will occasionally ride away from and this often gives you a grapple opportunity (where you can use Grappling Hook Attack), so grapple to him, then continue chipping away and deflecting attacks.
His slashing attacks are similar but he does a few different patterns that you'll need to work out the timing for. The most common is two quick slashes, then a slow overhead slash. Deflecting this gives you time to get some attacks in.
He will also swing his spear around in a wide circle at the end of a rope. You can simply guard this each time the spear comes around or grapple to him.
He will rarely do a jumping attack (horse included) and come down with a spear slash that you can deflect.
He has two perilous attacks. For the first, he sticks his spear into the ground and rides towards you- you need to jump out of the way if he gets close to avoid being impaled. For the second, he throws his spear straight at you, then pulls it back in- deflect it or dodge out of the way.
Once you break his posture you can perform the first deathblow, then repeat the process for the second deathblow, after which you will be prompted to perform a finisher deathblow (Shinobi Execution), which is standard for all main bosses. After defeating Oniwa, an achievement will unlock:
You will also receive Memory: Gyoubu Oniwa, the Mechanical Barrel, and a notification about Prosthetic Tool Upgrades.
There are two ways to exit the battlefield, but first head towards the Sculptor's Idol to commune and rest. You will receive a notification about Enhancing Attack Power, which can be done with Battle Memories. Choose "Enhance Attack Power" and do so with Gyoubu's memory to permanently increase your attack power (from 1 to 2). From here, turn around and run across the area and up some steps.
Turn right at the top, enter the building, and talk to the crouching NPC who identifies himself as the Tengu of Ashina.
Accept his offer to kill rats in the area, which are the short enemies wearing bamboo hats. You can open a nearby door which allows access to the previous area and idol and talk to a female NPC, then take the steps next to the Tengu up to the next level. Pick up the Light Coin Purse and you should notice a grapple point on a ledge above (GIF
). Use it, then continue to the top of the building to reach an attic with a chest that contains a Prayer Bead (7/40). Exit the building, go left, and up some steps to find another Memorial Mob.
Buy the Gourd Seed (3/9) for 1000 sen (come back asap if you can't afford it now), then use the Homeward Idol to travel to the Dilapidated Temple so Emma can reinforce your Healing Gourd.
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