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It is possible that the tagline and subtitle “Shadows Die Twice” is a reference to the Tenchu series. Characters in the Tenchu series have been referred to as shadows, and the main villain of the last game in the series, Tenchu: Shadow Assassins, had to be killed twice. This led many people to speculate that the game being teased was a new Tenchu game when it was first revealed. In fact, they considered making Sekiro a game in the Tenchu series early in development when they were working out ideas, but they ultimately decided it would be better as a new IP.
You can beat Genichiro in the first battle for a different scene and new dialogue. However, events still play out the same way. A shuriken distracts you, giving Genichiro a momentary advantage again and allowing him to cut off your arm.
The description for the Fulminated Mercury upgrade says, “Created in secret by the Interior Ministry using knowledge from across southern seas. The central forces’ military might owes much to this tiny tweak of chemistry.” The final phrase used in this description is a reference to the show Breaking Bad, where Walt describes fulminated mercury as “a little tweak of chemistry.”
At the part where you can kill the Great Serpent, if you miss the QTE for the second deathblow, the serpent will swallow you and transport you to the cave near where the Guardian Ape is.
At one point, the Owl will say to you “I’m afraid I made a bit of a blunder.” This is a nod to Bloodborne, as Eileen the Crow in Bloodborne will say the same (or very similar) line when friendly.
While not exactly an unlockable difficulty mode, you can make the game harder (and get better rewards) by finding the Demon Bell on Mount Kongo. If you ring the bell, your game will become more difficult. You’ll also gain an item called Bell Demon, which you can use to remove the effects of the Demon Bell.
The Demon Bell increases the vitality damage, posture damage, vitality damage resistance, and posture damage resistance of all enemies. Enemies will drop new loot, the loot quantity is increased, and the item drop rate will also be increased.
Once you have the Mechanical Barrel, you will be able to unlock new Prosthetic Tool Upgrades. To upgrade a tool, you’ll need both the tool and the required upgrade materials, and you’ll need to follow the upgrade tree for that tool.
There are 10 Prosthetic Tools to find:
The Prosthetic Tools then have the following upgrades available through their upgrade trees:
If you’re having trouble finding any of the Prosthetic Tools, use the video guide below for help. Note that it is not possible to unlock every Prosthetic Tool Upgrade in a single playthrough, because that would require 10 Lapis Lazuli and only 6 are available per playthrough.
There are four possible endings you can get in Sekiro. Three of them (Immortal Severance, Purification, and Return) can be progressed toward in a single playthrough, where you’ll then have a choice at the end of which of the three endings you’ll want to go with by deciding which items to give to Kuro after the final boss. The remaining ending (Shura) is an early ending that ends the current playthrough, which is why you cannot pursue it alongside the others.
Go through the story and get the Lotus of the Palace and Shelter Stone key items, and when the Owl asks you if you want to follow the Iron Code or serve Kuro, choose to follow the Iron Code. This will lead to boss fights and the Shura ending.
Immortal Severance Ending
Go through the story and get the Lotus of the Palace and Shelter Stone key items, and tell the Owl you will continue to serve Kuro. Then, after the final boss, only give Kuro the Divine Dragon’s Tears.
You’ll need to go through all dialogue with Kuro and Emma and hear all eavesdropping dialogue from Kuro as well. You’ll need to hear a conversation about Kuro keeping a secret, after which Emma will move to the top of the stairs. Talk to Emma.
Continue going through the story and get the Lotus of the Palace and Shelter Stone key items, and tell the Owl you will continue to serve Kuro. Then you’ll want to talk to Emma again and agree to help her, then rest and talk to her again to get the Tomoe’s Note item.
You’ll need to rest and talk to her again and then go to the Old Grave idol, then rest and talk to her again and then go to the Dilapidated Temple. Eavesdrop on Emma and the Sculptor, then talk to Emma about the overheard conversation and ask what she’s hiding. You’ll get the Father’s Bell Charm, which you’ll need to use at the Buddha statue after defeating Lady Butterfly. After using the charm, go to the boss room where you fought Lady Butterfly and fight the Owl to get the Aromatic Flower. Then, after the final boss, give Kuro the Aromatic Flower and the Divine Dragon’s Tears.
For this ending, you’ll need to do the following things before fighting the Divine Dragon. Get the Holy Chapter: Infested item either by talking to the old woman near Ashina Castle and the monk at Senpou Temple before defeating Genichiro (specifically, before talking to Kuro after you defeat Genichiro) or by using the Mibu Breathing Technique to dive into the pond near the Temple Grounds Idol if you’ve already defeated Genichiro and talked to Kuro. Talk to the Divine Child of Rejuvenation to get rice, and give her the Holy Chapter: Infested (this specific part can be done later, as well). You’ll then need to get rid of all your rice, leave the area and return, and ask for more rice. Repeat this until the Divine Child falls asleep. Ask for rice again, use it, then leave the area and return. Go through the Divine Child’s new dialogue and give her a Persimmon, then ask for rice again to get the Rice for Kuro.
Give Kuro the rice before you fight the Divine Dragon. Rest, then talk to him again to get the Sweet Rice Ball. Use it in front of him to get more dialogue, then go back and talk to the Divine Child. If you haven’t already, give her the Holy Chapter: Infested and then rest. Go to the Illusory Hall and talk to her again.
She will send you in search of a High Senpou priest. Go to Senpou Temple and there will be a new item obtainable from the corpse at the end of the gave outside the Main Hall’s side entrance, the Holy Chapter: Dragon’s Return. Rest and then give the Holy Chapter: Dragon’s Return to the Divine Child. You will then need to get the Fresh Serpent Viscera from the Great Serpent reached via the kite, and the Dried Serpent Viscera from the house near the other Great Serpent. Give them both to the Divine Child. Rest, then eavesdrop on her conversation.
If you haven’t done so already, at this point you’ll need to get the Lotus of the Palace and Shelter Stone key items, and tell the Owl you will continue to serve Kuro. Defeat the Owl, talk to Kuro, and burn the Fountainhead Incense at the altar. Go to the Inner Sanctum and talk to the Divine Child to get the Frozen Tears.
Finally, after the final boss, give Kuro the Frozen Tears and the Divine Dragon’s Tears.
If you need to practice, talk to Hanbei the Undying. Since he doesn’t die (unless you kill him in a very specific way when requested, using the Mortal Blade), you can practice fighting with him again and again to master your techniques.
The kite at Senpou Temple can be used if you have Puppeteer Ninjutsu on the enemy next to the kite. The enemy will then raise the kite. You can then get to the top of the cliff and use the kite as a grapple point to grapple across to the next cliff. This path will eventually take you to the Great Serpent so you can attack it.
If you use the Bell Demon item or a Mibu Balloon next to the old woman, she will praise your piety and prayerfulness and reward you with items such as Ungo’s Sugar and Divine Confetti.
By using the Mortal Blade to kill Hanbei the Undying, you will get the Hidden Tooth item. The Hidden Tooth allows you to immediately die and resurrect, without restricting subsequent resurrection. It is essentially a way to use Bite Down without limits, as the Hidden Tooth has unlimited uses. This can be effective as a way to heal, enter stealth, or dispel the illusions in the second part of the True Corrupted Monk fight.
Keep in mind that since killing Hanbei with the Mortal Blade kills him permanently, you will never be able to train with him again after doing this.
There is a secret, very challenging boss known as the Demon of Hatred. To access this fight, you will need to return to the Ashina Outskirts after defeating the Divine Dragon. Once there, interact with the Sculptor’s Idol. You will then be transported to the area where you fight the Demon of Hatred.
This fight has three phases and is one of the most powerful boss fights in the game. If you’re having trouble beating the Demon of Hatred, use the boss guide video below to get some tips and advice.
To increase your Vitality and Posture, you will need to find Prayer Beads. Offering four Prayer Beads to the Sculptor’s Idol will let you upgrade your Vitality and Posture. There are 40 Prayer Beads in the game. They all can be obtained in a single playthrough if you follow the path for the Purification Ending, and there are only 40 per save file. If you begin a New Game Plus, any Prayer Beads you’ve already collected will be replaced with other items instead.
If you’re having trouble finding all 40 Prayer Beads, use the video guide below.
Memories can be used at the Sculptor’s Idol to increase your attack power. Most bosses will drop memories, although the ones available will vary based on which ending you’re on the path for.