In Sekiro, you cannot simply increase your attack power or your health as you level up. What you can do, however, is to acquire some new skills which will help you out in battle or just your overall survivability. Likewise, there are some really cool prosthetics which will make your life decidedly easier throughout the game. Here is a list of essential beginner skills and tools you should get as soon as possible.
This skill lets you counter Spears and thirst attacks which would otherwise be impossible to deal with. Unlock it as soon as you can and work on getting the timing down.
As an enemy stabs at you, dodge into his attack and you will stomp his attack into the ground, leaving him open to severe, often fatal punishment. There are many spear wielding enemies and bosses in Sekiro and mastery of this skill makes short work of them.
Whenever you get surrounded by enemies, or just cornered in general, this move can really help you out. Holding block and pressing attack makes you whirl forward while slashing everything around you. It has worked great at getting me out of tight spots and is useful for pretty much the entire game.
This skill is simple yet very useful. It makes healing agents work better so you recover more health with each sip of your healing gourd or pellet. The skill has two steps and I recommend you at least unlock the first one early.
Breath of Life
Deathblows are the core of the combat system in Sekiro and you will be doing a lot of them. This skill gives you some health back for each deathblow you land. It’s a bit expensive at 5 skill points, but really pays off as you progress. Pro tip: those big rooster bastards that walk around the world can be instantly killed for a bit of health.
Suppress presence, suppress sound and run & slide
These skills are designed to help you stay in stealth or get back into stealth once discovered. As stealth is an integral part of Sekiro, this skill is pretty valuable. The slide move helps with getting around normal enemies while the silent movement one gives you an edge while trying to sneak up on bosses. How important these three skills are depend on how much you rely upon the stealth mechanics in the game, but you should at least unlock some of them.
Sekiro: Shadows Twice Best Prosthetics
The loaded axe is very, very useful to have as it breaks shields and those hats the gnome people have on their heads. It takes a while to wind-up and will not help you against anything fast, but it is still an essential tool to progress early on in the game. You can find the loaded ax in a small shrine in the early parts of the Hirata Estate area. It is close to two eavesdropping scenes and fairly hard to miss if you look around.
This nifty little thing lets you spout flames in front of you. Combine it with a jar of oil and someone will have a very bad day. The first boss you encounter who is very susceptible to this attack is the Chained Ogre. Douse him in fire and the fight will get a whole lot easier. The flame vent is also found in the Hirata Estate area. At the very start of this area, you will run around to the side of a big wall, once you get inside of this there is an area to you right where a lot of fires are burning. Close to one of these fires you will find the flame vent prosthetic.
Direcrackers are among the most useful tools you have at your disposal. When activated, Sekiro fills an area in front of him with exploding little balls that scare animals and stun enemies. The firecrackers can be bought off a merchant atop a rock in the Ashina Outskirts area. You find the merchant and his rock close to the old lady who gives you the bells that took you to Hirata Estate. Firecrackers are useful against a bunch of enemies, but personally, I had a lot of luck using them against the Blazing Bull and Lone Swordsman bosses.
So there you have it, the most useful and essential skills for Sekiro’s early game. Of course, your own playstyle might make some of these more or less useful but I found them to be important to my success in the early game.
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