Sekiro Guide: How Death Impacts Your Journey
"You'll face death, and it won't be pretty."
Death is an old friend to fans of From Software's Bloodborne and Dark Souls games, as the Soulsborne titles all implement mechanics and features that relate to dying. From Software's newest game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, is no different. However, death works a little bit differently in Sekiro.
In the following guide, we go over all the ways that death impacts your journey in Sekiro. Whether you want to know when the best time to use the revive mechanic is or how to deal with the effects of Dragonrot, read ahead to learn more.
Sekiro is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. If you're still on the fence about whether you want to buy the game, read our review-in-progress. In it, Tamoor Hussain gives the game a 9/10, writing, "Sekiro marries From Software's unique brand of gameplay with stealth action to deliver an experience that is as challenging as it is gratifying."
In Comparison To Dark Souls And Bloodborne
First and foremost, you need to treat death in Sekiro differently than what you may have experienced playing Darks Souls or Bloodborne. When it comes to death, the only similarity Sekiro shares with From Software's previous titles is that its world is filled with innumerable ways to kill your character.
Upon death, your character, Wolf, loses some of his experience and half of the in-game currency in his possession. The former is used to upgrade Wolf's abilities and unlock new moves, while the latter allows you to purchase items. You cannot recover what you've lost upon death, so it's in your best interest to flee from fights you think you can't win. To counter this, Wolf has the ability to receive Unseen Aid--providing a chance to keep your experience and coin upon death. You can see your probability of receiving Unseen Aid--which will decrease if Dragonrot has begun to spread--by either pausing the game or resting at an idol.
Dragonrot -- What It Does And How To Cure It
Speaking of Dragonrot, this deadly disease is also closely tied to death in Sekiro. Pretty much anyone Wolf meets and interacts with has the potential of contracting Dragonrot, which causes them to suffer violent coughing fits. The game will inform you whenever someone contracts the disease.
The more you die in Sekiro, the more the Dragonrot disease spreads. Die only a few times in your playthrough and only a couple of individuals will catch it. However, if Wolf falls in battle many times--which is much more likely as Sekiro is a very difficult game--then eventually everyone he knows will begin coughing. As stated before, you do not want this. With every character that contracts Dragonrot, Wolf's possibility of receiving Unseen Aid diminishes. That's not all, though. You won't be able to complete questlines for characters who've caught the disease, as their coughing fits don't allow them to properly answer you when you try to talk to them. Some of these questlines unlock new skills and prosthetic upgrades that help with the minibosses and bosses in the main story, so doing them is in your best interest.
Thankfully, Dragonrot isn't fatal (or at least as far as we can tell), and there's a cure. So you shouldn't lose anyone and their respective side quests to the disease while you're busy collecting the ingredients to make medicine.
In order to first discover the cure, you'll need The Sculptor to fall ill to the Dragonrot. You'll know when it happens because you'll get a cutscene that highlights how sick he's becoming. Go outside and talk to Emma about it and she'll give you a quest for a cure. You just need to bring her the blood of someone else who has Dragonrot. When you get the notification that someone else is sick, go and talk to them. They'll cough up some blood that you can take back to Emma. She'll use the blood to synthesize a cure, called a Dragon Tear. Using the tear at an idol cures everyone plagued by the Dragonrot. However, if you die enough times, the disease will begin to spread once again. You'll need to buy more Dragon Tears from specific merchants in order to cure the rot again. As far as we can tell, there isn't an infinite amount to purchase, so save those tears for when you really need them.
In Sekiro, Shadows Can Actually Die Thrice
Despite Sekiro's title, you can actually die up to three times on one life. In the bottom left corner of the screen, you'll notice two pinkish red orbs. They represent how many times you can revive. The first orb is filled by resting at an idol, and the second is filled by executing enemies with death blows.
When you die, you'll have the choice of accepting death or reviving yourself. Choosing to revive uses your first orb and puts a black smear through the second. You'll need to land a deathblow to remove the smear. Doing so allows you to revive a second time upon dying again.
You'll need to be strategic about reviving a second time though. Remember, your second orb is filled through landing deathblows on enemies. So if you use your second orb during a boss fight and then die a third time, you'll have to go out and farm enemies to recover a second revive for fighting the boss again. If you don't think you have the necessary upgrades to beat the boss you're currently fighting, you might want to just let the Wolf die and save your second revive for another run at the boss.