* First thing I did from the last time I wrote was take out two more mini bosses. I finally defeated Lone Shadow Longswordman
though barely...found the fight really tough at the time. The tight arena and the camera angle really doesn't help either to be honest. Managed to barely beat him in the end. Although now I wish I knew what I know now because it would have been so much easier to defeat him back then. More on that later. I then went to Sengou and defeated Long Arm Centipede Sen-Un
. Honestly one of the easier mini bosses to beat once you know that deflecting is your friend. He has very weak posture so if you keep deflecting, use firecracker when you have space and generally make sure to only be offensive when you have a little space between you it'll go down in no time. Being able to plunge attack to take off a deathblow makes this fight even easier.
* Finally managed to defeat Genichiro Ashina
, the 2nd phase is indeed a lot easier than the 1st once you know what to do. You can bait his thrust attack for the Miriki Counter which does a tonne of posture damage. The trickiest part is getting the dodge/counter for the lighting on point but once you do that the rest is okay. The first two phases are the hardest though and it's actually getting to his true 2nd form that is the hardest part. Anyway fantastic boss, definitely one of my favourites.
* Then went and defeated what I thought was the final mini boss of the Ashina Castle area Seven Ashina Spears - Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi
who I barely defeated on my 1st retry. Really difficult boss, insane reach as expected and does a tonne of damage if you get hit. His posture is also difficult to break down. The only thing that makes this easier is you can sneak up to get an early deathblow. Otherwise, this would be the hardest mini boss of the game thus far. It's still one of the toughest for sure.
* So after doing that, freeing Lord Kuro and accepting severing the ties of Immortality. I finally could progress with the main story in Sengou Temple after doing a few side quests. The boss of the area Folding Screen Monkeys
is without a doubt the easiest boss in the entire game including mini bosses. It presents itself as a puzzle boss but it's honestly super easy to figure out. I killed the 1st two monkeys in less than a minute. The 3rd is a little more difficult as the purple one splits into illusions so you have to wittle him down a bit but I was never in any danger of dying. It was really just about finding them which you can just run around the arena to do so. From have never been that good at these sorts of bosses....
* So after that you get transported to the Inner Sanctum to speak to the divine child of the rejuvenating waters which you find out is a fake copy of the divine lord of the Dragon's blood. The monks became obsessed with immortality and abandoned the ways of Buddha to go through the process of creating immortality. The girl you speak to is the only one who survived. You get the incredibly badass Mortal Blade
from her which is one of the items needed to sever immortality.
* Once I got the Mortal Blade, I defeated the true final mini boss of the Ashina area Shichimen Warrior.
Only way to do damage with this boss is to use Divine Confetti. This mini boss is pretty much the same as other types of this sort of enemy: easy to do damage to at a large scale but also does big damage and most importantly does a huge build up of terror which can insta-kill you if you aren't careful. I got a bit lucky with this boss being able to resurrect twice with my last use of Divine Confetti before defeating him. Not too difficult a boss but still barely managed to do it.
* During this time I discovered the Ashina Depths
by going through the hole that creepy old lady spoke of in the Abandoned Dungeon. But decided to press on through the Sunken Valley
after speaking to Lord Isshin
and getting the Gun Fort Shrine Key from Kuro. Beautiful snowy area which basically has to mostly be navigated via the grappling hook all over the mountain. A number of new enemies including some more really annoying firearmed ones. This lead to the mini boss Snake Eyes Shirafuji
who is right in the centre of a giant fort on a little island. You can get shot at before even reaching it and there's no other way round so you have to face him head on. This makes this fight quite challenging, the grab attack in particular is devastating so watch that but I found the best way to fight him was to stay on the offensive and close the distance so he can't shoot you too much. Eventually you'll break his posture for the win. Pretty challenging overall.
* After navigating the bridge and taking the gun fort entirely, you come across Long-arm Centipede Giraffe
, another mini similar to the one in Sengou. The only difference is you can't sneak up on this one. Not much more difficult though, it's exactly the same tactic as before. If you could defeat the one in Sengou this'll be no problem.
* Straight away after, going across the bridge the GIANT FUCKING SERPENT is back to fuck up your shit, destroying the bridge in the process and beginning yet another heart racing run away to get to the next idol. It wasn't any easier to deal with the 2nd time round
* The end of this area is a boss which has been mentioned already, that being the Guardian Ape.
Ooooh boy, this was quite tough. From have been hit and miss with giant monster bosses but this was certainly a hit. Very aggressive and hits like a truck yet you can tire him out to get some good hits in and his posture can be broke quite easily. Your natural instinct is to create some distance but that's a big mistake as his ranged attack throwing a rock at you is devastating, so you got to stay in close as you can, deflect when you have to and essentially take advantage of his missed attacks and him being tired out at times. Firecracker again is your friend here. Then once you have the 1st Shinobi execution, he comes back in a Headless form! Needless to say, I should have seen it coming but it still shocked me. His headless form though honestly is easier, deflecting the sword attacks (YES HE HAS A SWORD NOW) are pretty straight forward and in particular his downward slam can be deflected so he goes down to get in a good 5 to 6 hits. The only real thing to look out for is the spitting blood with the terror build up. If you get hit with that you are dead. Took a few times to get used to but it wasn't too difficult in the end. Much like Genchiro for me it was about getting through the 1st phase.
* After picking up another important item for the immortality severing, it was time for the Ashina Depths.
After getting there, we enter the poison pool to find Snake Eyes Shirahagi
, yep the same as the other one at Sunken Valley except there are multiple enemies around it. Thankfully there's another idol you can get to and exploit so you can kill most of the other enemies as well as get a deathblow on the mini boss. Not too difficult.
* Literally straight after, I traveled down into an empty to space only to find that the HEADLESS APE WAS BACK.
What the fuck. Again, dealing with the 1st phase in headless form was fine, same as before only the 2nd phase introduced another ape, which I assume is a mate. Wasn't a big fan of this fight as it felt like the added ape was adding difficulty arbitrarily rather than in terms of mechanics. It was tough but focusing on the smaller ape with one health bar and taking her (?) out makes it an easier time.
* From there, I found the Hidden Forest
which is a very cool yet creepy area with mist literally everywhere. A tonne of ghost enemies which are basically the same type of enemies you've fought but in ethereal form. Very cool. Big wide open space with tonnes of loot. Eventually I found Tokujiro the Glutton
who is like Juzou but honestly easier at this point. Less enemies overall to deal with and you can also sneak up on him to get a deathblow. Easy mini boss, one of the least challenging honestly.
* Following the path, you get on top of the roof of the centre house and go in and basically destroy the Mist Raven
, honestly this mini boss was a joke, I beat him in 20 seconds or less. Very low vitality and posture even with 2 deathblows required. The aesthetic change is very cool though and makes the area around look completely different. Love the concept.
* This leads to Mibu Village
, another creepy area with some enemies coming back from the dead after killing them. I'm honestly not sure what triggers it but I managed to get round it okay enough. After getting to the 2nd Idol, you face O'Rin of the Water.
Jesus Christ, this creepy bitch is without a doubt the hardest mini boss I've faced thus far and is in contention for hardest enemy of the entire game. First of all, she's super quick and at times does long combos which can easily break your posture if you aren't careful. If you make any mistakes she'll do a lot of damage. Not only that but there are very few windows to get a direct hit on her yet it's extremely difficult to break her posture without losing it yourself or taking damage, especially in her 2nd phase where it takes a long time to break her down. That combined with her quickness and the fact at times she's ethereal makes this extremely difficult. I had to skip to the main boss and do some other things first before coming back to her. Super tough.
* Before that I skipped ahead and did the main boss of this area, the Corrupted Monk
in Illusion form. He only has one health bar but don't let that fool you, he's very tanky. It's very difficult to break his posture until he's about 3/4 the way down his health and his big sweeping attacks can break your posture if you aren't careful. So you have to try and dodge some of the time to get hits in which isn't always easy due to how wide his attacks are. Thankfully Snap Seeds and the Mortal Blade are helpful in this fight though I was a dumbass and used almost all of mine up even though you can only use it up to three times to effect it. At least I was smart enough to save one until almost all of his health was gone and used it so I could break posture and defeat him. Decent boss but pales in comparison on what's about to come.
* Before moving on, I checked out the area I missed and forgot about to the left of the General boss in Ashina Outskirts right before the Underbridge Valley. Found the way to get to the area and beat the Headless
mini boss. The main difference between this and the Warrior is Headless slows down your movement making it more difficult to dodge and get away, as well as the fact it can teleport behind you for some hits. Not too difficult. I attempted the 2nd Headless mini boss once at Ashina Depths and almost beat it only for my last Divine Confetti to run out. So I'll attempt it again once I can get more.
* It was at this point I tried to teleport back to Kuro's room only to find that I could go to any of the Ashina Idols. I then looked back at the temple and Emma was there briefly but you couldn't get her to update the Gourd Seed. I teleported out and then she was gone. I couldn't even use the shortcut from the temple to get to Kuro's room. So I had to teleport to the Abandoned Dungeon to find out that everything had changed at Ashina. So I fought my way through to get back to the roof.
* There are two mini bosses on the way. The first is another Chained Ogre
which in some ways is easier than the first because you can plunge attack by hanging from the rafters to take off a deathblow. Then it's essentially the same tactics as the 1st time. Easy.
* The 2nd mini boss is Lone Shadow Vilehand
which is located at the Dojo giving you a free path to the roof. This boss was pretty tough, first of all you have a 2nd surprise enemy which you potentially have to deal with. Thankfully this can be negated by sneaking up behind him and killing him or you can exploit the situation entirely by using the Ninjitsu art to mind control the 2nd enemy on to your side so you have a 2 vs 1 advantage over the boss. If you are careful and pick your shots, you can essentially have most of the 1st phase done this way. Despite this I still found it tough until I had a lightbulb moment which made this fight so much easier: You can Miriki Counter the thrust kick.
I was so used to doing it on swords that I didn't think to do it with physical attacks but I tried it with the kick after being frustrated with the boss and it worked. It also does insane posture damage so by the 3rd time I did it, I managed to get two hits in afterwards breaking his posture and finishing the fight. This one revelation will make this and the previous boss of it's kind so much easier in future playthroughs.
* Then came the big revelation and a huge story spoiler so if YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THEN DON'T READ ON.
You find out that Wolf's adopted father, the Great Owl was the one behind the infiltration of Ashina and also behind stealing the branch of the Sakura tree, another important item linked to immortality. You are then faced with what I can only assume is the endgame choice. Do you honour the Iron Code and abandon Kuro or do you forgo the Iron Code and choose to honour Kuro's wishes? I decided the latter. This leads to you fighting The Great Owl Shinobi.
This fight is very intimidating at 1st because of the huge posture damage he can do and the fact he hits hard but honestly once you learn his attack patterns and there aren't that many compared Genchiro for example, it's not that bad of a fight. It's still pretty tough and long but very doable. There's a few important things to remember with this fight:
- First of all, if you see him do an underhanded throw, get the fuck away from him. That item takes out all healing ability which means you are fucked if he gets good hits in.
- Secondly, whilst you'll have to deflect some of his attacks, it's best to try to limit the amount that you do. His posture is insanely high and you'll have a good chance with your posture being broken if you rely on it too much. Instead, try to back away and dodge when you can.
- Thirdly and most importantly, there are few windows to attack and a lot of them have risk of either getting hit or more importantly having your healing abilities taken away. Especially if there is a chance for your healing to go for a good period of time, prioritize not being hit with the item over doing damage. There is one attack pattern which is always safe to get a hit in which happens quite often which is the two shriuken throws followed by the Nightjar Slash
, it's easy to dodge and you'll always get 1 to 2 hits in if you are close enough. There will be other times you'll get safe hits in but focus on taking advantage of this attack scheme as it's a safe bet.
The 2nd phase isn't too much different from the 1st except two things, he throws poison which honestly isn't that bad because most of the time if you are careful it won't effect you and secondly he does an effect which blinds your vision for a short time. This can be deadly especially towards the end so be careful of that. Other than that, it's an okay fight difficulty wise, I honestly found Genricho and the Guardian Ape a lot more difficult. It didn't take me too long to defeat him.
* Once Owl is down and you grab the last item for the incense and complete the ritual, travelling back to the Corrupted Monk idol and down the path towards the alcove sends you up to the Fountainhead Palace
in a bizarre but oddly cool cut scene which gives you a unique path to the area where straight away you face the True Corrupted Monk
form. The first boss which has three deathblow markers from the get go. This is what I'm up to and honestly even though I've only attempted a hand full of times, in some ways it's easier than the illusion. Her posture can be broken much more easily and you can exploit at least one of her deathblows. I've already gotten her down to the final phase so hopefully it won't be too long before I beat her. She's definitely one of the cooler bosses imo, big fan of the true form.
* I've now unlocked all of the prosthetic tools and also got a gold achievement for getting to all the areas so I'm guessing I'm pretty close to endgame now
. Let's see how it goes from now.