* Beat True Corrupted Monk
either the evening of the same day or the following day, I can't remember now considering what happened at the end of this 1st playthrough. I honestly played terribly after the 1st few attempts where I already had gotten to the 3rd deathblow but I managed to pull out a good run to get this boss down. It's not a terribly difficult boss by any means but it is a damn good one. Really good attack patterns, well defined phases and a number of different openings to exploit or methods for you to be punished if you aren't careful. Loved this boss
* Next was to explore the FountainHead Palace
area proper and my god is it beautiful, nice open water, gorgeous blossom trees and of course plenty of buildings, bridges etc to jump and grappling hook across. The first part of the area is pretty much easy to get across. The 2nd part though....fuck me, those god damn eel like enemies and the enfeebled condition is a pain in the ass. Thankfully if you sneak round the right route you can take care of them, get to the next idol and get all the loot. Tricky little area.
* There are a number of mini bosses in this area. 4 actually in total. There is one annoying little douchebag who lightnings you every time you are in the water once you get to the 3rd idol. There is a ways to travel and it's particularly tricky getting to the idol as there are a tonne of enemies literally right in front of it. But once you do you get to Okami Leader Shizu
who honestly aside from a lightning attack which of course could catch you if you are not careful, this mini boss is a piece of cake and definitely one that is needed to be taken out to proceed in this area.
* Before that area to the right of the 3rd idol there is the Sakura Bull of the Palace
which is essentially a beefed up Blazing Bull and he is a pretty hard challenge, he hits like a truck much like the 1st BB and will kill you quickly if you aren't careful. Once again, firecrackers are a must here.
* In the middle of the area, there is yet another Shichimen Warrior
, my 3rd one out of 4. Not much more to be said about this one. The final mini boss however is again Headless
but is a boss battle underwater! Not only that but you have to fight two of them and it is certainly imperative to take out the weaker one as fast you can as otherwise you will get overwhelmed. Interesting to have an underwater boss in this game. On a side note, there is plenty of loot to grab underwater as well so don't miss out on that!
* On your way to the last area of FountainHead Palace, you have to go underwater under a cliff and past a GIANT CARP that will eat you alive if you aren't quick enough. Pretty cool hazard though not as cool or scary as the serpent though. This leads up the stairs and to an altar you pray at to get to the divine realm where you face the Divine Dragon.
The first phase is essentially a teaser where you beat up his little minions. Not in the slightest bit difficult. This leads to the main boss itself and damn if it is not the most aesthetically pleasing enemy in the game, it looks absolutely stunning.It is not however matched in difficulty though. Beat it on the 3rd time, honestly once you understand the mechanics of how it works it's not too difficult. It is however a very cool concept and one that is executed very well. I doubt it'll have lasting power but for this 1st playthrough I enjoyed it.
* I went back to both to Poison Pool and Hidden Forest to take out the final Headless and Shichimen Warrior. Not much else to say here.
* Once you take care of that you get teleported back to Kuro's room where Emma is sitting over a fallen and now dead Isshin. She tells you that Kuro is waiting for you by the secret passage. So once again, you have to fight through Ashina to get there. Right by the reservoir you have the mini boss Seven Ashina Spears - Shume Masaji Oniwa
and motherfucker this is definitely in the running for hardest mini boss. Not only do you have to deal with him but a buddy of his too. Thankfully you can sneak up and stab the other guy using the puppeteer ninjustu which if all goes well can help to take out most of the mini boss's 1st health bar....and even then this enemy is tough as nails! I really had to learn how to fight this guy and it's not easy. If you make any mistake then he could end up taking off 3/4 of your health bar and on top of that, the area you fight in has fire all over it so if you aren't careful you'll get burnt too. It took me a couple of hours to get this down.
* But that was absolutely nothing compared to what was left. The final boss of this game which SPOILER ALERT is Isshin, The Sword Saint
is without a doubt the hardest boss in the game that I've properly fought. It's not even close. It's also the best boss in the entire game and that's pretty much uncontested for me, it's an incredible fight and one of the best bosses From has ever produced. I will say that having to take down FOUR HEALTH BARS
when including Genichiro again does feel slightly overkill but it certainly makes it one hell of a challenge.
Most people will find Genichiro the easiest phase but honestly this probably is just edged out by the next phase in this marathon, simply put: I'm not that good fighting him and whilst most of the time I could get him down easily, at times I'd get careless and lose at this stage. Consistency was my biggest enemy with this fight and it wasn't until tonight where I got a bit of consistency that I finally managed to do it. This phase isn't much different from the previous fight with this dude except adding the 2nd mortal blade attacks (YES HE HAS ANOTHER MORTAL BLADE) and the fact that his posture can be broken quicker and your posture can also be broken quicker.
The 1st phase of the real fight with Isshin ended up probably being the easiest once I learned the timings and moves. And it is a fantastic phase at that, fast paced at times though in terms of attack speed he varies, a lot of moves that can really hurt and punish if you if you aren't careful yet if you learn to dodge correctly or deflect/miraki counter at the right time you can do a lot of posture damage. As long as you are aggressive you can take down his posture bar very quickly. I've had fights where I've done both phases without using a single gourd so they are very doable phases.
Where this battle truly gets insane is the 3rd phase. Isshin now brings out a giant spear and a fucking gun. So you have this mad man coming at you with a sword, doing sweeps, jumping slams and thrust attacks with his spear all at lightning fast pace and to top it all off he also uses his gun at range and even at times at close distance. Now with this phase if you fight him properly there seems to be two camps of thought:
- Either keep at a mid distance and wait for him to come to read his movements and punish especially when he thrust attacks with the Miriki Counter or
- Stay aggressive, deflect as much as possible to build up his posture damage whilst looking out for the thrust attack.
I won by doing a mixture of the two but I found that if you are too conservative his posture meter recovers very quickly and whilst it's riskier, it's better to be a bit more aggressive and build up his posture. Honestly the longer the fight goes the easier it is to make mistakes and that happened a lot with me. This is an incredible phase and extremely difficult. The only complaint I have is sometimes the way Isshin moves around in this phase is borderline bullshit and unfair where he'll finish one attack and you are incredibly far away and you think you have enough time to heal only for him to come scorching down the map to interrupt your healing. But other than that, incredible phase.
The 3rd phase is like the 2nd but added with lightning strikes and a few extra attacks. It's slightly easier than the 2nd phase due to the lightning counter which does insane damage and posture damage but by this point normally I've spent so much in terms of healing and in terms of playing that my hands are shaking and am full of nerves. Not to mention I haven't gotten the lightning counter down fully. At one point I was so close to beating him and almost got the posture meter full when he launched a lighting strike.I should have played it safe and dodged but tried to counter it and it cost me the fight. I was so pissed and it took me another 10 tries or so before I finally did it.
But it's done. I honestly felt like in the last couple of evenings I had been playing I'd never get it done but honestly tonight it just clicked for me and I learned the boss a lot faster. Phase 2 despite being the hardest took the shortest amount of time to get the hang of and learn though it's the hardest to master and I beat the boss on about the 5th or 6th time I got to the 3rd phase so I didn't even need to learn it thoroughly in all honesty. No other boss in this game gave me as much shakes and the feeling of accomplishment you get with Souls like content.
* So I finished my 1st playthrough. I was thinking whether or not to properly try Demon of Hatred
as well as the mini boss before getting to that area but decided against it as I honestly want to start another playthrough to do one where I honour the Iron Code to see what happens. I finished the playthrough thinking it would be like Bloodborne but it turns out it's more like DS3 and you can actually hold off going into NG+ which is awesome. So I can come back and try those bosses at a later date
* Overall it took me about 61 Hours
this playthrough with me going through a lot of the game thoroughly though I'm sure I've definitely missed a bunch of stuff. There are 4 endings to this game for crying out loud
so I'm sure there's stuff I'll discover on preceding playthroughs. But for now I'll enjoy the fact that I've gotten one of the endings down