Making Boss Fights Guide
This is a collection of tips to help make boss fights easier. If these are told to you by the game then I missed them. Some of these I found online in wikis, others I found while watching people complete bosses without taking damage. I thought I would collect them all into one place as I did not know several of them for my first playthrough. Knowing these has made the combat much more enjoyable on my second time around. Some of these are Sekiro specific but a few apply to any Soulsborne game. I may eventually add a boss tips section.
Do Not Parry Spam
This was recommended to me by at least one video but it is a huge mistake. I do not know if this is something FromSoftware fixed or if it was always this way. Mashing parry rapidly without actually blocking an attack temporarily reduces the number of frames you have for a perfect parry. So unless the enemy is going to hit you with a flurry of attacks you are better off waiting until the right moment to parry. According to the wiki you start with 30 frames but spamming block can reduce you to around 7 frames for a perfect parry.
Know When to Run
This is a smaller thing about posture management and movement. If you are running by holding dodge, then posture will not regen. Some of the bosses, particularly a few early ones, have a lot of movement and you need to match to close those gaps. But a lot of the enemies in Sekiro do not require being chased. Staying close to them and walking will allow you to recover some posture while being ready to resume your attack.
A Perfect Parry a Day Keeps the Dragon Rot Away
Even if your posture bar is full as long as you can keep perfectly parrying you will not get posture broken. This is perhaps the easiest to encounter while just playing through the game. I probably even did it a few times in my first playthrough but did not learn it so as to take advantage of it. Though this is a high risk vs high reward mechanic. If you get posture broken you take slightly more damage for a short bit
A lot of Soulsborne bosses are mentally shocking. They scare you into being passive and waiting for openings. You may die a few times but you will get in more damage and better learn where their openings are by attacking whenever possible. Many of the bosses in Sekiro bend and are broken by taking the fight to them. A few will be able to match your aggression or poise through your attacks.
Circling a boss to get behind them is always worth a try. Some bosses' attacks can’t turn quickly and are not wide so moving behind them at the beginning of the attack will let you get off a free hit or two. On one of the final bosses I found this helped incredibly.
Change Your Strategy
This might sound like a no brainer. If you are having trouble try something different right? Well there is a bit more to this. Enemies in FromSoftware games read your inputs and equipment to determine their attacks. I saw a video where someone demonstrated this in Dark Souls III by using well timed weapon switches and positioning to manipulate a boss’s attacks. On a surface level this obviously applies to Sekiro as a decent number of bosses will rush to attack as soon as you heal. Other than my own experience and a few cases like the aforementioned, I could not find any details for how deep this rabbit hole goes for Sekrio. Bottom line is if a boss is giving you a difficult attack pattern, you may want to switch up your movement pattern or prosthetic tools even if you are not using them. Not just because trying something different might be good but because it may force the boss to change its strategy as well.