Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – 10 Things You Need To Know About Isshin, The Sword SaintRhenn TaguiamGame Rant – Feed


Players looking for a Dark Souls alternative can rely on FromSoftware‘s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for an alternate take on the “git-gud” experience. After all, in this game, FromSoftware gives renewed emphasis on open environmental gameplay, as well as using stealth. As such, players need to rely on Wolf’s prowess in both sword fighting and subterfuge to make it through the game’s difficult levels.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why Sekiro Is Better Than Nioh 2 (& 5 Why It Isn’t)

However, the game also changes some staple Dark Souls elements in Sekiro, such as its more straightforward approach to the plot. Thankfully, Sekiro‘s colorful cast of NPCs and rich narrative talk of a captivating tale of Wolf’s struggles to save a child with “Dragon’s blood” that can grant immortality. Interestingly, Wolf meets The Sword Saint Isshin in this journey. And oddly enough, it appears the old man has his own interesting story to share.

10 A Connection With Genichiro


Players will likely acquaint themselves with Genichiro Ashina early on, thanks to his role as the game’s main antagonist. However, Genichiro isn’t the typical mad overlord who wants to attain immortality. Rather, Genichiro seeks the Divine Heri’s immortal bloodline to help him protect Ashina from the Interior Ministry’s army. Interestingly, some players might find this sense of duty a bit too concerning. However, it seems Genichiro owes a lot not just to the land but to the person the land is named after.

As such, players who meet Isshin Ashina for the first time aren’t just meeting a trivial old man. Rather, they’re meeting Genichiro’s adoptive grandfather and Hero of the North. Moreover, this connection plays a huge role in Wolf’s battles with Genichiro in the future.

9 Mastery Of The Sword, And Drinks


Interestingly, despite Isshin’s frail appearance, he’s not someone to trifle with. According to lore, Isshin is a renowned swordsman and even consolidated his techniques under the Ashina Style. Moreover, it’s thanks to his skill in the blade that his clan rose to prominence.

Additionally, Wolf (and in turn, players) get hints about Isshin’s skill with the blade if they give him different drinks. For instance, Isshin will tell Wolf a bit about the Ashina rebellion as well as the nature of the Shura. Despite being random bits of trivia, no ordinary old man would have intimate knowledge about fighting techniques and war stories.

8 The Way Of Tomoe


Giving Isshin Unrefined Sake after defeating Genichiro will prompt him to tell about Tomoe. As it turns out, Isshin’s Ashina style serves as an adaptation of Tomoe’s sword fighting skill, something Isshin and Genichiro both admired. Moreover, Isshin tells Wolf that it’s Tomoe who actually taught Genichiro how to fight and that she helped him utilize lightning in combat.

However, it appears Tomoe might have a real-world counterpart. In Japanese history, people regard Tomoe Gozen as the most famous female samurai, known for both her skill in archery and physical strength.

7 Passed Away?


Unlike other games, Sekiro has a knack of telling multiple messages within the same scenes. Moreover, given the game’s multiple endings, it’s possible to trigger different outcomes when prompting different dialogue options while eavesdropping or exhausting available dialogue with characters. Much happens the same with Isshin, as defeating the Divine Dragon will prompt an interesting scenario when Wolf returns to the castle.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why Sekiro Is Better Than Ninja Gaiden (& 5 Why It Isn’t)

When Wolf defeats the Divine Dragon, players will find Emma sitting beside a dead Isshin. Interestingly, she mentions how Isshin passed away after “succumbing to his illness.” However, players will immediately know this is a lie as his sword and its scabbard are located on the ground nearby. First-timers should grow wary that Isshin might have a deeper role in the game’s events as anticipated.

6 The Tengu Of Ashina


The game also shares other multiple messages in relation to the Tengu of Ashina. Interestingly, unlike other in-game mysteries, Sekiro doesn’t hesitate in divulging the fact (albeit subtly) that Isshin is actually the Tengu that Wolf encounters throughout the game. In fact, the game makes it a point of implying that Isshin regularly sneaks out, as per dialogue with Emma.

Moreover, Wolf sees this connection early on in multiple ways. For instance, eagle-eyed players will notice that Isshin’s room has the same Tengu costume hanging on a wall. Moreover, Wolf will recognize Isshin if he gets to encounter the Tengu first before the old swordsman.

Lastly, Isshin will give the Tengu’s reward to Wolf if the latter misses his chance to get it after the “rat extermination” quest.

5 A Clue To Skill


First-time Sekiro players might get a bit surprised when they realize Isshin’s true role in the title‘s endgame. However, it seems the “chance encounters” with the Tengu Warrior imply Isshin remains a force to reckon with even in his old age. After all, players who meet Tengu for the first time will be asked to complete a “rat extermination” quest for him. And upon completion, they receive the Ashina Esoteric Text that unlocks the Ashina Arts Combat Art skill tree.

In a game from devs known to expand lore through items or dialogue, how could the Tengu warrior have the texts of an ancient sword fighting style? Moreover, Wolf also encounters Tengu in his journey, this time surrounded by deceased Interior Ministry Agents in the Sunken Valley.

4 Always A Final Boss


Regardless of the player’s path throughout the game, Isshin always becomes a boss at the end of every playthrough. For instance, if players choose for Wolf to obey Owl’s Iron Code, they resort to taking Kuro and use his divine bloodline to their own ends. As such, both Emma and Isshin face Wolf, one after the other.

In combat, Emma seems unimposing at first but can quickly overwhelm with her speed and mobility. Her techniques include quick cross-slashes, upward slices, slashes with her sheath, as well as swift Iaijutsu attacks.

RELATED: 5 Ways Bloodborne Is The Best Dark Souls Spinoff (& 5 It’s Sekiro)

Meanwhile, Isshin serves as the final boss of this Shura playthrough and proves his skill in the blade. Isshin has Foresight, enabling him to counter attacks as soon as he dodges them. Aside from quick slices, he has a dash move that ends with a slash, as well as a strong Iaijutsu slice.

3 The Sword Saint


If players choose to protect Kuro, Wolf ends up fighting Owl instead. Moreover, this playthrough eventually leads players to fight Genichiro with a Mortal Blade. However, in a surprise move, Genichiro sacrifices his own life to summon the dead Isshin from the grave, returning him to his prime. Unlike the older Isshin, this Sword Saint has blue garbs, a helmet, and a much younger (albeit thin) appearance. He serves as the final boss of the playthrough.

Thanks to his placement as a boss, he’s considered one of the hardest to defeat in the game.

2 Three Phases


While players encounter and fight Genichiro three times on separate occasions, players actually fight Isshin across three different “phases.” Each of these phases grants Isshin different abilities, both dependent on his weapons and the environment around him. As such, players need to stay on guard as Isshin “evolves” throughout combat.

For instance, Phase One has Isshin using his blade for deadly Perilous Thrust and Perilous Sweep combos. Moreover, he carries over Isshin (Shura)’s abilities of Cloud Walk, Iaijutsu, and a deadly three-hit slice. Moreover, Isshin can meet opponents when they jump mid-air via Anticipate.

In Phase Two, Isshin gets General Tamura’s spear and a repeating pistol to increase his range. This time, Isshin gets leaping attacks, a retreating slash, and gap-closer counters.

In Phase Three, Isshin makes use of lightning around the battlefield to imbue his attacks with fearsome electricity.

1 Flexible But Vulnerable


As with most bosses, Isshin remains extremely versatile across the aforementioned Phases, but he isn’t invulnerable. In fact, players who get to familiarize themselves with Isshin’s attacks can deflect his limited attacks and make great counters. For instance, players who can anticipate his Perilous Thrust can make a counter and break his posture, leaving him vulnerable.

Moreover, staying close to Isshin while deflecting the spear in Phase Two severely limits his attack options. Lastly, thanks to Isshin’s prolonged battles, players should stay alert and stock up on health recovery items.

NEXT: 5 Ways Ghost Of Tsushima Is The Best Souls-Like Game (& 5 Why It’s Still Sekiro)

Spread the love
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button