That’s right, I’m a dirty filthy cheater. I took my cheats and I put on Godmode, I turned on invisibility and boosted my XP gain to 16x above default. Backstabbing has never been more fun nor has 1-shotting bosses. Sekiro can kiss my ass, I’m the champ now.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t purchase Sekiro with cheating in mind. Before we get into that I do want to mention I have played the entire Souls’ series and Bloodborne. Dark Souls 1,2,3 all got finished. Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne however never did, while for another topic, I simply cannot come to terms with the PlayStation controller. Point being, I am not a rookie to this series and I understood what I was getting myself into. The difficulty was expected, the clustering of enemies both in plain sight and hidden were also expected. What I didn’t expect was my need to just explore the world of Sekiro free of harassment, free of difficulty.
Cheating didn’t come naturally or instantly. I played the game honestly up until the first true boss (trying to avoid spoilers). I grappled and grappled, I dodged and I parried and then I looked at my foe’s health, and then something in me clicked. “This isn’t fun” I said to myself, I’m not overwhelmed, I’m bored. Now, do not take that as me saying that Sekiro is easy, far from it. Personally, I believe Sekiro is the most challenging of the Souls’ games and I believe I would have struggled mightily to finish it. However, that does not stop the game from being derivative. Combat, the reason I fell in love with the Souls’ series is now what is driving me away from them. I mentioned being bored, the reason is because of the simplicity of the combat. I have been locking onto enemies and blocking, dodging, or parrying for 10 years. I have been circle-strafing enemies for 10 years, and I have been waiting patiently for enemies to give me an opening to attack for 10 years and simply put, I am bored with it.
I remember the first cheat very clearly. Invincibility. At the time I was frustrated at how long this fight was taking and thinking to myself about how wonderful the setting was yet being unable to admire the beauty. Frustrated, I tabbed out to Windows and sat there for a second, deciding if I really wanted to go down this path. Finding a trainer (A tool that allows cheats to be enabled, cheats vary on a per game basis) was a simple affair. I downloaded and then contemplated whether or not I should use this tool now at my disposal. In the end, I shouldn’t have worried about it so much.
I knew that using cheats would irrevocably alter my perception of the game. Once you go down this path there is no stopping, you have in a way ruined the experience, ripped the soul out of the game, minimized the work put in by the developers to craft an experience curated specifically for the user. I didn’t care. My guilt swiftly melted away as the enemy jumped back, reared and attacked, over and over, a futile display of offense that simply would not and could not alter my health. Is this how it feels to be a boss in Sekiro? I could not move impossibly fast, could not jump impossibly high, but I could not be defeated. Death for my enemy followed soon after.
It wasn’t long after when I had enabled other cheats as well. I mentioned that cheating would change the game, and changed it had been. Once you cheat nothing is ever enough. I didn’t turn on invincibility for that fight and then move on in a legitimate manner, quite the opposite in fact, because that seal had been broken and there is no going back. Invincibility, Unlimited skill points, Increased movement speed and the best of all, Invisibility were all soon enabled. I loved every moment of it.
Free from the constraints of From Software’s ideals, my enjoyment of Sekiro blossomed like a silvergrass field. Gone was the reliance on advancing slowly, gone was the fear that I may take unnecessary damage from a common type enemy, gone was all hesitation. I was invisible, I was invincible, no one could withstand the strength of my blade. I was free from all hindrances, it was a feeling I had never before felt in this series of games.
Once free, I surprised myself by not going on a rampage to pay back these annoying, cheap, glitchy enemies (all terms I’ve used in the past). I surprisingly harbored no ill will towards them. Instead, I simply enjoyed the world From Software had built. Sekiro is a beautiful game that never gives you the opportunity to revel in it. Being able to look out over cliffs to the beauty in the distance, traversing bridges, visiting monasteries. Sekiro could easily be an adventure game or mystery game without any combat, the environment is beautifully crafted and cheating enabled my observance. Something I would have never been able to enjoy without invisibility.
The bosses in Sekiro are simply spectacular. I’ve seen all of them in one form or another and Sekiro’s are simply unbelievable. I would love to explain them in more detail but alas, spoilers right. Being invincible opens up an entirely new world when fighting these bosses. Gone is the constant juggling of when to attack, when to parry, when to dodge, when to jump. With invincibility, you get to learn, learn the attacks, learn the timing. Invincibility allowed me to absorb the bosses attacks and appreciate how dang challenging they are. In the place of frustration and anger, was appreciation. Appreciation and the ability to 1-shot the bosses once I felt like moving on.
As I moved through Sekiro I was thoroughly impressed with everything the game had to offer. I got to laugh at walking by a wall that had an enemy hidden behind it thinking back to YOLO moments in the original Dark Souls. I got to relish how each boss has a slightly different weakness that needed to be exposed noting that using a technique from earlier wouldn’t work now, the terror of a certain boss that I am not sure I would have ever figured out. Admiring the aforementioned beauty of the environment. The entire game is expertly crafted and I would have never been able to enjoy those aspects without cheating.
I don’t for a second regret cheating in Sekiro. It turned a game that I was not enjoying into one of my favorites of the past year. From Software may have not envisioned their game being played with cheats, I don’t think they would mind though since we are all in it for enjoyment. Maybe I’ll even have an honest go at it again, take the bull by the horns you could say.