No-hit runs in video games—a form of self-imposed problem the place you’re taking zero harm from enemies—are nothing new, particularly for tough-as-nails titles like Darkish Souls. However Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Twitch streamer and YouTuber TheUrbanOrb has taken that feat to the acute, and after greater than three years of apply, defeated each opponent in FromSoftware’s ninja epic with out taking a single hit. This consists of laborious foes like Gyoubu Oniwa and Isshin The Sword Saint, in addition to mini-bosses such because the Blazing Bull and loads of the sport’s on a regular basis shmucks. It’s actually spectacular and makes me hella jealous.
TheUrbanOrb is a Soulsborne YouTuber whose accomplished problem runs embrace a degree one Darkish Souls run on New Sport +7 with a ton of restrictions (like no pyromancy or ranged fight) and the same degree one Demon’s Souls run on NG+7 with the Pure Black World Tendency turned on (a mechanic that will increase the quantity and problem of the enemies throughout the sport’s world whereas providing much more rewards). Runs like these, and this newest no-damage Sekiro process, are one thing TheUrbanOrb does to problem himself, pushing by means of punishing video games with a bunch of stipulations to see if he has the fortitude to complete. It’s instructional watching somebody with huge information of FromSoft’s video games abide by sure situations whereas demonstrating exploits in these epic gauntlets.
First asserting his intent to sort out this problem with a cinematic and emotive trailer in February 2020, TheUrbanOrb has since posted a five-part video collection of him beating Sekiro with out taking a single hit from a single enemy. (The whole run was additionally recorded on his Twitch channel.) Taking on three years and greater than 4,000 hours of apply, he has lastly slayed all the sport’s bosses, from Genichiro Ashina to the Nice Shinobi Owl, and, sure, that even consists of the infamous, stupid-ass Guardian Ape. That pains me. Not as a result of he busted out any flashy strikes or something to kill the white-furred gorilla, however as a result of he merely employed a slower, extra methodical technique than Sekiro teaches comparatively early on. Whereas I’m consistently getting my ass kicked by taking part in too aggressively, and by no means actually minding my environment, TheUrbanOrb compelled enemies to play at his tempo, which gave him the benefit.
Sluggish And Regular Beats The Sport
A slower sport provides you time to suppose, to evaluate the scenario, and make selections based mostly on enemy exercise and positional consciousness. TheUrbanOrb spent a lot of the primary a part of the video collection, for instance, in stealth, dodging enemies to get the drop on them with out partaking in multi-person fights. For many normie combatants, stealth provided a one-hit kill. For all others with massive well being swimming pools, stealth assaults usually eradicated one whole well being bar, lowering the time he was locked in fight.
When compelled to battle, the YouTuber performed fairly reactively. He’d assault as soon as and monitor the enemy’s actions earlier than making an attempt one other assault, or Goomba-stomped bosses to keep away from harm whereas build up the posture meter for a killing blow. This hit-and-run technique, making ample use of buffs corresponding to the consumable Yashariku’s Sugar (that quickly boosts assault energy whereas chopping your life and posture bars in half), made up the majority of The UrbanOrb’s playstyle for this run. That’s to not say it all the time labored out. TheUrbanOrb informed Kotaku over e-mail that some enemies compelled him to not simply restart the problem run, but additionally rejigger his methods to make sure one hundred pc effectiveness one hundred pc of the time.
“Among the strats have been particularly made with the strain that I‘d count on at that half in thoughts,” TheUrbanOrb stated. “For instance, I discovered that typically I’d be so nervous I couldn‘t do effective changes of the digital camera stick anymore, so I ended up altering the strat altogether to make it work with out that effective adjustment.”
So I went by means of a number of such strat iterations and even went again to the drafting board for some bosses a number of occasions till I lastly received them to a degree that will make me really feel assured combating them in a excessive strain scenario. Essentially the most humiliating work was all the time when a “protected and constant strat” turned out to not be, forcing me again but once more to the drafting board, which occurred so much on this run. Most notably, I modified my Sword Saint strat seven occasions in whole till I arrived at what’s lastly the truly working one hundred pc protected and constant strat to me, utilizing one thing that could possibly be thought of an AI exploit that had not been found but. That closing strat was nothing like something that I had carried out two or three years in the past.
The final strategy he used against Isshin The Sword Saint is actually pretty simple in execution. After realizing the multiple strategies revolving around “dodging his overhead slams and countering his follow-ups” didn’t work, because of the rocks scattered around the flowery and foggy arena, TheUrbanOrb found a weakness in the final boss’s AI. He used the fight talent Floating Passage—a five-hit combo assault TheUrbanOrb referred to as “probably the most unpopular and weakest” transfer within the sport—and positioned the boss round these annoying rocks.The exploit gave him area to “take care of Isshin constantly and safely,” he informed Kotaku, in addition to a protecting barrier to evade harm. All with out partaking in each Sekiro mechanic.
Typically, Mechanics Are Cumbersome
One factor that stood out to me when watching TheUrbanOrb’s collection was the unconventional manner by which he used Sekiro’s fight abilities and sport mechanics. He often deflected enemy assaults, however selected to run away extra usually. He incessantly toggled between locking on and off foes in battle. He opted for a slow-and-loose playstyle, dashing in to land a swipe or two, then dipping out earlier than in search of one other probability to strike. He pounced like a cat, which seemingly contradicts Sekiro’s extra aggressive design. FromSoft desires you in your enemy’s face on this sport, exploiting their missteps, throwing them off their steadiness, chopping them up. TheUrbanOrb performed the alternative, slowly whittling down well being bars in a bout of attrition, as an alternative of an act of dominance. TheUrbanOrb stated there’s a cause why he repeatedly prevented deflections and didn’t make use of all of the instruments at his disposal.
“You get in some form of hassle whenever you do [deflections],” TheUrbanOrb stated. “Both the opponent has a moveset that requires a string of immediate selections beneath strain, which I don’t like, or there’s an issue with the world that results in deflections not working correctly (like for Sword Saint).” He talked about that you just get extra invincibility frames whereas dodging in the event you’re not locked onto an enemy than in case you are, not less than when dodging sideways or diagonally, therefore his tendency to toggle the lock-on characteristic whereas combating foes. “Nevertheless,” he stated, “that comes at a price: You must management the digital camera in some way, and that may be difficult. That’s why I usually swap between being locked-off and locked-on throughout the identical battle, like with Owl.”
That is what I imply about speedrunning being instructional. I knew that dodging gave you a sure variety of invincibility frames (or i-frames, as speedrunners usually name them) to guard you from an assault, however I didn’t know that dodging whereas locked-off elevated the variety of invincibility frames, making the dodge much more efficient. Perhaps now I can beat the brutal Guardian Ape, although I ought to in all probability put much more apply in earlier than making that try. Acquired Elden Ring caught in my wrists.
Apply Makes Excellent
TheUrbanOrb put his time in and wound up higher for it, saying that a number of bosses compelled him to review for hours. He spent “between 350 and 400 hours” on Isshin alone, for instance, tweaking his methods and analyzing the boss carefully to make sure this problem run would go flawlessly. This refinement is one thing he’s carried out with numerous the sport’s enemies, typically spending upwards of two weeks on a single boss to check all of the worst-case situations and put together for when issues didn’t go as deliberate.
“Lots of the ‘protected and constant’ methods of two years in the past would grow to be utterly out of date later as a result of again then, I couldn‘t probably have identified most of the issues that I solely realized after compounding many little particulars from all totally different facets of the sport,” he stated. “That to me was probably the most rewarding factor on this run: Taking information from one a part of the run and making an attempt to use it some other place, solely to find one thing new which, whereas unrelated to what I initially needed to realize, I might then attempt to apply elsewhere, which might then lead me to attract one other connection and make one other discovery and so forth.”
It was this means of experimentation and discovery, he stated, with one factor feeding into one other into one other, that enabled him to lastly, painstakingly arrive at what he referred to as “100% effectiveness. And I really feel like that is an expertise and a skillset that could be very useful to have when navigating difficult lives in troubling occasions.”
For The Love Of FromSoft
The factor that pulls me to FromSoft video games shouldn’t be the punishing problem. I’ve but to really end a Soulsborne sport due to how laborious they’re. Nah, the lure of FromSoft video games for me is the group and the love all of them share for the developer’s work. There’s an appreciation and respect for what FromSoft does, and that adoration was the impetus for TheUrbanOrb’s run.
“I had a want to speak to FromSoftware that I admire their work and I deeply respect each one who works there,” TheUrbanOrb stated. “I’m grateful for the creative imaginative and prescient they’ve dropped at life in all the opposite video games that got here earlier than Sekiro, and I cherish the group these video games have caused.”
FromSoft’s video games additionally proceed to be a metaphor for “studying learn how to take care of adversity,” as TheUrbanOrb put it. It’s one more reason why he launched into such a troublesome process. He needed to problem himself, to see if he might memorize the strategies he got here up with and put them to the take a look at beneath actual strain. These video games are a form of life lesson in tackling the challenges of on a regular basis experiences, TheUrbanOrb informed us, and one thing he doubtless received’t neglect.
Now that his all-enemies no-hit run of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is accomplished, TheUrbanOrb can lastly take a load off.
“As to what’s subsequent for me, I’m not positive,” he stated. “I truly waited to play Elden Ring till I completed this problem as a result of I didn’t wish to confuse my muscle reminiscence and my reminiscence of data that I wanted for the Sekiro run. I’m actually trying ahead to lastly experiencing it. As for different challenges or runs, I’m undecided there both. Actually, the final three-and-a-half years took a toll on me, and I’ll have to ensure to get better from that first.”
Yeah, I think about TheUrbanOrb would wish a great, lengthy break after this. I couldn’t fathom dedicating a lot time to conducting such a feat, however as he stated, one of many largest motivators was the individuals who didn’t imagine he might do it. He needed to show them fallacious. I believe we will safely say he’s carried out that.