Everything You Need To Know About Sekiro’s New Game Plus Or Playthrough #2
FromSoftware’s notoriously challenging Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has been out long enough for most early adopters to have finished the game at least once. If you too are done with your first playthrough or feel like you’re nearing the end, you might be wondering what comes after or if it’s even worth committing to a repeat playthrough.
In what follows, we discuss everything you need to know about Sekiro’s NG+ or Playthrough #2.
What Changes in a NG+ Cycle?
The first thing you may want to know is whether the game forces you into a New Game + cycle right after you finish it. It doesn’t. You will be able to stick around to tie lose ends, starting the next playthrough from the Sculptor’s Idol at the Dilapidated Temple whenever you’re done.
Each repeat playthrough, up to Playthrough #6 (or NG+7) at the time of writing, slightly increases the damage you receive from enemies while also making the latter a tad more resilient to your attacks. You can continue replaying the game beyond Playthrough #6, but the difficulty will remain the same, at least in the current patch.
What Items and Skills Carry Forward?
You get to keep everything from your previous playthrough except for certain key items that would allow you to access certain locked areas. That means all your Prayer Beads and Attack Power carries forward, but while you can continue to up your Attack Power by downing bosses, you can only build up your Vitality to a maximum of continue to build up your Vitality to a maximum of 20.
There are a total of 40 Prayer Beads in the game. Once you’ve collected a Prayer Bead from a particular location or mini-boss, you will not be able to do so again, though any that you missed in your first playthrough will be up for grabs in subsequent ones.
All Skills apart from the Mibu Breathing Technique carry forward to the next playthrough, though you will only be able to use those linked to the Immortal Blade after you collect the weapon again.
All Prosthetic Tools and their upgrades remain intact as well, though these will, of course, not be available during the prologue.
Kuro’s Charm, What it Does, and How to Remove Additional Hardships
Once you’ve finished the game, in every New Game + or New Game that follows, you will have the option to start the playthrough with Additional Hardships, which significantly ups the difficulty with the following changes:
- You receive chip damage when you block or miss a perfect deflect
- Enemies have increased Vitality and Posture
- You take more damage to Vitality and Posture
- You receive more experience points and sen for killing enemies
You receive the Additional Hardships debuff by talking to Kuro in the Moonview Tower right at the beginning of the playthrough and choosing to give him Kuro’s Charm.
You can remove the debuff at any time during the playthrough by interacting with the Sculptor at the Dilapidated Temple and choosing the Remove Additional Hardships option.
The Additional Hardships debuff stacks with effects of the Bell Demon.
Difficulty of a Regular NG+ Cycle vs One with Additional Hardships (Kuro’s Charm)
Using Kuro’s Charm doesn’t simply boost difficulty – it forces you to switch up your play style. While you can afford to miss several deflects versus bosses in a regular NG+ cycle, the same is likely to get you killed with the Additional Hardships debuff applied. If you mistime a deflect or two, not only do you receive chip damage, but the greater damage dealt to your Posture is likely to push it past the threshold often, which could very well kill you.
For reference, I personally found completing a NG+ (Playthrough #2) run with Kuro’s Charm much more challenging than the maxed out difficulty of a NG+7 (Playthrough #6) cycle.