While the combat across Elden Ring and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice don’t make for a one-to-one comparison, there is enough of a connection to incentivize developer FromSoftware to draw from its ninja stealth title into some upcoming DLC. The result of this drawing from previous experience could help the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC to impact the entire game as it reworks a specific type of retaliation that had been limited to Wolf until now.
Likely coming in the form of a new Ash of War, or even a specifically focused katana, transferring one of Wolf’s abilities from Sekiro into Elden Ring could also help to engage with a criticism the newer title received on release. Namely, this could help to make Elden Ring much more reactive, as it would give the player the ability to directly counter certain attacks with proper timing.
The Mikiri Counter has become a key talking point around Sekiro, thanks to the way that it introduces a hard counter for the normally unblockable thrusting attacks that otherwise require players to disengage from combat. However, once the Mikiri Counter has been unlocked, fishing for these same thrusting attacks becomes a major strategy against many of Sekiro’s best bosses as it also does huge amounts of posture damage. It’s this additional posture damage that could help improve Elden Ring if a form of the Mikiri Counter is brought in during the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.
Among the likely ways that the Mikiri Counter could be implemented could either be through Elden Ring’s Ash of War skills or by including Wolf’s Kusabimaru as a unique weapon with the skill already attached. From there, the Mikiri Counter could work similarly to many of the other parries that are already available to players, but expanding the attacks that can be countered with this specific skill. Considering how many enemies can’t currently be parried in Elden Ring, this could go a long way towards making the new bosses in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC and the base game bosses more approachable for melee builds.
Including the skill as a unique feature of a Kusabimaru specifically could be a great way to reference Sekiro into Elden Ring as well. With each FromSoftware release bringing in more new players than the last, there are a lot of fans who started with Sekiro before moving on to Elden Ring and would appreciate the nod to the game that made them fans of the developer in the first place. As such, a nod in the DLC could help make FromSoftware’s games feel more connected for the fans that eagerly jump onto every new release as they come.
One aspect of Elden Ring that currently separates even it from other games is the way that players are expected to respond to enemies and bosses during moment-to-moment combat. Even Elden Ring’s most interesting bosses require players to memorize patterns more than it asks them to react to the attacks as they come. This might sound familiar to the rest of the FromSoftware catalog, where learning boss patterns is necessary for survival, but the delays that Elden Ring’s bosses add to their attacks adds a layer of rhythm that needs to be memorized rather than reacted to.
Drawing from Sekiro with a new parry in the vein of the Mikiri Counter could instead give players more opportunities to deflect attacks and deal massive amounts of stagger damage based on how they react to a boss’ moveset. This could have a dual incentive, giving players more opportunities to hard counter more attacks while also introducing skills that make better use of the stagger system. Considering that even Sekiro’s final boss is vulnerable to the Mikiri Counter, more opportunities to counter obviously doesn’t make FromSoftware’s bosses too easy or uninteresting.