2. General hints and tips
I can give a few tips, but basically they will come over time.
This game doesn't have a tutorial, so i recommend reading the game manual carefully! Knowing how to pull a sword before you even have to and therefore knowing how to block can save your life (and time) significantly.
Know your weapons and the stances! Although you will use a lot of different weapons during your playthrough, I recommend sticking to the ones you are most comfortable with. Since your weapons get stronger after certain levels reached and kills achieved, you surely get rewarded by using the same weapon over and over again. Also keep good weapons in your safe, one of each kind since you will need a total of 50 different ones for an achievement and also will have to unlock each skill for every weapon stance. A small tip for grinding experience for your weapons, go to Minori castle and look out for the guy with the tuna mini-game. Hack away at the tuna and watch your weapon skill increase with each hit! (surely only usable at low levels)
Block and parry whenever you can! Blocking isn't that hard, but parrying surely is. It took me a lot of practice to master it and even more to switch to instant kill mode while doing it (quicktime button sequences are really tough here!). Try it whenever you can and watch tough enemies die in an instant!
NEVER prostrate yourself by apologizing!! There might be 2-3 opportunities in the game where it might be OK (especially if you assault someone and can't kill him), but it mostly goes with a lot of negative things. You are not just losing face (getting called coward and stuff), you are also losing the fame of the people AND lose a lot of your samurai rating! So, I recommend strongly to die before you attempt that as it doesn't have an impact as large as apologizing.
Farm money and stow it away in your safe! Keeping money on you has a lot of problems, especially because it might get stolen. So, stow large amounts of money in your safe.
You can leave Amana whenever you want! Go to the world map and on the bottom of the map is the option to leave. This is crucial if you buy something really expensive, kill the trader to get your money back and don't want to lose the trader. This is especially important if you farm for weapons, since you will have to kill certain characters which you really don't want to see dead.
When farming for weapons, just to be on the safe side, choose the difficulty i write down rather than a higher one. The chances for getting that specific weapon are much higher on the right difficulty than on a higher (not to mention that you won´t get them on a lower)
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