11. Abandoned Dungeon-the worst mainly because of how short it is. Solid mini boss, decent traversal and a good side quest with Doujon
10. Sunken Valley Passage- Beautiful visually. Jumping from statue to statue is fun and Fighting the monkeys is kind of fun. Felt short and way too easy though. The poison area near the Guardian ape boss is not fun to traverse at all.
9. Ashina Outskirts- Very solid starting area. Loved the intro to verticality and have 0 problems with this area, just not as great as the rest of the areas.
8. Ashina depths(poison pool/hidden forest)- This area gets more hate than it deserves. The poison didn't bug me that much at all, even though it was ugly, and fighting the snake eyes girl was really fun and hard imo. The hidden forest was kind of a bitch to traverse but i still liked it overall and hearing the Mist nobles music and then being able to kill him and relinquish the mist was really cool.
7. Ashina Resevoir- Even though this area is tiny and barely deserves a spot, I loved this little corner. Seven spears was such a fun and difficult fight, and there was something so oddly intriguing about Jinzaemon. Also the Lone Shadow Swordsman fight was one of my favorite mini bosses.
6. Sunken Valley-I prefer this stretch of the Sunken Valley over the Passage because it felt like a mad dash to try and dodge the bullets from a distance while taking leaps of faith that you aren't even sure you can make. Gun fort was cool too. I wish this area was a bit less linear and a bit longer.
5. Mibu Village-Something about this area just really appealed to me. The overall feel of it is really bizarre and the baskethead dude is funny but sad. The enemies that come out of the ground are annoying as hell but the boss and mini boss in this area make up for that. I can't really explain why i liked this area so much honestly, just the idea of a village wayyyyyy underground led by a corrupted religious figure is really cool.
4. Hirata Estate- This area was my favorite for most of the game. I think the level design is incredible, the mini bosses and boss here are all very very good. The treasure carp stuff was fun and was the first time you are able to swim in the game. Lady butterfly was the first real moment where I realized how incredible this game is.
3. Senpou Temple- These next 3 areas are very hard to rank for me. There is genuinely nothing i dislike about Senpou, other than maybe the boss here could've been better. The traversal is extremely fun, the armored warrior mini boss was really nice, the side quest and figuring out the kite are both some of my favorite moments in the game too.
2. Fountainhead Palace- I haven't fully finished this are yet, but its already my second favorite. So beautiful, tons of tension and cool level design. My only issue here is the reskinned bosses..cmon..
1. Ashina Castle- This is the pinnacle of FromSoftware level design imo. Scaling the castle from the outside with those crazy flying enemies? Amazing. Fighting in dojos on the inside with very difficult samurai enemies? Amazing. One of the best FromSoftware bosses ever, Genichiro, revisitation later on in the game with new enemies and bosses made coming back to it feel great. Everything about this area is perfect.