Is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice that difficult or am I losing my touch?
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an action-adventure video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Activision. The game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on March 22, 2019.
So, I was with a couple of my gaming boys and they told me hey, have you pre-ordered Sekiro yet? And I was like, man I’m not much of a fan of Dark Souls and Bloodborne type gameplay, it’s probably for the best I don’t lose my patience and smash my controller for this game. One friend was like bro, stfu you need to get this, it will be much easier than those games and you won’t die as much, AND it’s much lighter game-play. And like that, wouldn’t you know it, the easily manipulated guy I am I went and bought it on the day it came out last week.
I haven’t really stopped playing it as a matter of fact, and there’s so much left to do, and well, I still don’t really consider it “light gaming”, but it’s not as unforgiving as Dark Souls thank the lord. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls developers From Software. It’s set in fictional Sengoku Japan in the middle of a conflict between the Ashina and Hirata clans. In the game you play as a rogue shinobu called Sekiro – the one-armed wolf. As Sekiro, you are charged with the responsibility of protecting a young lord who has the coveted power to defy death. Sounds awesome doesn’t it? Rather than an RPG, I consider it more of an action game per se. Within the game you’ll pick up new prosthetic arms and learn new combat techniques, sounds very familiar with a game that came out this month wouldn’t you agree? Maybe they should have re-named the game Shadows May Cry Twice. Get it? I digress.
Unlike Dark Souls, the combat system is more fluid and absolutely beautiful. Instead of killing your opponent by ripping away at their health bar, you need to overwhelm their posture bar with strikes and parries until you find an opening and finish them off. Pretty much like real life don’t you think? Enemy “health” bars are there to affect the amount of damage an enemy posture takes really.
The Game –
Dang man, Sekiro gives Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin a run for his money (Keanu Reeves is FIRE, Sekiro is the SUN), attacking a bunch of enemies with combos, special sword attacks, your prosthetic arm and the shinobi arts, always keeping an eye on that posture gauge to get the killing death-blow is gaming at its finest. As I said previously, it’s a pretty hard game but still miles easier than other games From Software have come out with. In Sekiro the deathblow system is a sign of relief, seeing the glowing red things really gives you that feeling of ease when fighting a boss… or at least in some circumstances.
When dealing with bosses, if you’re a person who dislikes the parry button and prefers to be a mindless berserker in game then Sekiro might not be the perfect game for you. Especially with enemies like the Long-Arm Centipede Giraffe, what a name and it really has nothing to do with any of those things frankly! You got to have good timing and great deflection to be good at this game, if not you’ll likely find yourself playing this game for many weeks to come. To be honest, in my perspective, it makes the game kind of fun!
The game is pretty generous with parry timings unlike the dastardly shield-wave you get in Dark Souls. Staying back in the beginning of a boss fight is the best approach though, learning their movement and getting the hang of your surroundings and footing to battle in confidence. Pretty much a mind game really. Within the game you’ll also likely counter with your continuously improved and weaponized prosthetic arm. You’ll find upgrades for it on your journey with the ability to return to the Dilapidated Temple to have your sculptor friend install and upgrade it – these will consist of the likes of an axe, a metal umbrella, a shuriken shooter and many more! These work best for specific opponents, you just got to find your sweet load-out.
Something pretty cool about the game is how stat boosts are part and parcel of boss fights. Memories of great boss fights are processed to increase attack power, and prayer beads are used to increase health and posture. Instead of the usual grind to increase your stats, the game is pretty balanced for the player’s power level. In Sekiro you won’t have to worry about fighting an opponent and being under-leveled. Although, it does help that you can come back from the dead. Another thing that’s awesome about Sekiro is that when you rest at an Idol you restore up to one resurrection, but killing enemies charges up a second. You can’t use lots of resurrections after each other, but is still a good tactical advantage when you’re facing a big bad boss.
The World –
As I said previously this isn’t an average From Software game, or at least not one you’d expect. Nevertheless, you can say that Sekiro does have plenty of stuff in common with the rest of them. Outside of the huge connected worlds we’re used to seeing, this game is made of very large but separate areas. Fans of dark fantasy games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne will still enjoy these structures a lot, with many hidden items off the beaten track often reached with your trusty grappling hook. The hook is used to vault between tree branches and rooftops to get where you want to go in style. You’ll likely find yourself going back to old areas you’ve already explored to meet with the merchants and the lore-rich NPCs. I’m going to be honest, I don’t really know much about them, and probably there’s some guy right now analyzing and getting as much information as possible about the lore to make a good article about it. Sadly, since this is just my first run at the game I will not be the first to understand the back-story fully, or even the deep character profiles for that matter.
Although, what I do know, and which probably is apparent to most people who have played the game is that the plot revolves around Sekiro and the little Lord. At the start of the game you’ll probably think the story is pretty bland and mundane, but you’ll be surprised at how the plot thickens as the game progresses. I’m obviously not going to go into much detail and leave it up to you guys to get a good idea of what it’s all about. The world also opens up with some gorgeous and dramatic scenery further along.
The environments of the game are basically connected via Idols, these are basically like the Dark Souls bonfires we all know and love. Upon your death you respawn at the last Idol you touched but unlike other games of the sort you only lose half the money you’ve accumulated and some skill experiences. A little less than half the time you will get ‘Unseen Aid’ which means you basically lose nothing. Thanks From Software, you rock! Although, if you do die repeatedly within the game you do end up reducing the chance of getting that unseen aid, but hey at least this system gives the player some hope of not rage quitting after you’ve been killed.
I think this game is very mentally challenging, not as much as the producers’ other games… but still not a walk in the park. It never feels unfair to the player and inspires me to be a better gamer really. I thank my friends for telling me to suck it up and buy this game and give it a try as this has been a good adventure overall. The combat system is pretty awesome, and the story is powerfully woven into an absolutely thrilling experience.
If you’re up for a good old challenge and miss those times of swearing at your TV/monitor then this is the game for you. Caution: Your nerve will be tested. Enjoy it buddies.
Oh, and here’s the trailer:
- The areas you explore are breathtaking.
- Combat is Ultra smooth and gratifying.
- Campaign is lengthy and deep.
- Gameplay is challenging.
- Gameplay is challenging (yes it is a pro and a con).
- Wish there could be some sort of multiplayer.