Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is Like Dark Souls on Speed

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You probably won’t be surprised to hear that FromSoftware’s latest title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is bloody hard. As someone who’s become slightly enamoured with Soulsborne titles over the last few years, when we went hands-on with the latest samurai slaughterfest late last night and we were most certainly challenged to our core. Deep down to our core! And let me tell you something, we definitely died more than twice! In fact, we lost count after probably 30 deaths or so. 30 very satisfying and frustrating deaths!

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is effectively Dark Souls on speed. The combat feels eerily similar to what we’ve become used to over the years, but this time thanks to your incredible mobility it also feels like a completely new experience. If Bloodborne was turning the Dark Souls dial up to 10, then Sekiro is turning the Bloodborne dial up to 20!

In Sekiro you take control of a mysterious character, Wolf – incidentally, Sekiro effectively translates in kanji to one-armed wolf… which is basically what you are – who sets off on a journey to rescue the Divine Heir from Lord Genichiro Ashina. While traditional Souls-like titles from FromSoftware let the player discover the story on their own, Sekiro is more traditional in the sense that it actually has a story that you can follow, fresh with cutscenes, actual characters and a protagonist that isn’t just an empty vessel. Wolf – we’re not even sure that’s his name, but that’s’ what everyone refers to him as – is a character. He’s a shinobi. He’s an ultimate badass with a history.

While Sekiro is not exactly a Dark Souls or Bloodborne follow-up in a lot of respects, there are remnants and tweaks to the formula, ones that make Sekiro feel familiar yet completely fresh. For instance, bonfires are gone, replaced by Sculptor Idols, which serve the same purpose; there are no longer Souls to collect from enemies, but you do collect experience points to level up instead; and in terms of punishment, if you die, your progress to the next level is halved (as is your Sen, the game’s currency). If anything, Sekiro is probably more unforgiving than anything FromSoftware have done before.

While Dark Souls tended to focus on blocking and Bloodborne was all about dodging, Sekiro is all about that parry. Gone is the traditional stamina meter, replaced by a posture system, which works in the same way to the stamina system in a lot of respects though. In order to break an enemy’s guard and deal the most damage, you’re going to want to fill their posture meter - most easily done using the parry system - and then perform a “deathblow,” a brutal execution move that will finish your foe… well, unless your foe is a big ass boss, then it’ll take more deathblows to take them down. The posture system, combined with the new mobility system that sees Wolf able to nip around like a 3am raver after a night on copious amounts of amphetamines, really work hand-in-hand with one another to make you feel like the ultimate samurai warrior.

The reliance on the whole block and parry system does mean that fights can be a tad more tactical, like something out of a samurai movie. They can often descend into meticulous chess battles, especially against some of the game’s many bosses and mid-bosses – heck, the resurrection mechanic (you can die once and resurrect per every visit to a Sculptor’s Idol (AKA bonfire). On the flipside though, encounters can be quick and deadly too. It’s a game of extremes. One minute you’re stealthing through bushes and taking down foes with ease and the next minute you’re trying to parry the relentless sword skills of a general who is hell bent on putting an end to your life. I think that’s what makes Sekiro so satisfying to play.

Sure, we might have only spent a short few hours with FromSoftware’s latest samurai simulator, but that was just enough to whet our appetite and get us psyched for the game’s release later this month. Soulsborne fans look to be in for a treat, and because we’re thoroughly wonderful chaps as well, we only went and captured 10-minutes (well, 20, we’ll be putting out another video tomorrow) of footage for you. Aren’t we bloody nice?

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is scheduled for a March 22nd release on Xbox, PlayStation and PC.


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Game Info


US March 22, 2019

HDD Space Required : 12.58 GB
Price: $59.99USD
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