Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is FromSoftware’s latest action-adventure game which takes place during late 16th century Sengoku period Japan. Playing as a shinobi known as Sekiro, it is your duty to save your kidnapped lord. The first thing to notice is how much different this game is compared to other From Software games such as the SoulsBorne series. While it still has that nice and satisfying essence of any souls game in it, Sekiro does more than enough to differentiate itself and even make hardcore Dark Souls veterans struggle. Primarily, the game encourages using the environment to your advantage by using stealth in a variety of ways. For example, you can now grapple to rooftops and tree branches to sneak around unnoticed or attack an unsuspecting enemy from above. This helps in adding a vertical element to the game that is unlike anything else.
Combat is fluid, challenging and it forces you to learn all the tricks of trade and implement your newly learned skills in various different ways. If you intend to play the game like any FromSoftware game then you will quickly find out that this approach is very inefficient. In Sekiro, combat is very precise and focuses mainly on perfectly timing both you attacks and parries. The game uses a posture system that is applied to both you and your enemies. The main aim of this mechanic is to teach players to find a balance between aggressive play and passive play.
As the title of the game suggests, you have the ability to resurrect yourself upon death, though this decision is a very tricky one. If you die, you just lose half the experience and currency you’ve collected and you are not able no retrieve them again. But if you die a second time before reaching another Idol (checkpoint) there’s a chance you will cause the Dragon Rot to disease to affect other characters throughout the world. This makes you really consider the choice of resurrection or death based on the circumstances.
As Sekiro, you will have a prosthetic arm that can be equipped with a number of different tools that you found in the world thanks to the sculptor. These tools really give you more options in combat. In addition, you can use the experience you earn to unlock new skills that are essential against certain types of enemies. There is a large number of abilities, skills, and combat techniques to unlock and each one can be used in specific situations.
Sekiro’s story is definitely a much more straightforward one than other FomSoftware titles. As Sekiro, it is your duty to serve and protect your master, a child Divine Heir blessed with immortality. This type of narrative is a reoccurring theme in almost every game or movie nowadays and it probably would have been better to mix things up a bit more to make the narrative more intriguing or interesting. Nonetheless, the game does contain some supernatural and mysterious elements in it to keep my attention. However, the lore and story in Souls games where much more compelling since they where for the most part hidden and required exploration
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is pretty hard and at times feels impossible, but after constantly trying and learning your enemies you will eventually make it to the next checkpoint and the feeling of accomplishment is extremely rewarding. Besides some small issues such as occasional frame rate drops and a slightly underwhelming story, the game does really well by borrowing some basics from previous games and expanding on them to make the overall experience a unique and worthwhile one. Overall, there is a lot of fun to be had in Sekiro and the game’s flaws are minimal in comparison to its qualities. The game will definitely be enjoyed by most who play it but casual players should note that the path to the end of the game is quite a long one that requires skill, persistence and determination.
GameRev was provided with a digital download code for the purpose of this review.
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