Review – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software is known for delivering difficult games in the action-adventure genre, starting with Demon’s Souls before moving on to Dark Souls and then Bloodborne. The formula was tweaked for each release but didn’t stray far from the beaten path.
And then came Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Sekiro is, if not a revolutionary change from the ‘Soulsborne’ formula, at least an evolutionary one. It does away with much, if not all, of the clunky movement found in previous games and replaces it with a much sleeker animation system and quicker movement. Players can even use a grapple to zip point-to-point around the environment, Spider-Man style, offering all-new freedom of movement.
The combat system offers another drastic change in ‘feel’ with fast-paced blade-on-blade combat complete with dodges, jumps, and parries. These elements were featured in past games, but there’s much more of a focus on parry and counter this time around, making the combat system much more engrossing and dynamic.
That said, like past From Software games, this isn’t a game that’s for everyone. The difficulty curve in From’s games is always steep, but in Sekiro it’s a series of towering cliffs that doesn’t feel particularly rewarding. You go from easily dispatching guards to running into a mini-boss that absolutely destroys you time after time. Eventually you’ll learn their pattern and turn them into swiss cheese, and you feel good about yourself…and then you hit the next mini-boss and it repeats.
Just when you think you’ve got the handle on all your skills you hit the first real boss, and that’s where a lot of gamers will get stuck and quit. Trust me and stick it out for a while, it’s worth the effort.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Reviewed on Xbox One using code provided by the publisher.