Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an Action-Adventure game by the legendary studio, FromSoftware, who is reputable for making games that make people’s life miserable, mine especially. Among the studio’s notable products are the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. In this first impression piece, I’ll be sharing with you on what I’ve observed so far since I started the game 24 hours ago. The Review process is still on-going and shall be ready soon!
Before I start, I feel that I should show off my impressive resume in games like Sekiro just to give you an idea on how talented I am in games of this genre.
- Bloodborne – I never got past the first boss. Sold the game to someone else 2 weeks later. Yes, I was stuck in that stage for 2 weeks.
- Dark Souls 3 – I convinced myself I wasn’t going to let my failures in Bloodborne to determine who I am and that I shall prove my potentials in this game. I went and bought the Collector’s Edition, yeah, shit got real back for me back then. I fought bravely, slew a few bosses, and then I met the Abyss Watcher. It took me one month to beat him, and after I did, a friend of mine told me there was some nameless dude I was bound to meet who is more powerful than Abyss Watcher. I decided life was too short and that I’ve proven myself enough. #praisethefuckingsun
- Nioh – Suddenly, everyone and their mothers decided to make games like this and I have no idea why. I gave it a go anyway, how hard can it be right? I am a self-proclaimed Dark Souls veteran after all. I never got past the first village. Sold the game after 1 week. The game was obviously designed to keep players like me away. 10/10 will never play again. #Justwhenithoughtiwasgettingbetter
Fast forward and here we are, contacted by a publisher enquiring on our interest to review Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Well, bloody hell yes mate, why not?
Immediate impression after I started…
The game started with a cool cinematic that instantly got me interested in its story but I shall not spoil it here, I love to keep my writing spoiler free! (Actually, I didn’t get far enough into the game to be able to tell you more, I just know I’m supposed to rescue someone…). One of the first thing that I instantly noticed is how the character has a lighter step when he moves and the control is very responsive, almost sensitive in fact. You can sprint, slash, block, parry, sidestep/dodge, and you can JUMP! It quickly became obvious that this game would see quicker paced combats than those of the same genre that I’ve played.
If you had played any Souls game or Bloodborne or Nioh, then Sekiro is just like that. You’d run into a bunch of overpowered enemies that can do unpredictable stuff to kill you in a few moves and hope that you survive long enough to reach a save point (like the bonfire). Speaking of that, you are allowed to die two times in this game before you get sent back to the save points. After dying for the first time, you get to resurrect yourself and give your opponent a “Surprise Mothaf*****” moment, but dying after that will send you back to the save points with a penalty on exp and money. Leveling up gains you skill points to invest in more active combat skills or passive benefits.
One of the unique traits of the game would be the stealth feature. You are a Shinobi (Ninja) and the game allows you to feel like one, minus the Naruto style ninjutsu(s) of course. Reading your enemy’s movement pattern and sneaking up to them will open up a one-hit-kill assassination opportunity. I find myself doing this most of the time since it’s the safest way to keep myself safe!
The combat in this game is very straight forward, unlike some childish game there (points at Nioh) that requires you to adopt different stances. There is no need to worry about standing and holding your Katana differently, or sweat about stamina (because there is no Stamina bar in this game!). You can chop and slash your opponent by using only the R1 button and depending on the situation of your fight, the combo will happen on its own where and when permitted. The L1 acts as a block, or if timed correctly, then a parry/deflect. Successfully parrying an opponent will present you a chance to land an instant kill by pressing R1. Like I said, straight forward. – 10/10 for being easy to understand.
To make battles more interesting, there are situations where an enemy may present an attack that is not possible to block and is only possible to avoid by responding with the correct means of dodge. This is signaled by a coloured icon before the attack happens. Depending on the icon and the stance your enemy adopt, the player must dodge by jumping up or backward, (if it was a sweeping attack), or sidestepping (if chopping/hacking attack). As much as I hate this mechanism because I died so many times to it, I still appreciate that at least there is an icon warning me before it happens. – 5/10 coz I still died so many times.
There is another combat crucial feature in this game, the Shinobi Prosthetic. This is a cool feature because other than providing a secondary weapon, the prosthetic also provides a rope that you could shoot to preset locations that would rappel you up to buildings, structures, trees, etc. I would Tarzan myself up a tree when things get too hot on the ground, what a perfect getaway tool. – 10/10 feature.
Nothing wowed me so far in term of graphics except the really smooth animation during combat and skill execution. It is worth highlighting that the game was tested on a PlayStation 4 Pro, so I can at least assure the same performance would be experienced by those on the same console. Character details are not the best in this game, the landscape and world design isn’t really top notch either. Those who’ve played Nioh would find Sekiro almost identical in graphics quality. The game does come with an HDR setting which is a good thing for those who can make use of it.
Ching-Chang-Ching-Chang… the sound of swords clashing. This is what lingers around my ears most of the time but then again, I’ve not played too far into the game yet to know everything. The sound quality of the sword clashing effects itself is not bad, it is not underpowered and really provided me with enough kick to make combat sounds interesting.
Stay tuned for the Full Review!
Overall, Sekiro is not as tough as the 3 games I’ve mentioned above but that doesn’t mean the game is easy either. I’ve died 3 times in the first 5 minutes itself (one was because I fell from a cliff lol), and up to now, I’ve died at least 40 times. But despite that, I’m still having lots of fun playing it, trying different approaches, developing my own chicken ala coward style battle approach. 10/10 will play on!
I’m gonna play the game some more with another colleague of mine and we’ll be sharing our thoughts and finding in the Full Review soon, so stay tuned!
Sekiro Shadows Die Twice releases on March 22, 2019, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox and PC.