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Welcome to a gamer’s Sekiro Game Review. The full name of the game is Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, but when you’re actually playing, it’s more like Sekiro Shadows Die more than Twice. It is a very challenging game and definitely shows that it belongs in the From Software family.
Sometimes, I don’t know why I subject myself to this kind of torture, it can be extremely stressful, causing you to rage and scream at the screen, maybe even throw your controller at something, but I’m still addicted to it and would go back for a few more playthroughs. Maybe I’m secretly a masochist, along with those other gamers that enjoy this type of game, who knows.
If you’re someone who is interested in this game, but aren’t really up for some crazy high blood pressure right now, then good for you, you’ll live longer. I’ll give you an overview of what it’s about and how it plays and then after that, you can decide if you want to jump on this messed up wagon along with the rest of us.
What is Sekiro Shadows Die Twice About?
I’m going to start off with a little overview of the story in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice. You are in control of a Shinobi who has the nickname wolf, hence the Wolven Shinobi. The world that is being focused on is a Japanese prefecture called Ashina that is controlled by a warlord who craves war until his dying breath.
Your mission as a Shinobi is to protect your lord, who is in this case – the divine heir of the dragon heritage, whose blood is very precious. This blood makes one immortal and those bearing this burden cannot bleed or be otherwise hurt unless struck by one of the two Mortal Blades.
Sounds great right? Who wouldn’t want to be immortal, you don’t have to worry about death or injury, well it’s also a curse as there are many out there that want this power and are going after the divine heir who wants to sever his immortal ties and live a normal, safe life. So begins your duty as his Shinobi, protect him and help him find a way to lift this “blessing” and “curse”.
There are many sub-plots as well that run in tandem with this main goal which makes this game that much more intricate, complex and engages you in a great story.
Each NPC you encounter has their own background that will help you reveal this interesting story and put the pieces of this puzzle together. It has some twists and interesting characters that is always a staple of any From Software game.
How Hard is Sekiro Shadows Die Twice?
It’s actually not that bad when compared to Bloodborne or the Dark Souls series, at least in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, still a very challenging game and will make you go mad at times, but it will still fill you with a sense of accomplishment.
The combat mechanics are different in that there is a lot more deflection/parrying and jumping. Yes, in this game, you can actually jump to avoid some attacks and then counterattack while you’re in the air, very different as there is less emphasis on dodging unlike in the previous games.
Here are the basics of combat; there is a health bar and a posture bar on yourself and all enemies. Health is pretty straightforward – you get hit, lose health and if you lose all of it, you “die”. The posture bar of enemies on the other hand is what you should focus on building up as this leads to deathblows or if it’s a boss/mini boss; fatality strikes. Just try to keep your own bar down or else you’ll stagger and that usually doesn’t end well for you.
Depending on what enemy you’re fighting, they will each have a different amount of deathblow marks that show above their health bar in the top left-hand corner. This lets you know how many strikes it takes to defeat the enemy. Usually, the regular mobs all have one mark and it’s easier to break their posture. Or, if you prefer, you can use stealth to instantly beat them or land at least one blow on a mini boss.
Personally, I find this system makes fighting easier which is fine because I don’t like stress and this game can be very stressful if you don’t get your timing right. The major boss fights are still as hard as the ones you’d find in its older siblings, and if you get cocky or arrogant, the regular mobs will kick you back in line.
Overall, the combat is very much like a dance of swords and other weaponry, you have to learn the flow and rhythm of your enemies, you have to keep your eyes peeled for those specific attacks that need you to have quick reflexes in order to counter them properly, or else get your butt handed to you.
Sekiro Shadows Die Twice definitely feels, looks and plays like a From Software title. It shows that it belongs next to their other games, this one just makes you feel less stupid and doesn’t stress you out as much, still challenging though, so don’t be greedy.
What Does the World of Sekiro Look Like?
Let’s get into how the world of Sekiro Shadows Die Twice looks like. If you’ve played any of the games before it that were developed by the same company, then you can expect a very interesting and interconnected world map, full of shortcuts back to familiar places.
No one can make their gaming creations connect the way From Software does with its titles (not as masterfully done anyway).
An interconnected semi open world with great graphics that lets you physically see your progress and changes world states as you move towards one of the 4 endings of the game. You’ll notice that the prefecture will begin to degrade into ruin due to its leader picking fights with the neighbors in order to incite another war.
As you move through the world of Sekiro, you will encounter many doors that almost always come with the message “Door does not open from this side,” or some similar text. If you’re a big explorer when it comes to finding out all the little secrets and easter eggs hidden in games, then this will get you fired up and make you want to go looking for a way through.
There is always a benefit to this as well, once you find a way to unlock it, it could prove to be an extremely helpful shortcut back to a safe haven where you can rest, heal up and replenish your supplies which is absolutely crucial to your survival.
Also, if you take the time to pause and admire the scenery, which can be stunning, you’ll notice that you can see the places that you have been to already. This gives you a sense of how far you’ve come since you started this epic adventure and of how big the world you’re playing in is.
Is it Worth the Stress?
For many people, yes, myself included. It is truly a fantastic and challenging game, helping you focus, urging you to improve your skills, teaching you patience and also humbles you as a person, it’s like tough love.
I’ve mentioned before that this game isn’t as insanely tough and rage inducing as its predecessors, there is no Blight Town or Anor Londo-like areas from the original Dark Souls game (not the remastered), which is a blessing in my opinion, so that should lower the stress quite a bit.
If you’ve played the first one that came out way back in 2011, you know how frustrating and ridiculously hard those sections were. Those places made me feel like my heart was going to burst of stress and throw the controller out a window. I cannot properly express how much I absolutely loathed going through those parts of the game, I definitely did not replay that entry because of it.
Anyway, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is well worth a playthrough and once you’ve gotten through it the first time, it becomes SO much more relaxing and you’ll finally feel like you can truly enjoy yourself.
You’ll really be able to admire the mechanics and design without having to worry about where you have to go next and what new enemies you’ll need to learn the move set of in order to beat them without the stress of dying so much.
Overall Rating = 9/10 Definitely Worth the Hassle
I give it a 9/10 because, unlike its siblings, there isn’t any customization and the character progression is linear. You get 1 default sword that you use all the time, one outfit and you don’t get to build out your character the way you want to.
Despite the lack of customization though, there are a lot of skill trees and secondary weapon upgrades, this by no means makes up for it, but it is an interesting mechanic. Sekiro Shadows Die Twice focuses a lot more on story and more aggressive combat that is true swordplay, it has definitely carved out an identity for itself and is unique in its own right.
A welcome addition to the Soulsborne family of games that would be a great starting point to get into the series for new players as it is much more forgiving. As for veteran players or gamers that are more familiar with From Software games, it will provide a refreshing and very different experience which might not be a bad thing.
Let me know what you thought of Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, have you played it? Or are you thinking of playing it?
Want to pick up the game and start playing? You can get it here.
You can also take a look at my other posts here for any other games that I have reviewed and would recommend.
Or if you’re looking for a more chill game to play that has no stress whatsoever, then this list will have a few great suggestions for you.
Thanks for reading this post, hope you all have a backlog of games to finish up to keep the boredom away and stay sane, until next time!