'Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice' is the latest from Dark Souls developers From Software. It's set in a fantasy vision of Sengoku Japan, in the middle of a conflict between the Ashina and Hirata clans. You play a rogue shinobi called Sekiro—the one-armed wolf—charged with protecting a young lord who has the coveted power to defy death. The game is beautifully crafted to bewitching the player into getting lost in the aesthetics of 1600 century japan. It is a game truly made for the experience.
Most people were expecting Sekiro to be dark souls, clone, dark souls in a different coat of paint, a Trojan horse for dark souls, just in a different time period. And it's not it. This is a very mechanically different game from the soul series and that's a good thing. They explored different ways of combat which worked perfectly with the essence of the plot. Although it is pretty clear that from software was inspired by the soul series but they did a great work to keep it subtle. In the soul series typically, you rely on dodging as your primary method of avoiding damage. Sometimes you'll block sometimes you'll Perry, but primarily you're going to be dodging in this game. Dodging isn't that useful?
Primarily, you're going to be focusing on deflecting and breaking your enemy's posture. If you break their posture, even if you haven't taken down all their health, you get to use a finisher on them and it's satisfying and it makes it very strategic. The mechanics of the game is so surreal it feels like a real battle between two master swordsmen. Especially when it comes to one-on-one with like a mini boss, a strong enemy or a boss one-on-one in this game just feels so great. The game is made in a way that it challenges a player in the fights. Trust me when I say the fights are challenging. They have been forgiving in the checkpoints or idols as they say in the game. There is abundance of them in the game. So, dying multiple times won't be a problem if you have spent all your sins (in game currency).
The only thing is if you do die, you have an option of resurrecting thus the name and the resurrection causes dragon rot, which will lower your unseen aid, which is another mechanic in the game. And also inflect inflict your NPCs with what's called dragon rot, which makes some quest lines in accessible. In the game, you get a prosthetic arm, which comes with a lot of different attachments which is convenient in many ways.
Like with the finger whistle prosthetic, you can plan out a strategic attack and I could see the use in that, but in terms of combat, the shinobi prosthetics can be used for breaking the shield of the opponent or just very briefly stunning the boss with a firecracker.
In most complex games, including director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s previous masterworks Dark Souls and Bloodborne, prolonged and wavering progress can be made even when your skills or your nerves aren’t quite up to the recent fearsome foe. You can grind fewer intimidating enemies to increase your stats or your confidence, search for a different weapon that might be more effective, try changing your tactics, or turn to other players for assistance. In Sekiro, there is no help, little strategy, no missing piece of the puzzle: just you and a sword. It’s not unusual to spend two or three hours repeatedly fighting the same adversary, praying that this is the attempt, this will be the time when your reflexes or your nerves don’t fail you.
This is when you face the unforgiving Sekiro. The satisfaction of finally running your sword through a samurai general for the final time is incomparable. It offers no comforting sense of gradual progress, but a series of ever-ascending peaks. This is no accident. Sekiro’s designers invite you to fully take the role of a shinobi, to hone skills as sharp and unfailing to the extent it lives up to the one-armed wolf, and to think deeply about death.
Time will tell if you can experience Sekiro to the fullest or not. The grind is not as literal as other games in Sekiro. Only if you grind the skills into yourself, doing the same thing time and time again will be the deciding factor. But end of it all, all the pain and vexation when you get to see the bigger picture it is truly a game worth playing, each and every second. The sad truth is this shuts down a gem of a game for the weak willed.
Shuparno Rahman is a student of Class 10 at RAJUK Uttara Model College. He may be contacted at [email protected]