The Story Behind Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Your Lord kidnapped and you left for dead. You are Sekiro, the "One-armed Wolf." Sekiro is willing to get his Lord back, and seek revenge, at any cost.
While in most other games I would be complaining about these graphical choices. In a game like this, it makes perfect sense. Dense fog, deep dark grey levels, the only light sources being the fires and the occasional daylight areas, and overall muted colors of everything in the game. Much of the game's charm IS being trapped in these depressing war-torn areas and having to fight for your life while walking deeper and deeper into devastation. And it is PS4 Pro optimized, which is always awesome!
My only problem with the visuals (this is, of course, just my preference), is the lack of a motion blur setting. It would be nice to have the option to turn it on and off.
From Software has always had a good sound design team. You know it, I know it, the "YOU DIED" screen knows it. It has your typical affair of sound effects you would expect from their games, with item menus, and sounds of said items sounding pretty similar to the "Souls" games of their past. But the game's instrumental score, and Japanese voice acting, stand out hard and really steal the show here.
In the past, they had kept those things fairly generic, but really put effort into it this time. The combat sounds are much better too. With swords clashing, explosions going off, and the visceral sounds of sword connecting with tissue, it all blends into a really immersive experience where your actions feel like they hit hard.
This is where Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice really feels like it could have been a Tenchu game. Hidden items, large open spaces, the ability to sneak past the enemies (or fight every single one), every item having a purpose, and the addition of stealth kills makes this game stand out from the library of classics From Software has released. Sekiro has a prosthetic arm, which can be upgraded with various upgrades that he finds while exploring the world. My current favorite is the axe that can bust through enemy shields, leaving them open for an instant kill.
That is also where the combat lies. Getting in for the one shot. Much of your combat in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, will be in the block stance getting ready to parry. The idea is to parry the enemy attack, knock them off balance, and open them up for a killing strike, and every time it is oh so satisfying.
I walked into this game quite nervous. I am by no means at all a veteran of the "Souls" type of games. And from what I have played of them, they are insanely difficult. So when I was given the chance to review this, I thought I wasn't going to get very far. But I am fairly deep into the game by now and loving every second. The game is easy to learn, easy to get going, but difficult to master. You will die, very much so, but that is part of the charm.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has a "New Game +" mode, and there are lots of hidden items from what I have found. So if you found your first playthrough enjoyable, I can easily see a second playthrough being worthwhile.
Dark Souls tackled a fantasy medieval era setting, with dragons and other monsters you would expect to see in a world themed in that way. Bloodborne did a darker Victorian era setting with more horror elements, and things that felt very occult. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice tackles more of the Japanese myths and legends. From Software seems to be taking a theme with each of their releases, and trying to draw as many tastes in as possible.
Sekiro is an insanely solid adventure game, that will test your mettle when it needs too, but also tell you a story. If you are a fan of Tenchu, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, King's Field, and enjoy Japanese folklore and myths. This game should be a no-brainer.
Strong combat system
Needs visual preference options
Lack of tutorial menu to revisit is odd
Fantastic voice acting
Buy it on Amazon!
© 2020 Tobias Rieper