‘Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’ strays from From Software’s norms


courtesy of pureplaystation.com

Jake Walters, Contributing Writer

Game developer From Software is known for action adventure RPGs, which have been deemed by many as one of the hardest undertakings a gamer can complete.

With behemoth sized bosses and a very punishing death mechanic, it’s not hard to see why the phrase “It’s just like ‘Dark Souls'” gets tossed around at every difficult game on the market. However, the developer’s newest title “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” has seemed to take a step back from the other From Software titles – the Dark Souls trilogy and “Bloodborne” respectively.  With combat which lets you control the flow of battle, mini bosses which felt like pop quizzes and an added difficulty mechanic plus the base game’s main mechanic of resurrection, It’s safe to say that “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is by far the easiest game out of the bunch.

“Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” takes the series a step back to accommodate newer players and provides a generous amount of hand-holding from the beginning. Since this is a new IP, players are tasked to learn a new style of combat based in timing counters and, oddly enough, rhythm.

To aid with this process is an immortal non-playable character who the player can use as a practice dummy in order to fully re-learn the combat style of this game. Though there is a steep learning curve in every From Software game, with enough practice anyone can master the combat in a matter of minutes. Once mastered, player’s can control the flow of battle far better than any other installment.

Another change are the bosses. “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” has many bosses and mini bosses. From Software is known for having difficult bosses and fights that make people break their controllers in sheer rage. With Sekiro, they decided to tone them down slightly. Where other games were filled with tower sized demons and Lovecraftian nightmares, Sekiro stays more in touch with the time period and offers many samurai vs ninja style fights.

To make matters worse, each boss and mini boss has a very visible and exploitable weaknesses. This leaves the bosses feeling more out of place. Perhaps they belong in “The Legend of Zelda” rather than a From Software game. Though if a player is not careful, these enemies will punish them and test to see if they have learned how to use their exploitable weaknesses against them.

The final factor which makes the game too easy is a well-hidden mechanic not too far off the beaten path. It lets the player have the option to raise the difficulty of enemies in exchange for better item drops. Though it is not the end all be all in raising the difficulty, it offered the challenge that should have been in the base game from the start. Added on top of that, there is the core mechanic of resurrection. This gives players a second shot at redemption. An interesting mechanic, but takes away from what makes this type of game so challenging.

Throughout Sekiro, players are helped with the game’s hand holding through the initial levels. There are brief moments of rest, only to then be challenged by pop quiz-like bosses who deserve to be in other games rather than in a From Software game. This coupled with mechanics of increased difficulty and resurrection have made Sekiro the easiest in From Software arsenal. It’s a good game for anyone who never picked up a Dark Souls game, but wants to feel a sense of satisfaction after battling it out with mighty samurai warriors.