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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Developer: FromSoftware Publishers: ActivisionFromSoftwareCubeGame [方块游戏]
22 March 2019
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - cover art
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4.27 / 5.0
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1,575 Ratings / 7 Reviews
#31 All-time
#4 for 2019
Explore late 1500s Sengoku Japan, a brutal period of constant life and death conflict, as you come face to face with larger than life foes in a dark and twisted world. Unleash an arsenal of deadly prosthetic tools and powerful ninja abilities while you blend stealth, vertical traversal, and visceral head to head combat in a bloody confrontation.
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CA 0 47875 88293 5 CUSA-12047
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Sekiro succeeds where it matters most, but...
It fails to fit together and is ultimately less than the sum of its parts. It prioritizes wrote memorization and reaction time over player choice and level design. It is a game that, on paper, I should really enjoy. I'm a fan of stealth games and flashy sword fights. I like vertical level design and cool movement mechanics (especially grappling hooks). Unfortunately, the only part of this equation that Sekiro manages to deliver is the sword fights.

When the combat clicks, it feels good. The timing on deflecting is fairly precise, but rewards you with opportunities to deal damage to your opponent. Your attacks have pretty long animations that punish greed, but most opponents have equally long telegraphs. The game is easily at its worst then it throws a horde of enemies at you, especially if they are grouped with a mini-boss or larger threat. The swordplay is designed for 1v1 combat and never feels comfortable outside of that. You can easily get hit multiple times during a stumble animation and get stun-locked to death and the camera's lock-on system still thinks it's 1998. Fortunately, the delicate balance of trading blows with a solo enemy is capable of putting the player in a "flow state" and the presentation of the fights is beautiful. The sound of swords clashing is crisp and visceral and the visuals are clear and dramatic. There is a lot of depth to the swordplay and every major enemy will test you somehow. As a result the game never truly "gets easier." Some bosses test your deflection skills, some test your movement skills through sweeps or grabs, and some will require you to apply constant pressure. They stretched the combat system as far as they feasible could, and you will most likely die several dozen times on the major bosses before you get a good fight in. To some, engaging with that system and coming out on top is a rush. It provides the satisfaction of conquering a challenge. To me, it was like studying for a test and passing only for the satisfaction to be cut short by the realization that there's another test next week. And, just like in school, there was a series of questionable busywork tasks between every boss.

This is where things really fall apart for Sekiro. The game's sword combat is engaging, but everything supporting it is absolutely not. The rest of the game ranges from questionable to outright poor. The stealth is bare bones, the level design is simplistic, the movement through the environment feels uninspired, and the rewards for exploration are sparse. The big cherry on this shameful sundae is the prosthetic tools, which solidified something I felt during all of my time with the game: there is almost no player agency.

Stealth games are a rare breed, especially in the modern AAA landscape, because they require a lot of attention to detail. Sekiro is a game that knows what Stealth level design looks like, but not what mechanics make it interesting. There is little incentive to be stealthy as you navigate through the world and the biggest benefit it will give you is an advantage at the start of a fight. However, killing enemies is the only way you can acquire EXP to unlock new skills and one of the main ways to acquire currency. While currency doesn't do you a lot of good, EXP certainly will. Any reasonable player will want every advantage they can get, and engaging with the stealth system beyond silent takedowns will not help you unlock anything. The game's progression system is at odds with one of its supplementary mechanics instead of synergizing with it. This is made harder to overlook by how malnourished the Stealth actually is: enemies don't react to noise, their line of sight is suspiciously narrow, and they won't react to finding the corpse of one of their buddies on the ground. The sound design I praised the sword fighting for is absent here as well. The enemies also don't know how to look up, a fact that is made obvious by the level design and the movement system.

Getting on a roof makes it harder for enemies to spot you and gives you access to drop kills, but the aforementioned enemy AI and the linear world design betrays the verticality of the levels. Enemies with poor vision are placed along linear pathways, rarely creating interesting challenges or situations for the player to overcome. When the game does open up and provide an additional path or two, your reward for exploration is either optional boss fights (a sometimes frustrating reward) or a collection of consumables. Sometimes the game mandates that you use certain consumables, like the Divine Confetti, to take on certain enemies. This gives some of the consumables inherent value, but also means you might have to grind for them. You might find prayer beads that can be used to increase your stats, but this is an exception and not the rule. If the progression system didn't force the player into combat, it would be incredibly easy to run along the rooftops and clear each area unnoticed in mere seconds unless you are funneled through a cavern or ravine. This can be a benefit when you're grinding away at a boss, but otherwise shows just how little thought went into these environments. There was never a moment that I saw a pathway or a courtyard and thought "how am I going to get through here unseen?" because the answer usually came in the form of a grappling hook prompt. And that's where Sekiro commits its greatest sin of all: the grappling hook is not fun to use.

The basic movement of Sekiro feels fine and is well animated. The prosthetic arm's grappling hook, however, is a missed opportunity. It's implemented into the combat well, of course, but navigating levels and rooftops with it is a glorified quick time event. It fails to understand the appeal of a system like this in the same way the Thief reboot does: giving players a specific "grappling point" is boring. A device like this, which should ideally provide freeform movement and exploration, is instead a "click to move here" button with impressive animations. The player is being given a guided tour by the developers. Every grappling hook point is placed precisely to reveal a pathway through the level or a good vantage point. It never feels like an organic part of the game's design.

This lack of player agency extends to the prosthetic tools in general, which tend to lean towards "hard counters" instead of tools to spark player creativity. You cannot combine the effects of multiple prosthetic tools and they typically have preset, scripted interactions with enemies. The axe is useful for posture damage and breaking shields, the flame vent is useful against enemies doused in oil and enemies with red eyes, and the shuriken is useful for attracting enemies from a distance or countering weak ranged enemies without a means of deflecting attacks. These are the game's earliest tools and set the tone for the rest of what you'll find in the game. There are a handful of exceptions, such as the firecracker and the umbrella, which can be applied in a wide variety of encounters. This is intentional design, I'm sure, because the game's first major filter (Chained Ogre) teaches you this lesson directly. What could have been a way to tailor a playstyle for yourself instead becomes a sort of "meta game" where experimenting with your tools can sometimes give you an easy win for an encounter. The fact that every boss' wiki article has a "weaknesses" category with one or two prosthetics illustrates this point. While the game doesn't hold your hand, once you know what to use to get an advantage you have zero incentive to experiment further on that boss or enemy type. In addition, the prosthetics all draw from limited pool of ammo that you have to buy. If you get stuck on a boss, you might end up having to grind for more Spirit Emblems. This is just needless padding as far as I'm concerned. Why not refill your Spirit Emblems when you rest or respawn? The prosthetic upgrade tree rarely felt impactful, although some of the upgrades continue the "hard counter to an enemy" trend mentioned above. For instance, acquiring the Lilac Umbrella trivializes the Shichimen Warrior mini-boss. While most of the prosthetics have a variety of uses there is almost always a "correct" answer when choosing what you want to have equipped for an enemy or encounter, leaving little room for player creativity.

To me, this is the greatest sin the game commits: it does not want you to develop a playstyle for yourself or to experiment with a pool of mechanics. You aren't allowed to explore for better gear or new tools and come back later. The most important part of the game's progression system is gated by the boss fights. It wants you to "git gud" at it's carefully designed sword fights and doesn't give you any other options or flexibility. Nothing outside of those sword fights was given any passionate consideration or depth. You have no agency here- you either learn to play exactly how the game wants you to or you die. Even if you like the combat, that's kind of a shame.

I have tried to evaluate Sekiro on its own merits here. As soon as I started comparing it to shining beacons of emergent gameplay and player agency like Deus Ex, Dishonored, Vampires: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, or Cruelty Squad the game's cracks became even more obvious. More damning than any of these comparisons, however, is that FromSoft's other successful games don't have this problem. Janky as they might be, the Dark Souls series champions player freedom through its metroidvania-like level design and RPG mechanics. That quality is what makes the Soulsborne games, and the other ones mentioned above, so special. It is what sets video games apart from other artistic mediums. In comparison Sekiro just feels... lame and hollow. Coincidentally, that is exactly how I felt every time I closed the game.
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MisterSynthesizer 2022-09-06T19:20:35Z
2022-09-06T19:20:35Z
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inaccessible anime flashy combat pain
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How A Game I Hated Became My Favorite
Sekiro is a gaming experience like none other. For so long, I've always looked for the easy way out in games cheesing for shortcuts, and this contained some cheeses for sure, but at some point, this game looks me in the eye and goes "Fuck that cheese. Either you're going to learn how to play to win, or lose", and I definitely lost more times than I could count. No game has done me like that before. If there were ever a chance I kept losing, no problem, I'm simply adjusting the difficulty level to the easiest mode because I'm going to win. Once I win, then maybe I'll try the hard mode for a challenge. Sekiro is not of one of those games.

Most games give you the explorer option. They walk you through every step while giving you highly detailed guides and tips for you to enjoy and have fun. Then, once you master everything, you can level up and try the highest difficulty available. Not this game. There is no level of difficulty you can choose from. Sekiro is stuck on hard mode. If you can beat it (IF you can beat it), you can keep all your items you maxed out and do a 2nd playthrough making it easier since now you understand the game. What video game does that?

This is my first FromSoftware game. Before Sekiro, I didn't even know what FromSoftware was. I had 0 clue how HUGE their fanbase was. I didn't even know Bloodborne, Demon Souls, or Dark Souls existed until I searched to see who developed this game. The type of games I've been accustomed to were popular franchises such as Uncharted, GTA, NBA2K, WWE games, and Call Of Duty. Super casual right? So, why would a casual like me buy this game?

Among those five games I listed, Ghost of Tsushima is also one of my favorite games of all time. Watching shows and movies like Samurai Jack or Afro Samurai, I've always wanted video games that could capture that fighting essence and style portrayed. I'm pretty much a sucker when it comes to samurai/ninja fighting content from anime to gaming combat. So, I saw the trailer of Sekiro online and was immediately reeled in. I knew I was going to get this game someday, and I did.

Once I began to play Sekiro, the biggest highlight for me was the anime inspired graphics. Although the inspiration is greatly pulled from Berserk, It reminded me a lot of the 90's anime film Ninja Scroll ---the way the environments would look so dirty, foggy, and grimy. Little details such as the watcher banging his pan, the style of dialogue spoken while eavesdropping, the fast paced combat, or the "woo guy" flying in kamikaze style are just a few examples displaying the essence of some of my favorite anime. Along with the anime visuals, the biggest highlight of this game has to be the challenge of the combat.

The combat here is so special and unique because you can't always just mow through your opponent using your favorite move or special weapons. Prior to playing Sekiro, I never had to worry about actually studying the bosses' move sets in games because I knew that one super move I had would always do the trick and get me the win. In Ghost Of Tsushima, when you face a boss, the best thing to do is see how their going to swing, then either parry that or dodge, then boom, you can use your ghost super power moves bringing their health very low. You can't do that here. While a game like Ghost of Tsushima's offense brings alot of damage, Sekiro relies more on the defensive side. In Sekiro, the best thing to do is see how their going to swing, then either deflect that, dodge, mikiri counter, then boom, you can get you a hit or two then get right back to deflecting and repeat. Some say it's like a dance. Except in this dance, you better have a perfect deflection (parry). The first phase of a boss may have the rhythm of 1-2-3, hit, 1-2-3, hit and turn into 1-2, hit, 1-2-3-4-5, hit, hit, hit, firecrackers, hit, REPEAT 3-5 more times while looking out for mikiri counters, then deathblow. If you ask me now, I love everything about this combat, but if you asked me during my first playthrough, I would've told you I hated everything about it.

So, how does such an awesome looking anime ninja sword fighting game turn me from watching trailers and gameplays in utter amazement into typing google searches such as "How to return digital copy of PSN game?", "Is there an easy mode in Sekiro?", and "Why is Sekiro so hard?". I bought this game blindly off the strength of ninja sword fighting. Never knew how difficult this game would be. I just couldn't fathom a video game that I liked being so hard to the point where it felt like it was no longer enjoyable. So, I went to the internet hoping someone coped or if anybody was struggling with this game the way I was, and there were a chunk ton of people just like me either complaining or questioning the reasons to why this game is so challenging and difficult to grasp, and the only insightful responses I saw were "Git gud", "Git gud", "Git gud", "Git gud", and "Git gud".

I'm stuck with two options at this point: either just play another game or get good and find a way to win. So, I chose the former, and that didn't last long. Usually, when I'm done with a game, it's because it's boring or I just don't gravitate towards it. The dilemma with Sekiro is it's far from boring. I've never encountered a game I enjoy but found too hard. This is a huge first for me. No matter how many times I tried to erase this game from my console or my mind, I just kept coming back to it because it's the game I've always wanted to play but boy is it hard.

There are things I love about this game, but there are definitely things I hate, For starters, the camera is at the very top of what I despise. I have died or been hit too many times all due to this choice of camera angle. Its a nightmare whenever your opponent jumps and vanishes or when you get cornered and mercilessly attacked (hello Owl, Lady Butterfly, Isshin, and Ape). The movement of the character can feel dreadful. The jumping and speed of the running feels slightly wonky. It's not really wonky, but it's far from smooth. Even the swinging of the sword makes the strike of it feel cheap sometimes. This game not helping to communicate a crystal clear objective can really make you feel lost in this game not knowing what your next step should be. It reminds me so much of old PS2 games. You know the ones where they just drop you off in a level and you have to eavesdrop for clues just to figure out where to go or you're stuck in that one room and did not know to jump out the window that's right behind that box you have to shoot two times (dammit max payne). Thank God for Youtube. Lastly, Death is something I abhor on this game. Not losing or dying in itself. That's a learning challenge, but what happens after is so annoying. Its annoying to lose either half or all your coins, emblems, and items gained after dying as well as having to start everything over. Like could we at least get an autosave after beating a phase or not have to fight the previous boss I just beat to get back at the final boss?

There are certainly bosses and mini-bosses I’ve enjoyed beating but certainly been annoyed with fighting at the same time. I enjoyed understanding their pattern and finding a way to beat them, but so annoyed by getting beaten over and over again even after learning their moves. First off, the Chained Ogre completely threw me off. Imagine being a student in Math class consistently taught to do this one math equation over and over again, but on the first test, it doesn't even show up. That's what this boss is. No mikiri counters. No jumping sweep attacks. Just strike, dodge, strike 2 times, and oh fire crackers or fire vent, but would I know all this at all?? No, of course not. I got Batista bombed, elbow dropped, and dropkicked about 40 times by this enraged Kevin Nash. Truly, The first of many bosses that made me regret buying this game.

The next boss I struggled with (I laugh now after beating this guy again) was Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa. I knew there was going to be a boss once I walked on that field. I just struggled with the snake , so I didn't expect another one so soon, but I could feel how tense the silence was right after either killing those soldiers behind the wall. Ignorantly but fearfully walking into this field of dead bodies, burnt debris, and fire, I hear one of the most ferocious battle crys ever yelled in a video game: "MY NAAAAAAAME IS GYOUBU MASATAKA ONIWA!!". That alone is one of the main reasons the English dub is surprisingly just as good as the Japanese delivered in this game. But man, I have heard "The castle gate remains closed” too many times. Whether it's the terror-filled Headless and Shichmen Warriors or the fart pootin poop flinging Guardian Ape and his girlfriend, this game has managed to create some of the most infuriating bosses I have ever played against. Yet, there still remains some uniquely designed creativity in nearly all of the bosses presented even amongst the ones I hate.

Genichiro made me uninstall this game. Several times in fact on this boss alone. He's the Steph Curry of this game. This man shoots from long range with arrows in a game that focuses on sword battles. I despise him so much, but I would be a liar if I didn't admit that this is the first boss that taught me how to play the game. No cheesing. No easy way out. Perfect parries, deflect, mikiri counters, jumping sweep attacks, and lightning reversals are all in this battle. To beat him, you must actually learn, and once I beat him, I was more motivated to continue playing the game.

The next boss that I hate but must respect is Owl . The Lebron James of this game. The man is a complete unit. A tank with sword swings that can break your posture in 2 hits, but he has every trick up his sleeve. We use firecrackers, umbrellas, healing gourds, shurikens, etc.; but to face against a boss that does the same tricks is so annoying. Owl made me regret protecting Kuro. It did. I was just staring at the screen thinking "damn I should've turned evil". What I hate the most about this boss is I learned all his moves. I understood each turn and weapon he was going to use on me, but this one running sword maneuver would always mess me up. I would never know whether to parry or just dodge and get the hell out of there. Took me 15-20 tries to beat him, and yes I uninstalled this game a few times fighting him. And to make it even more challenging, they add a higher version of this guy. Truthfully, Father Owl has everything to be ranked #1 but Glock Saint is just way harder.

Lastly, the hardest boss I have ever faced in video games is hands down Isshin The Sword Saint . I'm done with the basketball comparisons, but Isshin is The Michael Jordan of this game. Everyone says that eventually you're going to encounter a boss in this game that will make it all click for you. I don't know why, but it clicked for me playing Isshin . Genichiro helped me understand the basics of the game better, but Isshin helped me understand what I should have been doing from the beginning. I finally understood the difference between perfect parrying and just blocking. I can't believe I was getting by just blocking and getting lucky with the deflections. It's really one of those bosses that frustrate you to the point where you cant fathom or believe you actually beat him once you do. Took me 20 times just to get phase 1 beat. Then, I Mastered phase 1, but the 2nd phase hit, and I got my ass beat so bad. I understand the spears but a gun?? Seriously??? Not to mention how that 6 hit combo move would always fuck me up. I'm parrying hard for that mikiri counter just for my posture to be broken. Then the 3rd phase hit.. Ok, so you're telling me I have to look out for all his moves with a sword alone plus the spears and a GUN... now you add LIGHTNING to the mix? Goodness gracious. To beat all those moves after getting beat 60 times gave me the sweetest feeling of bliss I've ever received from a game. I don't care what anyone says. Isshin The Sword Saint is the Boss of all bosses.

Overall, I can't believe this is one of my favorite games now. Like, I really despised the core and very being of this game too many times to count as I kept getting beat. I kept uninstalling this game at least 9 or 10 times. I even hid it from the purchased section in my library. I was actually googling "How to get refund from downloaded game?". I have never encountered a game this hard. If there's one thing I learned about myself during this process, it's that I'm not a rage quitter. I'm not slinging controllers at tv's and stuff. No, that's juvenile. I will take a slow deep breath, mumble one cuss word, then convince myself it's just a game, uninstall, wait a few hours or even a day, then install it back to try again. But, this is why Sekiro is so good. I couldn't scratch that itch. I uninstalled this game more than several times, but every time I tried to erase the mere thought of ever purchasing this game, it kept reeling me in. I struggled so much for hours with Isshin the Sword Saint that I convinced myself that Genichiro was the final boss and I won just so I could delete the game. I never felt such a feeling of relief and exhilaration ever in a video game before once I saw that red dot of death.

For gamers that's on the fence about getting the game or not, GET IT. It's so worth it. The thrill and adrenaline from beating the bosses on this game makes it a very special experience. Some of the bosses can be very intimidating especially the ones with faster paced methods of combat, but once you see the pattern, its not that scary. Be aggressive but smart in how you attack. If there's one thing about this game, unless you are fighting Mist Noble , you can’t spam attack like you’re in easy mode. Creating a rhythm or combo is going to be essential here. Once you get the game, remember, you are a shinobi. A NINJA. Not a samurai. So choose your battles wisely. You don't have to fight 4 enemies at once and go to war. It's okay to run and hide and pick one off by another if you want. Or maybe you want to fight 4 or 5 at a time. Either way, just enjoy yourself. Also, don't be afraid to take breaks. Whether that's a 10 minute water break, 2 hour break, or even 3 day break from the game. Personally, I've taken breaks from battles I just couldn't beat and noticed that I'm 2 times better and more focused than I was before once I returned. This game can be brutal, but it can also be beautiful. The very thing that makes you hate this game will make you love it.
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TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-08-13T05:03:52Z
2022-08-13T05:03:52Z
9.0
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The similarities that Sekiro bears when compared to the other modern Fromsoftware games are largely extremely overstated and feel as if a lot of the comparisons only exist because they all happen to be difficult and they come from the same company. This is definitely not a bad thing however, because as a result, Sekiro manages to both have the sort of quality you'd expect from the company, but is also an insanely fresh take on the idea of this style of game that it retroactively makes me think that Elden Ring might've been a slightly larger mechanical step back than I initially realised. You've got your similarities for sure, with the UI and the generally dark, mysterious tone/atmosphere and the slightly janky charm of it all, but beyond that there's not really too much I can say that feels similar here that couldn't also be attributed as incredibly broad stroke design ideas that don't deserve to be associated exclusively with the Souls series in the first place. On the flipside, the completely fresh combat system, greater sense of mobility and the cohesive, evocative landscapes of feudal Japan all help the game carve out a wonderfully distinct identity from the pack. With all this said, it's obviously not enough to just be different, you need to be good as well otherwise it's all for naught, so it's fortunate that this is easily the most polished and complete experience of them all as well.

While often I find that games tend to get a lot of their appeal from a variety of sources that all culminate in something greater than the sum of their parts, Sekiro really isn't that sort of game to me (though that's not to say that the game is especially lacking in any particular area). This game propels itself into utter greatness through having one of the greatest combat systems in any game I've experienced and it's not even particularly close. While utterly relentless through and through, having some incredibly fast pace for a game that will gleefully kill you in two or three hits in quick succession, the moveset the player has this fantastic balance between more casual friendly strategies but with the potential for utter mastery always being something that presents itself. The range of tools that the player has at their disposal will likely allow them to get one over nasty encounters without entirely trivialising them either, providing a way to ease the player more gracefully into the game while still being a messy, desperate fight for the chance to survive. This is not just because of the use of these tools being limited either, but because of the way the combat at its core affects the dynamics of the game.

Despite providing the player with easily the most mobility out of any Fromsoft title, Sekiro is funnily enough the game that punishes hesitation the most. While you can certainly run fast, quicker burst movement options are incredibly limited to the point where they're borderline worthless for general use, instead being used nearly exclusively as a tool for slightly better positioning. This makes actually being able to take that final step to properly be clashing swords with your foe a risky one, as the enemies are likely going to be able to hit you once before you're actually properly positioned to get back to fighting. This encourages a more aggressive, close up playstyle due to this constant looming punishment where you're likely to either need to take a hit or risk one additional attack for the sole purpose of closing the gap. Similarly, while almost every other one of your moves almost instantly comes out, the slight delay on your jump stops it from being an entirely dominant strategy where you're winning your fights by hopping around like a madman, making it pretty situationally useful as well. The trick to this game's genius partially lies within these dynamics however, there's almost never an option that feels universally powerful, it's almost all situational, but there are so many situational mechanics that the player will never find themselves in a situation that they couldn't have avoided if they just read the battle a bit better. This crafts a combat system that requires absolute constant attention towards the flow of battle to better understand when they'll have to utilise these additional techniques on top of their constant sword strikes, where you're almost never able to mindlessly approach even weaker enemies, as a couple of mistakes in a row can easily lead to your death. Never have I played a game that required such a constant keen awareness of what the player is expected to do, and it essentially makes the fights against basic opponents a bit of an adrenaline rush combined with extremely visceral sound and visual feedback.

The posture system is yet another element that encourages the player to be up in the faces of their enemies, being a far more significant element to keep in mind than even the enemy's health bar, which often acts more as a complementary element to posture rather than what the player is aiming to deplete. The game bases itself less around dodging, and more around judging what attacks you're able to parry and then doing that at every opportunity. Each hit against the enemy, blocked or not, brings you ever so slightly closer to instantly killing them, the constant attacks forcing enemies to play more defensively and counter attack instead, often being more predictable than letting them run free and put you on the backfoot. The way this often quickly heals when you give the enemy a chance to breathe is simply the final element that brings everything together, a moment of passivity can easily lead to your doom, so jumping right into the fire and facing even the most powerful single targets head on ends up being the way you're expected to play, with slowly chipping away at their often huge health bars being a far slower and ultimately more dangerous method due to the previous elements mentioned with being severely punished for being on the backfoot in most situations. Tying health to this posture regeneration is another element that adds a bit more of a dynamic flow to the fight and stops the player from simply relying on a single sense of rhythm against their enemies for the most part either however, as while sure, if you play perfectly you could win by attacking nonstop and perfectly parrying literally everything, but the more reliable strategy is to find those more glaring weaknesses in your opponent and exploit them, being able to chip away while never having to resort to hit and run tactics.

Against a single target, I cannot think of a game that has combat quite as thrilling and satisfying to master as Sekiro, but the issue is that the moment you add even one more enemy into the fray, everything falls apart a bit due to the fact that this was so clearly built around only a single target and situationally dealing with all of their carefully constructed moveset. The lack of more generalised "good" options ends up forcing the player either to use some of their limited resources to deal with them, or to resort to tactics that the game mechanically discourages you from utilising , to the point where it often feels more worth it to simply run away and not engage at all. While the situations where you're forced into these outnumbering encounters are rather rare, often being situations where you're instead expected to utilise stealth to take them out one by one, even those few situations where you end up needing to deal head on with multiple enemies are consistently frustrating and miserable. This isn't really a dealbreaker because of these situations being infrequent enough but I cannot stress enough how angry these have consistently made me feel.

Another thing that's interesting to keep in mind is the design ramifications that result from the total lack of build variety this game has ultimately making for a far more fine tuned experience, with each moveset being able to be crafted around the idea of a fast katana user and only a fast katana user, stopping the need for more generic, broadly sweeping moves that are designed around being manageable from an insane amount of possibilities. The biggest thing this ends up doing is leading to a situation where there's basically no such thing as a mindless trash mob, they all will have their own slightly different strategies that need to be utilised to get out on top. Beyond the combat, I feel that while the areas are usually not especially mechanically interesting to explore beyond some neat, clever enemy placement, the atmosphere and imagery is evocative enough for me to really not care all that much about this, as walking through and taking in the breathtaking sights is sometimes enough, especially when it's very clear that this game wants to spend as much time evolving the combat as possible rather than the more balanced nature of these elements in Dark Souls and the like. I also feel that I'm not entirely happy with how punishing death feels in this, especially considering this is easily the hardest and most demanding game I've played by these guys. Halving your currency on death with a small chance of no repercussions like that simply doesn't feel good and just leads to endless death spirals feeling more demoralising than ever before.

The game on top of all this, manages to have a nearly perfect line up of bosses, deftly balancing between more direct fights and those that completely shake up the formula in far more interesting ways than one might expect. The enemies that feel specifically designed around acting against the core combat and forcing you to use more unconventional strategies manage to make you feel sufficiently disadvantaged without feeling outright stupid or unfair, and the puzzle/gimmick fights almost feel like something you'd find in a Legend of Zelda game rather than being a slightly jankily implemented idea in a game that can't really handle it. Each and every big encounter is incredibly memorable, with multiple of the greatest boss fights I've had the pleasure of experiencing being thrown towards you, especially a couple of the final ones. On the whole I really cannot agree with people who call Sekiro merely "Dark Souls but in Japan and with parrying" because it's so much more than that and ends up separating itself from the pack in so many ways. Phenomenal game through and through, and still not even my favourite Fromsoft game at the end of it all funnily enough, though it is pretty damn close and is, as said, easily the most polished and complete feeling of them too. Give this one a shot for sure, the learning curve basically extends across the entire game but it's done in a way where you feel like you're always better understanding your own capabilities and tools as your disposal and ultimately leads to an experience that the mere act of refining and mastering the combat is enough to drive one's desire to play through this many times over.
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Kempokid 2022-07-27T11:29:50Z
2022-07-27T11:29:50Z
4.5
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Plays great
The formula for combat is pretty simple, but it feels so good. Probably the most satisfying Souls-like game. I didn’t care for the story as much I did Dark Souls, however.
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yoyochinese 2022-06-10T15:04:51Z
2022-06-10T15:04:51Z
4.5
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Challenging but extremely satisfying.
FromSoftware has always been excellent with art direction and level design, but "Sekiro" is the first time they managed to pair the beautiful visuals up with a gameplay that is not just challenging but also fun and rewarding. The parrying works for once, and the posture system gives a whole new depth to the fights. We also have an extended set of sub-weapons that can be used to design different strategies and create new combos. It takes a while to get used to the combat system, but it gets a little better once you get familiar with the gadgets and confident with your parrying and reflexes. Buffs can help, but they rarely make up for the player's lack of skills.

The only problem is that the learning curve is steep and relentless, especially with the main bosses. Each boss has an entirely different moveset that needs to be learned and practiced from scratch. In other words, you are doomed to get defeated dozens of times and practice different strategies for hours, all to kill a single boss. It's a game for people who are willing to waste most of their free time into it. I usually get bored fast and give up with this kind of stuff, but somehow "Sekiro" managed to keep my motivation high. Maybe it's because battles are quick and enjoyable regardless of their outcome. The last couple of bosses might have been the only ones that really brought me close to destroying the disc.

It's a pity that there are no "normal" difficulty settings, as a slightly lower level of challenge would make this a much more accessible and well-received game. It definitely has the potential to set a new standard for action games.

On a side note, the stealth dynamics are a bit too primitive for an eighth-generation game. It's all about backstab deathblows, and the enemies are also deaf to the point that they don't even notice people dying a meter away or things being dropped around them. I won't complain as the game is already too difficult, but I was expecting more depth in that sense as we are supposed to impersonate a shinobi.
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manicure 2021-08-06T17:57:18Z
2021-08-06T17:57:18Z
90
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100% complete platinum campaign
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not as difficult as bloodborne or some DS games for me, but I actually enjoyed the world a lot more in Sekiro as the added mobility of the grappling hook allowed the map to be a lot more diverse. Plus it was mostly a nice detour away from all the gloomy and grim settings in the other fromsoftware titles as there was some amazing scenery and really beautiful areas. Though it still is hard and takes a lot of practice to get good at the fighting mechanics, probably strengthened a couple muscles in my fingers after spamming block so many times

also the boss fights in this were amazing like genuinely Owl (father) is probably one of the best boss fights I've ever played, was so rewarding to finally beat him after like actual weeks of trying on and off. never going to forget some of those fights
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calt 2021-05-31T23:52:43Z
2021-05-31T23:52:43Z
A+
5
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Catalog

Ca_Game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-27T16:44:27Z
Windows
2022-09-27T16:44:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Feudal Japan
shrubman Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-27T14:53:59Z
2022-09-27T14:53:59Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
GrizzlyLotus Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-27T12:03:09Z
PS4 • CA
2022-09-27T12:03:09Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
handcannon Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-27T03:40:25Z
2022-09-27T03:40:25Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PashaAlex Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-26T21:29:22Z
2022-09-26T21:29:22Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bup02 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-25T23:26:15Z
2022-09-25T23:26:15Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
calebbenjamin Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-25T20:04:36Z
2022-09-25T20:04:36Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rosa__ Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-25T09:03:25Z
2022-09-25T09:03:25Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BrendenH Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-25T04:11:32Z
2022-09-25T04:11:32Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sweetboyballs Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-25T00:32:18Z
2022-09-25T00:32:18Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
aus10 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-24T03:15:31Z
2022-09-24T03:15:31Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Kaph_h Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2022-09-24T01:28:42Z
2022-09-24T01:28:42Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Previous comments (170) Loading...
  • jaspie999 2022-09-05 22:00:21.654409+00
    hide Flagged by users
    stupid combat
    This post was flagged by users for potentially violating community rules. It will be reviewed by a community moderator soon.
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  • jaspie999 2022-09-05 22:01:01.721575+00
    some of the best visuals and atmosphere ever
    reply
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  • TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-09-08 02:39:04.874903+00
    i kinda like the shura ending more really badass
    reply
    • TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-09-08 02:40:15.455053+00
      cinematically*
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  • Drug_Use 2022-09-11 19:40:26.21348+00
    Returning to Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 after this makes those games feel very easy. Elden Ring is the only From game that still feels like a big challenge and that's mostly because the bosses are bullshit
    reply
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  • TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-09-12 06:30:14.668878+00
    just found out about Father Owl's mission on my 3rd playthrough welp time to beat that ass again.
    reply
    • TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-09-12 19:26:39.597427+00
      Took me 5-7 tries i got gud wtf
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  • TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-09-13 03:50:10.190579+00
    bruh i can't believe i mastered the finals boss fight. i really struggled with this mf.
    reply
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  • tmohare 2022-09-14 05:03:36.088784+00
    thank you for documenting your journey HonorableMinisterBBG
    reply
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  • TheHonorableMinisterBBG 2022-09-18 21:50:02.53261+00
    thanks tmohare :)

    i just got my first platinum trophy this is wild
    reply
    • tmohare 2022-09-23 07:49:16.765928+00
      letssgooooo
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