The Sengoku period in Japan’s history was a period of great unrest and is one of the country’s bloodiest periods in its history. Set amidst the closing days of the Sengoku period, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is about a former disgraced warrior who was rescued from death and as repayment, he is bounded to protect a young lord who is a descendant of ancient Japanese royal family. When the young lord is captured, he goes on a quest to not only find him but to regain his honor and worth. Sekiro is a very unique game that is brutal and challenging and ends up being a very good realization of this deadly period in Japan’s feudal history.
Sekiro shares many similarities to Bloodborne and the Souls games but it plays very differently. You have a new combat system and mastering a fierce new combat system, you have brand new tools at your disposal which allows you to think like a Samurai or Ninja and you have upgrades that you can find throughout Sekiro’s beautiful rendered world.
Let’s begin with the combat of Sekiro. The combat is very reminiscent of FromSoftware’s other games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne but you can say its more of a stealth-action experience and is more forgiving than their other games. Sekiro has a great variety of weapons tailored to specific situations and you can also obtain a wide variety of combat arts and ninjutsu skills to enter combat with and these abilities have both story and combat functionality, utilizing them in a myriad of different ways from completing quest objectives to boss battles.
The boss battles are very intense, rivaling those of Bloodborne and the Dark Souls saga. This is FromSoftware’s specialty so be prepared to die again and again and again, they are the crux of the game. You must pay attention to your opponent’s moveset, plan your timing, and practice it until you get it right. Many of the bosses crush you in a myriad of seconds so be prepared for many hours dying only to be revived and go back at it again until you get it right. Once defeated, you get a sense of pride and accomplishment and a thrill of excitement that you defeated the boss that killed you many different times.
Outside of the boss battles, Sekiro is a fun game and the skills that your warrior uses to fight the bosses can also be used in regular gameplay. Sekiro has plenty of enemy variety which keeps the game refreshing and nicely balanced, skills that are acquired later on allow you to explore the early sections and accessing spots that were inaccessible previously. On top of the main bosses, there are plenty of mini-bosses scattered around which not only helps increase your survivability rate but allow you to practice for the big bosses as well, the clash with the mini-bosses are fairly easy if you use your guile and they can be defeated easily by exploiting their weakness via a special prosthetic or by beginning the battle via a stealth attack.
Sekiro’s story moves in ways that the Souls games didn’t. It’s a challenging journey through a very fascinating world, set in the closing days of the
Sengoku period which is one of the bloodiest periods in Japan’s rich history; you must find a young lord who was kidnapped and captured. The story leads to multiple different endings based on your choices and secrets throughout your playthrough.
Much like the Souls games, Sekiro is one of the most difficult games I have ever played and is truly the definition of the term “The path less traveled.” and “The journey beats the destination.” ; the trek through hell and many sleepless nights are worth it. Sekiro is one of this generation’s best games, you don’t want to miss it.
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