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Japan was very different place back in the history, like the times in the 1500’s when political conflicts and wars between nations were ongoing. Getting to play in these kind of environments sounds definitely ferocious and deadly. I hope Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will push all this katana fightings and ninja stuff to the fullest.
A man called Wolf is a sekiro (one-armed wolf), who went on a bloody and deadly mission to save a young lord, when his left arm was cut off by a clan leading samurai. A mysterious sculptor replaced his missing arm with a prostetic that has plenty of useful features. Now the Wolf is ready to go on his revenge.
The story part in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice begins easily, but at the same time, with action. As the player goes onwards and meets new rebels, allies and survivors the story gets more side content along the main story. Overall the story was easy to follow, but sometimes some names and happenings were hard to remember. This game and story isn’t for children, so lots of violence and death is included that gives the story a tension it needs.
Gameplay & Controls
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice had simplier gameplay and controls than I expected. The character won’t gain any exp. points or levels, so only things that progress are the weapons and unlocking new skills (with points collected by killing enemies). Player needs to master of using the katana and attack enemies poise and balance until they are open for deadly attack. The prostetic left arm has abilities such like grabbling hook and player has item slots to use various things like healing items. Gameplay also involves sneaking, stealth killing and many boss fights.
The controls were easy to learn and use, excluding the item slots, as it was used by controller’s direction keys which made moving difficult at the same time. Camera could’ve been better, it was difficult to look around as it didn’t move away enough from the character, and sneaking in tight spots it was hopeless.
The timing in fights are very exact. Player needs to deflect, counter, dodge and attack precily. Attacking furiously won’t do any good for most of the enemies, so nailing the technique might get very demanding when enemies and bosses get harder, because it might only take few hits and you’re dead. Revive items and quick transport items to the last checkpoint can be used that can save player many times. Getting to the checkpoint and healing by using it will respawn all the enemies.
Old Japan is beautiful, specially at fall. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is beautiful indeed and with HDR on everything comes alive… sort of. The game offers few settings to adjust, but those didn’t work as I would’ve wanted. My TV settings finally did the job. Even so, the world of the game didn’t look as rich as I hoped. I haven’t visited 1500’s Japan, but still I would like to think grass looking much greener, though. Graphically Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is up to date with lovely details in characters in cutscenes.
The spoken language could be changed between English and Japanese with various languages of subtitles. Naturally, I chose Japan with English subs and to be honest that should be the only way to enjoy game like this. I’m not sure how their Japanese was, meaning, was it realistic old-fashioned Japanese or what.
When sneaking through bushes or going along the wall not knowing is the enemy near, the sounds of the environment becomes very important. I was happy how all around me, and further away, had clear sound effects. The background music was beautifully composed, it getting from Japanese peaceful tunes to fast paced as the action began.
The developer of this game is the very same one that has done extremely difficult and demanding Dark Souls series and Bloodborne title. I’ve only tried the latter finding it to be too difficult for me. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is completely another story for it not being overly complex. The fighting skills can be learned fairly quickly and list of usable items was limited, so it was easy to adjust with all the things you had. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is time consuming, yes, because you don’t want to die constantly and start over, so sneaking and making plans takes time.
Bosses surely were difficult having all the special ways to be beaten. I’m admitting of watching few times video walkthroughs online to get past certain bosses. So yes, this isn’t game for everyone and playing this as “an average everyday player” it’s one of the top hardest games I’ve played.
I found this whole experience to be very rewarding. Taking time and managing to deal some hardest tasks, I feel like I can now play these kinds of games more often. Surely Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is much lighter version of ex. Dark Souls games, but it can be the welcoming title to this genre. As for me, I did expect very difficult game. It was demanding, but within good limits and in the end, I enjoyed it.
Review copy provided by Activision Nordics