The latest game from the creators of Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, won’t be everybody’s cup of tea.
From what we have managed to play of the game and the information that has been revealed around the Shinobi title, here are five things you need to know about Sekiro before you decide whether or not it’s worth buying.
1 The story sounds brilliant
As we have come to expect of From Software, Sekiro has plenty of lore and an intricate storyline.
Taking place in a reimagined late 16th-century, Sengoku period, Japan – you play a shinobi (a ninja/samurai/warrior hybrid) who was left for dead after his lord was kidnapped and his arm was severed by an enemy samurai of the Ashina clan.
The shinobi awakens to find that he is not only alive but his arm has been replaced with a prosthetic limb, crafted by an old wood sculptor who names him ‘Sekiro’.
Armed with nothing but a katana and his new arm, Sekiro sets out to seek vengeance and rescue his master.
During my playthrough the story progressed somewhat, giving me the chance to experience a number of cinematic cutscenes that revealed some of the characters in more detail – hinting at the promise of a brilliant storyline once a few hours into the game.
2 No multiplayer at all
The fact there is no multiplayer in Sekiro whatsoever will be music to some people’s ears!
You won’t have to worry about a higher ranked, more-skilled player jumping into your lobby and absolutely demolishing you, only adding to what’s bound to be an impressive death tally (a regular occurrence when playing through Dark Souls 3).
Dark Souls and Bloodborne developers had to focus on tailoring those games towards a multiplayer experience as well as the single-player campaign – but with Sekiro they had no such restrictions. The Result?
A single-player experience with a brilliant story, fluid combat, challenging enemies and much more!
3 It’s not Bloodborne or Dark Souls
Dubbing Sekiro ‘Dark Soul’s but with Ninjas!’ does the game an injustice.
Yes, the game is challenging – proven by how many times I died in my short my playthrough – however, the similarities with From Software’s other challenging titles ends there.
Combat in Sekiro doesn’t focus on rolling and dodging hits from huge enemies. Instead, the focus is on deflecting attacks.
Timing is a really important factor in this game, so much so that enemy attack animations were put together frame-by-frame so that only a precisely-timed counter will allow you to deal a killing blow.
Your prosthetic arm also plays an important role in combat.
Tools can be switched in the midst of battle, allowing you to try different techniques to take down those trickier bad guys.
I got the chance to use the shurikens, and a flame attachment during my playthrough – however, there are dozens of attachments that will compliment different playstyles later in the game.
4 You get a huge amount of freedom
Compared to the fairly linear one path maps we have come to expect from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, in Sekiro you are given a certain amount of freedom.
This comes mainly thanks to the grappling attachment on your wooden arm – allowing you to act like Spider-Man/Pathfinder/Bionic Commando (your choice) getting behind enemies and into hidden spots.
Trying to do a stealth playthrough of the game?
The grapple, the sneak mechanic, and the ability to eavesdrop on enemies gives you the option to go in katana twirling or eliminate your opponents one by one delivering death’s sweet justice.
5 Boss fights are not what you are used to
Remember when I said it was based on a reimagined late 16th-century, Sengoku period, Japan?
Well, some enemies are typically subhuman monstrous creatures (hence the reimagined bit) that will take all your guile to beat (so it’s not a faithful recreation of the period).
In my playthrough, I faced off against a ‘chained ogre’, who, I discovered through eavesdropping, had an aversion to flame.
Using the flame tool on my prosthetic limb, I was able to beat the monster after only seven or so attempts!
Some bosses, like the chained ogre, will need a specialist approach, whilst others you can just go to town on with your katana.
We’re DYING to play this again *gets coat*.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is out now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.