Enter a dark and brutal new gameplay experience from the creators of Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an intense, third-person, action-adventure set against the bloody backdrop of 14th-century Japan. Step into the role of a disgraced warrior brought back from the brink of death whose mission is to rescue his master and exact revenge on his arch nemesis.
Take Revenge. Restore Your Honor. Kill Ingeniously.
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I like starting off with the negatives so I'll say I don't think Sekiro is actually perfect, of course there are flaws. However, I think they're so minor that with everything favorable Sekiro has going for it, they're basically washed away into obscurity. I'm talking stuff like “Why is the last Sculptor Idol that far from the final boss?”, “Why doesn't the game let you close to desktop?”, and “Why isn't it just “Sekiro”, what's with the “Shadows Die Twice”?” Seriously, that minor.
I think Sekiro offers masterclass pacing/difficulty scaling, visuals, audio, characters, tone, worldbuilding, and enemy/boss variety. The strongest of these, no question, is the pacing/difficulty scaling. If you've played Sekiro or you browse any forum talking about when someone first started playing it, you will read the same thing over and over again: the moment this game 'clicked'. Thinking about it, I suppose almost every game can boast about this moment, but I've simply never felt it before anywhere else as I have with Sekiro.
To make a long story short: it was only on my third playthrough attempt, on the game's third year anniversary, that I actually felt the 'click' for myself. Up until then, I had brute-forced my way to pretty far in the game, but you'll hit a roadblock sooner or later that simply forces you to understand the game's system of being relentless. In the words of Isshin Ashina: “Hesitation is defeat.” You gotta get in there, attack until they're going to counter, and parry like a madman. Is Lady Butterfly starting to skip into the sky? You will PUNISH that with a shuriken, knock that broad flat on her ass. Is Genichiro jumping, preparing a chop? You're gonna PUNISH that by dodging to the side, getting a hit or two in, before Mikiri countering that idiot.
Every fight is a dance of death and every boss is an invitation-only ball. You don't know their moves yet, but you'll learn the jig and come out on top, giddy when you see SHINOBI EXECUTION on your screen. You earned it. I yelled, “PUNISHED!” at my monitor more times than I can count, and brother? It felt good.
For me, Sekiro was a journey that spanned years and multiple attempts. I always liked the atmosphere but it took me a long time to finally “get” it. Today, I beat my first charmless run and I felt like I actually accomplished a feat, something I don't feel as often as I'd like when I beat a game. I'm pretty confident that should anybody else give this game a go, they too will experience a journey different from just about any other game they've tried. Sekiro is something truly special to me.
I highly, highly recommend Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It's a fantastic game. It goes on sale pretty frequently and is completely worth the $30. I'd love to see From Software delve back into this style!