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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – what it is, and what it isn’t

Hello to all the ninja-loving, stealth-appreciating, and death-appraising gamers out there! Welcome to our very first glance at the newest FromSoftware project, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This article aims to offer some insights on what this new game is all about, what it offers, and what can you expect by playing it. FromSoftware is the developer behind such unprecedented titles as Dark Souls and Bloodborne. If you are familiar with these titles, there’s quite a big chance that death is not an unknown factor to you and the two of you have had your paths tied for an unreasonable number of times already.

That being said, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice comes in a different type of shade, and while you are more than likely to cross your paths with death (certainly for more than once), this title promises to deviate from that of the previous FromSoftware games in many ways. In other words, Sekiro seems to share the same soul-like spirit, the same trial and error principle, and the same perfectionistic approach to each encounter, however, it seems like some fundamental things are to change completely. And these changes might make Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice an entirely its own thing.

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Not What You’d Expect – Narrative

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is nearing down to its inevitable release on March 22. It’s an action-adventure game set in the great and brutal Sengoku era, Japan. As in all the FromSoftware games, you have your fearless and immortalized protagonist, in this game you play as Sekiro (also known as The Wolf). However, this time, the game’s narrative is vastly different, as FromSoftware has confirmed that Sekiro is not just a face and a body that remains silent throughout the game.

Sekiro will actually communicate with other characters met throughout the world. Not only will he communicate, but he’ll also possess his own thoughts, feelings, and even a sense of morality. This highly differs from the wordless and unresponsive heroes in their previous games. Such change has also allowed the developers to implement such story-telling technique as flashback sequences, so prepare for some immersive cinematic bits up ahead.

Despite the well-rounded and formed character’s personality, the developers of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice didn’t forget about the theory-crafters of their Soulsborne games. As such, Sekiro is the only piece that is presented with a direct approach in mind. Everything else, including the world’s history, enemies, mini-bosses, bosses, and most of the characters he meets are all fragmented. This decision should leave plenty of room for the theory-crafters to sort things out on their own. There’s a whole another story waiting to be pieced together prior to what exactly happened before the game’s events.

Similarities & Differences – Top-level Design Choices, Death, Personalization.

Like we’ve proposed in the introductory part, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice certainly shares some common traits with that of previous FromSoftware games. Such top-level design choices as an atrocious amount of vastly varied and unique enemies to face, a whole bunch of innovative and beyond challenging bosses (some of which are avoidable, if you’re into avoiding stuff), and an interconnected world that also has a safe haven (also known as the hub space) along with numerous secrets and hidden locations to uncover are but a few most notable similarities.

However, the differences that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has, out-proportions the similarities by a mile. Sekiro is far more focussed on the in-depth player progression and personalization, rather than the heavy RPG stats-focused approach. This comes in numerous ways. First of which, the already familiar ‘corpse runs’ are now the thing of the past, as by dying, Sekiro no longer loses his currency and XP.

As is expected, you’ll gain XP by killing various foes, and once the XP bar maxes out, instead of an increased level, you’ll gain a skill point. These can later be spent on unlocking various abilities from the varied skill trees. Keep in mind, that skill points can only be spent at certain locations. Furthermore, the game presents almost no stats-scaling to worry about, however, you’ll be able to increase your hp (as well as some other attributes) by gathering certain in-game items.

The soon to be Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice game will also offer quite a few vastly different skill trees to choose from. Each skill tree offers a distinct play-style as well as an array of specific customization options that go with it. Are you into the direct fighting approach? The Samurai skill tree might be your pick. Evasion and ability to manoeuvre your way out to safety sound like a bliss? Pick the Shinobi arts. And if you are curious enough, there’s also an option to go hard and capitalize on the full potential of your prosthetic addition!

What’s Special to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Combat, Movement, Stealth.

No matter the skill tree you decide upon choosing, Sekiro is not a defensive game. Sure, you’ll spend plenty of time analysing your foe’s attack patterns and try to figure out the best possible way to approach the whole ordeal in numerous ways until you find the one that fits for you. But in the very essence, this game is all about creating openings and dishing out a killing blow first.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice presents a mechanic known as ‘posture’. You can lower your foe’s posture by making them block you or dishing out a particularly sneaky move. Once your foe’s posture is low enough, strike a fatal-blow and end your opponent’s misery in an instant. Although you should be wary of posture, as the mechanic works both ways, and this only means that your enemies are concerned with your posture as well!

As far as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is concerned, manoeuvrability also plays a detrimental part to the whole ordeal. With your prosthetic arm also usable as a grappling hook, your whole map becomes a vertical playground. Housetops, trees, or in fact, any high location you can find will become your safe-haven from the incoming danger. You can also use your grappling hook to instantly close the distance between you and your foes. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice also features a dedicated jump button for an even more evasive play, for example, some enemy attacks will be avoidable by jumping over them.

Stealth aspect plays a major role in this piece, as the game suggests you avoid bigger groups of enemies. The in-game setting provides plenty of ways to hide in plain sight, tall grass and rooftops are but a few. While hidden, Sekiro is able to dish out silent one hit KO’s, and these are extremely helpful in a map full of robust warriors aiming to abolish your very existence. Note this: whoever you may avoid, or skip unintentionally, may further into the game find its way back to you and then join forces with your current foes! You do not want that happening!

More news about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will follow shortly, stay tuned!