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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review-in-progress

Our thoughts so far on this brutally challenging game.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Credit: FromSoftware / Activision

I’d hoped by now to be able to put out a full review of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice but after 30 hours of playing I don’t think I’m anywhere near the end and I feel the game is deserving of the respect of finishing it before I score it. That said I am loving and hating Sekiro in equal measure.

FromSoftware are famous for making ultra tough games such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Sekiro stands next to these two games with its head held high and is a brilliant addition to the ‘soulsbourne’ genre.

Watch the official trailer below:

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There are a fair few similarities to Dark Souls games in here and that is part of the reason that makes Sekiro so tough. I presumed it would play the same way and boy was I wrong. The combat in Sekiro is totally transformed from the Souls games and it takes some time to forget all of the lessons learned in previous FromSoftware games before things really start to click.

The game is set in feudal Japan and sees our hero (Wolf) attempting to track down and rescue the Divine Heir whom he is sworn to protect. The game world is beautiful and has loads of hidden nooks and crannies to explore to find extra loot. The addition of a grappling hook gives the game a verticality that the souls games never had.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Credit: FromSoftware / Activision

Wolf has a prosthetic arm which can be customised as the game progresses. Options such as a flame thrower or heavy axe really open up the options in combat and are often the key to making areas of the game much easier. As you progress you can also unlock new combat styles and moves to aid you in your quest. Whilst it appears that you could potentially complete the game without unlocking any new moves they certainly make things easier and more entertaining.

Sekiro forces you to be aggressive and patient in equal measure. When fighting, the aim is to break your enemies posture so that you can deliver a killing blow. The other thing to consider is that enemies with lower health recover posture more slowly. This doesn’t apply too much when fighting normal enemies but when taking on the bosses it is crucial that you work on both elements. You won’t be surprised to hear that the bosses are very hard to take down even once you’ve learned the mechanics of the fight. I literally spent 4 hours in the pursuit of taking down one boss.

Watch a boss fight in action in the video below:

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At first, the bosses seem a little generic but this soon changes and much variety is added as you make progress throughout the game. Many of the earlier bosses can be skipped to come back to at a later stage which makes them more manageable.

To sum up my experience so far, I would say it’s been a lot of frustration filled with brief moments of pure elation, it’s a classic FromSoftware game! The feeling of despair when you encounter a boss for the first time and get crushed over and over can feel like a mountain to climb but if you can keep your nerve, time your parries well enough and stay alive long enough to learn the fight, there is no better feeling.

For anyone who has played Dark Souls or Bloodborne, Sekiro is a must. For those of you new to this sort of game be warned, it is very tough but once you get to grips with it there is no better feeling than winning in Sekiro.

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