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Feature Article

E3 2018: From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Interests Me More Than Dark Souls Or Bloodborne Ever Did

You died twice.

Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and many more of From Software's games contain incredibly detailed worlds, with incredibly deep combat and an incredible number of deaths. You see, as impressive as From's previous games have been, I'm not particularly good at playing them. I'm one of those people you tell to "git gud." I play each of From's games for eight or so hours, get sick of dying, and give up.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice might be the game to break that rule. Death is no longer a barrier which must be overcome. It's no longer simply a "learning experience." Death and immediate resurrection is now a mechanic. From Software says you can use death to your advantage--fooling your enemies into a false sense of security before coming back to life and sneaking up on them using the game's light stealth mechanics. Perfect for those who--like me--are fed up of dying. From is staying coy, however, on the exact mechanics of the resurrection ability. It says you'll only be able to use it a limited number of times, and that "in no way does [resurrection] make the game easy."

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Sekiro also speeds up the From formula, even moreso than Bloodborne did. Your main character--for now, simply named the Shinobi--is more agile than that of Soulsborne. He has a proper jump, which can be utilized in combat. He has a grappling hook, which can be used to gain a vantage point over the enemy. And his prosthetic limb can be customized to wield a shuriken, which you can use to propel yourself towards an enemy in a flash.

The limb's other customizations include a Firecracker--which can blind enemies and scare those who are frightened of fire--and a Loaded Axe to deal heavy damage. Of course, you also carry a sword: Miyazaki, the game's director, says he wanted the theme of Sekiro to be "a clashing of swords," and that clash is featured prominently in the game's reveal trailer. It's more than just a cool visual effect however: successfully parry your opponent's attack and you'll reduce what From is currently calling their Posture. Reduce your enemy's Posture enough and you'll open them up to a Shinobi Death Blow, which can deal huge amounts of damage. If they block enough of your attacks on the other hand, and they can deal critical hits to you.

Despite these differences, Shadows Die Twice is still very much a From Software game. To heal, you drink a potion that renders you vulnerable to attack for a second or two--almost identical to the healing mechanic seen in Dark Souls and Bloodborne. There will also be a checkpoint system of some description, and although From isn't sharing more about that just yet, it surely won't be drastically different to the Bonfires and Lamps seen in the company's previous games.

Activision may be a new publisher for From; 16th century Japan may be a new setting; and the grappling hook, jump button, and resurrection mechanics may be new gameplay decisions; but this a From game through and through. It will excite those who love the developer's previous work, but it's also got me really intrigued to play more. I just hope I can get past the first boss this time.

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Oscar Dayus

Oscar is GameSpot's Staff Writer, and as the youngest member of the UK office he's usually the butt of the joke.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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34 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for Destructionzz

Having to walk all the way back to your corpse was a pain and I hated it, that was playing Demon Souls I think, which is the only one I tried and gave up pretty quickly. Too punishing to a point that it ruins the fun, speaking for myself at least. Maybe I will give this a go.

Avatar image for vilified_signals

Not going to lie, I thought, for sure, this was a reimagined Ninja Gaiden game. Where they went back to their roots.

Avatar image for Naewulf

I was hoping for tenchu though...

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl

i get the impression the two games only exist because the fans was crying at assassins creed to go into japan and they never did so now sucker punch and from software is taking those ideas .....

Avatar image for Vodoo

@Flyin3lvl: These 2 games seem pretty similar, Sucker Punch and From's.

Avatar image for KaptenHaddock

I'm not excited. I don't like the setting, and a lot of the designs are downright uninspired compared to stuff in the Soulsborne series.

Avatar image for Vodoo

I REALLY hope they don't stay with the slow, lumbering combat. I also hope you're finally able to stop your attack to block instead of having to follow through with the animation.

A lot of people like the Souls games (I never did), but a lot more would like it if it were more responsive.

Avatar image for xantufrog

@Vodoo: I agree, the Souls games are actually quite clunky. I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but they are much more about learning timing patterns than tight controls.

Avatar image for Mkeegs79

@xantufrog: You can't get any better controls than the Souls titles when any death that occurs is your own mistake. Souls combat is tactical in a realistic way. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is obviously more faced. It is completely obvious just by the trailer.

Avatar image for Vodoo

@Mkeegs79: How is it your mistake when you die because you're unable to block or evade because you have to wait for a slow animation to finish? It would be better if it were like Ninja Gaiden (just an example) where you could be mid-combo and immediately block for an incoming attack.

Avatar image for Mkeegs79

@Vodoo: Are you kidding me?

Avatar image for sladakrobot

Shame...i didnt saw the guy wielding a second sword at any time :-( Maybe its possible?

To play like Yagyu Jubei in a demonic feudal Japan would be awesome

Avatar image for tingtong

So basically its a single player Souls game with a touch of samurai/ninja, without the same level of difficulty. Wish I could say I’m excited but I’m not.. doesn’t mean there won’t be something to appreciate & I’m sure I’ll play it eventually but its not even in my top 10 most anticipated games

Avatar image for decadentdescent

@tingtong: Where do you get that it's easier, especially when Miyazaki said himself it wouldn't be?

Avatar image for Prats1993

“Death and immediate resurrection is now a mechanic.”

Lol, it’s very clear that this writer hasn’t played a Souls game.

Avatar image for BeefoTheBold

"I don't like or get the hugely popular Dark Souls games, now listen to what I have to say about the next game from the developer."

That's some interesting logic there I guess?

Avatar image for legendaryh1tman

Tenchu + DarkSouls = Day fucking one

Avatar image for RELeon

@legendaryh1tman: Haha that was what I was thinking too. It reminded me ALOT of Tenchu.

Avatar image for gfantini

@lonesamurai1: You mean technically, right? Yes, Bloodborne had frame pacing issues and a few graphical oddities such as heavy aliasing. But from an art direction standpoint, it is a masterpiece.

No other game has ever managed to immerse me in its world like Bloodborne did, and its visuals are a key part of it.

And since you mentioned: oh, that f*in pig charging towards me at 30 fps! Still gives me the chills…

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Ah yes, another article from the site who brought us "God of War had boring combat."

Now it's "I'm not good enough at Souls games so I'm hoping they made it easier"

I'm hoping they don't compromise their design principles, and they've been very good at not doing so in the past. Truly hope Activision doesn't meddle, as they have done so in the past.

Avatar image for afromakka

@Thanatos2k: hahah yeah i was just gonna say that !! i even had the most read comment on the article u mentioned , i donno who read those before editing

Avatar image for RELeon

@Thanatos2k: That was my biggest concern, was seeing Activision behind it. The last thing I need is for my Souls games to get dumbed down and turned EZ-MODE.

Avatar image for decadentdescent

@RELeon: Same here, but I have faith that Fromsoft and most notably Miyazaki will stay true to their principles and vision.

Avatar image for Renunciation

"I play each of From's games for eight or so hours, get sick of dying, and give up."

Coming from the same person who wrote Gamespot's "Celeste" review, this is very surprising.

I've played the hell out of the "Soulsborne" games, and never gave up. Celeste whooped me into submission within an hour; I gave up. Dying 2-4 times a minute wasn't enjoyable.

Avatar image for Barighm

Um...that's nice? GTA never interested me either. Can I write a piece on that?

Avatar image for jako998

Lol you get sick and tired of dying and give up? Well than i see no reason for youto play this game than since you will obviously dying a lot in this game.

Avatar image for restatbonfire

Lol. I don't understand these bias articles with titles that are meant to start something. Sounds like you just suck at dark souls but keep trying because it's popular.

Avatar image for santinegrete

I still can't believe who is the new publisher. Guess they must think betting on From is a safe bet now.

Avatar image for restatbonfire

@santinegrete: from software does great work.

Avatar image for santinegrete

@restatbonfire: Yes they do, that's why it looks like a "safe bet" for a rightly demonized publisher.

Avatar image for FaustXII

*breathes in* WEEAABOOOOOOO!!!!!

(I'm kidding guys, pls no ben)

Avatar image for ThePlantain

"get sick of dying and give up"

Filthy casual