From Software are masters of what they do, their Souls games are favourites for many and have been long famed for their brutal difficulty. They didn’t stop with the Souls game though, as Bloodborne landed to critical acclaim (although we never wrote about it here) with a different feel to combat, and a gothic Victorian setting.
Not to rest on their laurels the team are back with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a game set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history, with From Software’s own unique take. Steam suggests I’ve played 63 minutes of this new adventure, 63 minutes which absolutely flew by.
I never truly got to grips with the Souls games, and while I thoroughly enjoyed Bloodborne, I became unstuck at the Blood-Starved Beast. I’m not going to proclaim that I will finish Sekiro after just an hour of game-time, but it feels more open to newcomers to the series.
It helps that the early moments of the game are very much set out as an introduction to the basic mechanics of being a Shinobi, along with introducing some story elements which aren’t entirely shrouded in mystery.
I don’t doubt that combat, once I get stuck into the heart of the game, will become more challenging as bigger and badder foes appear. But, in the initial phases, combat is clearly explained to you, and enemies aren’t that adept at disguising their intentions.
What helps, from my perspective at least, is the change of approach to exploration and combat that comes with Sekiro. You can readily traverse the environment thanks to your prosthetic arm which comes complete with a grappling hook. Stealth is actively encouraged, and while I imagine many will choose to get stuck into the combat, the mere presence of a stealth mechanic is a godsend to me.
Death is to be expected with Sekiro, and I have suffered a few already. My first was a fools mistake though. While shimmying around a cliff edge, rather than press ‘X’ on the Xbox controller to mantle up safely, I press ‘Y’ and jumped off the cliff, and to my death.
Darwin Award worthy eh?
The interesting thing about death in Sekiro is that there is a respawn mechanic that kicks in under set conditions. I’m too early in to fully appreciate the pros and cons of this, but the ability to instantly resurrect yourself where you died is enticing, especially for those moments where you know you made a stupid mistake that led to your doom.
I might only be an hour into Sekiro, but my first impressions are wildly positive.