On a dark Thursday night at 8:20 p.m., I was at the nearest GameStop awaiting “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” to come out. Some people that got the game went for the standard edition. As for me, I wanted to immerse myself in the collector’s edition. By the time I got my game along with a pre-ordered samurai letter opener, I pondered what kind of enemies I would be facing. To the average gamer that does not know “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” the game was created by none other than From Software, the creators of “Dark Souls.” The difference this time is that the game is less user friendly regarding their death mechanic.
Though death is complex in this game, I was amazed at the fighting mechanics.
In “Sekiro,” the player is given the ability to resurrect one time but after that, there are no more freebies, unless you use some shinobi techniques of taking down minor opponents or going to a Buddha statue to rest. The Buddha statue in this game acts as a bonfire from “Dark Souls” and a checkpoint to refill your healing flasks. During my first hour of gameplay experience, I instantly died from a sub-boss, thinking that he would not attack me with full force. I was wrong. By using these checkpoint locations, I felt secured knowing that my character’s death loomed on the horizon.
Though death is complex in this game, I was amazed at the fighting mechanics. Instead of attacking head-on like most RPG games, the player has to understand parry, dodge and jump in order to not die. There was one non-playable character (NPC) that stood as a dummy to test out these tactics and by the time I learned the basics, I was prepared to face real enemies.
Contrasting from “Dark Souls,” I was happy about having a pause button in the game that stops the fighting altogether. Believe me, after facing some tough sub-bosses, I needed to breathe for a minute or two. By the time I went back into the thick of the fight, I was ready to vanquish my current foe. Another change is that the player can literally swim in the game. On top of the new mechanics that are given to the player, the stealth mechanic is heavily used in “Sekiro.”
The story in the game is very decent, but I will not spoil any major plot points. Rest assured, the focus is a shinobi seeking his prince and getting revenge from a villainous samurai. Although I have not beaten the game, “Sekiro” does provide some lore from feudal Japan.
The drawback that “Sekiro” has is historical relevance. One example of a good video game that used historical actors and even a historian in creating the lore is “Kingdom Come: Deliverance.” Contrastingly, “Sekiro” does not use any historical actors in the time period, but rather focuses on fiction to motivate the gamer to play more. Though some would see it as a minor nuisance, I saw it as a head scratcher.
As for the reception, critics love the new “Sekiro” game. According to an IGN article by Brandin Tyrrel, “Sekiro” “evolves From Software’s formula into a stylish stealth-action adventure.” In my opinion, “Sekiro” never disappointed my gaming tastes. Despite minor issues of historical relevance, “Sekiro” is a good game that “Dark Souls” fans or newcomers alike will crave to have in their collection.
Nicholas Bartelmo is a third-year student majoring in history. NB790429@wcupa.edu