Game Review

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Review

Before I start to the Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review, I should say that the game follows the Souls games mechanics in general. But with its unique theme, it can distinguish itself from the others.  It’s not a game for everyone like Souls games and Bloodborne. The game remains faithful to the RPG genre From Software created and fulfills the expectations with small mistakes. So, you get more fun as you die and want to continue playing with more ambition.

From Software takes players to the feudal theme of Japan in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and this time acts more generous with storytelling. I can say that, compared to the previous Souls games, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice gives more information and background about the story. In the main story of the game, players go to the immediate aftermath of the Sengoku period where civil war continued for years. At the end of this period, as the war almost destroyed the whole country, we are given the control of our Shinobi-trained character. Our goal is to save The Divine Heir, who is captured by the Ashina clan, for whatever the cost.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Review

Even though Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice outlines the story details, it gives players enough freedom to explore the vast world of the game. So, as you discover new place and details, you get more information about the main story and lore. Of course, these pieces of information have been distributed to so many different regions that sometimes you can forget what you are doing.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is as hard as the previous games of From Software, but of course it is not impossible. Actually, this difficulty constitutes the main dynamic of the game. When you overcome a difficult situation, you feel the success more than any other game. When we consider the games on the market, which are generally easy enough for casual gamers, I can even say that Sekiro has a normal difficulty. Of course, it is not a Sunday walk in the park kind of easy but with enough grinding and patience you can kill any enemy in the game. You die often, sometimes you get stuck in the same place, but the game never gets you in a corner. For example, let’s say you’ve reached to Genchiro, one of the key encounters in the story. The game does not requite you to eliminate this boss in order to progress. It is possible to save ths fight for later and explore other places. As a result, all the big and small battles you fight in the game return to you as experience and stronger items. Thus, you can clearly feel the development of your character.

‘’Sekiro gives the player the feeling of accomplishment to the fullest.’’

Of course, don’t let this thing makes you soft in the game. Sekiro is a game that wants to be taken seriously, and you should always be on alert. If you don’t play carefully, it is quite possible even a normal enemy can beat you in few seconds. Even if you gain experience and become stronger, you should not underestimate the opponents and stick to the strategy. As I said in the beginning, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice features the atmosphere and environment of the Far East. This feature also reflects in the fights and gameplay in general. The swords are incredibly enjoyable to use. Even in the slightest encounter, the collision of swords gives you an incredible pleasure in gameplay. Also, the quality of the sound effects and voice acting is enough to satisfy you.

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I can certainly say that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the best games I’ve ever played in case of realistic sword fights. One of the most important elements that enrich the melee system is the new abilities you gain throughout the game. At first you have a classic fighting style, then you gain different abilities. Moreover, it is possible to develop these combat styles and learn new movements. Every single technique changes your fighting style in a significant way. In time you learn which technique works better with which enemy and you plan your strategy according to that.

Sekiro’s prosthetic arm constitutes an important place in the game. Our hero is missing an arm and a prosthetic is attached to his arm, which also serves as a hook and allows you to reach hard-to-reach areas. You use this feature frequently in both normal progression and fighting sequences. And perhaps, the most annoying detail appears at this point. As it helps you to hold on to tree branches and roofs, in some occasions this mechanic does not work properly. Let’s say you are climbing to a building and there is a corner you can hold on to very comfortably. However, the game does not allow you to reach to that point and get advantage of it. Instead, it forces you to follow the designated path. These situations sometimes limit the freedom in the game. In the same way you cannot hold the edge of some cliffs.

Sekiro’s prosthetic arm also unlocks key features in combat. We can add axe, spear or ninja stars to his arm and it’s also possible to upgrade prosthetic arm capabilities. To use the second feature or weapons on your prosthesis, you need the icons called Spirit Emblem. These icons can be found at different spots in the game, also can be bought.

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There are dozens of items in the game, just like in the Souls series. Collecting these items and using them in appropriate moments is very important in terms of the strategy. Use of items such as Dragonroots, which are also seen in the story, is also vital for progress.

The talent update part is one of the most unique and interesting part of the game. First of all, the level system works a little differently than the games we’re used to. As you kill enemies, you are leveling up, but your level also becomes your skill points. So, when you unlock a new talent, your skill points reset. It is similar to the soul-gathering logic in the Souls games, but this time the punishment element works different. When you start to die too often, you lose the experience points you have collected and a large part of your money. Fortunately, it is possible to save money with the pouches that you can buy. For skill points, the most clever thing to do is to reach the next level.

Almost every boss you encounter in the game manages to pressure you significantly. Throughout the game you encounter different size of bosses and additional mini bosses. Aside from main story bosses, you can also find bosses in various locations as you explore. These encounters are quite important to improve your character and his features. One of the cons of the game appears when you start to fight with Samurai enemies rather than monsters, because of the lack of AI of these foes. This thing is not so visible for monsters, but you can feel it easily against Samurai warriors.

Although Sekiro focuses on close combat, the stealth feature also constitutes an important place, especially compared to the Souls games. Just like in other games, it is crucial to position yourself nicely behind enemies. Depending on the general theme of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it is possible to complete some areas with only using stealth.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is technically not so assertive, but visually it is a satisfying game. A special kind of design scattered on every corner to impress you. By the way, the PC version is locked to 60 FPS, but of course players can change this issue with mods. The places you discover, creature designs or map designs, visually reinforce the game. Especially when you enter places like temples, you can’t help yourself but to check every little detail. Another point to mention is the sound effects and the sound quality of the game. Notably, the voice-acting and Japanese language sounds great with the theme of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I would suggest you to pick the Japanese language option because it helps you to feel the originality and theme, more than others.

To sum up, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the new gift of From Software to the gamer community. It doesn’t have online features like in Souls games. Maybe it could have been a nice plus, but I can’t say you feel the need of it so much. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice manages to impress with its storytelling, vast world waiting to be explored, combat system and many other features. If you love the Souls games and From Software products, you should definitely not miss Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Murat Oktay

Video games have been my passion for as long as I can remember. I have been writing and managing in the game industry for more than 30 years. I've been playing Diablo 2 nonstop since it first came out.

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