Today is the day that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice came out and yes we did get one to play. Before playing, we summon what’s left of our courage from the demo to jump into this gorgeous world of Sengoku Era. Before going into the review, to those unfamiliar with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it is a Dark Souls-esque game developed by FromSoftware, creators of Dark Souls and Bloodborne series.
Right of the bat, we get to witness the amazing cinematic stories of the game. From it, we know that the protagonist is called Wolf and he’s an orphan that lost everything in the great war. Without the will to live on, he was taken in by Owl and brought up into a Shinobi. Then, he was later on given a task to protect Divine Heir of Ashina Clan. Speaking of the Divine Heir, he possessed the Dragon’s Blood which is a kind of blood imbued with sacred powers. (will go into more detail later) With special blood carried in Divine Heir’s body, he was then kidnapped by the enemies for their evil scheme. Bound to protect the young lord, nothing will stop Wolf in his perilous quest to save the Divine Heir.
In the beginning of the game, we get to play as Wolf who has lost everything by that time. Then we were given our first quest to rescue the Divine Heir, with that we set off to where he is. At first, there’s no weapon so we have to sneak past the guards by being one with the shadow. Along the way, we get to eavesdrop on enemies to gain intel which is a pretty new mechanic to us. After receiving Kusabimaru, a blade once thought lost, we went to pick up what we left in the demo. The combat still feels really cool and the posture bar keeps us on toe knowing that it will break anytime. Besides that, dealing Shinobi Deathblow to enemies when their posture breaks is still very satisfying as ever. All fun comes to an end when the Ashina Clan Commander have our ass handed to us and kidnap the Divine Heir. Worst of all, he even sliced off Wolf’s arm.
Gone with the old ones come with the new, Wolf received the Shinobi Prosthetic from the Sculptor who kind of saved him back there. This artificial arm here is like a Swiss Army Knife, it has a lot of form and can be used in various situation. To unlock its many form, players will have to look around for prosthetic tools and bring it to the Sculptor for upgrades. Moreover, players will be able to use the Grapple Hook right away after they receive the arm. A tool that turns Wolf into a Spider-Man, allowing him to travel around easily and pull himself towards enemy. Other than that, there are many different forms for players to unlock but we have only unlock some so far. For instance; the Loaded Shuriken, the Flame Vent, the Loaded Axe and the Mist Raven. In the demo, we got to try out the other three except for the Mist Raven. It’s a tool that allows player to turn into mist and teleport to enemy’s blind spot. Putting all that aside, we also notice that the Sculptor is missing an arm and that made us believe that he once wore the Shinobi Prosthetic. To back this up, the Sculptor is the one that provides Wolf with Combat Arts.
Besides tools, Wolf has skills at his disposal to help him take down enemies flashily and effectively. The skills in Sekiro is really broad and it includes Combat Arts, Prosthetic Arts, and Latent Skills (Passive). Players can assign the Combat Art of their choice in the equipment load out and can be used by pressing L1+ R1. However, there’s a catch to Combo Arts because only one Art can be used at a time. Aside from that, there’s the Prosthetic Arts which improves the attack coming out from the Shinobi Prosthetic. Lastly, there’s the Latent Skill which is a passive ability in Sekiro. For Latent Skills, it will always remain active after you buy one. For example, the Suppress Presence that reduces an enemy’s ability in perceiving those who are in stealth.
For the items in Sekiro, there’s an abundant of it and you’ll receive two in the beginning. That’s the Healing Gourd which was handed down by Lord Kuro and the Homeward Idol, an item Wolf had since young. These two are the only items that won’t disappear after using it. Moreover, the Healing Gourd can be upgraded by bringing Gourd Seeds to Emma. So far in the game we were able to obtain items like; Pellets for health regeneration overtime, Oil to make enemies vulnerable to “Burn”, and many more.
Like what we mention before, there’s mini bosses planted in the map aside from REAL bosses. Personally, we think that these mini bosses are like the real ones because they are SUPER DUPER hard to beat. As for the REAL bosses? It took us more than 30 times to take down the first boss in the game. Still, we love it because of how amazing FromSoftware depict this Old Japan. For your information, you can skip the mini boss by evading them but not for the real ones.
Dragon’s Blood & Dragonrot
Everything comes with a price and the same goes to Wolf’s resurrection in the game. With each resurrection Wolf goes through, the NPC around him will fall sick and that’s the Dragonrot. With NPC falling sick, players will not be able to advance the NPC’s quest until they are cured. To cure them, players will have to seek for Emma who will be the one to come out with an antidote. So how did Wolf receive the ability to resurrect? It was said that it’s a Divine Blessing or a curse by the Divine Heir and we aren’t even sure of it because we haven’t finish the game.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a wonderful game where players get to experience what Sengoku Era is and FromSoftware did really well in producing it. The combats in the game are so clean and smooth that you’ll have no problem with it except for the enemies and bosses you face. Besides that, the game designs and the sounds from the game are pretty top notch. From the amazing world to a simple sound of swords clashing, everything is exquisite. Lastly, I would like to take back from saying it’s easier to play than Dark Souls because it’s not.