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.”
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.