One-Armed Wolf

I can’t say that I have finished every game by From Software, but I can say I have always been a fan of their work. Each game they make turning into a love-hate relationship as you start from scratch and learn the cadences of each new boss you come too. Many times dying along the way to little guys that shouldn’t hit as hard as they do.

The newest from their long line of brutally hard games is Sekiro, Shadows Die Twice. A game that I went into completely blind other than knowing what the setting roughly was. Many times mixing up in my head what I saw for Ghost of Tsushima. Another game that I am deeply excited about. Just remember, Sekiro is the one with a grappling hook.

Yes, a grappling hook. One thing you will notice quickly about this entry in the Dark Souls type games is that movement is actually a thing.  Hell, you can jump even! A full-fledged jump button. Makes you almost think things will be easy. After all, if I could have jumped efficiently back in Blighttown… wishful thinking I suppose.

The mobility is key to make you feel like a badass in this game. The sneak deathblows you deliver always satisfying and performed with a nice audible crunch each time. Deathblows being the main way you finish every enemy. Described as the moment when the Shinobi strikes; you hit the enemy enough or counter deflect enough for them to lose posture (a combination of stamina and poise) and then strike. Even bosses need to be taken down with these attacks. Some requiring multiple deathblows before you finally bring them to their knees, always brought along with a pleasing cinematic flourish.

Without spoiling too much the bosses really bring some great battles into the game. I’m about fifteen hours into the game and have downed two official bosses and a myriad of mini-bosses. The large boss battles actually being the only way you can increase your attack power in the game. The battles usually set in a large cinematic area, a huge battlefield, a burning down estate or a field of flowers. Once you defeat the boss you learn from the battle and that is how your character gains strength. So no amount of grinding on the side is just going to allow you to come back and one shot them. Looking at you Capra demon.

An interesting change to the way the games normally play. I know when I was trying to finish off the chalice dungeons in Bloodborne I ground out a good amount of enemies to hit harder. This new title moving furthest away from the normal, kill, level, repeat. Even death is different with you losing half your current experience and half your gold. No way to recover it. To negate that a bit you do get “one” resurrect while in the midst of battle, leading to the game’s title.

Now the minibosses set in the world are just as big when it comes to a stopping point. Many of which being in charge of blocking a path or a gate to lead to the next area. Sometimes this is a giant Ogre that knows more kickboxing moves than modern UFC fighters, or perhaps just a giant flaming boar, yes flaming. Large amounts of mini-bosses are samurai generals that you can just pass, but they have all, so far, carried prayer beads. These beads were the only way I have found to increase your health and that ever important posture. You still need four beads before it even increases, but every little bit helps.

The landscapes are stunning in the beautiful 4k, with the graphics many times stopping my tracks to look as snow falls gently. Even when scouting out where the next big location is.

Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (9)

The tower in the distance, in this case, is blocked by seven smaller enemies and two large brutes. Just to get to this perch I first fought two samurai having a conversation I could eavesdrop and a pair of wolves. The last place to rest and recover being before them, but if I decide to rest they come back each time. Here I managed to sneak left and kill a minion holding a pan he bangs to alert others, then proceded to take out three riflemen, a spear user, and last the two large brutes. The brutes a hell of a battle if you don’t sneak attack them.

Just to finally run into this guy.Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (10)

Right now I sit at a crossroad of what seems to be three paths. The one above ends in that miniboss I said I would save until tomorrow.

Another leading to these catacomb things where a zombie dude gave me flashbacks of the reassembling skeletons in Dark Souls, I said nope to him.Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (7)

The last leading up to a castle that I think is technically the right way, but I will save that for now. The game early on also gives you a “side path” to explore that is a completely different setting and time frame.

Sekiro™ Shadows Die Twice (2)

This setting puts you in a backstory but doesn’t advance the plot or change it in the current world. I don’t know if this whole section is technically “skippable” having there be items here that are extremely useful in the main portion, maybe another playthrough at a later date will reveal that. The real benefit of this side quest is showing you back story on Sekiro himself, why he has abilities and a boss battle that will increase your strength.

Having put the hours into this I would recommend it to anyone who likes a challenging game. Plus, if you love timepiece games I really appreciate the aesthetics as well. Some of the magical elements of the game took my breath away, large enemies that I had no clue would be in it until I saw them and they were trying to swallow me whole.

The idea of reviews like this going forward is you will see it in two parts. A first glance which you now have, then, later on, you can have a completion of the whole game. I find it is hard to really review something when you don’t have all the information. Some games are destroyed in the last five hours of gameplay when the final battles are just bad. Others spend all of their flash in the beginning and have hours of mundane play that follows.

Regardless, let me know what you think in the comments and sign up for email notifications on the sidebar if you don’t want to miss any of these. More exciting news, the page can now be found at forthesakeofgaming.com as well! So share away and I’ll see you tomorrow.

P.S. I just thought this was pretty

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