Now available for pre-order, $59.99
On the Xbox One, PS4, and PC
Release: Early 2019
Attention all Bloodborne and Dark Souls fans! This is a friendly reminder that you are getting a new game next year! No, it’s not a sequel to (even though that’s what some of you were really hoping for). FromSoftware blew everyone’s mind during this years Microsoft Conference by announcing an entirely new IP, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Initially rumored to be the sequel to Bloodborne or something in relation to the Dark Souls universe, the internet ignited with speculation when the first teaser was shown at The Game Awards 2017. Check it out:
It was finally revealed at the Microsoft Showcase that the teaser turned out to be for a new game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. For those who haven’t seen the trailer yet, you definitely need to check it out:
Sekiro tells the tale of a nameless warrior pledged to protect a young lord. Assassins attack, the warrior loses his arm, and the young lord is kidnapped. Rough day. Not to worry, as the warrior is saved and reawakes in a temple with a new badass mechanical arm. Nice. That’s bound to help in his new mission mission to find his ward and murder everyone in the process. Dark Souls’ visionary director Hidetaka Miyazaki returns, once again directing in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
I was lucky enough to be able to check out a gameplay demonstration during E3 2018. So, given what I have seen, what can you expect from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?
After being shown a 15 minute live gameplay demo by Yasuhiro Kitao, it is confirmed that it will NOT be a multiplayer game where you can team up with your friends to fight big bosses. It is strictly a third person single player RPG, set in a world based off of Japan in the late 1500’s during the Sengoku Period. Your character’s mission is to find your master while destroying your enemies. To be able to complete this task you must learn the strategic ways of “Sekiro,” also known as the “One-Armed Wolf’s” techniques and abilities.
As with all things good and right in the world, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s main focus is intense and rewarding combat. With a mechanical sword in one hand and a badass grappling hook as the other, Sekiro will demand you master a number of styles and techniques to survive. Knowing FromSoft, this means a lot more than just learning your light and heavy attacks. Especially when you face one of monstrous bosses.
It isn’t all blood and gore in Sekiro. Well, it is, but it’s very pretty blood and gore. The ancient sprawling temples and snow covered fields were visually striking, especially when the blood of your enemies starts painting everything red. Exploring Japan’s natural beauty while a violent and brutal civil war is taking place was among the things I found to be particularly poignant about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. But the maps aren’t just pretty to look at. Sekiro has got that classic Dark Souls interconnected design. When asked directly, the devs said, “If we were to talk about general world structure it is closer to the first Dark Souls, because it is a interconnective world with multiple paths to get to all those different places (in the game).”
“Hey Emma, you know we all love level design, but what about that mechanical arm? What’s the deal with that?” In your typical cyberpunk fashion, this arm does more than regular arm stuff like peeling bananas and picking your nose. It also serves as your grappling hook, allowing you to whisk around the map and propel yourself to hard to reach spots. There are combat applications as well, which I’m assuming you could have guessed giving that it’s a badass mechanical grappling hook arm.
Now as this is a FromSoft game, some of the bosses that the warrior comes up against will be a monumental pain in the ass to beat. Never fret, as your ability to resurrect will even the odds. Take that, monster demon samurai! Kill me once, shame on me. Kill me twice… well I’ll just keep coming back until I kill you. Now, it’s not as easy as it sounds, as the resurrection power isn’t limitless. They weren’t clear on exactly what this means. From what I saw, it was kind of like a mid-combat rewind. After you die, the screen goes black, and you come back at a point somewhere earlier in the fight. Whether this power regenerates each time you hit a checkpoint or has to be collected/crafted isn’t clear.
So far this all sounds like Dark Souls with grappling hooks, and honestly that would be totally fine. But there was at least one other thing that put Sekiro apart from its brethren. Towards the end of the demo, the warrior comes into conflict with a giant snake that makes the mountains look like molehills. You’ll have to sneak past him by using the environment as camouflage. Stealth is a new mechanic to the Souls franchise, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out in the full game. It is also unconfirmed whether or not you will have the chance to fight the snake, but knowing Miyazaki I’m betting on yes. He’s not a guy to let a giant snake boss go to waste.
The live demo ended with the warrior on a bridge facing off against a guard blocking the other side. Long story short, the warrior gets cornered and mercilessly stabbed. It actually took the guy playing two failed attempts to beat the boss, switching up strategies each time to avoid more stabbings. How’s that for some Dark Souls level difficulty?
From what was released behind closed doors, this seems to be a very impressive addition to the magic horror realm. The gameplay made me excited to slay giant snakes and explore the beauty of ancient Japan. I’m a bit sad that this isn’t Bloodborne 2, but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks to be a game deserving of its pedigree. With Miyazaki at the helm, this is definitely one that Soulsborne fans won’t want to miss.
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