Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice E3 2018 Preview -- A Different Side of From Software

Sekiro

From Software has become known for making compelling action experiences where the idea is to survive by any means necessary. Dark Souls has been notorious for this; and some feel that Bloodborne follows the same suit.

But Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice works a little bit differently. You can still see the nuances of From Software’s work as you watch the demo for the game. But there’s also something refreshing, particularly when it comes to your character’s swift movements and the numerous enemies that will challenge him at every turn. I actually found the demo to be quite invigorating, as well as a bold new direction for From Software to proceed in.

The game takes place in the late 1500’s in Sengoku Japan, where you take on the role of Sekiro, also known as the “one armed wolf.” You’ll run across a number of scenarios that put your skill to the test, whether it’s crossing a ravine with a large (and hungry) snake guarding its entrances; or a large skilled warrior riding atop a horse, trying to stab you with his spear.

The game’s movement truly defines how far From Software has come with Sekiro’s development. You can use a rope to grapple onto certain sections midway through a jump, making it a little easier to get around than you would with just walking. For instance, let’s talk about making your way across the ravine where the snake guards. You can find another way about by jumping around ledges and using your rope to grapple onto a point otherwise outside your reach. This will help you escape that creature’s jaws, even if it is just by a hair.

Sekiro’s combat, however, has the true essence of From Software in mind. We saw this with a couple of scenarios where you can lock onto an enemy, big or small, and chip away at them while avoiding some deadly strikes. But there’s an interesting technique that came up during battle. If you manage to somehow get killed, your character can emerge like its “shadow,” trying to strike back before you’re lost for good. We haven’t seen too much of this in action just yet, but it looks fascinating and doesn’t always mean you’ll meet your death swiftly.

We didn’t go hands on with the game, but it looks like movement has been perfectly balanced between your vertical based movements and your strikes. It’s sort of like a concentrated and less visceral Ninja Gaiden, with some great boss battles thrown in or good measure. It does look challenging, but not impossible. And that’s a standard that a lot of folks can appreciate these days, especially after getting through God of War.

The demo only lasted a few minutes but paints a satisfying portrayal of Japan, complete with exquisite building designs, wonderful atmospheric touches and imaginative enemy design. Some of the lower level grunts aren’t too impressive, but the big bosses pose a certain threat when it comes to their looks and patterns. You’ll love each encounter you come across.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice won’t be shipping until sometime in 2019, so you’ve got a little time to wait before you can carve your way through From Software’s latest. But what we’ve seen thus far is very promising, and bodes a bright (dark?) future for the director Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team.

The game will release in early 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.