From Software’s latest title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait. As someone who has finished Dark Souls, Nioh and Bloodborne more times than I can count, another hardcore action RPG game is always exciting. The game is very different from everything we have experienced in the genre but I am sure we can rest assured knowing that the game will deliver a phenomenal, yet deadly experience.
With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice on the horizon, I thought it would be fitting to go through some of the game’s features which you may or may not know. Everything below is important to understanding the game’s new mechanics and master the combat. Check out 10 things you need to know before you play Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
1. The Game World is More Vertical
Sekiro features a very different approach to the game worlds we have ventured through in past From Software games. Instead of being pretty horizontal with a lot of deadly falls to add the illusion of verticality, Sekiro’s game world is actually vertical and you will get to explore the ups and downs of the valleys, buildings and mountains as you wish.
2. Freedom to Explore
The change in the world means you need a way to explore it and that is where Sekiro is very different from past games. You can now jump at any time rather than being limited to only jumping while sprinting. You can also climb ledges and buildings. Most of all, you have a brand new grappling hook that can shoot out and latch onto objects for you to pull yourself up and towards it. This adds a whole new level of exploration to the world and the ability to find secret locations and objects by exploring every inch of it both high and low.
3. Grappling in Combat is Key
While you can grapple to get around the world, you can also use it in combat such as boss fights especially. Some fights let you reach higher locations right before you are going to get your head smashed in to avoid death. From Software has made sure that the boss fight arenas are wider and higher to compensate for the new verticality of gameplay adding a new layer of combat to the game. Some bosses even have grappling points which you can use to reach them for close-encounter fights
4. Stealth is New
Most recent From Software games had a tiny bit of stealth in the form of sneaking up behind enemies and jabbing them in the back. It worked but Sekiro is taking that to a new level. Now, you can use your grappling hook to get atop trees and buildings and leap down onto enemies with a stealthy death blow. You can also sneak through bushes and take them down like a true ninja.
5. Combat is Tactical
If you are not opting in for the stealth option then combat has changed and you need to know this. The new Posture Bar is important as it determines how much you or an enemy can block before your guard breaks. If an enemy’s guard breaks, you can perform a powerful Shinobi Finishing move. If an enemy breaks your guard then you will be left open for attacks. Some enemies can also cast spells that automatically lowers your bar so watch out for those too.
6. Enemies Have More Health Than They Seem
All enemy health bars are the same size but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has incorporated a popular game mechanic that shows how many of the same health bars the enemy you are facing has. When you see a diamond shape above a health bar, that means that the enemy has one health bar, and another one you need to deplete in order to defeat it. Some enemies even have two or more of these diamonds which is a warning that it may be a stronger one and you need to be on your guard. But watch that posture bar.
8. Healing Gourds Will Keep You Alive
Similar to the Estus Flask in Dark Souls and the Blood Vials in Bloodborne, Healing Gourds are Sekiro’s healing items. You will start off with five of them in your inventory and they can be consumed by using them during the game. You can then upgrade them using Gourd Seeds which are rare and found across the game. The upgrades will increase the amount of health healed and the number of charges you have. You can also get healing skills which increase the effects of the item too.
7. Sculptor’s Idols Are The New Bonfires
Looking to refill your Gourd Charges? Don’t look for a Bonfire, instead use the new Sculptor’s Idols. These checkpoints are scattered around the game and refill your health charges as well as give you the ability to spend skill points and refill your White Spirit Emblems which are used for Prosthetic Tools. Of course, they also respawn all the enemies in the area around you so the gamble is up to you.
8. Prosthetic Tools, Weapons and Defences
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice features a very different inventory system compared to past From Software games. The Shinobi Prosthetic item is what you will use to make use of tools such as the Grappling Hook and the Firecracker. Weapons such as the Loaded Axe and Spear and defences such as the Flame Vent and Steel umbrella. These tools, weapons and defences need to be equipped and you will need to decide which ones to go with for the challenges ahead. You will also find new ones which will add more variety and challenge to the game. Think of these as Dark Souls’ spells, shields and secondary weapons.
9. Sekiro’s Story is Fantastic
Dark Souls and Bloodborne had great stories which you had to really search for to enjoy. Lore was hidden in item descriptions and side dialogue which you had to discover for yourself. The same is said for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice as the game’s story will not be spoon fed to you. All we know right now is that you play as a “one-armed wolf” that becomes a target of vicious enemies including the Asina Clan. You set off on a quest to find and free your young lord after he is captured by the clan.
10. What it is Missing
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice sounds fantastic with everything we mentioned above but it is missing a few key features too which you may look for when starting the game. It is a single-player only experience so no multiplayer at all (guess I am taking on those bosses solo). Sekiro also has no character creation no classes or stat specific roles. The weapon system is also bare bones with only two katanas available as main weapons. You can also not expect to dual wield anything as the game features no dual wielding weapons.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases on 22 March 2019 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.