By Gieson Cacho
Digital First Media
In the beginning, "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" does not feel like a FromSoftware game. Controlling the nameless "lone wolf", I move down from rocks to rooftops using a shinobi prosthesis that lets the hero swing around like Spider-Man. The view has a pure Japanese look that is the opposite of the gravel and decay of the Dark Souls series.
It was almost a whole different game until I met the samurai general. In our battle, he killed me, the screen became dark, and I got the Japanese canyon to "Death". It is essentially the words "You Dead," a statement that shows the developer's projects. Players are always watching "Dark Souls", and in the "Sekiro" players it often looks, but with a few twists.
The most obvious is movement. While "Dark Souls" and "Bloodborne" have protagonists who leap forward and barely leave the ground, the lonely wolf dumps over the screen. He uses his prosthesis as a gripping hook to quickly scale the walls. It feels more arcadelike, but do not confuse this game with Tecmo's "Ninja Gaiden."
The game has a distinct FromSoftware vibe flowing through it.
In "Sekiro", it is often better to go the lucky route and defeat enemies in surprise attacks. This thinning the flock, allowing players to focus on tougher enemies, such as the Samurai General. If players hurry, they must handle snipers, bowmen and other warriors in addition to the big bad ones. It's a recipe for death.
Part of the reason is that enemies can defend themselves. Although many do not have shields, they can block blows with the leaves of their spears or swords. When this happens, "Sekiro" develops into a one-off-chess game called the job posting system. During these skirmishes, usually against minibosses, players must break the opponents' guard while protecting their own.
Closes above and below represents the attitude of the characters. It fills up and disappears depending on whether a character is struck or blocked. When it fills up and flashes, it means that a character is exposed to a killing stroke, and the way to beat any enemy is to handle three or four of these hits. The way the matches unfold, the players will notice a draw fight in the race as rivals are struggling. It generates a familiar thrill in combat, while rewarding them with skill and patience. It reminds me of the struggles in "Dark Souls", but done in a different way.
The other major change to fight is that players can die, but they can also revive themselves. This opens new strategies because when the players die, they have a choice between revival or reboot at a storage point called the sculptor's idol. When they die, the aggression that enemies once had had gone away, and they return to their posts to believe that one armed wolf is dead. This gives players a chance to observe their movements or come up with a surprise attack to eliminate an enemy.
Even though players can revive at any time, they can not do it all the time. The talent is over, so players must use it in a proper manner.
The final element of battle is the prosthesis itself. Players can customize it so that it changes in three different shapes. In my demonstration, the Shinobi limb can change in an ax that destroys enemy skies so that they can easily be killed. It can also be used to throw the shuriken. Finally, the arm can turn into a flame thrower. What's even better is that the protagonist can swing the sword and fire on the blade to handle extra damage like flame sword.
Activision says that other reinforcements can be found in the game, and they should be used to complement a player's play style. However, please note that only three arm magnifications are allowed at a time. Additionally, elements called white spirit clips are needed to actually use the magnifications.
During the short demonstration, I got a nice feel of the match. Despite being grounded in a real era, "Sekiro" has elements of the amazing around it. The Shinobi prosthesis is not exactly historically accurate. In addition, players face huge animals, like giant snakes. Finally, it's epic cheats like the one against the corrupt monk who has other world powers.
Unfortunately I could not beat him. I tried different tactics, like swinging around trees to avoid spear attacks. I used candy power-up to increase my defense and tried to throw ashes in his eyes. I realized I need more time to learn the mechanics of the game and master the art of parrying attacks in what is likely to be another challenging FromSoftware game.
"Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is scheduled to be released March 22 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.