sekiro: shadows die twice
DARK SOULS CREATORS EMBRACE THE SAMURAI
T he masters of worldbuilding and challenging combat are back with a new game, this time set in a Japan-like area full of samurai swords, wooden, temples and horrifying, beastly men that like to puke on their blades before trying to gut you. Familiar ground for Dark Souls fans then. While the setting is completely different, it will revolve around hacking and slashing your way through rich environments and giant bosses while dying repeatedly. You don’t turn hollow here though, but you definitely look like your skin is turning rather stoney.
So far all we’ve seen is a tease of the action: The story remains cryptic, but that’s to be expected from a FromSoftware game—they’re masters of holding their cards close to their chests. No doubt the world will be littered with snippets or lore to uncover what’s truly going on here.
In terms of weapons so far we’ve seen classic samurai swords, bows and shurikens, as well as a blade that can spin out into an umbrella which you can then use as a shield to block enemy attacks. The highlight, though, is definitely your skeletal arm, which seems to have some hidden tricks, including what looks like a grappling hook that will let you bound across the environment with giant aerial leaps and retreat to higher ground. You can also take a stealthy approach if that’s more your speed, pressing yourself against walls and ducking out of sight to avoid roaming patrols of guards.
Weirdly, all of the enemies seen so far are more human-like than previous games, though a lot of them are twisted monstrosities with a fondness for loincloths and throwing you into the ground. Not everyone appears to be hostile though, as a mysterious old man who seems to be cursed with hideously hairy legs gives you some direction to your journey. Some of the characters you face seem to be based on old legendary samurai, as this world seems to be in the midst of a war.
The whole thing reminds us a lot of the classic Tenchu series thanks to its setting, and subtitle Shadows Die Twice, which is also a quote from Tenchu. Is this a spiritual successor or are the two tied more concretely? We’ll have to wait until 2019 to find out.
above The title is designed to be a single-player experience.