sekiro: shad­ows die twice

DARK SOULS CRE­ATORS EM­BRACE THE SAMURAI

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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