Sekiro: Shad­ows Die Twice

Stealth and res­ur­rec­tion in feu­dal Ja­pan. We’re not in Lor­dran any­more

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - PREVIEW - Adam Bryant

PUB­LISHER Ac­tivi­sion De­vel­oper FromSoftwa re For­mat Xbox One ETA 2019

When FromSoft­ware’s name came up on screen dur­ing the an­nounce­ment trailer for Sekiro at this year’s E3, the au­di­ence held their col­lec­tive breaths in an­tic­i­pa­tion, fol­lowed by a mass rais­ing of eye­brows when Ac­tivi­sion’s name ap­peared im­me­di­ately af­ter it. Ev­ery­one’s first re­ac­tion was that this was go­ing to be another Souls- like game, but if Ac­tivi­sion’s in­volve­ment didn’t spell out that this was go­ing to be an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent ti­tle, then the lush green forests glis­ten­ing in the rain and beau­ti­ful vis­tas of sway­ing pam­pas grass fields shin­ing un­der the moon­lit sky should have.

Set in 16th cen­tury feu­dal Ja­pan, dur­ing the Sen­goku era, you play as a shi­nobi in the ser­vice of a young lord. This was a time of near-con­stant con­flict and war­fare, and dur­ing a bat­tle with a mem­ber of the ri­val Ashina clan, the boy is cap­tured and your arm is lopped off. Lucky for you. your arm is re­placed with what the de­vel­op­ers are calling a Shi­nobi Pros­thetic. This pros­thetic arm hides a bunch a tricks, one of which is a grap­pling hook that al­lows you to

“The ma­jor­ity of your en­coun­ters will take place face-to-face with your op­po­nent”

tra­verse the en­vi­ron­ment with rel­a­tive ease. With your new toy you set out to save the young lord.

Apart from the set­ting, Sekiro sets it­self apart from its Dark Souls kin in mul­ti­ple ways. Firstly, you won’t get to cre­ate your own char­ac­ter. This is a char­ac­ter-based story. There’s no class-based sys­tem, and you won’t be lev­el­ing your char­ac­ter up and as­sign­ing points to var­i­ous stats. Ninja war­rior As a shi­nobi, you’ll uti­lize covert meth­ods like sneak­ing un­der floor­boards and jump­ing across rooftops to in­fil­trate ar­eas and kill your en­e­mies. The ma­jor­ity of your en­coun­ters, how­ever, will take place face-to-face with your op­po­nent.

The Stamina and Poise stats of the Souls’ games has been re­placed with Pos­ture, which both you and the en­emy pos­sess. Fight­ing re­duces this Pos­ture, and once it’s been whit­tled down you’re stunned. This can leave you or your op­po­nent open to dev­as­tat­ing at­tacks. You’ll need to mas­ter com­bat in or­der to sur­vive.

When you die, which will be a lot, you won’t im­me­di­ately be trans­ported back to a pre­vi­ous check­point, in­stead you’ll res­ur­rect your­self on the spot and re­turn to the fight. This can be done mul­ti­ple times be­fore be­ing re­turned to a pre­vi­ous check­point and can be used as a com­bat tac­tic.

This may be an ac­tion-ad­ven­ture, and not an ac­tion-RPG like we’re used to see­ing from the stu­dio, but as it’s be­ing di­rected by Souls’ se­ries cre­ator Hide­taka Miyazaki, we have no doubt we’ll get noth­ing less than a bru­tal, chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with an in­depth story to dis­cover.

Be­low Time your blocks per­fectly and you’ll greatly re­duce your op­po­nent’s Pos­ture.

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