Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a hardcore character-action game with stealth elements, published by Activision and developed by FromSoftware, developer of the Armored Core and Souls series.
What is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?
The game features FromSoftware’s trademark spooky world design and attention to detail, but the most important aspect is that the title is directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, whose Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne are some of the highest rated action-RPGs of the last ten years.
A departure from the medieval fantasy and gothic settings of From’s recent games, Sekiro takes place in feudal Japan, featuring historical events mixed with a heavy dose of myth and magic.
Unlike Nioh, another Souls-like game receiving its own sequel this year, Sekiro does not simply take the Souls formula and move it to the jidaigeki genre (which would have been fine, by the way).
Rather, From’s latest game ditches the character customisation, corpse runs, online multiplayer, and cryptic item descriptions of the Souls series. The title may as well not be a Souls game at all—and that would be correct, according to Miyazaki himself.
Sekiro is for fans of hardcore action, with a little bit of ninja-game-style stealth and the quality that the world has come to expect of From. The title is not just another Souls-like game.
Why are we excited?
The first point should really go without saying: anything that Miyazaki directs is a must-see thanks to his team’s well established grasp of level design and the thematic consonance of its worlds.
Sekiro‘s somewhat historical jidaigeki setting and lack of RPG elements make it stand out from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but Miyazaki’s fingerprints are all over the game.
For example, From holds that combat in Sekiro is even more difficult than its previous titles: requiring players to master not just the dodge as in Souls, but a vertical jump and grappling hook as well.
The game’s environments have also been designed with these additional actions in mind, offering intricate, vertically-oriented levels to explore.
At the same time, the deep lore and creatively deadly opponents that Souls fans crave are both still present, though few of those have been revealed at this time and will presumably be unveiled closer to release. Update: GameInformer’s Sekiro coverage has just confirmed plenty of NPCs, a hub location, and very open-ended world exploration too.
Overall, the triple-A landscape has been missing out on this sort of Japanese-flavoured action title since the last generation.
With Koei Tecmo’s Nioh having already adopted many Souls-like features, From is justified in stealing some toys for its own by making a zippier, non-RPG game that hews closer to Tecmo’s fallow Ninja Gaiden series.
More than that, however, Miyazaki’s direction will ensure that the game stands alone and is likely to be a uniquely terrific experience.
When can we play it?
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is scheduled for release on March 22, and readers can look forward to plenty of FromSoftware-related content on OnlySP in the coming months.
Are you keen to see FromSoftware drop multiplayer and make a purely single-player game? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to come back tomorrow for a look at an adventure that promises to be one of the tensest of the coming year.