Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Review

Name: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Activision
Released: 22.03.2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose

I think I might be the biggest “SoulsBorne” fan here in Ulvespill. In addition, I find Japanese culture and history to be utterly fascinating. So Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice should be a match made in heaven right?

Story

When comparing Sekiro to other “SoulsBorne” games the story is almost told straight forward. It’s the end of the Sengoku era, and warlord Ashina stages a coup and seizes the land of Ashina. During the same time, a nameless orphan is adopted by the Shinobi Owl, who names the orphan Seju.

20 years later, Seju is a full out Shinobi, having dedicated his sword and life to Koru. After trying to flee for the border, another warrior stands in their way and proves to be too much. And this is where the story really begins, with Seju, now called Sekiro (the one-armed wolf), because of the Shinobi prosthetic he gets after the fight, needs to fight his way back to his master.
9/10

Graphics

First of all, it must be said that I played Sekiro on a PS4 Pro so I was able to play with HDR and other perks of having a more powerful version of the PS4. That being said, man alive Sekiro looks amazing! A smooth framerate of 60 FPS (at 1080p) is simply a joy on the PS4 Pro, and the HDR makes the colors more alive than in any “SoulsBorne” before!

Old Japan looks amazing too. With grass to hide in, walls to climb and roofs to stand on. The world is massive, with lots of building and places to navigate, and with loot in all kinds of weird places. And then there’s the NPC’s, every boss looking scarier than the last. The surrounding areas to the world are simply put amazing, some of the best I’ve ever seen. When it comes to the sound design, I would wish for a bit more traditional Japanese sounds/instrumental songs, but what is included is very fitting by itself.

9/10

Gameplay

If you’ve played a “SoulsBorne” game before, you will immediately get a hang of the gameplay in Sekiro. Well, that is if you ever got the hang of parrying in Dark Souls, I did not(…) so my first hours with Sekiro were rough and full of deaths.

Once I did get (somewhat) hang of the deflection in Sekiro the gameplay certainly started shining. And shining very brightly, that is! In addition, you have the Shinobi prosthetic, which mainly works like an old fashioned grappling hook. This allows for a much more three-dimensional game, with roofs, trees, and whatnot being available with the press of a button. Another perk with this is the ability to be much more tactical about attacking enemies. A good swording from above is very effective for killing…

In general, the gameplay in Sekiro is very similar to Bloodborne, with fast-paced action, and dodging and parrying aplenty. That does make the game harder than Dark Souls, but when it all comes together, it’s also a lot more rewarding.
10/10

Controls

The controls in Sekiro is very similar to the controls in the “SoulsBorne” games. However, this time you can jump! By default, I found the controls to be a little bit too responsive, at least when moving around. After a little bit of tuning the controls worked like a charm though, with everything being extremely responsive, and more importantly, all of the buttons made sense.

One major perk I found with this new jumping feature, is during boss battles, being able to literally jump out of the way when the boss comes rushing is a very nice final resort when nothing else works, and although it might not have been intended by FromSoftware, funny moments are always funny.
10/10

Replay Value

Sekiro features four different endings, as far as I know. And luckily, at least from a replay value point of view, some of the endings are decided way before the ending of the game. There’s also some stuff to pick up along the way which can differ the gameplay and allow for more playthroughs. Although not to the extent of the previous “SoulsBorne” games, the replay value is definitely there, and more than one playthrough will be more than welcome for my part!
7/10

You can check out our review policy right here, if you wonder how we set our scores.

Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Story - 9/10
    9/10
  • Graphics - 9/10
    9/10
  • Gameplay - 10/10
    10/10
  • Controls - 10/10
    10/10
  • Replay Value - 7/10
    7/10
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Verdict

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has somehow beaten Bloodborne as my favorite “SoulsBorne” of all time. The story is amazing, the controls are more responsive than ever before, and the gameplay, with the Shinobi prosthetic in the lead, is close to perfect! The one little thing I can place my finger on is the lack of more weapons, but that is a minor issue. Japan + “SoulsBorne” = perfection!

Pros

  • Great gameplay
  • Looks great
  • Great controls

Cons

  • A small weapon roster

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