Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Tbone254 »

The SoulsBorne games have been my favorite games of the past couple of generations of consoles. I have played and seen everything that each game has had to offer, so I consider myself a bit of a SoulsBorne veteran. Unfortunately, there was a problem. I was a fraud. FromSoftware knew this and they called me on it with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. My experience with the previous SoulsBorne games can be best described as taking the path of least resistance. Sekiro was FromSoftware’s answer to all my prior SoulsBorne transgressions; the over leveling, the overpowered pyromancies, the impenetrable heavy shields, and, of course, the jolly cooperation. Sekiro was having none of this. FromSoftware’s new direction on combat forced me to confront my enemies directly and by myself. The result was my first few ours of play were filled with constant death and defeat. However, once I started to grasp the flow of combat and was able to unlock a couple of combat abilities (mostly the Mikiri Counter), my experience began to change, and my resulting success felt drastically different from what I experienced with the other SoulsBorne games. In the prior SoulsBorne games, defeating bosses and special enemies usually left me with feelings of elated exasperation, as I skimmed by bosses using heavily defensive play, cheese tactics, and cooperative assistance. This, in turn, made defeating a boss feel more like surviving an encounter and less like triumphing over an enemy. All this changed in Sekiro. In Sekiro, I did not merely defeat my enemies. I completely destroyed them. Bosses were not encounters to be survived, they were fools who were careless enough to come between me and my lord. Any who challenged me were mercilessly executed and left lying on the ground in a broken pile of bones and flesh after I brutally pummeled them into the dirt. I was victorious over my foes because I was better than them. With each defeated boss my feelings of success grew. What started as pure joy at my success quickly grew to blissful confidence and eventually turned into triumphant arrogance as I demolished all that stood in my way.

The brutality of this game really caught me off guard. I think the character animations go a long way in selling the game’s violence. I remember sitting in disbelief after I watched Wolf grab an exhausted guard by a handful of his hair, lift him up and thrust his sword up through the guard’s chin and out his skull; all while turning him toward the camera so that I had a clear view of the guard’s face, his eyes and mouth wide in surprise and horror, like he had enough time to realize his fate but not enough time to react and prevent it happening. It was vicious. I loved every second of it.

I really enjoyed the new direction in combat. It was fast, fluid, and just plain fun to see. Enemies were varied in their appearance and fighting styles, so that most enemy encounters felt fresh and different. Especially with the boss encounters. Sekiro’s boss battles are incredible. Lady Butterfly and the True Corrupted Monk were real stand outs for me. The Genichiro fight on top of Ashina Castle is probably the single greatest sword duel in the history of gaming, and I personally think the Isshin Sword Saint fight is the best boss fight FromSoftware has ever created It incorporates all aspects of the combat and requires mastery of switching between being aggressive and defensive. Not only is the technical skill of the player important, but the player’s tactical ability is important as well. And I'm probably in the minority here, but I think having Genichiro at the beginning of the Sword Saint fight was a genius move. I don't believe he was there to make the fight more difficult, rather he was there as a constant reminder of how much you have improved by showing you how this once insurmountable mountain of a foe was now nothing more than some sorry chump that is dealth with in just a few seconds. Nothing more than a speed bump, a minor inconvenience. And if that could be done to Genichiro, then it can be done to Isshin as well.

Sekiro may very well be my favorite FromSoftware game yet, I’m not sure though, I’m still debating on it. What I am sure of, is the initial helplessness and confusion that I felt when I first started playing Sekiro, wasn’t something I have felt from a FromSoftware game since I first played Demon’s Souls on the PS3, almost a decade ago. Sekiro was everything I wanted from a new FromSoftware game and here’s to hoping they keep up the trend of subverting my expectations with their future releases.

I'm sorry. I tried to keep this short, but I really enjoyed so much of this game. 😁

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by DaMonth »

I want to say that the difficulty isn't like, impossible. Because I know that's gonna be a topic here. It's kinda just regular hard. Of course, I had to look at tips sometimes but honestly, it's fine. Maybe the only truly messed up thing was the Demon of Hatred and I might've gotten him with another persistent hour. Ichimonji Double, baby.

Also, this game is less about timing blocks and more a test of if you have the willpower to not get annoyed by mashing the deflect button for maximum defense.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by ThirdDrawing »

I have tried all the Soulsborne games and this is the first one that has clicked with me.

Maybe it's because this game was originally going to be a Tenchu game, but I really enjoy being able to flick around from spot to spot and there's a flexibility I've felt in this game that I haven't felt in others. And yes, while I've died, I haven't felt as frustrated (except that damn Ogre at the beginning) in this game as others.

I'm not finished it yet, but I'm going to persevere and finish it, and it will be the first one I do. That's what's made the difference between this game and the others - I have actually enjoyed it enough to try and finish.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Nupraptor »

This was my favourite game of 2019. Nothing sucks me in like a From Software game. They offer an experience like nothing else in gaming.
The combat is sublime. So precise, well crafted and satisfying. An immaculately designed machine. The combat really puts so many other games to shame. *coughFallenOrdercough* Few things are better in gaming than successfully executing a series of parries and then making an opening for a death blow. Best of all if there is a spear stomp in there. Gotta love that spear stomp. Beating one of the many punishing bosses releases a substantial chunk of serotonin into my brain bits.
It is a very difficult game though. This is currently part of the appeal for me, but even I might be reaching my tipping point. There aren't even some of the limited crutches that were available in the Souls games and Bloodborne. Meaningful grinding is not possible and you can't summon help for tough encounters. I spent hours on some of the bosses, fighting them over and over again to try and get it right.
I considered giving up several times.
By the time I beat the final boss, it was late in the evening, I'd been repeatedly attempting the same battle for hours and my fingers were cramping from the effort.
I am a 40 year old man. I have a more than full time job, a family and other hobbies. Can I really justify playing a game that makes such demands of time just to get past one boss? For this game and for now, the answer is "yes". Just. Will that be the case with the next From game if it is similarly demanding? Only time will tell.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Gingertastic01 »

I have done a lot of thinking on this one and I am still struggling to come to a definitive opinion on this game. On one hand it was one of the most rewarding and satisfying games I have played in recent memory but also one of the most infuriating.

Having played and finished all of the Dark Souls games I had high hopes for this one which were generally met. Combat felt incredible with the clashing swords and satisfying sound effects. Additionally, the controls felt tight and responsive whilst swinging around the environment felt fantastic. The world design was also great with From Software doing their take on Sengoku japan, it felt different and unique from other games set during the era.

However, once I was introduced to the drunkard Monk my progress came to grinding halt, something that would become a recurring issue. With no real means to improve your current situation it forces you to ‘get good’ which has its positives and negatives. On the one hand, learning the bosses patterns is satisfying and the sense of accomplishment on defeating them is equally satisfying. However, the difficulty for me just felt a little off, I feel with some small tweaks and gentle refinement some of the frustration and spikes could have been alleviated to a degree (last boss checkpointing please).

On the other hand I appreciate that getting the balance just right for everyone is a tricky thing to get spot on, to much one way it becomes easy and not satisfying, whilst the other it becomes frustrating and demoralizing. Perhaps it’s an age thing as well for me, going into my 40s I am not really wanting to spend a week of my playing time on a single boss, is it is satisfying? absolutely, but where I am in my life I perhaps want other things from my gaming time.

Another aspect which I thought was a little disappointing was the bosses. The bosses themselves were fantastic and are up there with some of my favourites from the developer. However, it seemed to be re-using a fair few bosses throughout the game. Perhaps it was how they were placed next to one another, it sometimes felt like I was just going from boss to boss with little exploration in-between (could be wrong on this as I have only played it through once). The ape boss was so incredible and unique and then a couple of hours later its like “heres two more, deal with it” it felt a little lazy in places.

I feel like I have come across more negative on the game but I did really enjoy playing it. I guess am right back where I started and am still non the wiser to my overall opinion of the game.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by markfm007 »

I played Sekiro literally right after finishing my first From game, Bloodborne. Unfortunately, this lead me to attempting to play Sekiro like Bloodborne, leading to much frustration as I spammed dodge and firecrackers, wore enemies health down slowly, and generally ground my way to inevitable rage quits. I knew I was playing 'wrong', but how to play the right way eluded me. It was antithetical to the style I had perfected in Bloodborne.

I ground my way to Genichiro Ashina, but he wouldn't go down so easily. Over the course of a week, I fought him enough times that, like a Bloodborne character, my sanity wore away. Over that time Genichiro taught me what I needed to be doing. The relentless attacking, the back and forth of attack and deflect, learning to read his attacks before they landed, not backing off to heal every time my health dropped.

While this may sound torturous, and was at times, everything after it was one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I've ever had. Once I truly got it, the combat system was wonderful. A thrilling test of reaction, memory, and learning. After beating Father Owl I yelled and pumped my fist in triumph, one of the most exhilirating, enjoyable boss fights I've ever experienced. And Sword Saint Isshin was the perfect end to the game, a true test of everything I'd learned. Getting that final blow literally stunned me to silence. And the true final blow, followed by 'Well Done Sekiro', was a great way to finish the game.

I could talk about this game for hours, its flaws and its triumphs, but I won't. I understand why others have bounced off, I nearly did, but I'm so glad I pushed through. It's worth it.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Pixel Hunted »

Sekiro has at least two of the most satisfying boss fights I've ever had in my gaming life.

Genichiro kicked my ass for about a week, then one night after a very late play session (in which I made no progress) I went to bed mad at the game. While I was trying to get to sleep I repeatedly rehearsed the fight in my head and picturing every one of his moves, his rhythms and what I would do to counter it. I woke up the next day, poured a coffee and beat him first time - it clicked - suddenly he was moving in slow motion and I could predict his every move.

It was a similar story for the final boss, the Sword Saint. That was a little less stressful, because I knew there was no way I'd give up at the final hurdle. Still, it took a brutal week of being perforated by him before I got his patterns down and learned how best to counter him. As I finally plunged my sword through him one last time, I felt an extreme serenity, happiness and sense of accomplishment that you just don't normally find in videogames.

When I'm not gaming I do ultra-distance running - as in, running 100 miles in a single go. I don't know if I'd have had the patience and persistence to finish Sekiro without those running experiences and knowing how to push on while in the depths of misery, defeat and hopelessness. But I'm glad I did - the satisfaction of seeing those bosses fall was like nothing else I've experienced in a game to date.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Jon Cheetham »

Sekiro is hard to master, but easy to love. The game world is beautiful, and Fromsoft might just have crafted the best sword combat in gaming. That it kept me coming back death after death (and playing through NG+4) is testament to how good it feels to play.

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The Baboon Baron
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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by The Baboon Baron »

I’ve not got very far into Sekiro, but I think I’ve had enough already. I may well go back, I tend to find FROM software games benefit from a cooling off period if you don’t gel with them early.

The difficulty will more than likely be deconstructed- and I will happily admit I’m no great gamer or a platinum trophy hunter. The change from the RPG and levelling up to straight up action caught me by surprise but wasn’t wholly unwelcome. I like action games, and so I gave it a good go.

But the part I hit the wall with wasn’t the bosses or the difficulty- it was the padding. Each boss or mini boss had a whole bunch of goons to remove before the one on one battle could commence. Perhaps others were able to take them all on at once, but I ended up spending 10 minutes a time clearing out the lower level foes, to then take on the boss.
When learning patterns and approaches, 10 minutes of clearing work provides you with 15 seconds of boss time before they ultimately turn you into a pin cushion. This got old fast. And resulted in the worst of all questions a player can ask themselves- “Am I even having any fun?”

The answer was no. Sekiro is back on the shelf to be re-tried another day. Perhaps I’ll rue and lament these words, but if you asked me today- Sekiro wasn’t fun and the victories weren’t rewarding.

Side note- it struggled on base unit PS4- which REALLY doesn’t help with the twitch reactions.

3WR- Shadows die Loads

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Re: Our next podcast recording (22.3.20) - 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Hyperdeath84 »

Sekiro is probably my favourite of all the Soulsborne games, which incidentally will probably need a new nickname now. When the game was initially teased I thought it was going to be a possible continuation of the Tenchu series as FromSoftware now own the rights to that franchise and in some ways this game does fit that description. You play as a ninja and there is a large emphasis on stealth, but ultimately this game follows the design philosophy of Darks Souls that From has become known for. The main difference being the overall manoeuvrability and agility of Sekiro himself, and it’s this that is the first of two major mechanical evolutions responsible for my placing this game at the top of the Soulsborne list. Never before have we been so free to leap around FromSoftware’s intricately designed levels and it honestly feels great to be able run, jump and grapple through this game’s gorgeously evocative feudal Japanese environments. The second is the team’s efforts to have the combat feel like the clashing of swords until the lethal cut is made. I feel they pulled this aspect of the game off so admirably that this combat system cemented itself as perhaps my favourite 3rd person melee system of all time. There are some boss fights in this that feel amazing to get good at. Once you get a feel for it the flow of attacks, parries and counters turns each battle into a deadly dance that relies heavily on rhythm and delivers immense satisfaction upon victory. While there is also From’s now typically obtuse lore and storytelling at work here, the main narrative is presented in a more traditional sense with the first speaking protagonist of this kind of game - incidentally the Japanese dub is the best way to play this for maximum immersion. Sekiro, or “Wolf” as most call him, is not the most charismatic of protagonists but is compelling nonetheless. He and most of the main cast are played with a sense of quiet dignity that seems perfectly matched to game’s overall tone and setting. Overall this is a triumph of a game and is my pick for best videogame of 2019, which is high praise in a year that also saw the release of the RE2 remake. I’d argue it’s one of the best of this generation.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (22.3.20) - 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Stanshall »

I wish I had more affection for Sekiro but it has left almost no impression a year on and I have no desire to go back to it.

While the stealth felt very restricted, and frequently at odds with the gank squads gating off different sections, I found many elements to be spectacular. I really enjoyed the snappy traversal and the gorgeous Lady Snowblood aesthetic, and once the combat eventually clicked I experienced what I would consider the mechanical peak of Miyazaki's career. The final two battles against Owl Father and the Sword Saint were as heart-pumping and demanding and satisfying as anything I've played in the genre. I literally jumped out of my chair for the very final deathblow of the game. It was enormously satisfying.

And then, that was that. I thought I would love a run through NG+ with my newfound understanding and relative competency with the combat, and I did enjoy slicing through the early enemies for a while but it very quickly felt like I was walking in the exact same footsteps. Now, I appreciate that this was very much the intention from the off and that there was no false advertising, yet the feeling remains. It's an occasionally very thrilling, entirely narrow experience.

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Re: 411: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Post by Donk »

The Baboon Baron wrote: March 10th, 2020, 1:26 pm
But the part I hit the wall with wasn’t the bosses or the difficulty- it was the padding. Each boss or mini boss had a whole bunch of goons to remove before the one on one battle could commence.
That was my feeling as well, particularly with the general in the courtyard and then Juzou the drunkard. I understand it gets better but I fell of the wagon there. Took me months getting back into it.

One other thing that's been discouraging is the camera. I get very motion sick playing this game. I have a FOV mod that seems better and I can play for 30 minutes at a time before feeling effects. I enjoy these difficult repetitive games but when I think of Sekiro I get a Pavlovian response of nausea. I've played 30 hours of DOOM Eternal without issue but this game makes me sick. Anyone else?

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