Rating

A+

Specific Ratings

GraphicsA
SoundA+
GameplayA+
Replay ValueA
Learning CurveA+

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Strong combat system
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Believable voice acting
Cons
  • Needs some kind of visual preference option
  • Lack of tutorial menu to revisit is odd

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PlayStation 4)

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Summary

A game that feels like the Tenchu Z sequel I always wanted.

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Description

Story
Your Lord kidnapped and you left for dead, you are Sekiro, the "One-armed Wolf." Sekiro is willing to get his Lord back and seek his revenge at any cost.

Graphics
While in most other games I would be complaining about these graphical choices, in a game like this, it makes perfect sense. Dense fog, deep dark grey levels, the only light sources being the fires and the occasional daylight areas, and the overall muted colors of everything in the game. But it is much of the game's charm being trapped in these depressing war-torn areas and having to fight for your life while walking deeper and deeper into devastation. And it is PS4 Pro optimized which is always awesome!

My only problem with the visuals and this is of course just preference, is the lack of a motion blur setting. It would be nice to have the option to turn it on and off.

Sound

From Software has always had a good sound design team, you know it, I know it, the "YOU DIED" screen knows it. It has your typical affair of sound effects you would expect from their games with item menus and sounds of said items sounding pretty similar to the Souls games of their past. But the games instrumental score and Japanese voice acting stand out hard and really steal the show here. Usually they kept those things fairly generic but really put effort into it this time. The combat sounds are much better too, with swords clashing, explosions going off, and the visceral sounds of sword connecting with tissue, it all blends into a really immersive experience where your actions feel like they hit hard.

Gameplay

This is where Sekiro really feels like it could have been a Tenchu game. Hidden items, large open spaces, the ability to sneak past the enemies or fight every single one, every item having a purpose, and the addition of stealth kills makes this game stand out from the library of classics From Software has released. Sekiro has a prosthetic arm, which can be upgraded with various upgrades that he finds while exploring the world. My current favorite is the axe that can bust through enemy shields and leave them open for an instant kill.

That is also where the combat lies, getting in for the one shot. Much of your combat in Sekiro will be in the block stance getting ready to parry. The idea is to parry the enemy attack to knock them off balance so you can open them up for a killing strike, and every time it is oh so satisfying.

Learning Curve

I walked into this game quite nervous. I am by no means at all a veteran of the "Souls" type of games. And from what I have played of them, they are insanely difficult. So when I was given the chance to review this, I thought I wasn't going to get very far. But I am fairly deep into the game by now and loving every second. The game is easy to learn, easy to get going, but difficult to master. You will die, very much so, but that is part of the charm.

Replay Value

Sekiro has a New Game+ mode, and there are lots of hidden items from what I have found. So if you found your first playthrough enjoyable, I can easily see a second playthrough being worthwhile.

Overall
Sekiro is an insanely solid adventure game that will test your mettle when it needs to, but also tell you a story. If you are a fan of Tenchu, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, King's Field, etc. This game should be a no-brainer.

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