Bloodborne meets Nioh is likely the best description for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Its an action adventure game that draws heavily on the tactical combat shown in games like Bloodborne and Dark Souls; but uses plenty of Japanese inspired imagery for the setting.
Sekiro’s pedigree is very much a product of the team behind it. Seeing that it comes from FromSoftware, the same team that made Dark Souls and Bloodborne. That said, the feel of the game is somewhat different with creating a new twist to mechanics that people have come to take for granted.
The main character in Sekiro is pretty much a generic badass ninja; who also happens to have a prosthetic arm. In this case, the Ninja Prosthetic – as it is being called – houses a series of abilities. These include a grappling hook, retractable axe, and a bunch of elemental attacks. Naturally, more abilities can be added to the prosthetic as the game progresses.
A stealth-lite system is also being introduced; with players being able to sneak up and remove from enemies before combat begins. Essentially allowing the player to reduce the number of enemies that need to be engaged in a particular instance.
Combat itself looks very visceral and will undoubtedly please fans of FromSoftware. Defending against attacks requires carefully timed blocks, and the occasional jump dodge to avoid being hit. Unlike other games, there is less of a focus on HP in these battles.
Instead, players are asked to manage a resource called “posture”. This is a character’s ability to defend and maintain a parry. Enemies also have posture, and the goal is to maintain your own posture while wearing down the enemy.
That said, failing to defend may not spell the end of the game. FromSoftware is also including death as a combat mechanic, subverting the idea that you have to avoid being killed at all costs.
It’s difficult to say how this will work from a single demo, but from what we can tell is that enemies will walk away from a dead character and ignore him. Which is a reasonable thing to do when you’re a giant oni that has killed someone. When that happens, the player can opt to get up against and attack the unsuspecting enemies.
There is apparently a cost to using such a risky technique, although what that is isn’t entirely clear at the moment. The producers weren’t ready to share more details about the mechanics; but we’re guessing that it will deduct resources or reduce posture if used too many times over the course of the game.
It’s an interesting new idea, and will definitely add a new twist to the already established formula from FromSoftware.
Also new to the formula is the idea of having to sneak and evade giant monsters. We’re not sure how extensive these map sections will be in the final product; but the demo showed a short series of mad dashes to cover while avoiding a giant snake. If anything, the snake was wonderfully rendered and created the perfect amount of tension for the challenge.
Overall, Sekiro really looks like the spiritual successor to Bloodborne. The world is full of muted colours, adding to the already grim atmosphere. However, there are actually colours in this game; staying from the usual greys and blacks that have become a hallmark for FromSoftware.