Our Review of Sekiro Shadows Die Twice
Lightning-fast reflexes, fluid mechanics and the relentless drive to keep moving forward. These three practices are absolutely necessary to endure the harsh world of From Software’s mythical Japan.
Directed by industry veteran Hidetaka Miyazaki, Sekiro follows the distinct DNA of the studio’s previous titles. However, it provides a fresh spin on the souls-like genre to create a fluid hybrid that introduces new concepts while preserving the foundations of gaming’s most challenging and rewarding titles.
The game is available on all major consoles like the Xbox One, One X, Xbox Series X and S, Windows, PlayStation 4 and 5.
Story of Sekiro
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice follows the tale of a seasoned Shinobi warrior — known as “Wolf” — duty-bound to protect a young lord. Set in a fictionalized version of 17th Century Japan during the Sengoku era, the land of Ashina is in turmoil due to an impending invasion by the Interior Ministry, a group that wishes to unite Japan’s lands by any means.
Meanwhile, a more sinister plot related to a mystical ability held by Wolf’s lord sends you into a quest to protect a young master and follow the Shinobi code. The choices you make play a role in the story, however, they are not overwhelming enough to make you feel like you must be on your toes. You can expect 40+ hours’ worth of rich content with barely any dull moments.
Memorable sceneries, larger than life allies and deep, emotional moments will make you see the brilliant storytelling abilities held by From Software’s writing team. Although its a single-player story, it is not entirely linear. Here, you’ll be given the chance to explore certain areas according to your whim.
Gameplay and Graphics
The gameplay in Sekiro is the main difference between this and other SoulsBourne games. Sekiro only has one primary weapon at his disposal: his sword.
However, your shinobi prosthetic provides a cast of different secondary weapon options such as an axe, spear, shurikens and more. Each with their own unique upgrades. It also serves as a navigation tool (LT Button on Xbox Series X) to swing between tree branches and traverse areas stealthily.
Speaking of stealth, From Software places a lot of importance on stealth in this title. Here, you’ll get to sneak around and perform a “Deathblow” on enemies. An attack where, if undetected, you can kill enemies without ever having to engage in combat.
For full-fledged combat, you’ll need to watch your posture bar and ensure you master the art of deflection. Rather than block attacks, you’ll have to time your block input (LB Button on Xbox Series X) to the second the enemy attack is about to hit. This will do a huge amount of damage to their posture. However, there are unique attacks that are best dodged and not deflected.
Ashina is extremely pleasing to look at. If you want to play this game, it’ll be your interest to experience its world with the powerful 4K visuals while playing on the Xbox Series X.
The cast of characters in this game is diverse in terms of personality and design. Although some gravitate towards certain tropes than others, every character manages to naturally fall into place in ways that are difficult to leave uncredited.
The main character of this story is a stoic and dutiful protagonist that strives to protect his young master. However, the Shinobi Iron Code also looms over his actions. Having to confront his past and aspirations for the future serves as a catalyst in this tale.
Playing the role of an upgrade shop/mentor, the sculptor is a character shrouded in mystery that lives in the shadow of his troubled past. In the story, he’ll be an influential figure that guides Wolf in his quest to protect his lord.
Kuro/Young Lord/Divine Heir:
Wolf’s master is a young, wise descendant of an ancient and rare bloodline that grants immortality. He provides a much-needed calmness to the tumultuous land of Ashina. Duty-bound and dedicated to creating a better future, he is a rare child ally in a video game that manages to not be annoying which is a breath of fresh air.
Like many characters in Sekiro, Emma is shrouded in mystery and plays the role of a doctor and advisor to Wolf. However, all these secrets will be revealed by the end of the story.
Wolf’s mentor and father figure. Owl is a Shinobi both in terms of combat and reasoning. Using every tool at his disposal to achieve his goals, Owl will go through many lengths to ensure the Shinobi Iron Code is followed.
Grandfather to Kuro and ruler of Ashina, Isshin is a strategic leader and seasoned warrior that deeply cares for his grandson Kuro. Over the course of the story, you’ll get to interact with Isshin, and his looming presence is felt in the consequences of the decisions you’ll make.
An adopted grandson of Isshin Ashina, Genichiro plays the role of an adversary for Wolf. He’s a character that manages to leave a strong impression, so you better watch out for his scenes in your playthrough.
The main appeal of From Software’s titles is unarguably their creative cast of bosses. Thankfully, we are happy to report that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice does not disappoint in this area. Here, you’ll find a total 41 Bosses and Mini-Bosses at your disposal.
Don’t expect these encounters to be easy by any means. However, the game still provides enough guidance to improve at a good pace. Bosses come in all shaped and sizes… literally. Encounters can immediately go south, so its best to be ready for absolutely anything.
Most bosses in Sekiro have two health bars, so you can expect two phases. The first phase is probably gonna be easier but difficult to figure out. Generally, the second phase is much more aggressive from the bosses.
However, keen eyed players will notice that phase two is usually more punishing for both you and your opponent. Taking advantage of their increased aggression makes fights more manageable. Keep your posture bar in mind for the decisions you make, so be super careful! Majority of the bosses can be stealthily snuck around for a death blow on their first health bars.
Core Xbox RatingCore Xbox Rating
- Engaging Gameplay
- Rich Content
- Variety in Enemies
- Hard to learn
- New skins require multiple playthroughs