Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice represents a period of experimentation for From Software. Sekiro foregoes some of the heavier mechanics of Dark Souls in favor of something altogether faster and more aggressive. It’s the product of a developer who’s at home in his own skin – one who’s learned all the rules only to break them. Again.
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As From Software celebrates a whopping 10 million sales with its well-regarded action RPG, it’s worth looking back at Sekiro to see a game that exceeds its goals. It’s a game that willfully distances From Software from the genre it pioneered, intentionally transforming the mechanics of “Soulslike” into something entirely new. Even today – with a new Armored Core game and Elden Ring still based on the FromSoft formula – Sekiro represents the biggest departure from the developer’s modern oeuvre. And only for good reasons.
Although the indefatigable Soul DNA permeates almost every aspect of Sekiro’s being (menu interface, controls, camera, leveling systems), the execution of the whole thing is more advanced. Sekiro’s combat, for example, feels more like an aggressive, parry-oriented setup from Bloodborne – It’s fast, nasty and tough. Perfect for anyone who enjoyed aggression in Yharnam and never stopped thinking about it afterward.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has officially reached 10 million units sold worldwide! pic.twitter.com/LfzGPBV4nv
— Sekiro™: Shadows Die Twice (@sekirothegame) September 26, 2023
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Dancing around in Sekiro – a razor-sharp whirlwind of perfect parries, dodges and counterattacks, all with gorgeous animations and swordplay flourishes – truly brings the ninja fantasy to life. With a story that’s actually told to you, explicitly (rather than in the form of item info and vague environmental clues), and combat that relies more on momentum than patience, we haven’t really seen a FromSoft game since Sekiro that The game took the lessons learned from this forward.
Yes, Elden Ring is practically perfect in every way… but it’s not an evolution of Bloodborne or Sekiro. It’s not a game that defies the developer’s own conventions to make something new. It is, so to speak, a “child of Dark Souls”. A sequel to Sekiro could deepen the game’s themes even further, as FromSoft actually begins to experiment with cinematic storytelling, with even more dynamic combat and a deeper foray into the darker side of Buddhist myth.
And guess what, there were a whopping nine Tenchu games in the end. Yes, they may have suffered from this trend of diminishing returns, but still. We were able to enjoy nine complete Tenchu games across five different platforms. The reason and bring that up? Sekiro has deep roots in Tenchu; Finally, the game was inspired by the series partially developed by FromSoft. Sekiro also started out as a sort of reboot of Tenchu. So if the cult ninja game makes it to nine full titles, then Sekiro can get at least one more, right?