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  • (clanging)

  • - [Brandin] Within the first minutes

  • of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, there's no missing the fact

  • that From Software has built its shinobi-focused adventure

  • from the DNA of the Souls and Bloodborne series.

  • But this new mutated strain

  • is as much its own stealth-action experience,

  • one that's more focused, cohesive,

  • and in some ways forgiving,

  • despite retaining its predecessors' trademark difficulty.

  • As I rolled credits after 50 hours

  • of pressurized blood geyser executions,

  • fantastical monster fights, split-second swordsmanship,

  • and secret-filled areas,

  • I'm left with a deep appreciation for this amazing journey

  • and the skills it demands to master it.

  • (drums)

  • To any Souls veteran, Sekiro's timing-based lock-on combat

  • of strikes and slashes is familiar,

  • as is the way you weave through the same

  • excellently designed levels that snake,

  • interconnect, and double back on themselves

  • to reveal new shortcuts

  • between little bastions of safety to resupply.

  • But Sekiro is immediately its own beast,

  • thanks to a Swiss army knife of prosthetic arms

  • strapped to the titular shinobi.

  • Part grappling hook, part gadget kit, part weapon,

  • and all useful,

  • this new mobility reinforces the steal elements of Sekiro,

  • allowing you to get into advantageous positions

  • for silent assassinations, quickly escape danger,

  • and explore varied mythical environments

  • of this vast and vertically-designed world.

  • Whether springing between castle rooftops,

  • zipping through forest branches, or scaling sheer cliffs,

  • there's a refreshing sense of freedom

  • in just getting around.

  • And that freedom extends beyond death.

  • The ability to resurrect yourself once per rest

  • allows you another shot at finishing a close fight,

  • but you risk spreading a divine sickness

  • amongst the NPCs of the world if you end up dying again.

  • There's a deep strategy to knowing when to resurrect

  • and when to let it go and lose half your earnings,

  • but the opportunity to get up and just run away

  • is a literal lifesaver in a game where one small mistake

  • could cost you everything.

  • And a lack of From Software's signature multiplayer

  • means you can actually pause Sekiro at your leisure,

  • which is its own sort of freedom.

  • (mystical music)

  • When you're not skulking around to score easy

  • and stylishly gory execution animations,

  • the emphasis is on skill-based swordsmanship

  • that requires a mastery

  • of an excellent new rock-paper-scissors countering system.

  • Peppered into the standard fare of attacks

  • are specific thrusts, sweeps, and grapples

  • that are difficult, if not impossible,

  • to simply block or dodge.

  • But these come with the fairness of telegraphed animations,

  • giving you half a breath

  • to recognize what's coming and react.

  • Thrusts must be deflected or redirected,

  • sweeps must be jumped, and grapples must be sidestepped

  • for a regularly thrilling exchange

  • of precision timing and tactics.

  • There is a steep learning curve to mastering this,

  • but once I overwrote my reactionary muscle memory,

  • I found a simple beauty in being able to stand toe to toe

  • with any enemy.

  • And in time, Sekiro's combat actually becomes more forgiving

  • than its predecessors.

  • Even towering monsters or impossibly lethal assassins

  • will tip you off to their big attacks.

  • (grunting)

  • And on top of just beating your enemies into submission

  • with raw damage, Sekiro introduces variety

  • with the idea of posture, composure during a fight.

  • Dealing damage or blocking and deflecting attacks

  • all degrade an opponent's posture,

  • culminating in an instant death blow opportunity

  • when it's broken.

  • Which route you take to get the kill matters less

  • when facing the rank-and-file threats,

  • but Sekiro constantly throws a variety of unique

  • and challenging enemies at you

  • that continue to ratchet up the pressure and complexity.

  • It becomes a tricky dance of flexibility.

  • And while there are less than a dozen bosses

  • with a capital B,

  • the world is positively lousy with mini-bosses

  • that serve as skill checks to keep you on your toes.

  • (clanging)

  • Relative to its predecessors,

  • Sekiro's character progression is admirably streamlined.

  • There are no attributes or numbers to build up.

  • Your health and attack power only increase

  • when finding key items

  • dropped by bosses hidden in the world.

  • There are no weapons to find or armor to acquire.

  • You'll use the same katana from start to finish.

  • Instead, you spend earned experience in a robust,

  • multi-tiered skill tree that allows you to unlock

  • passive skills, like a more potent stealth,

  • or the ability to regain precious health

  • when performing a death blow, alongside combat maneuvers,

  • like a powerful posture-breaking strike

  • or a lightning-fast slashing technique.

  • There are a staggering number of abilities to unlock,

  • and incredibly, each one I used felt unique and useful,

  • if only in specific situations.

  • Similarly, the prosthetic limb can be outfitted

  • with a number of different gadgets.

  • Some seem more universal than others,

  • like the always-handy shuriken for long-range damage,

  • or the mist raven feather that lets you phase through

  • enemy attacks for some lifesaving distance.

  • Others, like the umbrella that lets you block

  • incoming projectiles, or the ax that lets you smash shields

  • to splinters, are vital, but only for their narrow purpose.

  • These tools also come with their own excellent upgrade tree,

  • with effects that can be combined with skills

  • for some truly ingenious combinations and strategies.

  • (bell rings)

  • All these efforts support the goal of your undying

  • one-armed shinobi, to serve, protect,

  • and endless murder at the behest of your master,

  • the child Divine Heir, blessed with immortality.

  • While Sekiro starts out like a work of historical fiction

  • in a bloody but atmospheric period of Japanese history,

  • in typical From Software fashion,

  • it quickly takes a hard turn

  • into the mystical and supernatural,

  • telling a serviceable story that's regularly overshadowed

  • by the dense environmental storytelling at work.

  • All its sights and sounds create a varied world,

  • reinforced by a soundtrack that's as calming

  • as it is haunting.

  • But Sekiro is a less ambiguous affair

  • than Souls fans might be used to, as each arm of the journey

  • is much more clearly outlined

  • and clues are more freely given.

  • And though you spend a majority of your time

  • working through mountainous terrain

  • or historic castle grounds, occult-infused hamlets,

  • and blizzard-choked fortress,

  • and bottomless pits in the earth

  • are very much a part of the experience,

  • leaving plenty of room for secrets and mysteries

  • to be uncovered and pieced together

  • that should carry over nicely into a New Game Plus.

  • (mystical music)

  • - So the noble shinobi stands in our way.

  • - [Reviewer] Sekiro evolves From Software's formula

  • into a stylish stealth action-adventure that, naturally,

  • emphasizes precision and skill in its combat.

  • It walks the line between deliberate and patient stealth

  • and breakneck melee combat

  • against threats both earthly and otherworldly.

  • Its imaginative and flexible tools

  • support a more focused experience

  • that shaves down the Souls games' overly cryptic edges

  • without losing its air of mystery.

  • Sekiro is an amazing new twist on a familiar set of ideas

  • that can stand on its own alongside its predecessors.

  • For more on Sekiro,

  • check out the first 16 minutes of gameplay,

  • our graphics comparison,

  • and our unboxing of the Collector's Edition.

  • And for everything else, stick with IGN.

  • (grunting)

(clanging)

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Review

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    Jingjiang Li   に公開 2019 年 06 月 04 日
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