Community Review: Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Community Review: Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Given that From Software’s game had the best possible launch of the studio’s existence on Steam last week – and it’s a new From Software game – I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that people might be enjoying Sekiro.

I’ve only played a few hours so far, so I’m still getting accustomed to the flow. But it’s a much more lively, aggressive game than I remember Bloodborne or Dark Souls, which is fantastic given that I’m way too reckless.

Tips For Playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is fun and also challenging. There’s a lot to take in, both in and out of combat, and several aspects of the game require real concentration and attention to detail. I’m here with some tips to help you learn better and faster.

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The game also runs rather well on PC, which is comforting given that the console versions are beset with annoying frame pacing issues. That never stopped people from loving older Souls games, and the 120Hz mode on Xbox One helps with the jutter a bit.

Lastly, how did I avoid the roosters of death? Somehow I’d forgotten entirely between the game’s reveal and now that there are giant, pissed off roosters through the world that will absolutely fuck you up. I thought one was walking over to say hello and be cute, because I grew up with roosters and patted them all the time, but also because I’m an idiot.

This is a Souls game with samurai. Of course the chicken wants to kill me.

How are you finding Sekiro so far?


  • Unfun and egregiously player-hostile in a way that Souls games normally aren’t.

    Really starting to understand why Activision held back on review codes. It’s a shame, too, because there’s a cool setting and the grapple mechanic is great.

    Overall, though, this is absolutely Fromsoft’s biggest dud in a while.

    • Care to elaborate?

      This is the first From Software game I have played, and yes, its brutally hard, but I am absolutely loving it!
      I can honestly say I haven’t come across anything that I would call “Unfun and egregiously player-hostile”.

    • We must be playing a different game, sure it is hard but all the neat little From Software touches are really awesome. Just don’t treat it as a souls game and you should get your head around it.

  • Im a noob, its WAY too hard for me. Im actually enjoying it a lot but i know ill never finish it and thats pretty sucky.

    Id say there should be a difficultly settings but the soulsborne fans would have my head haha

    • Stick at it. It gets easier the deeper in you get. You sub-consciously start to notice enemy tells and react without thinking. Or at least that’s how Dark Souls 3 went for me. Found that tough as nails but kept pushing ahead despite the deaths.

        • From games generally have a 5 hour window where everything sucks and it’s hard as balls. Then around hour 5 something will click and it will all start to flow a lot better. I distinctly remember this with Bloodborne and the original Dark Souls.

          You may just need a bit more time for it all to fall in to place.

        • It takes practice, perseverance and time to get good at things. It’s not innate. Stick at it and you will get better.

      • you would be proud of me dad


        I’ve made it up to the knight of the bridge! I’ve had to run past a few areas but i am progressing and killing bosses haha

  • I am finding the game quite fun.

    It is hard as nails but overcoming each section feels so satisfying.

    Gradually learning enemies moves and being able to overcome them.

    Don’t get me started on that damn Ogre. He kicked my arse six ways to Sunday So. Many. Times. But I ended up beating him with many dodges and shurikans to the face…. then I found out you could get fire to use on him. Oh well 😀

    But overall I am enjoying the experience.

    Looking forward to progressing and seeing what nasties the games throws at me.

    It nice to have an actual coherent story as opposed to Dark Souls too.

  • I like it except it relies heavily on parrying, which, for me was never a part of my Souls-Borne playthroughs

    I can slaughter all grunts but hit a stonewall when facing a mini/boss

    • It’s tough as hell, but fantastic. Loved the few hours I got to play over the weekend. The biggest problem I’ve seen with most people is going into this game and playing it like it’s a Souls game. Doing so is the easiest way to get you killed.

      • Absolutely agreed. It took me about 4-5hrs to stop playing it like souls (fought so hard not to spam the doge/roll button) and now I’m slightly better… destroyed a Shinobi-hunter in one go today after 7 failed attempts yesterday

  • Massive souls fan, and this game is on another level for difficulty, but its sooo much fun.
    The world is polished and beautiful, combat is for the most part clear and clean… spear users seem to have weird range when attacking on uneven surfaces.
    The camera suffers’s from the usual 3rd person weirdness from these games.

    Some boss fights are annoying and have to be cheesed (the fire bull), some enemies feel stronger than bosses (the bird ninjas) but the feeling of completing a section is pure joy.
    Ultimately its amazingly fun and such a refreshing take on the genre, the addition of true stealth is beautiful.

  • It’s everything I wanted Bloodborne to be; verticality, stealth, combat that’s a conversation of thrusts, parries, dodges, ripostes, grabs and dirty tricks. That it’s set in the Sengoku period and has elements of the supernatural are just icing on the cake.

    I’m about mid-way through and having an absolute blast though there are two big disappointments for me so far. The first is that it uses some of the Bloodborne game engines (Let’s not have a “What is the engine?” debate) so it comes with some of the annoyances. In particular is the tendency for it to dodge forward after dodging backward, the stupidly large hitboxes on grabs that means you can be grabbed while visually dodging and the weird hit detection that means it sometimes doesn’t detect hits or backstabs when you are close to an enemy.

    The other disappointment is the music. It feels like there are only two tracks to the game, a frenetic collection of strings, percussion and wind during normal panic times and something that sounds straight up copied and pasted from Dark Souls during boss fights. I was hoping for something with a few more kotos, shamisens, pan pipes and taikos.

    The internet reaction has been amusing to see with all of the “It’s not mah Soulsborne despite Miyazaki telling us several times it wasn’t” comments. If you’re going in expecting a Soulsborne, you’re going to hate it. If you’re going in expecting it to be a pure Tenchu experience you’re going to hate it. If you’re going in expecting a game that is about shinobis, samurai and duels full of clanging swords and back and forth then you’ll probably enjoy it.

  • Loving the exploration angle. There’s plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, and the levels do that whole Dark Souls thing of unlocking shortcuts to aid traversal through old areas, giving you new avenues to sneak up and stealth-murder from behind where previously you had to assault from the front.

    Not that there’s much point to developing farming routes… since there’s not really any point to farming.

    This is where Sekiro is harder than Dark Souls. You can’t increase your HP/strength/etc through grinding up experience. This means you can’t just grind a few more levels to boost your health before trying that boss you couldn’t beat before. If you can’t beat a boss, there’s no handicap you can add to make it easier.

    You just have to butt heads against it til you eventually win… Or until you give up and uninstall.

    This is the part I dislike. The gating is inflexible. It demands a fixed level of skill and will allow no alternative compensatory path forward to continue exploring. So if you get stuck, exploration comes to an end. That’s it. You’ve seen all you’re going to see until you git gud.
    That’s boring, to me. I see myself eventually getting bored. I’m up to the Horsey boss. I’ve got him down to within 25% of a kill… so I will stick through that one. But if things just keep on getting harder? No. I don’t see myself finishing it, sadly.

      • I wasn’t the greatest Nioh fan (played once and done) but I’m getting that slight itch to play it again……

        • Nioh clicked for me when I considered it more like Diablo than Dark Souls. Repeatable missions for loot drops, loot rolling/re-rolling, gradual skill grind, rather than straight-up farming zones for souls for linear stat progression.

    • The game not having the RPG elements of the other souls games are what ended up making me not care enough to buy it.

      I like having builds and a feeling of getting stronger based on what I have chosen.

    • I love how there isn’t a grind your way to the top aspect. I love how you need to beat difficult foes in order to increase you actual stats it feels more immersive in that sense. And farming is a little helpful unlocking all the different combat arts and whatnot. But yeah 100% am loving this game.

    • The guy on the horse? He wasn’t that bad for me. I struggled a lot more against Lady Butterfly, and the bull is a really mediocre boss, but the area that opens up after that is really quite interesting.

      When I struggle to beat a boss, I have a lot of success just going around, exploring, looking for stuff I haven’t picked up or fighting a boss or miniboss I’d missed before. I’ve picked up an extra health pot by going a different direction at least once. And I got a memory from cheesing Lady Butterfly too.

      I’m a souls veteran and I’m loving it. When it clicks and you just mow through people, casually deflecting their attacks, it really feels great. I’m not going to lie, the bosses can be tough as hell.

    • If you’re gonna ask players to git gud, at least release a game with 60fps to compensate. Aside from that I love it

  • I’m loving it but it’s way too easy 90% of the time. I’m struggling to get the mechanics and timing down because most of the fights are best solved by just mashing R1/RB. They go by so quickly that I learn nothing from them. It’s not like Dark Souls where the trash fights are trivial but I still need to use blocking/rolling/running when I’m getting a feel for those specific enemy types. I mean if the trash fights are to be believed the Mikiri Counter icon is just telling me to stab faster.
    That said they put a lot more effort into preparing players this time. It’s just the nature of the posture system combined with stealth options. I mean I had a similar problem with Tenchu because stealth killing worked so well that I never practiced anything else.

    • The point is to finish fights quickly though which is why the posture system is there. To try and finish an enemy by vitality alone is just giving them more opportunities to get in a few hits.

      It’s not that much different from Dark Souls really. You just don’t have as much circling and dodging in between R1 spam.

  • For me, this is one of those stockholm syndrome games. Decided to check it out since I was a big fan of the soulsbourne series. On one hand, I can play like a stealthy coward and kill off mooks even better than I could in dark souls. On the other hand, minis and bosses kill me way too easily. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I realised that I should probably stop playing it as if it was dark souls.
    Now, I’ve made progress. Now, I understand the mechanics. In the rare occasion when I’m in the zone, the boss’ vitality bar means nothing, especially when I subconsciously press the block button and build up their posture bar.
    The time I spent on the first boss was filled with frustration and debating whether or not I should trade the game back in. Now, I immensely enjoy each encounter, just for the euphoric rush of breaking a boss’ posture.
    Like I said, it’s a stockholm syndrome game.

  • I love this game so much. At first I hated it because it starts off so damn hard and doesn’t really get any easier, but then you start to realise that you can tell when to deflect, when to do a mikiri or when to evade just by watching the enemy movements (and ofc that red ink symbol). It night take 5 or 6 or 12 attempts but once you figure out what to do, the fights are so rewarding. I remember the feeling of beating that goddam dude on the horse and yelling out “OMFG YES!” And then five minutes later getting slaughtered by the raging bull ????

  • @alexwalker (Am I tagging right? lol) Any chance publications like Kotaku would reach out to Activision in regards to the frame-pacing? It seems like the kind of thing they need to be aware of or patch.

    • Publishers aren’t much help here – it’s very much an inbuilt thing that’s part of how the engine functions, and FromSoft need to fix it themselves. But it’s been a part of *every* Dark Souls game, and Bloodborne, so it’s far from a new bug. Which is also why it’s kind of annoying why it’s still there.

      It’s a bit like complaining about physics being tied to frame rate in Fallout, if you get my drift.

      • Gotcha… Ah well. Guess I’ll just suck it up. Too far now to restart on PC. There is an argument here for not pre-ordering. I almost pre-ordered PC, but the risk of it being just as broken was high due to their previous work, so I thought Xbox X would be safest…

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