With FromSoftware’s next epic nearly here, check out several other things you should know about it.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, FromSoftware’s next big action adventure title, is nearly out and the excitement is palpable. Ever since that first teaser at The Game Awards 2017, we’ve been waiting to get our hands on the game and it’s finally out on March 22nd. In light of new details that have been recently revealed, we thought of looking at 15 more things you should know before picking up the game. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Divine Heir
By now, you know the bare essentials of the story. Sekiro’s protagonist is The Wolf, a wandering orphan adopted by The Owl near the end of the Sengoku Era. Growing up and becoming a shinobi, he’s tasked with protecting a young lord who’s subsequently kidnapped by the Ashina Clan. However, in a recent gameplay overview trailer, we learned a bit more about the young lord. He’s referred to as the “Divine Heir” and possesses a mysterious bloodline. Could this be somewhat related to The Wolf’s ability to resurrect? Either way, the plot has definitely thickened.
Less Than 13 GB on Xbox One
The PC version of the game is currently listed on Steam as requiring 25 GB of installation space. That’s not the case for other versions though. According to the Microsoft Store, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice takes up 12.58 GB of space. Recent reports also indicate that the PS4 version takes up only 12.52 GB of space, though there’s also a day one update that’s 3.5 GB in size. Overall though, it’s a welcome change from the at-times-overbearing install sizes of many triple A titles.
Combat is essential in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and thankfully there are multiple ways to take down your foes. The game’s three core Skill Trees consist of Ashina Arts, Shinobi Arts and Prosthetic Arts. The Ashina Arts tree focuses more on direct confrontation and contains moves like Ichimonji, an overhead sword strike that can deal significant damage to an opponent’s Posture. The Shinobi Arts tree is interesting because of the focus on evasion and deflection techniques – like vaulting over foes for backstabs or sliding past projectiles. However, it also contains combat abilities like Whirlwind Slash that can slice multiple enemies at once to create space. Then there’s the Prosthetic Arts tree which unlocks abilities like Chasing Slice that allows for a forward slice after using a Prosthetic Tool. Over the course of the game, Sekiro will also gain passive buffs that enhance healing and sneaking.
Prosthetic Arm Upgrading
The Prosthetic Arm may have different abilities associated with each tool but to unlock those tools, you need gold coins and crafting materials. Both will drop from enemies but if the Soulsborne influence still rings true, then expect to travel off the beaten path for better materials, facing tougher enemies in the process. When enough coins and materials have been gathered, simply visit the Sculptor and upgrade your arm.
Different Prosthetic Attacks Cost Different Amounts
This should be fairly obvious but you should always have a balanced set of Prosthetic Tools. The Axe and Spear may be powerful but they consume more White Spirit Emblems. Shurikens, on the other hand, cost less even if they don’t do as much damage. Thankfully, White Spirit Emblems won’t be rare – they’ll drop from enemies and can be purchased from Sculptor’s Idols as well.
Posture Reducing Abilities
The Posture System is fairly straightforward – attack an enemy and reduce their Posture. You can block attacks but suffer decreased Posture as a result. The person who loses their Posture first is opened up to a shinobi death blow which is, as the name indicates, pretty painful. However, some enemies have other ways to chip away at your Posture. The Samurai General, for instance, has abilities that can reduce your Posture, which means playing too passively can be risky. Different opponents require different strategies but they each have their own ways to open you up to death blows. Stay vigilant at all times.
The recent gameplay overview trailer also confirmed that some enemies have unblockable attacks. When hit by these, you’re locked in the attack animation and take significant damage. Don’t fret though – there is a way to counter them, if you’re skilled enough. Using the Shinobi Arts technique Mikiri Counter, for example, lets you counter thrust attacks and significantly damage an enemy’s Posture in the process. You could also dodge the attack and look for a different window of opportunity.
Stealth Mechanics explained
Playing stealth 100 percent of the time won’t be possible in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. However, the stealth mechanics are still very robust. Ledge assassinations and silent takedowns have already been detailed and are encouraged for their one-hit kill potential. Keep an eye out for enemy lookouts though – they’ll warn others if they spot you. Enemies can’t be constantly marked so you’ll have to keep track of them yourself while sneaking. The HUD does help in providing information regarding your detection status though. Grey indicators mean enemies are becoming aware of your presence; yellow means they’re searching for you; and red indicates you’ve been spotted. From there, it’s either fight or flight.
Multi-Stage Boss Fights
You’ll come across your standard fodder enemies that have one bar of health throughout the game. However, tougher foes will have red diamonds or dots above their health bar. These indicate additional health bars, which isn’t too bad if there’s only one or two red dots. However, bosses will have several health bars and the fights change significantly as their health goes down. Hitting shinobi death blows is a great way to deplete a health bar but be careful of any new tactics a boss may use as the fight progresses. The Corrupted Monk summoning fog and attacking quickly through it is a good example.
So how does Resurrection work in Sekiro? The Wolf has something called the Dragon’s Heritage and this gives you two charges of Resurrection. The first charge remains at the ready but the second needs to be filled by killing enemies. Dying and resurrecting will consume the first charge. However, the second charge will become locked and is only become available again when killing enemies or dealing death blows so think carefully before resurrecting out of the blue. Charges can be replenished at the Sculptor’s Idols.
Dying With Purpose
Resurrection has certain gameplay advantages like being able to sneak up on foes and assassinate them when they think you’re dead. So of course you would have an item that can cause you to die and set up these advantages. Activision’s Robert Conkey spoke about the E3 and Gamescom demo having this but you have to wonder how useful killing yourself and resurrecting will be across the entire game.
Consequences of Dying
Dying in the Soulsborne series has always had severe consequences. While you don’t have to make any corpse runs in Sekiro, death will cut your XP gain in half. Thankfully, it’s not permanent – the player can receive Unseen Aid at certain points which will correct their XP gain until the next death. Unseen Aid seems to have a 30 percent chance of activating but that can be reduced thanks to…
If you resurrect too much, then Dragonrot will begin to spread. This disease will infect NPCs like traders, causing them to cough and even hindering their interactions with you. As if that weren’t bad enough, Dragonrot will also reduce the chances of Unseen Aid activating, thus sticking you with reduced XP gain for longer periods. While we don’t know how many deaths are required for Dragonrot to really take hold, you will have to think hard about resurrecting throughout your journey.
1080p Resolution, Unlocked Framerate on PS4 Pro
It seems a given that the game will be capable of running at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second on PC. What about the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X though? Digital Foundry revealed the resolution of the recent preview build to be native 1080p on the PS4 Pro. The framerate is unlocked and seems to range from 40 to 60 FPS during gameplay and 30 FPS during some of the heavier cutscenes. We still have to wait and see if Sekiro ends up supporting 4K resolutions, especially on the Xbox One X, along with its performance on the base PS4 and Xbox One.
Tougher enemies on roads less traveled are a given but will Sekiro also feature difficult optional bosses like, say, The Nameless King from Dark Souls 3? Speaking to Game Informer, director Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed that this would indeed be the case. “This is a staple for us and we hope to meet expectations there with the optional bosses and we feel like they’re going to be pretty tough this time as well,” said Miyazaki.