Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was released in 2019 and took the internet by storm. The game was the main highlight of the year, as it won the Game of the Year award in 2019.
Four years later, the release remains relevant, selling over 10 million copies. The game is arguably one of FromSoftware’s hardest titles, forcing players to adapt through sheer will and determination.
Despite its brutally punishing nature, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is excellent and features arguably the best combat of any game to date.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has a captivating combat system, and the satisfaction from mastering its many elements alone was enough to keep me coming back.
While its strengths lie in the gameplay department, I think the title also features an interesting narrative. The game begins with the introduction of Wolf, a character loyal to his master, the Divine Heir, Kuro.
The game puts players on a journey to fulfill the Divine Heir’s wish, pitting Wolf against formidable foes like Genichiro Ashina. This incredibly cunning adversary is a master swordsman who, in my opinion, is the best-written boss in the game.
He is also the first major boss in the game, defeating Wolf in a scripted fight meant to be lost. Genichiro Ashina cuts off Wolf’s arm, eventually allowing the protagonist to wield a prosthetic arm, which eventually turns out in our favor.
Freedom In Combat
This arm helps expand combat beyond sword fights, opening up an arsenal of different tools like shurikens, firecrackers, spears, and more. The game features a total of 10 different tools, adding an extra flair to an incredible combat system.
I believe freedom is paramount to the brilliance of Wolf’s combat system. Players can not only engage in thrilling sword fights, but they can use prosthetics to strategize and pick the right approach for each encounter.
Unlike previous FromSoftware games, stealth is a very viable option in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. However, unlike many other games, it is never forced, keeping the theme of freedom.
Strategic Combat System
The Prosthetic tools aside, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s combat system revolves around parries and counter-attacks. This means that players can beat the entire game without relying on the extra tools, as I was able to do the same without much effort in later runs.
FromSoftware created a strategic combat system where players are forced to manage a posture meter alongside their health. This system gives the combat a unique rhythm, where players go back and forth with the enemies constantly.
While I struggled at first, the rhythm of parries and counter-attacks eventually clicked, making me an unstoppable force. The satisfaction of mastering this combat system elevated the entire experience for me.
Boss battles make the strengths of FromSoftware’s expertly crafted combat system even more apparent. Encounters like Genichiro Ashina tested my patience, adaptability, and persistence, but this made the act of overcoming the challenge even more rewarding.
Mixing Combat Up
I also admire the fact that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice forces players to stay on their toes, never letting them settle into a comfort zone.
While parrying eventually becomes second nature, specific moves like sweeps have to be dodged through jumps or side-steps. Other moves like thrust attacks can be negated with the Mikiri Counter, adding further depth to this incredible combat system.
The most satisfying combat mechanic in the title, according to me, is the Mikiri Counter, as it leads to an indescribable feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s blend of difficulty and parry-based combat takes it above anything I have ever played.
The game is unrelenting in its difficulty, but the impeccable combat system kept me coming back to the daunting world of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This system also encourages replayability, as the act of honing one’s skills through continued battles leads to an incredible sense of fulfillment throughout the game.
While many fans believe Bloodborne is FromSoftware’s best work, its combat, while excellent in its own right, is not as awe-inspiring as the studio’s 2019 release. Rumors also claim that an anime adaptation of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is in the works, possibly leading to another wave of excitement for the IP.
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Obaid is pursuing a Law degree, while working as a content writer. He has worked as a gaming writer for over a year because of his passion for the medium and reporting the latest updates in the industry. Having played hundreds of games, Obaid finds himself coming back to Elden Ring and Red Dead Redemption 2, with these games being among his favorites. He has also been mentioned on highly regarded websites, such as Wccftech, Metro UK, PS Lifestyle, GamePressure, VGC, and Gamespot.