First look at Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (the Gamescom 2018 demo)

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#1 Edited by militantfreudian (679 posts) -

I feel like there have been surprisingly few discussion threads about this game here, even though most media outlets have gotten the chance to play, record, and post impressions about the game this week.

IGN posted a gameplay video, played by someone who's probably familiar with the game.

Edit: The official gameplay video from Activision's channel shows a couple of new moves. And how the game will probably run on consoles: at 30 fps.

VaatiVidya also posted his playthrough of the demo. He flails a lot in the beginning, but soon comes to grips with the controls. He explores a little bit more.

Some observations:

  • One of the underlying mechanics of combat in Sekiro seems to be Posture, which functions somewhat like Poise from the Souls games, albeit more fleshed out, or maybe like the Stun mechanic in this year's God of War. Basically, attacking as well as deflecting incoming attacks with precision builds an enemy's Posture meter. Once filled, the enemy's Posture is broken. At which point, you can perform a canned animation deathblow. Some enemies, however, have multiple health bars (much like a fighting game?) and will only go down after multiple "deathblows." And certain enemies use abilities to regain Posture.
  • Using the prosthetic arm tools expends a limited resource, White Spirit Emblem. My favorite thing about it is that each tool has a unique follow-up attack. For example, attacking after using the flamethrower buffs the player's katana with fire, and a lunge attack follows throwing a shuriken. Although there doesn't seems to be a heavy attack, there are attack animations while jumping and upon using the grappling hook.
  • Similar to God of War, certain enemies have unblockable attacks (notice when the red kanji appears above an enemy). Sweeping attacks require you to jump above them.
  • Your actions don't seem to governed by stamina, so to prevent spamming, enemies have attacks with hyper-armor.
  • Souls games stand-ins: Sculptor's Idols are Bonfires (resting at one respawns enemies), Healing Gourds are Estus Flask
  • Also, ambient and combat music?
  • The release date has recently been revealed: it's March 22nd.

Seems like a fair departure from the Souls formula, so I'm very curious what others think of what's been shown.

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#2 Posted by BicycleHam (1391 posts) -

As cool as this looks I seriously wonder if From Software can get away with making game that don't look like Dark Souls.

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#3 Edited by NTM (11647 posts) -

Yeah, considering it's the new FromSoftware game, it feels like its reception was more or less 'Hmm, well that's a thing. Wow! That other game looks cool though! *Wanders off to see whatever other exciting game is out there.*' They showed Nioh 2 was coming, and although not a Souls-like game, Ghost of Tsushima has similar vibes considering it's a samurai game. This seems cool though. The sneaking, jumping and altogether quickness seems like the biggest departure from their Souls-borne games. Maybe this isn't a correct assumption, but I'm assuming FromSoftware doesn't just want to hear comparing and contrasting to the Souls games all the time. It seems like they're trying to break out into something a little different. That said, it does seem to still retain some of that Souls stuff in there.

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#4 Posted by Seauton (184 posts) -

Worth keeping in mind, this game is still 7 months from release, and this gameplay demo is looking pretty slick for something that far out.

As a huge fan of everything Souls I am very excited that From is able to make something that is a bit of a departure, if only some. Consider me sold.

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#5 Posted by JunkerWoland (92 posts) -

My main concern with Sekiro is whether the mechanics will hold-up over the course of the game. Of the videos I've watched from Gamescom, most (if not all) reiterate how it's not a Souls title and should be played differently, then proceed to roll around and kite the larger enemies in the demo. I'm very much into the game's concept and aesthetic, but haven't been sold on the combat, as it's currently being put on display. The grappling mechanic looks fun, though.

There will, of course, be more videos, both from the developer and media, but it'd be nice to get a public demo. Regardless, I'm looking forward to Sekiro.

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#6 Posted by Ares42 (4314 posts) -

The game is probably gonna be good and all, but I feel like they're treading way too much familiar ground for it to be something special. I mean, in many ways this could be heavily compared to something like Shadow of War (but without the Nemesis system), and that's already a game that's very much an amalgamation of every other game in the genre. And as @ntm said, it doesn't help that there are several other samurai games coming out at the same time.

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#7 Posted by ghost_cat (2249 posts) -

While the gameplay looks fine, I'm not a fan of multiple health bars (a tedious leftover from old Japanese game design), and enemies respawning when resting at a shrine feels out of place here.

My biggest problem, however, is the art looks bland as hell. The FromSoftware team is capable of some amazing art design, and yet none of what I've seen looks anywhere near their caliber. Plus the main character looks pretty generic.

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#8 Edited by BabyChooChoo (7091 posts) -

I wanna know more about the stealth though, like is there any reason not to run around guns blazing 24/7? Cause dude can clearly handle himself perfectly fine in a fight. Can you play the whole thing stealthy?

I've calmed down on this a bit since e3. This looks about what I expected in that I had a vague idea of what we were in for and so far, it hasn't deviated from that. Don't get me wrong, still looks great, but didn't really wow me in any one way.

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#9 Posted by shorap (418 posts) -

I'm digging everything in this demo. Getting a little bit of a Ninja Scroll vibe.

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#10 Posted by TheFlamingo352 (336 posts) -

I have total faith in FromSoft to deliver considering how consistently good the Souls games are. This gameplay is reminding me a bit of Ninja Gaiden, too, with the higher mobility and crowd control. Can't wait for next spring.

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#11 Edited by doctordonkey (1812 posts) -

Not really getting the Tenchu vibes some people are claiming. Tenchu games were never this fast and this seems to be focused on combat rather than stealth, especially later on as I imagine most enemies halfway through the game won't get one-shot from stealth. This looks and feels more like Bloodborne with some stealth and verticality thrown in. Which sounds exactly like what I want.

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#12 Posted by Humanity (18641 posts) -

I think it looks pretty good but I am also a sucker for that samurai/ninja setting this is going for. I'm also a huge sucker for bionic arms that do cool stuff. Looks like they upgraded the mobility which is something that I found annoying and needlessly limiting as the Dark Souls series went up in iterations but remained quite stiff in movement.

Overall I'm pretty psyched. Looks like another "souls" game in a twisted samurai universe with significant gameplay tweaks that I can get behind. Bloodborne was a breath of fresh air while retaining the familiar From Soft formula and this looks like it's going in that direction, but from what I've seen without the awful framerate.

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#13 Posted by BoOzak (2548 posts) -

DMC 5 & Sekiro are both coming in March? Seems like a good month for action games/robotic arms.

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#14 Posted by Joey2683 (431 posts) -

Game looks ok so far. I wish the kill animations had more flow and grace to them instead of very chunky movements combined with loud "KA CHING" noises. Then the game goes back to ambient noise and relaxing Japanese samurai aesthetic. Reminds me of Tenchu/Bloodborne, but not balanced in the right ways.

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#15 Posted by riostarwind (1355 posts) -

Not relying on stamina and making the combat more about parries looks much more interesting to me than if it was just another Souls like game. The light stealth elements look neat too if they pull them off correctly.

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#16 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4242 posts) -

Seems fine. They switched some systems around and replaced the stamina meter with more of a stun bar, but it's still very much a FromSoftware game. Oh well, i like From's games. It doesn't wow me though, i feel like i have a pretty good idea how it will turn out and that will be an above average fun experience for sure.

For some reason, when i went into this demo, the account that i went through said something like ' Sekiro is more Hotline Miami than it is Dark Souls' Really wondering what the hell that person was smoking.

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#17 Posted by theacidskull (1093 posts) -

Considering that this game comes out in March, this DEMO looks spectacular. I'm really surprised that From Software updates and builds upon every game they produce in some interesting way, considering how many games/franchies remain stagnant in design.

I'm going enjoy abusing the shit out of that grappling mechanic.

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#18 Posted by TobbRobb (6578 posts) -

This is looking great. I'm very excited to play something solid out of From that isn't Souls. For as much as I love those games, I have gotten more than my fill by now. They seem to be doing great things with the speed of movement and action. Looking forward to march! This and DMC5 is gonna keep me happy for a good while.

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#19 Posted by CreepingDeath0 (418 posts) -

@bicycleham: If they wanted to they'd just make another Armored Core and no one would complain that it wasn't Dark Souls.

Here it looks fully intentional. From the similar UI, obvious bonfire standin, to straight up lifted animations from previous games. You don't do that unless you want to obviously appeal to the Dark Souls audience. And for how big that audience is, you can't really fault them.

At the end of the day though, to really reply to your comment all I'd have to do is remind you this was revealed at the same time as their other game, Déraciné.

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#20 Edited by CrazyCarl (37 posts) -

Look fun, I'm glad Miyazaki is making another action game outside of the souls universe.

For me, the drawback of this style of game is the replayability factor. This may not have the replayability of the other souls games since there aren't various builds/customization.

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#21 Posted by TheRealTurk (473 posts) -

I'm surprisingly . . . not that excited? I mean, what they showed looked good for what it was, but I also couldn't help but think "was that it?"

If the game is fairly linear and there isn't any sort of RPG aspects to character development, I'm not sure that there's going to be enough variety for me. Also - not a fan of enemies with multiple health bars. That always feels so cheap and repetitive.

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#22 Posted by hippie_genocide (2427 posts) -

The combat looks sort of boring and repetitive. I need to keep telling myself it's a demo, and this portion of the game could be the equivalent of killing dredglings in the Undead Burg. The movement looks cool and I hope they do more with the grappling hook.

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#23 Posted by BicycleHam (1391 posts) -


At the end of the day though, to really reply to your comment all I'd have to do is remind you this was revealed at the same time as their other game, Déraciné.

Just wait until Deracine is a Dark Souls game in dreamlike France

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#24 Posted by militantfreudian (679 posts) -

@ghost_cat: The increased emphasis on breaking an enemy's guard to perform a finisher, which deals a lot of damage, means that stronger enemies need, by design, to have large health pools. This is to encourage people to engage with the whole Posture system. A multiple health bars system seems like a more streamlined way to convey how many "deathblows" an enemy will take before dying.

It's interesting to see that some still think that it's similar to From's previous games. I find the lack of stamina, stat-based progression system, and a currency (a la Souls and Blood Echoes), all make Sekiro seems like a bigger departure from the Souls formula than Bloodborne. Grinding for equipment and resources has always been a part of the Souls games, so I'm curious to see if there's an incentive to fighting the same enemies again in Sekiro. Though I'm more curious to see how they'll incentivize exploration this around.

I'm more excited about the game than I was certainly when it was first announced. The mechanics and general flow of the combat make me think that playing well will be satisfying.

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#25 Posted by Giant_Gamer (754 posts) -

This looks like what would happen if Tenchu and Bloodborne had a baby.

Liked both of the games above and I'm pretty sure i'd like this 👍

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