Now that you've played Sekiro, how does it stack up to previous From games? Also adding into the mix, Nioh.

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#1 Edited by NTM (11815 posts) -

I'm only on Genichiro, so I can't fully say yet, but in one way I think it's better. While I wouldn't necessarily say the gameplay is better, I do like that it feels as if it requires more skill than the Souls games. Considering the Soulsborne games were RPG's, you could more or less level your way past things if you wanted to while in Sekiro you can't really do that. The thing I'm not liking quite as much is the environments, but again, I'm not that far in and I do like the environments mind you. I haven't seen anyone compare it to Nioh though, which I think is also an interesting comparison only because both deal with Japanese Samurai/ninja stuff.

How do these things compare:

  • Gameplay
  • Challenge (which I am separating from gameplay even though they can go hand-in-hand)
  • Environments
  • Enemy types
  • Bosses
  • Soundtrack

I'm not sure about gameplay overall; both are good. Sekiro has a little more since you can now sneak and grapple. I think challenge perhaps balances out to be the same. While I think it takes more skill to do Sekiro, it might arguably be easier if you master it because enemies/bosses don't last too long if you have all the right moves down. In the Soulsborne games, many times bosses just take a lot of hits and it's about waiting to strike. So far, I like the Soulsborne environments more, although I like Sekiro's environments a bit more than what was in Nioh. I liked Nioh's environments, but I didn't like that it retreaded them again and again with a new layer of paint for the side missions.

Enemy type and bosses are about the same in this too. I would say that in the Souls games, enemies and even bosses up to this point felt a bit (from an artistic design, sound perspective) more imposing which I loved. I like that the soundtrack plays a bit more in Sekiro, and I like it more than what was in DS3 (DS3's soundtrack was too operatic for my tastes), but aside from that, I like the soundtrack in the other Soulsborne games and Nioh more. I still have a lot more to go in Sekiro, and even though I sometimes think I may not get through it, I just know I will and I am having a blast (despite getting frustrated at times).

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#2 Posted by Ares42 (4359 posts) -

It ain't no Bloodborne, that's for sure. Overall I think Sekiro is a mixed bag and it's hard to directly compare to their former games. The most outstanding thing about the game is the fact that From has managed to create yet another take on bog standard melee combat (no action game super mega air combo style) that feels awesome. This is something game after game after game has struggled with, and not only did they do it once but now twice. After having played through it 3-ish times it's the one thing that still makes me want to come back

Unfortunately it disappoints in pretty much every other aspect. While there certainly are cool environments, moments and characters throughout the campaign far too much of it is bland, boring and most damningly repetitive. This might not stand out at first, but as you get deeper in (and especially after replaying it) the game feels thin due to fighting the same bosses several times over. Add on to that the minimized player customization and a very flat story and it becomes a very heavy counterweight to the appeal of the combat.

While it's been popular to point out how "this isn't a Souls game". I think it rings true beyond just how to approach the combat. The games stands on different legs. Even though the Souls series by far has the best play customization (which appeals to me a lot), the reason I put Bloodborne at the top is because it delivers the full package. The combat is there, and it's good, but the world and the story and the (admittedly few) player options are all so fantastic. The combat and the challenge is just there to make you soak it in. In Sekiro on the other hand I just want to skip right through all that stuff and get to the next fight. In my last playthrough I literally ran through 90% of the game as it had nothing to offer me, while on my Nth playthrough of any of their former games I still take my time exploring around and enjoying the full experience.

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#3 Edited by BoOzak (2585 posts) -

In terms of gameplay I prefer Nioh, and even Bloodborne. The souls games are a different beast just because of how many different builds you can have but I wouldnt say the combat was great in those to be honest. I found the action in Nioh to be more responsive, I also liked how each stance had a different set of attacks and dodges. As for Bloodborne the trick weapons were just really fun to use, and all felt quite unique both in design and use. The prosthetic arms were cool but they werent anywhere near as fun in my opinion.

Personally I found Sekiro to be more difficult than any of those mentioned, probably because i've never been the best at countering. I'm much better at just dodging and taking advantage of 'I frames' etc. which you can still do in Sekiro, it just isnt as usefull as it in all the other souls style games.

The enviroments might be more diverse than Nioh and Bloodborne but I think Dark/Demon's Souls might have more interesting enviroments than Sekiro, the verticality and scale of them is quite impressive though.

As for the bosses none of them really resonated with me that much to be honest. There were a few standouts (The Guardian Ape and Demon of Hatred) but I like big bosses in cool arenas which Bloodborne did great as did the souls games, Sekiro only had a few, which were good, but it wasnt enough.

I dont remember much of the soundtrack.

Overall I enjoyed Sekiro but it made want a new Ninja Gaiden or even a new Nioh more than a sequel. That being said i'll probably play an expansion when it's on sale, just like the rest of these games.

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#4 Posted by Efesell (4504 posts) -

In terms of gameplay Sekiro is leagues ahead and frankly it's kind of that moment of.. like we let you fly in Saints Row 4 how could we ever make a game where you just drive cars again? I don't know how they make a game in the old Souls formula now and not feel like a downgrade.

Difficulty wise I think Sekiro is harder on people who play one run and move on but much easier to master if you stick with it beyond that. But owing to the great combat it felt way better to learn than any of the previous games.

I like the environments but I will say that it did kind of lack the punch of something like Anor Londo or Irythll. I didn't crest any hills and take screens muttering "Look at this fuckin place..!" That's all aesthetics though mechanically they are leagues above because now you can interact with them to a much greater degree.

The bosses share a similar problem with all of Souls in that if you are fighting a small thing equal to you the fight is usually incredible and anytime it's a large monster of some sort it's just some bullshit. I think that the best boss fights in this game, especially the last one, are probably the strongest fights they've done yet.

So yeah Sekiro is my currently head of the pack game out of From.

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#5 Edited by NTM (11815 posts) -

@boozak: I'm currently on the ape boss as I type this. I just paused the game. He poots on you and throws his crap at you. The second form is kind of twisted.

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#6 Posted by Brackstone (909 posts) -

It's tougher to learn to learn initially, but less demanding than Bloodborne at it's hardest. As long as you focus on avoiding the unblockable attacks, you can just block pretty much everything else, very few enemies can actually capitalize on breaking your own posture, so blocking ends up being super safe. In Bloodborne, every enemy attack forces you to respond to it. In Sekiro, only the unblockable attacks really force you to respond, and they're fairly well telegraphed, so you see something of a return of the Dark Souls thing of just keeping your shield up while you learn a bosses moves and occasionally poke it.

Ultimately it ends up being about pattern recognition and almost brief rhythm mini games. The 2 parts that will give people the most trouble are early on learning that you can't play this like a souls game or Bloodborne, and a couple of later bosses that you actually have to treat more like you're playing Bloodborne.

As for environments, it's like Bloodborne, there isn't the variety you get in dark souls since it's a much more contained setting, but I think the environments are really beautiful and designed in a fascinating way even if the same variety isn't there.

As compared to Nioh, Sekiro is so much better it's not even funny. It has none of the bloated loot systems Nioh had, no pointlessly big skill trees full of redundant moves to waste points on, it actually has interesting enemy variety and encounter design, better story telling, more interesting boss fights, more interesting area design, and a much better flow to basic combat.

I think it's probably From's most consistent game, probably thanks to removing most of the RPG elements are probably responsible for that, but it doesn't quite reach the highs that Bloodborne does for me. Story/environment wise, I think Dark Souls 1 is still the best.

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#7 Posted by nophilip (685 posts) -

DS1 > Sekiro > DS3 > Bloodborne > DeS > DS2

Finished the game yesterday and jumped back in to NG+ right away. First playthrough was about 40 hours. Made it through all but the last area in NG+ in about 6 hours, mostly due to the fact that I've only died a few times. Sekiro is way more mechanically demanding than any of From's previous games, but is also a lot more rewarding when you are executing perfectly. It's felt incredible to tear through all the regular enemies and most of the bosses on NG+ solely on the virtue of having really locked in the parry mechanic.

Dark Souls 1 still does it for me more in terms of environment, level design, and enemy design, but holy shit Sekiro might be the most raw fun I've ever had with a 3rd-person action game. Now just give me a Star Wars lightsaber combat game with this style of parry/deathblow focused combat.

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#8 Edited by TheChris (523 posts) -

The emphasis on parrying and lack of customization is not for me, and I think I’ve come to realize that Feudal Japan just isn’t that interesting of a setting from a level design standpoint. Maybe Ghost of Tsushima will change my mind on that. It is still fun but not as enjoyable as my time spent with Bloodborne or Demon’s Souls.

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#9 Posted by doctordonkey (1825 posts) -

I think it stands on its own, it doesn't necessarily need to be compared so heavily. That being said, Bloodborne remains my favourite From game and I actually prefer Nioh to Sekiro. People bash Nioh for lack of enemy variety and reuse of assets, which are valid complaints, but Sekiro isn't innocent either. Not every mini-boss is unique in Sekiro, all of them fall into movesets that get reused many times throughout the game. Even the Guardian Ape boss is reused for no reason almost immediately after you beat it the first time. Also, how many times do you have to go through Ashina Castle? One too many times, in my opinion. Same goes for a couple other areas.

I actually really liked Sekiro, but it definitely doesn't stand up to Bloodborne or Nioh for me. I think I might put Dark Souls 3 above it as well. It's not because of the lack of online features either, I actually think the multiplayer in From games are categorically all terrible. I guess in the end it might be lack of builds or any sort of unique play style. I don't feel the want to go back and beat it again, as opposed to Bloodborne which I must have played through 8 times, or Dark Souls 3 which I played through 4 times.

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#10 Posted by dudeglove (13746 posts) -

From what I've seen of Sekiro, it's nowhere near as hilariously broken as Nioh can potentially be (which was one of the best things about Nioh, frankly, in that you could play the game seriously or you could stack buffs and debuffs and break everything)

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#11 Posted by takayamasama (1547 posts) -

So far my initial ranking would be:

DS2 > Sekiro > DS3 > Bloodborne > DS1.

I'm not gonna compare it to Nioh since outside theme of Japanese samurai, it's such a totally different thing. It's all about the loot and so easily abusable, I went through the game just using 1 weapon, 1 stance and 1 attack. I adore Nioh and it's a fantastic game but it's quite different from a Souls game.

Sekiro is fantastic though, I hope they do DLC or a Sekiro 2 very very badly.

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#12 Posted by NTM (11815 posts) -

@dudeglove: Hmm, I didn't know that about Nioh; never tried it. So, when you say break everything, you mean you could cheese everything more or less (I think cheese is the right term)? I agree with @takayamasama though; Nioh didn't give a whole lot of reason to experiment with the stances, which was a huge difference between it and the Souls games. I went through it all with the heavy attack stance, and pretty much just heavy attacking everything.

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#13 Edited by BoOzak (2585 posts) -

@ntm said:

@dudeglove: Hmm, I didn't know that about Nioh; never tried it. So, when you say break everything, you mean you could cheese everything more or less (I think cheese is the right term)? I agree with @takayamasama though; Nioh didn't give a whole lot of reason to experiment with the stances, which was a huge difference between it and the Souls games. I went through it all with the heavy attack stance, and pretty much just heavy attacking everything.

I think one of the things I liked about the stances in Nioh is that it let you choose between dashing and rolling on the fly. Bloodborne did this with dashing being enabled by locking on but it wasnt ideal since sometimes you would want to roll while locking on.

Personally I would also use the high stance against big enemies and zombies and the mid stance against your general fodder samurai and found that to be much more effective, sure you could use one stance all the time much like you could play through the entirety of Ninja Gaiden with one weapon but you would be making it more tedious and harder for yourself by doing so.

In terms of cheesing the most OP thing I can think of is the sloth talisman that slows down your enemies but like all Ninjutsu you can only use it a few times per run. Much like the prosthetic arms in Sekiro.

EDIT: Sloth was a magic skill not a Ninjutsu. Both have a limited supply though.

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#14 Edited by NTM (11815 posts) -

@boozak: Tedious yes, although, as a complaint, it's pretty small; I had a lot of fun regardless. When it comes to it being harder, not necessarily although I do think faster stances would allow for you to get more hits in on certain enemies. Honestly, the high stances and with the hammer sorts of weapons I used, with the move that allows William to slam down on foes killed many enemies quick and I took the power over quickness. I pretty much do that in any of the Souls games if it's worth it (and it almost always is). The single toughest enemy I faced in Nioh, and really the only one where I'd be 'ah damn, this guy' was the bird creatures (or raven tengu).

This brings me to the question since we're talking about the Souls games and Nioh. Should I get Nioh's DLC, as well as Dark Souls 3's? I didn't play them, but I liked the main games enough to. It won't be for a while, but still, maybe at some point.

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#15 Edited by soulcake (2774 posts) -

I had more fun with Nioh i liked there diablo eqsue loot system, The main problem i had with Sekiro was not getting rewarding stuff for exploration the best thing you find might be a prosthetic add-on or a prayer bead, the lack of character customization rubbed me the wrong way in Sekiro lack off player Skill Builds, at the end of the game i had every skill available. I feel Sekiro is a great game. But it being made by From Software doesn't help if this was made by some Ubisoft studio i probably would if liked it more, IMO worst game From Software released since they start making Souls games. It's still a great game but coming of the highs of BloodBourne this thing felt like a bummer for me.

note: for as much shit Dark Souls 2 get's ( i really like DS2) for having to much bosses, Sekiro definitely feels like it's guilty on this one too, and most off them feel like filler just to strech the game length.

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#16 Posted by dudeglove (13746 posts) -

@ntm: It's worth noting Nioh was in development for about thirteen years at least, so the game is stacked with multiple ridiculous systems (like a sort of skill tree, crafting mods on weapons, and a bunch of other things) that are somewhat poorly revealed but if exploited to their fullest potential can make you absolutely godlike. In no particular order of importance they are the talismans (basically magic) and ninjutsu (basically non magic items but may as well be magic) and the elemental system. If enemies hit you with two different elements (say fire and wind), you get inflicted with a debuff wherein your stamina barely regens until the effect takes forever to wear off, but the same rule also applies to all npcs. In other words if you're having trouble with certain enemies and even bosses, you can throw enough stacked shit at them to literally paralyze them and not even let them attack and then just wail on them. That's not counting the nonsense you can pull with the spirit weapons either, and basically turn the game into Dynasty Warriors and not care about blocking or parrying. It's not cheating but it basically feels like it (it's also a bit of a hassle going to so much trouble for just one enemy). At the same time the game can be played absolutely seriously (and you can still break things even then, like weapon mods on backstabs that do insane amounts of damage).

It's also worth noting that the Nioh DLC does not fuck around nor do any of the bosses on higher difficulties. Even on the normal difficulty, the DLC bosses are insanely hard.

In Sekiro's favor a lot of these things are absent, though it seems off to compare the two. Nioh is an instanced mission-based loot game with no open world and a talking two-tailed cat. Sekiro has its semi open world thing.

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#17 Posted by BoOzak (2585 posts) -

@ntm: Nioh's DLC is good but there are some pretty tough boss fights, one of the things I liked about them though is they actually felt like a meaningful extension of the story, whereas a lot of DLC feels slapped on this actually felt like it fit in perfectly. Granted most people dont give a shit about the story in these games but I thought Nioh's was alright.

The DLC in DS3 ranges from okay to pretty shit. I cant remember the names of them so i'll just say the highlight for me was the one with the wolves in the snow and the worst had you dodging homing projectiles while wading through poison pools. As an aside my least favourite trend in recent From Software games is having a cutscene in the middle of a boss fight leading to a second boss fight, and theres plenty of that in these.

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#18 Posted by bakoomerang (189 posts) -

So far my initial ranking would be:

DS2 > Sekiro > DS3 > Bloodborne > DS1.

Wait, is this really the order you meant or did you get the > backwards? I don't think I've ever heard/seen anyone say that DS2 is the best in the series and DS1 is the worst before!

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#19 Posted by NTM (11815 posts) -

@boozak: Actually, that was something I was worried and unsure about, whether there were story additions to it. Since it seems it does, that makes it more appealing already. And yep, that's partially what made me dislike DS3 the most out of any Souls games as I got about halfway through. The multiple form bosses annoyed me, and I don't remember the previous games doing that. It wasn't until I went back to it, just exploring the world and finding things I hadn't seen that I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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#20 Posted by takayamasama (1547 posts) -

@bakoomerang: Nope, I adore DS2 and think it's easily the best. Bloodborne used to be my least favorite but upon replaying them both last year I realized that Bloodborne is fine if not boring and easy, and DS1 doesn't hold up at all. I don't think I had any real fun playing the remastered version

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#22 Posted by Efesell (4504 posts) -

@boozak: Just trying to establish a baseline here but while saying that Nioh gets real hard with its DLC bosses...what would you have said about the bosses in the base game?

Because my chief complaint in that whole game would probably be that the game comes out the gate real strong with its boss fights and the falls down a ravine.

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#23 Posted by Shindig (4937 posts) -

As someone who hasn't bought Sekiro yet, it looks like a companion piece to Nioh. That's probably not an apt comparison but the setting and music really, really took me back to Nioh.

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#24 Edited by SilverSaint (89 posts) -

I think Sekiro does a lot of things well with the stealth, no stam mechanic, and general quest / world building (eavesdropping and overhearing X is weak to Y or we are missing Z, etc) the best of any these games. Where Sekiro falls apart is in the Customization, Replay, and honestly the Difficulty, so much so in these that I would rate it at the bottom all From games and Nioh.

Expanding on those points Customization is quite artificial in Sekiro. There are all of these skill trees, and an entire prosthetic tree and when you first see each my jaw dropped, but 70% through the game it becomes clear these skill trees simply don't matter. Most of the prosthetic are simply irrelevant, let alone the upgrades. Yes you can try and use them all, but for like 99% of the game the base Fireworks and Flamethrower are by far the best. The skill trees have a lot going on, but for the most part you get by far the most important skill nearly instantly (mikiri counter) and get the best combat skill (Ichi) extremely early. The rest of the skills are nice, but quite a few are nearly unnoticeable or rarely used and the rest of the combat skills come really late and don't compare to Ichi at all.

As for Replaying, I heard Sekiro was designed for replaying in mind, I don't see it at all. As stated above with all my customization problems, there is simply no build variation. There is no choice about upgrading stats, its just upgrade health and stam whenever you can. There is no real choice about prosthetics, they have limited uses (with it being clear by 50% through that fireworks and the flamethrower are the only ones to use) so most of combat will involve the sword, which never changes. With the weapon and stats always being the same and prosthetics being limited one would assume combat arts really change how you play...they don't. If I use Ichi and you use X, its only a single move and neither of us is spamming our combat ability, this means there is little to no real combat strategy variation as for the vast majority of any boss we are using the sword and doing 1 thing, Deflecting. The entire strategy of the game is to deflect everything and to counter unblockables, thats it. Now early on you don't realize EVERYTHING without a red symbol can be deflected, its just how the other Souls game have trained us. Generally by the 3rd boss the strategy for every enemy in the game becomes clear: Attack, twitch reflex deflect (sometimes multiple in a row), counter unblockable, repeat.

Meanwhile in all of these other games there are SO many build variations that change everything. First we have stats that can be changed and modify our health, our damage, our stamina etc. These alone change how we fight, as we can damage trade at certain points or get in an additional hit thanks to more stam etc. Then we have weapons, something that changes a ton thanks to the variations in attack animations, stamina costs, weapon speeds etc, let alone stuff like Magic. Finally we have armor, which further dictates if we are going for more of a block or dodge based playstyle. Are we using only the lightest for max speed, but max damage taken or the heaviest to be slow, but trade blows. Maybe we invested heavily to make ourselves faster in heavy armor, lowing our damage in return etc. These build variations change how fights playout, how the game feels and plays out, overall a different build can be like a new game.

Finally we have the Difficulty. In Sekiro some of the earliest bosses are at the level of DLC bosses in these other games. The reaction speeds required for the deflection are pretty crazy and the lack of ability to summon others when having significant trouble can lead to just stopping the game. Going back to builds, in these other games some builds have a much harder time on specific bosses or at specific points (ex. if you want to go magic in DS3 you actually start by going melee and then transition slowly to magic). As I stated before Sekiro has no build variation, so if I am having trouble at X point, I can't for instance make another character doing another build and see if that makes X easier. I am simply stuck at X until I "git good" and boy do you need to. While I loved the difficulty of the previous games, Sekiro is a massive step above with none of the possibilities of help (friends, builds, overleveling) in these other games.

Overall I enjoyed Sekiro, it furthered the From games in some ways, while seeming to regress in others, and Sekiro will be in my top 5 for this year for sure, but I would firmly place it at the bottom the Souls, Bloodborne, and Nioh, games.

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#25 Edited by BoOzak (2585 posts) -

@efesell said:

@boozak: Just trying to establish a baseline here but while saying that Nioh gets real hard with its DLC bosses...what would you have said about the bosses in the base game?

Because my chief complaint in that whole game would probably be that the game comes out the gate real strong with its boss fights and the falls down a ravine.

If you're talking about difficulty I would say that applys to all of these games, you get about a third of the way through and things get a hell of a lot easier. The DLC resets that curve a bit and the bosses were about as tough if not more difficult than the ones you fought when you were a low level. (unless you've been going through the entire game again on harder difficulties and grinding)

In terms of design a lot of the bosses are more human/yokai hybrids so they're faster and require more precise timing and give you less room to breath than the ones throughout the main game. There are still some bigger bosses though if I recall. I could be confusing it with the main game (its been awhile) but I think there are ones you fight together as team, which I enjoyed quite a bit. (But yes the dick bosses ripped from Ninja Gaiden being the last boss of Nioh almost felt like a joke)

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#26 Posted by FrostyRyan (2921 posts) -

I really, really got off on the wrong foot with Sekiro. and the funny thing is it's exactly the same way I got off on the wrong foot with Dark Souls.

See, I had played Demon's AND bloodborne before I played Dark Souls. The openness of Dark Souls fucked with me. For hours I tried going to the skeleton graveyard FIRST. yeah, I banged my head against that wall forever. Same shit happened with Sekiro basically. I was too stubborn to explore and find different paths at different points in the game. Once I realized "hey, just try a different route for now," the game became so much more enjoyable for me. That's a design decision I've always loved about Dark Souls. it's up to you to decide where to go based on the difficulty of areas

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#27 Posted by Efesell (4504 posts) -

@boozak: I just remember getting to that giant sea slime boss or whatever in Nioh a few stages in and then the game taking a steep dive after that with every boss just being a one and done kind of fight, and not in a way that felt good as a player to achieve.

More human style bosses is encouraging at least, maybe the DLC will help change my opinion on the whole thing when revisit the game closer to its sequel.

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#28 Posted by Drachmalius (660 posts) -

So, this is subject to change but my tentative ranking is:

DS1 > Bloodborne > DS2: Scholar > Sekiro > DS3 > DeS

I really like Sekiro, it does a lot of cool things with both gameplay and story. It has a similar setting to Nioh, without any of the systems bloat that turned me off that game. The most interesting thing to me is how Sekiro is the first time in one of these games that we've seen the inciting incident that leads to the fall of a civilization. Bloodborne was somewhat close, but still throws you into the aftermath of a huge event.

The thing that turns me off somewhat is that the focus on a ton of really hard boss fights takes some of the spotlight off of the great level design and environments that have been crafted. I do like the bosses, and most of them are a lot of fun. But the back half of the game feels a lot like a boss rush, and I just wish there were more unique areas to explore and stealth/fight through instead.

That said I'm sure I missed some stuff on my blind playthrough so I'm looking forward to digging deeper into the lore/zones and seeing all the secrets. What will likely edge this over DS2 for me will be if they add meaningful DLC that isn't just an excuse to make harder bosses, and fleshes out the game with areas comparable to the ones in DS2's DLC.

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#29 Edited by NTM (11815 posts) -

I haven't played through all of Sekiro, I'm only in the Mibu Village. I bought but had only played about ten hours of both Demon's and Dark Souls 1 around their release. It wasn't until 2016, right around the time Dark Souls 3 came out that I finally decided to get through them, so based off me going through them back-to-back, with one playthrough only and a few years ago now, I would say Dark Souls 1 was my favorite, then Demon's Souls, Bloodborne, Dark Souls 2 (and Nioh), then Dark Souls 3 is my least favorite, but still good.

Although it seems a lot of people disliked or at least say it's their least favorite, I loved Dark Souls 2 myself, and yes I think Nioh is just as good as it overall (maybe just behind it if I had a gun to my head). So far, I am liking Sekiro, but it's probably not near the top for me. It's probably just ahead of DS3. For me, what I take away most is how the atmosphere affected me, because challenge, enemy/boss design are all comparable to me.

The way Dark Souls was connected and varied I absolutely adored. I felt Bloodborne was great; it wasn't as varied as I was hoping and the color palette throughout was more or less the same it seemed, but the gothic/nightmarish stuff is super cool. I liked a lot of what Demon's Souls offered, and I won't forget my time in the tower of latria. Although I didn't strictly put them in order due to the setting, DS2 arguably has my second favorite setting of any of them behind DS1. There was just something about the scope of it.

Nioh was fine, but it's kind of in the same department as Sekiro. It's just kind of... Japanese stuff you're used to, but I like it! Sekiro's setting I like more than what Nioh offers only because it's not cut up by missions, and I love the feeling of looking out from one place and seeing how far I've come or thinking how I could more or less get to where I started the adventure from where I'm at. Not only setting, but music played a huge part for me too.

Setting for me: Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Demon's Souls, Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3, Nioh. (I could switch between Demon's and Bloodborne on that though.)

Soundtrack: Demon's Souls, Dark Souls 2, Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Nioh, Dark Souls 3

So far, Sekiro is probably around the end, but I still like it a lot. The last thing I'll say though, a lot of people said the Guardian Ape was an awesome boss (some say their favorite in the entire Soulsborne series), but he was one of my least favorites, to be honest. He is one of those super easy bosses and yet takes way too long to defeat.

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#30 Edited by Nodima (2613 posts) -

So, I'll be repeating myself a bit from the other threads, and I'm coming to this pretty green in the grand scheme of things, but I really enjoy talking about this game so I'm going to talk about it. I also think this is a pretty unique viewpoint compare to the rest in this thread; I played Bloodborne mostly last March, and before then had only given Demon's Souls about fifteen minutes when it was a PS+ offering. I slammed my head against Central Yarnham for, no lie, seven hours dying over and over again to various mobs, never once coming across the Cleric Beast or Father Gascoigne. That game had me baffled as to why I wasn't being allowed to level up or improve in any way other than just getting better and figuring out what it was trying to tell me.

I was also the sort of person who found the parry mechanic pretty intuitive, and so I fought the Cleric Beast over a dozen times but beat Gascoigne on my third try, as well as most Hunter and Hunter-like bosses. It was mostly the beasts, like Rom and Darkbeast Paarl, that gave me trouble. Weirdly, Bloodstarved Beast also clicked with me almost instantly. So, in all the run up to Sekiro, watching gameplay and listening to people talk about it, I thought to myself, this is going to be my fucking game.

  • Gameplay

In normal, exploring scenarios, I love Sekiro's gameplay. I love how it makes every minor encounter matter, but how the gameplay loop so embodies the scenario the game is attempting to present to the player. Bloodborne couldn't help but feel like a video game due to its simple but subtle combo system and all the gamey mechanics it had (plus the ability to over level), but an enemy you fight once in Sekiro will always be that enemy. I love that, because returning to the Estate Path to grind gold/items and wasting everyone in your path isn't something you're doing because you have more strength or HP, at least not entirely, but because you've gotten better with your sword. That is a cool ass concept, and I can't really remember the last time a game made me feel that way.

However, while beating a boss is exceptionally cathartic in a way I also can't really compare to anything else in my gaming experience, there are so damn many, and at least in my experience when you hit a wall with a boss that wall is built sturdy. I watched Ben fight the Ashina Elite and gradually improve, which steeled me to give him another shot; I have put in three one hour shifts since that stream and made absolutely zero progress. I might literally not have the finger dexterity to win that fight, and the lack of RPG mechanics at that point absolutely sucks. I spent $60 on this game and I am loving its minute to minute combat and exploring its world; if I literally can't continue doing that at some point soon just because I can't move my fingers fast enough, it'll be hard not to resent the game a bit.

The thing I point back to is the other game I obsess over every spring/summer, MLB The Show, which is also essentially a game in which you read animations and time button presses to parry and defeat your opponent. I struggle to play that game on the All-Star/Normal difficulty and am an utter disaster on anything above that, but that game at least gives me the option to play on a sort of "Normal Minus", or even Rookie, and still enjoy the game of baseball with players past and present. As I get older and my hands get slower, it's harder and harder not to be saddened a bit by this reality, but it is what it is.

In short, I find the moment to moment gameplay more engaging than Bloodborne, but I find the macro/meta/whathaveyou philosophy behind it an encumbrance that is keeping me from booting this game up more often than not, whereas I was playing nothing but Bloodborne when it was the game on queue.

  • Challenge (which I am separating from gameplay even though they can go hand-in-hand)

I'll keep it brief since I got into this a little in the last category. I think Sekiro's idea of challenge is mostly very, very cool, but I think they make certain things unnecessarily difficult like using the same signal for unblockable sweeps as thrusts. If the counter move isn't going to work on sweeps, they should have done a better job indicating the difference since that signal obscures the wind up animation, especially in tight quarters fights, and even if I've learned it will always mean a sweep with a given enemy (again, Ashina Elite) muscle memory will have me dodging forward into a death.

The deflect timing is what it is; on some fights, like Lady Butterfly and Lone Shadow Swordsman, it eventually clicks and feels magical. On others, like Seven Spears and Ashina Elite, it feels absurd and becomes discouraging. I really can't call it. I will say that Bloodborne had bosses like that, particularly Rom, where I felt like I understood the mechanic or the encounter design and just couldn't execute, and in those moments I appreciated that they offered up copouts like the Tonitrus that could trivialize brick walls. Bloodborne would prove to you that it was hard, and then wink and nod at ways it didn't have to be that way. Sekiro doesn't seem interested in that kind of thing at all.

  • Environments

From watching the Souls content on this site and playing Bloodborne, I can say Sekiro feels a little less imaginative than those, but I'm also early and I'm not disappointed, it just is the thing that it is and it's going to look that way. I will say that prologue encounter with Genichiro is a stunning nod to both the final arena of Bloodborne and MGS3, I wished we spent more time there.

Otherwise, I not only beat Bloodborne but thoroughly watched Aegon of Astoria's Let's Talk Lore series on Bloodborne, which took nearly an entire summer to do and exposed a ton of stuff I'd never even considered. Bloodborne may be my favorite video game setting of all time and I'm not even a Lovecraft guy; from item descriptions to sculptures to fucking emotes, that game was incredibly dense with intent and lore reasons.

  • Enemy types

I don't feel like I can speak to this yet, but I will say the slightly mechanical way the A.I. operates pre-engagement is a little sillier now that the enemies are regular people.

  • Bosses

I'll keep it brief here, as well. So far I think beating even a mini-boss is far more cathartic than the time I beat Rom, or Darkbeast Paarl, or Vicar Amelia. Partly that's because I summoned for the first time out of curiosity for the latter and that guy one-shot her while I stumbled across the Tonitris' strength against Rom for the former, but also because it just feels so fucking impossible the first time you meet every single deathblow enemy in Sekiro. I'm starting to think they ask too much of you as a player if this specific style isn't your style usually, or maybe more specifically if you do play games like this the way Sekiro asks you to play them, but usually on "normal" difficulty or overleveled or however you choose to qualify it. I'm hoping to figure out how to hurdle over this tomorrow night/Wednesday, but I'm increasingly worried that the emphasis on boss encounters is going to sink an otherwise fantastic game eventually.

  • Soundtrack

I don't recall ever really being taken aback by a track in Bloodborne. There was a lot of good music, but none of it stuck with me. There have been times I'll load up the Senpou Forest just to stand still and listen to that super Final fantasy VIII, Uematsu type score for a half hour while I do other stuff. That track is wonderful and wins the category all on its own.

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#31 Posted by ripelivejam (13185 posts) -

@ares42: 3rd??? Jesus, where do you find the time?

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#32 Posted by Milijango (204 posts) -

It's too early to be saying where I'd rank Sekiro against the Souls games, but without hesitation I'll say it belongs in the top three with Dark Souls and Bloodborne. My first playthrough of Sekiro is probably the most exciting time I've had with any video game; the game is dense with spectacle both in and out of scripted sequences and the difficulty curve and pacing felt perfect to me (not to say that either of those things are perfect, just that my particular experience was just right). I don't think I'll replay this game 10+ times like Bloodborne but I'm also not the kind of person who thinks hours per dollar is a relevant metric of quality.

There was only one encounter in the entire game that I didn't enjoy (the double ape rematch); I'm nearing the end of a second (fresh save) playthrough and have not skipped anything. While the number of enemy archetypes and environments is lower than past games, the quality of them all is higher with three environments that I'm absolutely in love with (Bodhisattva Valley, Senpou Temple, Fountainhead Palace). The stealth, vertical movement, and grappling hook all work like a charm: if anything, I think they needed to be more aggressive with encounter design towards the end of the game to keep the challenge consistent.

I really enjoyed the story despite having reservations about the fixed protagonist and not being terribly interested in Sengoku Japan (until now, I guess). The combination of From's traditionally dark lore and the more optimistic tone of the main narrative did a lot for me, I think, as did having a persistent core cast with a lot of dialogue and strong voice acting (at least in the Japanese VO).

I do like all of the Souls games (and Nioh) quite a bit, but my rough ranking is as follows:

Bloodborne > Dark Souls > Demon's Souls > Dark Souls 3 > Nioh/Dark Souls 2

with Sekiro likely to land somewhere in the #1-3 spot. As you can tell I think it's basically a masterpiece, though I would not be surprised if Nioh 2 ends up resonating better with anyone who missed the quirks and qualities of the old games.

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#33 Posted by Ares42 (4359 posts) -

@ripelivejam: Some of us are less busy =) (also, subsequent playthroughs of this game are quite fast.)

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#34 Edited by kmj2318 (38 posts) -

Sekiro is more fun to play than the Soulsbornes. I prefer being given one way to play and having lighter rpg elements. But aside from gameplay, Sekiro does everything else worse. Sekiro is far more grounded, so the extravagant environments and bosses are tempered down. I prefer the extravagance of Soulsbornes.

As for Nioh, the rpg elements and systems were overkill for me. Nioh also had really bad level design. What I did like about Nioh was that it went much further into the supernatural and japanese folklore than Sekiro. Perhaps Sekiro is more grounded in response to Nioh.

Edit: oh and I hate how to music switches to more intense music when you enter combat because it switches back and forth so much. It got so annoying that I turned off the music.

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#35 Posted by AgentZigzag (192 posts) -

I’ve wanted to love every From software game since demon’s souls, thinking ‘this one will hook me’. Sekiro is the first.

I’m really enjoying the variety of the gameplay when you get good and get some tools and items. I really struggled with Dark Souls combat, but this feels really good and when I miss time and get my face smashed I know what I did wrong.

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#36 Posted by ProfessorK (883 posts) -

3rd Favorite Tenchu game after Wrath of Heaven and Fatal Shadows but since FROM only made Z and another one on handheld, best FROM Tenchu.

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#37 Edited by NTM (11815 posts) -

Alright, so I've done just about everything in Sekiro, I just have to fight the final boss and fight demon of hatred if I want. I don't really see the need to put the majority, if any boss names in spoiler tags, but I've seen some do it on here and that's an end game boss so I did it. Anyways, I have to say, I did enjoy the game, but it's probably my least favorite Souls-esque game, even more than DS3 I think. I didn't really care all that much for the atmosphere (there felt like a lack of places to visit too), the boss fights were 'meh' and the soundtrack didn't do a whole lot for me. I am honestly not sure if I'll even finish the game. I might just move on since I feel like I saw what I wanted from it. I'll perhaps go back and beat it before another From game comes out, and I'll most likely just watch the cutscene for after you beat the final boss. I only fought the end boss twice, but I just don't care that much to continue.

So, for me, it goes Dark Souls 1, Demon's Souls, Blood Borne, Dark Souls 2 (and Nioh), Dark Souls 3, then Sekiro.

Oh, I know I didn't add it on here, but I did beat The Surge last year and I really liked that game too. Not sure where I'd place it. I'd feel bad for putting it near last, but I am not sure I like it more than DS3.

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#38 Posted by JoeDangerous (591 posts) -

Sekiro's a tight package and a fantastic game overall, but I can't say I'll revisit this. It just doesn't have the variety I look forward to in FROM games. That and I find the majority of enemy/boss designs to be incredibly boring. It's almost as bad as DS2 in that regard. I'd probably put it like this for now:

Bloodborne > Demon's Souls > DS1 > Sekiro > DS3 > DS2

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#39 Posted by TheChris (523 posts) -

@joedangerous: That ranking is almost exact similar to mine, hah.

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#40 Posted by Gazoinks (81 posts) -

I think it's probably their best-designed and most focused game, and the level and combat design are awesome. That said, Bloodborne is still probably my personal favorite just due to my love of the victorian eldritch horror vibe and the rarity of seeing that done well in a game.

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#41 Posted by MightyDuck (2021 posts) -

I was all in on Sekiro prior to release, but I have a feeling I'll end up staying away. I have never been good at the parrying system in the Souls games, and it sounds like that's a necessity in Sekiro. It still looks like a great game though.

The inability to "summon" people in might be an issue as well. That is pretty much how I managed to beat any of these games.

In terms of ranking...here's mine

DS3 > DS2 > BB > DS1

Bloodborne was the first "soulsborne" style game I had tried. Dark Souls 1 just seemed so damn hard at times. I'm currently still playing the Remaster on PS4 and I'm about ready to tap out. I'm currently trying to sort my way through the Duke's Archives and the Abyss and I just can't cut it. I really mismanaged leveling up a decent weapon. Totally relied on the Drake Sword for WAY too long.

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#42 Posted by Efesell (4504 posts) -

@mightyduck: For what it's worth not being good at the parrying of Souls games doesn't really mean much here. In Souls that's a mechanic of heavy risk/reward that you can learn to be ahead of things. With it being a vital core mechanic of Sekiro that means the timing is also MUCH more generous.

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#43 Posted by MightyDuck (2021 posts) -

@efesell: Hmmm, I hadn't thought of it in that regard before. Not a bad point. Maybe there's still hope for me yet!

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#44 Posted by someoneproud (582 posts) -

Hmmm, For me it's my favourite mainly because of the combat and setting. I like that it's more mechanically demanding and all the sengoku / japanese myth stuff a lot. Now that I've played a lot of it, it's not all that difficult but the difficulty lasted longer than previous From games which was great and I was still learning & improving 20/30 hours in.

In every other category it falls short compared to the others for me, the bosses are fun as hell but not terribly varied aesthetically and several minibosses are basically reskins. I'd definitely say that Bloodborne had better music and the Dark Souls' had more interesing environments all told.

If I were to rank it'd be

Sekiro > Bloodborne > DS1 > Nioh > DS2 > DS3

But I by no means dislike DS3, they're all pretty good.

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