Totally understand why they decided to put it behind a paywall, but unfortunately, I can’t afford another subscription right now.
Anyway, I just marathoned 80% of NG+ yesterday! Everyone’s so right about how short and, dare I say, easy the game is at this point. Having internalized the combat system (and also keeping all your upgrades) has made the game a breeze compared to how much it kicked my ass the first time around. I’ve only had Dragonrot kick in once!!
I think I might still prefer Bloodborne in the end, not so much because of its mechanics because Sekiro 100% has it beat there (god just the act of controlling Sekiro and fighting bosses feel so good), but because of how tense and mystified and downright scared Bloodborne made me feel, all the while giving me moments of bloodlust-slaking catharsis when I’d get into a flow state and just eviscerate enemies. A lot of that had to do with the setting, atmosphere, characters, and narrative, all of which tie perfectly into the game’s systems (blood echoes, insight, frenzy, beasthood, etc.) to make such a cohesive experience.
That’s not to say Sekiro isn’t cohesive. Austin’s talked about the game’s main theme of risky contact (or perilous clashing!) expressed through the combat, the story, and the meta narrative of these modern From Software games. Natalie nailed it saying you should be using every advantage you can in battle and stealth because you’re a goddamn ninja.
The thing is though that even if it’s somewhat of a departure for From Software, the experience leans more toward the traditional power fantasy of a character action game. There are so many cool, awesome, anime as fuck moments in Sekiro! It’s not too surprising when I look back at some of Dark Souls 3’s climactic points, especially in the DLCs. A lot of this has to do with the animations, too, which are all justified by you being a fucking shinobi that can zip through the air, master all the secret martial arts, and carry an arsenal of deadly tools in a bespoke skeleton arm. From the parries to the Mikiri counter to all the various deathblows to the Shinobi Executions, Sekiro is out to make you feel like a total badass, and it gates that feeling through punishing encounters you need to overcome by mastering mechanics that are on a complexity level we’ve never seen in any Soulsborne game. It’s “git gud” in the same context as demanding character action games like DMC, Bayonetta, Ninja Gaiden, God Hand, MGR: Revengeance, and even the latest God of War.
It’s an amazing expression of the genre, probably my favorite because of how it mixes the exploration and weirdness of the Souls games. I just like the creeping dread and nightmarish/cosmic horror that permeates through every inch of Bloodborne more. The only other game that comes close to that sensation is Demon’s Souls.
anyway, imma clean up ng+ on sekiro and then do it all over again two more times to see all the endings and grind out the skill points for that platinum because i like this game so much