'Sekiro' Transforms the Dark Souls Formula into Something New and Risky


I am enjoying everything about this game except for the load times. Death comes so fast that it is a bit of a burden to have to load up after you eat shit twice on a boss.

But I love the design of the game, the narrative about using “unnatural power” to win in a conflict is not great. How that power subverts nature and ending the cycle of violence will have a price unto itself. Plus the game is beautiful and evokes a specific style of combat that is so rewarding to see turned into mechanics. I dislike being swarmed when I just want to show down with a single, fun to fight enemy, but that is a minor complain.


I beat the last boss! It took me like 5 hours and my fingers were a tad numb from the excitement! have to say that while I prefer the Souls games this may well be Froms most well made game. I think Bloodborne has a much better narrative, but it has more mechanical kinks that get in the way of Sekiro and the overall world design is honestly the best I have ever seen in a game. My only real qualms about it are the emblems should not be a thing you have to buy, and I am not big on the mad max-esque way it uses signifiers from things like dwarfism and down syndrome to make some enemies seem more monstress, though it’s not without sympathy in that regard for whatever that is worth. But on the whole it’s pronominal even as I can see an article or two really souring me on the latter issue in time


I’m only ~5 hours in but I am loving this game so far. I feel like I need to take a break after reaching a new sculptor idol each time because it feels so satisfying. I love Dark Souls games and they feeling of moving through a level always felt like a despair filled trudge (again, this is good too). You felt like you were staying alive and pressing onward. Sekiro has more of a focus on stealth and thoughtful defense, but going through a section feels like you’re on the prowl just murking everyone instead of just surviving, which is a nice change.

I also am loving the wide variety of options you have on how to approach a section. My biggest problem with DS1 was that you generally only had one, maybe two routes through a section, and once you chose one you were committed to it. Later Dark Souls games and Bloodborne were better at giving the player more freedom, or having sections where there was an optimal path but if you screwed up you were thrown into a disadvantageous state but could still fight for your life. Sekiro is giving me much more freedom which is more daunting when approaching a new area, but so rewarding when you finally develop a route and see it though to the end.

I love the stealth but I will say it is silly. There are tons of stuff you can knock over that create a ton of sound but not once has it alerted any enemies? Is there a hard mode I unlock where knocking a huge pile of logs over alerts the enemy ten feet in front of me? Or where the enemies have any peripheral vision? Or can see down a lit path? I mean I’m dying enough as is but I wouldn’t mind being punished for being the loudest shinobi ever.


I agree stealth is the weakest part of the game. My suspension of disbelief is shaken when a healthy human army gives up on looking for me after 10 seconds, or when a guard catches me but I remain invisible to his buddy standing 2 feet away from him. These quirks made more sense in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, where the enemies were generally less human.

Another quirk I’ve noticed is that lots of the time, solid surfaces like trees or rocks won’t do anything to conceal you. The only things that can truly hide you are the ground geometry and long grass. You can even be caught if you’re crouching behind long grass, rather than inside it. It’s a little bit silly, considering we’ve had proper line-of-sight stealth in lots of other games by now.


One thing that’s been super interesting to me is how the pacing of the boss combat changes on ng+ runs. It’s both faster, because in theory you know all the enemy patterns and can clown on them but also in some ways slower and closer to traditional souls combat because your natural posture recovery goes waaaaaay down when you play NG+, forcing you to back off and guard to get it down or get your guard broken strategically. I still breezed through most of the fights on the first ng+ cycle, but instead of the constant always on aggression I had been using to break posture on my first run there was a lot more waiting for an opening and then backing off until I had done enough vitality damage for the posture damage to not decay back to 0 when i needed to guard instead of attacking.


I find the stealth quite solid for what it is. Like it’s not Splinter Cell but it works well to strategically tip the odds in your favour and the mobility allows you to skirt around enemies quite easily.

One of my biggest issues with it are the ceramic shards. Not only did they not implement aiming but enemies will not react to it unless it’s tossed either directly under them or in their face.
They’re not like rocks in a Far Cry game, they’re like… a less useful whistle lure from Horizon:ZD or something but makes way less sense.

Also I heard something about holding block makes your posture recover quicker? what??


This might actually be my favorite thing about the stealth, and I think it’s intentional. It feels like it’s operating on movie logic to an extent. I want to feel like a badass ninja; this game makes me feel like a badass ninja even if the fantasy shows its stitches a little bit.

The ceramic shards have been super disappointing though, to the point where I just stopped trying to use them.


What if I told you the stealth in this game is no better or worse than the stealth in the original (and still best) Tenchu.

Remember getting caught in Tenchu? How bad the combat was?

Sekiro is the Tenchu game I always wanted lol.


I think that’s what makes the stealth in this game work, yes it’s rudimentary but getting caught kind of rules because then you get to engage with the rad combat the game is built around.
It doesn’t feel like a lot of stealth games where getting caught feels bad and you just reload a quick save.

edit: (Also I’m almost certain I alerted a group of enemies by toppling over some destructible environmental props at some point)


Yeah, I agree. The game feels right after getting used to the logic behind everything. Putting noise-making destructible objects that do nothing in a stealth game seems like a really weird choice, though.


Exactly this. Sekiro bridges the gap between Tenchu and Ninja Gaiden Black/Sigma the way I’ve always wanted.

I remember playing Tenchu and getting really frustrated with getting caught, then, conversely, playing Ninja Gaiden and wishing I had ANY ability to sneak at all.

Other ninja games, step up, is what I’m saying.


Honestly, Sekiro reminds me just a little bit of Mark of the Ninja in how the stealth makes me feel? Especially in how you can plan an approach and use certain upgrades and items to map a route through a level, and how breaking and retaking stealth work and feel (though MotN definitely gives fewer options if you break).

I don’t think it’s just the obvious aesthetic elements; it does feel to me like they’re drawing from a similar set of verbs, with Sekiro adapting them to a 3D space.


I have definitely gotten caught by bumbling into a bunch of pots like an idiot, I think the radius just drops dramatically if you pick up the make less noise skill.


Yeah, Im pretty close to the end of my 2nd run and Im glad I got good at parrying early on because its even more necessary in NG+, not only because of the posture but you take way more damage when guarding. The one Im curious is Demon of Hatred because I got his pattern down to the point where I beat him without getting hit, but in NG+, Im guessing he can kill you just by touching you. Watching Austin finish the game, I was like “If this was NG+ you would already be dead 10 times”.


It varies based on your health level, but yeah. It’ll always replenish faster while blocking than if you were doing nothing.


How am I on NG+ and didnt realize that? Makes sense tho. Its the risk reward of running away or staying.


I don’t think the game ever properly tells you. I only found out from a friend who discovered it by accident.


It’s in a loading screen tip but I don’t think it tells you otherwise


It took abnormally long to load one time today so I was able to button through tooltips and there you go. For how much it tutorialises in the beginning that’s a pretty big thing to leave out. It’s not as obvious as not holding up a shield while regaining stamina in Souls.

Needless to say I’m doing a lot more blocking now, like 80% through the game probably… I kind of get now why all the gameplay footage have the characters blocking all the time (I just assumed before playing it that it was part of a stance system like Nioh or For Honor)

Anyway, back from beating another couple of bosses, Guardian Ape, and Guardian Ape 2: Revengance, and gosh I am just so high on this game.
I probably would’ve finished it by now had I not been working full weeks including weekends in the month of its release, but also I just want to savour every area.


alright alright, i took 36 hours off Genichiro , time to die