“Sekrio:” A Journey to Dying a Thousand Virtual Deaths
by Dan Spanner
When FromSoftware’s epic video game title, “Bloodborne,” released in March 2015, I found my second love after meeting my girlfriend.
The game is a blend of H.P. Lovecraft meets Victorian England and then directed by Tim Burton. Well, that was the artistic style.
The gameplay? It was the stuff of legend.
Bosses and enemies loomed around every broken alleyway. Controllers were broken and hairs were pulled with both lovely fandom-joy and pure, broken and defeated frustration.
A community of gamers solved puzzles and fought enemies that all seemed too impossible to overcome.
Eventually, though, we did.
We learned and bled and triumphed. Due to the creepy online nature of the game, while ringing your faint in-game bell, you could have the chance of summoning another player to help you or to suddenly stab you in the back.
“Bloodborne” was a true video game. It was gorgeous, yes, in its graphics and visuals, but it was more than that.
It wasn’t just a cinematic experience. It was real-deal, numb fingers on the controller, brilliant level-designed experience that showed the power of a video game.
It tested you and made you memorize and contemplate and confronted your agitation. “Bloodborne” was bloody and challenging and created an online community devoted to work together and overcome any obstacle.
“Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” brings something different to the table-top of gaming. There is no online experience to this game.
You are alone. You play as a Shinobi in Feudal Japan. You are sole guardian and protector of the young Divine Heir.
And there are many bad folk after you and the Heir both.
While in previous FromSoftware titles, like “Bloodborne” or “Dark Souls,” the gamer designs the appearance and build of their character. In “Sekrio,” the player wields the character of Wolf and must learn the ways of the Shinobi.
Combat is a back-and-forth brutal dance with swords clashing. I felt like I was catching glimpses of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as one-on-one combat would last an intense 20-minute sitting.
There are different abilities and an overload of various items and choices to make and choose throughout the game’s progression, but FromSoftware makes one things clear—this game is different.
It isn’t only about knowing an enemy’s weakness, or knowing your build of the character perfectly, or realizing the best tactic to take down a boss bigger than your house.
“Sekrio” demands mastery.
It demands that you stand toe-to-toe with your enemy and face down the battle in front of your sword. As one can tell, the game spoke to me on a visceral and deep level.
Go experience this brand new FromSoftware title for yourself, but be prepared for virtual death.
And always remember, you can’t behead the Headless.
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