In between yawns I find myself thinking about Sekiro again. What items I’m missing, what locations I’ve yet to see, what bosses I’ve not yet killed. It is interesting how much this game can leave you guessing. Repeatedly I return to areas I’ve been a dozen times and I discover something new.
There is no mini map to distract me, quest markers, or really any of the clutter that has plagued the modern video game. What I like about Sekiro is that it isn’t scared that you might end up confused. So many developers, and more importantly publishers, seem terrified that a single person somewhere might be confused at any point.
If you happen to be as old as me you remember when games just kind of plopped you into a vaguely discernible world and it was mostly up to you to figure it out. You could read the manual, an object I desperately miss from modern gaming, but otherwise it was a learning experience.
Everything was a mystery and it was up to you to solve it. It wouldn’t be for a few more generations before everything was constantly stopping your game play to give you tutorials, or pointing you towards what you should be doing. And you know what? I don’t care what I should be doing in a game.
I don’t buy games so that I can be told what to do and passively walk through some kind of finely curated art exhibit. I’m here to make mistakes, to discover, to learn, succeed, and occasionally fail.
That isn’t to say that I think Sekiro shouldn’t have options for disabled people, or people without the time or energy, or even people who are a bit too old to have the reflexes necessary. I do think those things should exist for those people and it is definitely worth a chat sometime.
I platinumed Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3. I only mention it because I think those games needed these features too. Not for me, this isn’t me looking for a handout, but it is me empathizing.
With that out of my system I turn back to Sekiro. I genuinely love this game at the moment. I occasionally read about god tier boss fights that have had people struggling for days. I reach them and feel a twinge of fear in my heart. But overall it has been very smooth sailing!
I say that not as a brag but to stress that the game isn’t necessarily objectively hard. You might be like me and have a nice simple experience! Who knows! That’s part of the fun and the mystery.
When you play the next clogged open world game like Just Cause 4, the experience you have will likely share many similarities with other people. Somehow these games of infinite possibility are corralled into small boxes that I find disappointing and frankly debilitating.
In Sekiro, though, I find myself experiencing a unique story. A coworker is playing roughly the same number of hours as me a week and each of us has totally different stories to tell the other. It means that every day we get to unravel our personal onions and show the other the various grooves and folds that comprise them.
It’s a beautiful thing and something I genuinely miss from gaming as a whole. I know it is taboo to say but I’m not really a fan of From Software in the grander scheme of things. I do think Sekiro is the best thing they’ve ever made. It is the first game from them that, currently, I can unabashedly recommend to anyone.