Sekiro beaten, some pre-review thoughts.

I’ve officially beaten Sekiro. I’m still thinking that I will go for the platinum (or on Xbox, simply the 100%). Looking back on the game I think that my feelings from the start have held firm.

The vast majority of the fights in the game are fairly entertaining. I would argue that the level of frustration I had on almost any of these bosses pales in comparison to some of the designs in prior From titles. I’ve stated before that I’m not a huge fan of their work, I think that From’s world design and storytelling is top notch and ultimately what drives me forward.

Often the game play is something I accept and work through rather than enjoy. That is not true with Sekiro, I find the game itself to also be fairly fun to play. Jumping around, stealthing about, and just generally being a ninja. All of these things are highly entertaining and I genuinely find myself thinking about them whenever I’m not playing.

The variety of special abilities you have in this game, alongside the combat skills, ends up creating a variety that I think is more obvious than it is in their other titles. Sure there are dozens of different swords, spears, and other gadgets in Dark Souls but I find myself ignoring most of them. The differences they provide are not positive. In the end there are very few that are worth your time or energy.

I’m not saying Dark Souls games are objectively bad. I played and enjoyed 3. I’m not even saying their other works are bad. I also enjoyed Bloodborne. But I think this is the first time where it really feels like everything comes together.

No longer am I hitting roadblock after roadblock of “This isn’t as much hard as it is tedious.” Leveling is smooth, skill ups are plentiful, and item drops are robust. Everything is quick and snappy much like one of my favorite entries in this style of games: Nioh.

I say it now, and likely will say it many times in the future. I feel like Sekiro is what happens when From plays a good game in their style. I feel like their team sat down and grinded out Nioh and thought to themselves “I want to make this.”

Is that true? Probably not. Is that fair? Also probably not. But a lot of the love I have for this game comes from it being so similar to a game I also love.

I would argue that the only two fights that were, perhaps only momentarily, very frustrating are the final boss fight and what I would consider a “secret” boss fight. Whether or not that is how it is intended, that is how it felt.

Both of these fights edged on the side of “too long”. Reminding me of what annoys me about From’s style of game design. I’m not interested in fighting a boss for what feels like forever. Two phases is perfect, three phases is about as far as you should ever take things.

The moment we edge into four phases I feel like things are a bit long in the teeth. But it is over now and I imagine the next time I do that fight it’ll be faster.

The problems I have with this game are mostly inconsequential and do not take away from the experience on the whole. At no point did I hit an area that felt toxic and I think that is a great step forward for From.

I am interested in their work going forward and do genuinely think this is the high point in their catalog.

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