With From Software’s newest title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, mere days away from release, we here at n3rdabl3 have begun brushing the dust off in preparation for the new title.
For those unaware, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will supposedly be From’s hardest action RPG to date. Add to that the strict focus on a single player experience, it seems fans of the genre will need to literally “git gud” if they hope to survive From latest Souls-esque experience. In preparing for inevitably dying, a lot, we have dug up some older titles that we feel will best prepare you for this journey, maximizing enjoyment and minimizing frustration. Thankfully there is no shortage of Souls-lite titles to choose from, but these specific few will probably set you up best for success.
It is also important to note the significant differences in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. While this list will give you some hard action RPGs to work through, their elements and gameplay will differ from what the game has in store for us. Out of these changes, the more notable ones to point out are the lack of corpse running (needing to retrieve souls upon death) and how leveling up Sekiro will be more unique compared to From Software’s other Soulsbourne titles. Leveling up in Sekiro will require you to put points into abilities rather than things like Strength, Dexterity, Arcane, etc. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive in!
Yes, I’m aware this is a 2D Metroidvania. However, Hollow Knight implements some Souls-like aspects that will certainly help you get a better idea of the difficulty you’ll be facing in just a few short days. While Hollow Knight’s souls retrieval isn’t really something the touch on, the difficulty and how you go about fighting its bosses is.
Hollow Knight has some truly grueling boss encounters. It is important to understand with these games that you’re going to die, and probably more often than you’d like. While this might seem frustrating, you should treat each failure as a learning moment. What did you do wrong in that encounter? How should you better equip yourself to take down this specific boss? Finding openings during their attacks and exploiting those gaps is crucial to moving forward, and from what we’ve seen so far in Sekiro, you can treat those bosses in a similar fashion.
If you want to talk about difficulty, Nioh is no joke. Nioh takes the Souls-like experience and cranks it up a couple of notches. The world is unforgiving. Enemies overwhelm you constantly, and most of the harder ones tend to have way too much HP to even feel remotely fair. That being said, its emphasis on faster, more fluid combat makes it a perfect title to dive into before jumping into Sekiro.
With Nioh, precise timing is crucial for landing devastating damage. On top of that, it’s combat mechanic of choosing which stance (high, mid, low) to take into every encounter is most relate-able to Sekiro‘s tools elements. In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, you have a plethora of attachments for your prosthetic arm. From a shield-like fan, to an unforgiving axe, knowing which one to use when will surely be important going into any fight. Nioh is no different. Some enemies are weak to certain stances, and knowing how to exploit these weaknesses is key to surviving any encounter.
Not to mention, Nioh 2 will be releasing soon, so you might as well get this one under your belt regardless.
No other From Software title will probably better prepare you for what you can expect from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Again, some mechanics and gameplay elements have been altered to deliver a refreshing new experience, but that doesn’t mean replaying this title will hurt.
Bloodborne is an unforgiving game set in a beautiful, unforgiving universe. It thrives off fast-paced combat and requires you to riposte your enemies rather than hiding behind a shield. It puts a strong emphasis on well-timed shots from your pistol in order to stop your enemies in their tracks and deliver huge amounts of damage in return. It’s dodging is a crucial mechanic as well, especially since there are no shields to absorb a hit. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has a similar parrying mechanic that requires precision timing in order to deflect incoming attacks to tilt the odds in your favor.
Riposting enemies will surely be a critical part of Sekiro’s gameplay, and Bloodborne is the best example of trying to understand these mechanics before release. Dodging looks to be an important aspect of gameplay as well, and no other From title has used this like Bloodborne and Sekiro seem to do.
Another (hopeful) concept to consider is the world building. Sekiro’s singular focus on a solo experience means we could see a return to form from… From Software. To their credit, their world building has always been fantastic. However, Bloodborne has the strongest realized world out of all the From Software games so far, because of its more narrowed vision. Dark Souls takes you across sprawling cities and areas and end up being much larger in scale, meaning the worlds can sometimes feel stretched a bit too thin. Bloodborne’s strong world building is a testament to From Software’s ability to deliver full, immersive areas littered with environmental storytelling. On top of that, the actual areas all weave together in some way and what might seem like an extension of the world ends up being in the back yard of another area. This level design is crucial to Bloodborne’s success and we can only hope to see a similar design implemented in Sekiro.
While there are certainly other souls-like titles to recommend, playing any of these will best prepare you for what Sekiro might throw at you (in our opinion). Do you feel like there is a title we missed that we should give credit to? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check back with us for our review of Sekiro along with and tips and tricks we find along the way!