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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Analysis

One of the best things about From Software Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is at once familiar and yet unique. The flash hits twice here four years ago, the same developer achieved a similar achievement with Bloodborne, takes the skeleton from the Dark Souls series and combines a gloomy gothic environment with a revised combat system. Sekiro is taking a leap as well – and from what I have seen, it deserves to celebrate on its own terms. The developer drops into a rich mythological mythology far closer to home here. A wonderful Japanese-inspired world is sculpted from the beginning – by shinobi, burning temples and feuding clans – with great care and attention. As for the pure quality of the art direction, the results are, unlike what we have seen from the studio. Cutscenes are used to tell parts of their history, but who always steal the world design show. From the snowy paths lined with samurai, to a mountain temple that is broken, every place is distinct. Sure, from a technical point of view, it is obvious that the engine overlaps with Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne. Parts of the installation &#821 1; including the habits of PS4 Pro performance – are well known in Sekiro. The mechanics also have common ground: the Estus bottle, the Maiden in Black, and many other Souls series touchstones find an equivalent here. Yet, the developer from Software's push to the new territory still makes it convincing. It is a commitment to its…

One of the best things about From Software Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is at once familiar and yet unique. The flash hits twice here four years ago, the same developer achieved a similar achievement with Bloodborne, takes the skeleton from the Dark Souls series and combines a gloomy gothic environment with a revised combat system. Sekiro is taking a leap as well – and from what I have seen, it deserves to celebrate on its own terms. The developer drops into a rich mythological mythology far closer to home here. A wonderful Japanese-inspired world is sculpted from the beginning – by shinobi, burning temples and feuding clans – with great care and attention. As for the pure quality of the art direction, the results are, unlike what we have seen from the studio.

Cutscenes are used to tell parts of their history, but who always steal the world design show. From the snowy paths lined with samurai, to a mountain temple that is broken, every place is distinct. Sure, from a technical point of view, it is obvious that the engine overlaps with Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne. Parts of the installation &#821

1; including the habits of PS4 Pro performance – are well known in Sekiro. The mechanics also have common ground: the Estus bottle, the Maiden in Black, and many other Souls series touchstones find an equivalent here. Yet, the developer from Software’s push to the new territory still makes it convincing. It is a commitment to its world-building, which even with a similar technical backbone, Sekiro takes its own path.

From the two hours I played on PS4 Pro, I loved it, but souls veterans were expecting to jump right in to receive the many changes from have introduced. The biggest difference? In Sekiro, a single striking blow from a katana is a significant moment – a snapping strike strike that rewards a kind of cautious side steps and paries, where you have to work to find that opening. The environments are thinner than from other jobs as well. Each area’s verticality is recorded thanks to a jump button and a grip hook, while sneakiness is encouraged by crushing through tall grass – if you prefer to take that path.

Digital Foundry’s first look at Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, captured from PS4 Pro.

What does this mean technically? Well, it turns from the software’s engine to the task of making wider and more navigable environments. They extend in all directions – from the raising tree branches that flank a mountain side, to the rows of slatted seals, it is a playground waiting to be explored. The gripping hook also increases the movement. It forces the game to flow in world details long before time, much faster than any soul game. Lock on several points in a row, and you quickly release over string of trees and with barely any view of the pop-in. The options are there. The hardware is up to the task, and it combines to give incredible freedom.

Regardless, we’re on the familiar territory of the engine, which helps. The technical dignity, from the way in which each environment flows, to the physics game on clothing, or tumbling stacks of books or smashable urns – has a clear resemblance to previous from titles. Particularly ragdoll physics on enemies were interrupted shortly after landing a deadly blow, much like Bloodborne. Even the stylish entrance to your character, with a similar ascending animation, puts you in a similar main space. Many of the engine’s strengths carry straight over to Sekiro in this regard. Again, it’s just a comforting baseline to work from, and the actual innovation runs out of it.

Sekiro launches its own visual identity, with some excellent effects. A satisfactory explosion of alpha spews from enemies upon landing a final strike, a shortage punctured in close-up. The fire in the latter area Hirata Estate also uses sharp, high-resolution transparency effects on a large scale. While duplicated many times over, the alphabet blends convincingly with the scene thanks to flowering, light bouncing over characters and reflections on water. This is simple, this is one of the prominent events in the early hours of the game. For quieter moments, there is a crepuscular beam effect that flickers, subtly through the trees at night as well. All of these are known features of From Software’s engine. They are tools in the box, but are used in a new way to help realize Sekiro’s world.

Sekiro will be the first from the title we’ve seen since the improved consoles arrived – PS4 Pro Dark Souls 3-patch covered here never came to Xbox One X.

The Gothic view of Bloodborne axes for another aesthetic, and this time is chromatic aberration disabled. As a finishing effect, the distortion it attached to the edge of the cutting edge was intentionally – deliberately – and it still shares the perception. This time? Sekiro’s image is clean and clear. What you get from its mail pipeline is instead a pure focus on decent anti-aliasing, and quality blending. High quality sampling is used to mix frames, not just for camera movement but also individual objects. The result is artifact-free, on PS4 Pro at least. We’ll see how it dares to other consoles over time, but I see very little on dithering or banding on edges. It looks good – and helps to hide the variation in its frame rate. We played the game in a 1080p mode very similar to the Dark Souls 3’s PS4 Pro patch, where the action is unlocked, usually from 40fps to 60fps, with alpha-heavy scenes taking us down in the 30s.

Are you talking about image quality? Here it is curious. You are thinking of PS4 Pro and you assume that the 4K output is on the cards. We played Sekiro at a press event where only 1080p of catch was available, and then you look at a built-in 1920×1080 image in our assets here. To what extent From Software includes a higher resolution output remains to be seen, but the scope of the company’s work on the improved console comes mainly down to a Dark Souls 3 patch that unlocked the frame matrix, as Sekio’s presentation here. Our fingers are crossed for something more ambitious for the game’s launch, especially as this will be the first game from director Miyazaki and his team to start with Pro and X hardware in the wild.

Based on a couple of hours from the start of the game, we are quietly excited and optimistic about what is to come. From Software knows how to build a world, lore and characters from scratch and based on what I have played so far, the team managed everything again. There is more emphasis on more linear, conventional narrative this time around, but as a counterweight, the environments are more sprawling than ever before, making it more of a purely blood stealth action game – with new demands on its technology. If Bloodborne turned out of Software’s ambition at the beginning of this generation, Sekiro stands for a fantastic counterparty to book it. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice launches on PlayStation, Xbox and PC platforms on March 22.

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