Although the announcement of an easy mode for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was a blatant April fools joke that succeeded in only triggering the most elitist From Software fanboys, you’d still be surprised as to how many people have genuinely claimed the title is too hard and unfair. While Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is undeniably a difficult game that demands players “git gud” by learning to concentrate and be patient, it shouldn’t be (or shouldn’t have been) made any easier as it’s already more accessible than both Bloodborne and Dark Souls.
Dark Souls and Bloodborne are notorious for being ridiculously cruel games that punish and antagonise cry-baby gamers with “You Died” screens. Although there comes a point in both properties where the few remaining players are rewarded for their endurance by becoming almost OP towards the end by swiftly defeating common but once difficult foes, there’s no denying that the experiences are mostly frustrating rather than pleasurable.
However, compared to Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a fast and constantly rewarding experience as it never feels unfair or too difficult. While Dark Souls and Bloodborne can incite rage in even the biggest saint thanks to there being vexing boss fights that require a dozen retries, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a stealth focused stroll that is easier to pick up and learn.
The biggest problem with the Soulsborne games is that most of the deaths feel undeserved thanks to there being a lot of cruel tricks, clunky controls, and issues in boss fights where players get stuck and absolutely wrecked. Yet none of this is apparent in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice as - unless you’re being a meathead by mindlessly rushing into combat - there’s always a strategy to avoid going into a total meltdown that results in controllers being smashed against the wall. Mini bosses can usually be stealth attacked so they lose their first layer of health, and the ability to timely deflect thrusts makes encounters with the likes of Genichiro Ashina an epic breeze compared to the one-sided trillion deaths in Bloodborne and Dark Souls.
In addition, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice kindly tells you when to jump or dodge out the way of an unblockable attack via a Spider-Sense mechanic, and there’s also the ability to be revived after dying once and occasionally twice. Unless you’re being purposefully blockheaded, it’s impossible to be stuck on one encounter for an excruciatingly long time as there’s always a simple tactic to learn. Lady Butterfly is vulnerable to quick slashes provided you keep dodging to the side and be quick with your thrusts, Genichiro Ashina is easy when he equips his lightning sword as all you need to do is press R1 before hitting the ground, and the four monkeys is a puzzle that can be unintentionally solved by just wandering about as an absent-minded fool.
Along with there being easy to learn movesets and the option to be revived during boss fights, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is also more accessible than both Dark Souls and Bloodborne as it has a simpler narrative that utilises more cut-scenes, as well as stars an actual protagonist with character. A narrative that isn’t dependent on the lore and environmental storytelling makes Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice more gripping for “casuals”, as well as makes the experience more compelling as your objective is always clear rather than vague. Unlike Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice never feels as if you’re simply waiting for the next difficult boss fight.
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