From Software’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an intense experience and probably the year’s best game so far, but one of the lingering questions fans can’t stop asking is why doesn’t it have multiplayer like Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
Unlike Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a single-player only test of endurance in From Software’s fantastical re-imagining of Sengoku-Era Japan.
This means there aren’t any blood-scribed messages left behind by fellow gamers, and it also means that players don’t have the opportunity to team-up to topple extremely difficult bosses.
So, does the exclusion of Dark Souls’ and Bloodborne’s multiplayer hurt Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is easier than Dark Souls and Bloodborne
- The begging for a Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice easy mode is insulting
- God Of War director says The Last Of Us was an “awakening moment” for the industry
It makes sense that players can’t invade and team-up…
Speaking to Game Informer, From Software’s manager of marketing and communications, Yasuhiro Kitao, said the company isn’t committed to abandoning its multiplayer legacy and that Sekiro is simply its own thing. Kitao also mentioned that the exclusion of multiplayer allowed them “to hone in on the player experience, and really capitalize on the lack of restriction that comes with creating a multiplayer-based game, and let our imagination run wild in these places.”
The benefits of no multiplayer alluded to by Kitao included From Software not having “to take into consideration how players will operate with one another in these maps, or how they may exploit the playspace by cooperating”. As for gamers, the benefits include being able to legitimately pause and not being invaded and targeted by fellow players.
With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice having a proper protagonist and an overt narrative, it makes sense that gamers can’t invade and team-up with others. And I’m surprisingly okay with this. Yes, I would have welcomed a lot of help on the Guardian Ape boss fight (especially after being its b**ch and toilet more than twenty times), but toppling a Goliath by yourself is way more satisfying than sharing the credit with someone else. Plus, the exclusion of the feature rids players of the temptation to simply give up and let someone else do all the hard work for them.
It would have made the game more accessible for those complaining about it not having an easy mode, but the inability to team-up and invade makes sense and ultimately adds to the experience. It forces players to live, die and repeat until they eventually conquer and acquire that special feeling of satisfaction that no other Soulsborne clone has been able to replicate.
But I do miss the funny messages and puddles of blood
While I don’t mind the inability to invade or team-up with others, I do miss the messages and puddles of blood that showed how many players died. Seeing as these Soulsborne games require struggling warriors to relive through specific areas over and over again, the often amusing messages left by others added a lot of charm and comic relief. At times, they also provided a lot of help by warning players about the danger ahead. Yet, on the flip side, they also occasionally trolled gamers by goading them into a false sense of security. However, while this could be frustrating, it made the worlds of Dark Souls and Bloodborne more unpredictable and dangerous.
Although the feature’s exclusion again makes sense, the lack of player messages in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a big blow. No, it doesn’t break the experience or make it boring, but it does rob its stunning world of the character and charm that made Dark Souls and Bloodborne so unique, captivating, and special. The player messages and puddles of blood were the superficial features Soulsborne clones have never even attempted to copy, and its exclusion in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice sees From Software momentarily lose their most unique and iconic staples.