Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
(Activision for PS4)
By Mike Delano
Kill your pride. It’s always the first rule of playing FromSoftware (creator of Dark Souls) games, and your pride may need to die even harder before attempting to come to grips with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It’s the first new From universe since 2015’s masterpiece Bloodborne — which came four years after 2011’s masterpiece Dark Souls — and considering Sekiro can stand tall beside those pillars of the modern action game, it seems the developer has found a winning cadence. But you have to be ready to submit to its will. As a fast and deadly ninja in Sengoku-era Japan, your mission is to rescue your kidnapped master. Along the way, you’ll battle all manner of samurai, hideous beasts and otherworldly entities. All the From hallmarks of excellence are here: challenging swordplay that feels familiar yet distinct from their previous games; wildly varied enemies and battle scenarios that keep you on your toes; and a gorgeous, ruined world to explore (carefully, and with a trusty grappling hook that makes these spaces feel more alive than ever). The combat is extremely demanding, but once you spend some time with it you realize it’s expertly crafted and fair, and the game gives you a ton of additional attack choices and items to help you succeed. So if you kill your pride and begin the satisfying journey toward mastering the game’s combat, you may find something else dies along with it — your desire to play anything else. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an incredible achievement and one of the best action games ever made.
(activision.com, Review code provided by Activision.)