Sekiro 01/20/21

I bought three games when I decided to boot up the dusty Xbox One in my closet: Red Dead Redemption II, Grand Theft Auto V, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

The first game I popped in was RDR2, because I’d heard great things from my friends. I got caught up in the story, but once we hit camp and the game became more open ended, I lost a bit of interest. It is a very slow game. I play it once a week, usually on Saturday, for about three hours or so. Then I became transfixed with GTA, playing it every night. I got lost in the cityscapes, I loved the pulp storyline (which I wrote about last week), and just generally had a great time playing it.

But Sekiro…oh Sekiro. I am full-on addicted to that one. It makes sense. The developer, From Software, are the same folks who put out Dark Souls, which I still play on my Switch from time to time. Because I never beat it, you see. Sekiro is alleged to be even harder than DS, and I can attest to that. It’s because it relies on a combat system that is not immediately intuitive. Over the past week or so I’ve probably died a hundred times…and I’ve only beaten two mini-bosses (I’ve watched the YouTube for Lady Butterfly, and it just seems insurmountable).

Why is this the game that really drew me in? I think I am attracted to the difficulty. At a certain point, I was breezing through GTA’s missions. Once I mastered the driving and shooting controls, there’s not much they can throw at you that you can’t easily dispatch. I only failed one mission more than twice.

In Sekiro…I have potentially a years’ worth grinding to beat this thing. It’s not a function of its world being big, and it’s not a function of a large, twisting storyline…it’s because the game clearly hates my guts. And I hate it right back.

But let me tell you…when you plunge your sword into an enemy’s head, after they’ve killed you thirty times, it is a feeling unlike any other in games (not that I have a ton of experience, but hey). You feel like you actually accomplished something. Tonight, for instance, I nearly got one of these General So-and-So bastards down to the veeerrrrryyy end of their hit points…then I slipped up. Got too excited. Went in for the kill. They were waiting. You can die with one or two well-placed hits. That happened to me.

I’ll get him tomorrow. I limit my runs to about an hour. After that, I have to get back to work.

This game rules so hard. I even have this as my background: