Sekiro is a ton of fun!

It’s been a while but I started playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and have really been enjoying it. I think there are a lot of reasons as to why I’ve enjoyed it so much so far… Hence, I’d like to talk about that today. So, I haven’t played a lot of Sekiro yet and I doubt that I’m anywhere near the end of it but I already got through my fair share of boss encounters! I’m currently 15 hours into the game and defeated the Horse Guy and Lady Butterfly already… I passed the Snake and did fight a fair few minor bosses… meanwhile I’m currently stuck at Mr Bowguy… and when I say “I’m stuck” I mean that I stopped playing since I’m frustrating and since I’m not good enough at this game.

Sekiro is a challenging souls-like Action-Adventure by From Software. In Sekiro, you follow a Shinobi known as the “Wolf” on his mission to take revenge on a clan of Samurai that attacked him and kidnapped his lord. After escaping death once, you’re given a second chance with a shinobi-tool arm-prosthetic that allows you to do new things… and all in all, it’s an interesting story that offers you a lot of challenge and lots of areas to explore. I personally really enjoyed it so far for a plethora of reasons:

Gyoubu Oniwa, a man on a horse wielding a naginata, is storming towards "the wolf" aka Sekiro's protagonist.
GYOUBU ONIWA! MY FAVOURITE BOSS SO FAR!

For starters, it’s very hard and frustrating but in a good way. Sekiro doesn’t feature stats or a stamina bar like in Dark Souls. Gear isn’t a thing and items don’t matter as much. It’s all about skill and mastery. Your enemy is your goal and to beat him is your mission. There are a bunch of attacks you can utilize from heavy and swift blows to special attacks you learn via the skill tree but overall, you mostly need to master the parry and the dodge skill in order to damage the enemy’s posture and bring them down in one fell swoop. As the wolf, you’re given a second chance after your first death, so don’t give up easily and fight on.

I personally found this very enjoyable. I never felt like an enemy was unfair. I never felt like the game was being unnecessarily hard on me. Instead, I’d rather have to learn patterns and tread carefully. Posture is important, something that is quite accurate in Iaido, the way of the sword. Alas, I enjoyed Sekiro’s combat and the way that From Software shaped the combat around “Samurai-culture”. From the design of all the characters and enemies to the stances and poses they take and even the sound design in the menu, the game feels rather polished and cohesive. There are instances of mythical creatures and ominous elements in the story that didn’t seem realistic, but Sekiro never claimed to follow a true story or anything like that. My point is that it combines real elements and values of Iaido and Iodo with mystical and magical elements and creatures and it… feels good. It works well. I, as a geek on that topic, can’t complain. I doubt anyone else really cares. The bamboo sounds in the menu, the stances that characters take in combat, and the different schools of sword fighting… Even if it’s only inspired by things that I loosely remember at this point and even if it’s not supposed to be “realistic”, it feels kind of authentic in a way, which is nice.

Anyways, I love Sekiro. And I’m currently stuck in this fight with General Bow-Guy (not his actual name). I get very close to the end but ultimately fail because I’m not good enough at the game yet. It’s not a matter of the fight being too hard… it’s a matter of me not being good enough and no matter how much I try, it never feels too bad really to fail because you have a chance! You immediately know what you’ve done wrong. That’s something that I love in this game.

Sekiro's protagonist aka the wolf is standing alone in a hall that is caving in and burning right now.

In Dark Souls 3, on the other hand, there are points where you can decide to grind to make the game easier for yourself… You need souls to advance your level and your stats. With stats, you’ll be able to dodge more as you have more stamina or to deal more damage due to your dexterity or strength going up. It’s nice and works well for an RPG but Sekiro is not that. Sekiro doesn’t need that. Instead of grinding for a certain weapon or for the next level up, you’re only relying on one thing and one thing alone: Your Skill.

Sekiro’s philosophy could be summarised using the words “If you suck, just get better”. It’s not about grinding the same area for ages but rather it’s about making the best out of the weapons that the game gives to you and mastering them. It’s about skill and mastery over grind and frustration. It’s about reflecting on your mistakes and instead of cursing the game… okay, you can add a bit of salt into the mix, too, which is understandable. Everyone gets frustrated at times, but what counts is that you have fun and for me, the fun comes with getting better and getting that super clutch kill all of a sudden after you lost your lives already in Phase 1 against Lady Butterfly and still managed to kill her not once but twice thanks to an incredible amount of luck and thanks to some form of transcendence that you’ll most likely never achieve again. Oh gosh, I hated that fight in so many ways!

Sekiro can be frustrating but it doesn’t have to be. If you die a lot, just don’t get hit. If you suck at the game, get better at it. If you don’t want to get killed, just kill the enemy before they have a chance to kill you. And I personally just love that about it. You can’t really avoid fighting. You’ll fight those bosses and you’ll murder them unless they’re optional. It’s fun. It’s hard. It’s rewarding.

General Bow-Guy asking Sekiro's protagonist how "grandfather" is.
There he is… General Bowguy!

Sekiro’s most frustrating moments made the victories, however small they were were, a lot sweeter, which is a nice thing that I enjoyed about it. I’m looking forward to getting gud again. I’m looking forward to beating General Bow-Guy in Sekiro.

Cheers.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

#LoveYourBacklog2021

It’s February which means that it’s #LoveYourBacklog Month… but I kind of procrastinated and alas, we’re already 75% done with the month and I haven’t written about it yet.

“Backlog” as in… the collection of games, books, and other things that you bought to try them out but never got to. The collection of games, in my case, is something that is ever-expanding (partially due to Humble Choice) but never shrinking. I’ve accumulated a huge collection of games over the past couple of years thanks to freebies I grabbed, sales that tempted me, and bundles/choices I took/made. It’s a bit of an iffy that I can’t get to all of them as fast as new additions make it into the log, but what should I do? Dread about it? Well,… no. 

Kim created a tag a while back and in 2021 it’s time for this tag to reappear. Love your backlog! Be proud of it! Yay! Positivity! 

I mentioned it in yesterday’s post already but thanks to the daily blogging and the increase in reviews, I was able to accomplish things that I haven’t gotten to. I got to play through a lot of titles and test out titles that I’ve been meaning to test out. I got to play demos of games and write about them. I was able to lay titles ad acta after reviewing them, celebrating that I finally got to play them to the point where I was able to decide whether or not I enjoyed them and whether or not I could recommend them. I’m celebrating the fact that I have so many opportunities for games to play. Bioshock? I’m two thirds through the trilogy! Assassin’s Creed? I’ve just started playing the second game and it’s a lot of fun!

Heck, I recently got gifted a game that I’m really enjoying and am looking forward to writing about it… once I’ve edited someone’s review on it (Yes, this is a teaser!). 

I’m enjoying my time with games when I have spare time after chores and studies. Starting tomorrow, I may finish some of the reviews on games I played through a while ago… and I really am looking forward to seeing what games are still waiting there, lurking in the deepest shadows of my backlog. 

Love Your Backlog. Don’t dread over it!

Do you wanna see my collection? You can find it over here! (not including GoG, Uplay, Origin, Epic Games, the Racial Inequality bundle, and other DRM-free copies as well as physical copies that I own).

Alas, I’m rocking this badge over here that shows the whopping 950 games that I still want to play through before I’ll die or lose my ability to do so. A lot of these games include titles that I want to review or that I have to review due to the review copies sent by developers. Some of them include titles I frankly got gifted or bought myself. I got gifted 300 random steam keys by friends for my 18th birthday and while there was a lot of trash in there made by people that just created the same game over and over again, gave it a different name, and sold it for two bucks on Steam… there also have been some gems in there like Tropico 3 and Tropico 4… which was amazing. Kim made this badge over here with 1000+ games but since the time that she made it, I already had been able to chunk it down to less than 1000… but I’ll take it still! 

Kim’s tag includes a few questions to answer, so I’ll get to those now.

  • What effect did 2020 have on your backlog?

Frankly, I had a bit more time to play games since I didn’t have to travel as much anymore. I didn’t visit my family as much (since my father’s in the risk group) and ended up spending a lot less time outside/with friends. Since the university was closed down and since classes happened online, I didn’t need to use the bus as much anymore and due to me buying groceries bi-weekly instead of every few days, I also had to spend less time walking around or taking public transport… So, naturally, I spent more time in games. The backlog didn’t increase a whole lot but I ended up chucking down at it and playing through a lot of titles, mostly on stream!

  • What’s the oldest game in your backlog in terms of release date?

Since there is no feature on Steam to sort your library after the release date (at least not to my information), I have to take wild guesses and google afterwards. My immediate thought was that Assassin’s Creed 1 and Bioshock 1 were quite old… but then I noticed that Fable Anniversary came out in 2004 and is, alas, a lot older than those two games. But that’s not the oldest game I own! Serious Sam: The First Encounter, my next prediction, is actually from 2001… and it’s a proud member of the backlog! I also own the first Fallout game, which is from 1997, so that’s already getting warmer and warmer as for the oldest game in my library. Now,… that’s still not the oldest game… but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find out which games are older… so I took a few guesses… 

And Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards might actually be the winner here with a release date of 1987! There are other titles that I had in mind earlier but I can’t think of their names and browsing through this endless list is taking up a lot of time, which is why I’ll leave it at that. 1987 is still quite old… So, it could quite potentially be the oldest game in my library.

  • Can you name a game that you bought on day one, only to not play it immediately?

The only two games that come to my mind here are Risk of Rain 2 and Monster Hunter World. I was really looking forward to both of these titles… but my laptop at the time couldn’t handle either of them, so I had to play them much much later… But then I had a ton of fun!

  • What’s the game that has spent the most time on your backlog?

The game that has spent the most time on my backlog is probably Enclave. I got it for free via Indiegala back then in 2014 but haven’t played it at all to this day. Enclave is a game from 2003 by Starbreeze that the PlayMagazine rated 90/100. The PlayMagazine also called it “illegally beautiful”, venturing as high as saying that “it ranks among PC’s best-looking games if you have the power to run it optimally”. Alas, I maybe should give it a go eventually? 🙂

  • What’s the most recent addition to your library?

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice! I bought it, I started playing it, I’m loving it. It’s a lot of fun! Can highly recommend it!

  • Can you name the person responsible for adding the most entries to your backlog due to their good recommendations?

I would say Total Biscuit. It’s a bummer that we lost Bain and I hope he gets to review games in the afterlife as well. Rest in Peace.


At last, Kim from LaterLevels says that the Backlog Appreciation doesn’t end in February as there is more to come in March… hold your socks… because I’ll participate in that #MaybeInMarch tag! The game I mentioned above, Enclave,… I’ll play it in March… maybe. And then I’ll write about it. Yay! 

If you want to read the post by Kim yourself, check out this link here. Feel free to leave your own answers to those questions up there in the comments, if you want to! Take care of yourself!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.