Each new generation of video game consoles leaves their predecessors in the dust. The Nintendo Entertainment System eclipsed the ColecoVision and Atari 2600. Sega Genesis leapfrogged Nintendo just to have the N64 rocket past both of them. This cycle stayed consistent for decades. But something changed in the mid-2000s, with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360’s debuts. Video game consoles’ processing power became so advanced that the graphical improvements were less noticeable. Unlike the technological advancements between Nintendo and Super Nintendo, when graphics improved in leaps in bounds, gaming’s major improvements took place under the hood. The games loaded faster, took place in bigger maps, and featured smarter artificial intelligence, but looked only marginally better.
Today we take mind-blowing graphics for granted. We play visually dazzling games on a daily basis – I’m talking about games that would have melted our eye-balls had we played them 15-years ago. Impressing gamers means more than pushing a console’ hardware to the limit or featuring Pixar-quality cutscenes. To impress gamers in 2019, games need to push creative limits and maximize the designer’s artistic ambition. To win gamer’s hearts – and eyeballs – games must possess a style and flair that makes them distinct from the competition, and take place in a world we want to get lost in. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, is that game.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a visual stunner: Developed by FromSoftware and published by Activision, the game follows a shinobi named Sekiro during Japan’s Sengoku period. Sekiro hacks, slashes, and stabs his way through armies of blood-thirsty bad guys to rescue his captured lord. I’m all in on the plot and the gameplay, which borrows heavily from FromSoftware’s Dark Souls games. And thank the gaming gods, because no matter how good a game looks, no one wants to play a broken game. But Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s visuals would make me consider it.
I’m a sucker for Japanese period films, especially from Akira Kurosawa. And Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is heavily influenced by both – with some grindhouse samurai movies thrown in. The game features an incredibly detailed world with eye-popping visual flourishes, highlighted by pitch-perfect cinematography. It’s not that this game looks good that sets it apart, it’s how it shows itself off.
Seeing Sekiro draped in shadows and standing on a rooftop before a giant full moon creates a badass Batman-type vibe. And watching Sekiro splatter opponents blood in fields of tall grass and clash swords beneath cherry blossom trees gave me chills. I haven’t been this excited to get lost in a video game’s world since Horizon Zero Dawn. To prove their game combines substance with its unassailable style, you can check out Sekiro’s five-minute gameplay video below.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice gameplay trailer:
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice synopsis:
In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice you are the “one-armed wolf”, a disgraced and disfigured warrior rescued from the brink of death. Bound to protect a young lord who is the descendant of an ancient bloodline, you become the target of many vicious enemies, including the dangerous Ashina clan. When the young lord is captured, nothing will stop you on a perilous quest to regain your honour, not even death itself.