Death comes quickly in the brutal world of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The Dark Souls creator has built a combat system far more decisive and punishing than its previous games. It doesn’t matter who you are in this dark fantasy imagining of Sengoku Japan, it only takes a few strikes with a samurai sword to end you.
In Sekiro, posture matters almost as much as your health bar. Repeated strikes grow a yellow bar at the top of the screen. Once the bar fills up the enemy is open, and you can destroy them instantly with a Deathblow finisher.
Enemies won’t let this happen easily. Bandits, monks, soldiers, and members of the cruel Ashina clan attack with ferocity equal to your own. You must use your shinobi’s mobility to deftly dodge and jump away from attacks, or time your blocks perfectly to parry enemies and damage their posture.
Luckily you have some advantages over your foes. You can adapt your mechanical arm with new shinobi tech to launch shurikens at lunging opponents, or launch a flaming sword strike at beasts who fear fire. Your arm changes and adapts as you progress through the world and discover new gadgets.
Your shinobi can also cheat death. Every enemy you defeat charges your resurrection ability. When the death screen appears you have the option to press a button and spring back to life in a burst of energy. If the enemy has started walking away from your corpse, you can decisively end the fight in a strike or two. This is even more useful against bosses, who can take multiple deathblows before finally going down. It won’t be easy, though. You’ll need every tool in your arsenal to earn your revenge.