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How Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is Broken

Breaking Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

With the final sword slash struck, I can add Sekiro Shadow’s Die Twice to my catalog of From Software games beaten. Of the titles released by them, this one has been the most polarizing to talk about: between discussions on difficulty, to the very design and whether it’s as good as people were saying.

I’ve already written a lengthy piece discussing the overall nature of the game which people have disagreed with, but for this one, I want to talk explicitly about the combat engine, and why whether you love or hate Sekiro, the combat is objectively broken.

We are going to be spoiling the game from a design perspective in this piece; including boss discussions. This article is only meant for people who have finished the game with any of its endings.

Sekiro’s combat is the fastest-paced we’ve seen out of From Software to date. In terms of offense, you have a basic swing, thrust attack, special combat arts that you can only assign one at a time, and your prosthetic arm that can be loaded with up to three special weapons at a time. We’re not going to talk about stealth in this piece, as we’re focusing on combat only.

Every character in the game including the player has a posture bar that grows while they defend and degrades when they are not actively fighting. Posture goes up whenever someone blocks an attack.

The rate at reach posture goes down is dependent on the character’s health. From eyeballing it, posture degradation slows down at the 75% health mark and becomes almost nonexistent when the character has less than 50% health. When an enemy’s posture bar reaches max, they can be finished off regardless of their health total via a “deathblow.” If the player’s posture reaches max, they will become stunned for a few seconds. The player is free to use prosthetic tools in combat, along with a chosen combat art for additional utility.

The first step in understanding Sekiro’s combat is how the game wants you to handle fighting bosses.

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