What makes “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” different from “Dark Souls?”


Alivia Baker

Writer Kelly Quinn discusses the differences between the two popular video games, “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” and “Dark Souls.” These two games may both feature warriors and battles, but there are major differences between the two.

Kelly Quinn, Writer

For the past decade, developer FromSoftware has been making games in the same genre, “Soulsborne.” From “Demon’s Souls” all the way to “Elden Ring,” these games have all had many aspects in common. But the outlier amongst this group is certainly “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.” Released in 2019, “Sekiro” felt far more like an action game, while “FromSoftware’s” other games were more in the realm of RPGs (role-playing games). This leads to many questioning whether Sekiro should even be considered a “Soulsborne” game.

The most apparent difference in “Sekiro” is its combat. While all of the other games have a strong focus on dodging, “Sekiro” puts more emphasis on parrying and deflecting attacks. This is why combat works best in one on one situations, where it feels like two skilled swords-men in a duel to the death. 

Additionally, there is no stamina meter. In typical “Soulsborne” games, the player’s attacks use up stamina, but in “Sekiro,” there is no stamina bar to manage. Instead there is posture. Posture damage is received anytime an enemy makes contact with the player, through a direct hit or a deflection and when posture is broken the player will be vulnerable. This forces the player into getting better at parrying enemy attacks as even if the posture bar is full, a parry will prevent a posture break. 

Simultaneously, the player is also trying to break the enemies posture instead of just chipping away at their health bar. The enemy’s posture is broken through attacks and parries. Breaking the enemies posture allows for a death blow, although some bosses require their posture to be broken multiple times in order to kill them.

 However the differences go beyond the combat. The location is also unique from the rest of FromSoftware’s”games which often take place in a medieval setting, with “Bloodborne” being a slight exception. But “Sekiro” takes place in a war stricken Japan during the Sengoku period. Not only does this make a lot of the architecture and environment more distinct, but the whole game is far more colorful than “FromSoftware’s” other games.

This distinction also carries over to level design. “Sekiro” is a more linear game. The player won’t encounter any hidden areas and very few optional bosses like they would in the other games. The level design also puts more emphasis on verticality. This is mostly because of the ability to use a grapple hook and get to higher areas. This along with the player’s increased movement speed just makes “Sekiro” a far faster paced game. 

“Sekiro” has a lot of elements that make it unique. However even with these distinctions, it still fits best into the genre of “Soulsborne.” While it may not have the stamina based combat and focus on exploration, it still maintains that brutally difficult atmosphere that can only be felt in this genre. 

What do you think?