Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Award shows are an interesting thing. At some point, it becomes impossible to compare games like Resident Evil 2 Remake to The Outer Worlds but I think trying to make an objective decision there misses the point. Award shows are about bringing an industry together to celebrate achievements in the medium. We all love video games, why not take a night to talk about some amazing games and look forward to what we have coming up next year? Every game nominated for a Game Award is incredible and worth discussing but today, let’s celebrate the winner. Today’s game is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Developed by FromSoftware and released on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 in 2019.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an action-stealth game taking place in a fictionalized 16th-century Japan. Players play as a shinobi named Wolf who is working as a bodyguard for a boy, Kuro, known as the Divine Heir. After failing to protect Kuro from being kidnapped by a clan desperate for Kuro’s power, Wolf sets out to rescue the boy.

Developed by the creator of the Souls series and Bloodborne, Hidetaka Miyazaki, it’s hard to not compare Sekiro to its predecessors. While it does have many similarities, such as its high level of difficulty, it differs from the Souls games well in a few key ways. Unlike the Souls games, Sekiro tries to distance itself from the RPG genre, instead opting for a more action approach with an emphasis on stealth gameplay. Combat focuses on trying to get enemies to drop their defenses so that the player can kill the enemy in a single strike. Sekiro doesn’t use stat level-ups although it does still allow the player to customize gear and place points into a skill tree.

The development team has stated that the Tenchu series of stealth games was a major inspiration for Sekiro and when development started, they even considered making a Tenchu sequel. They opted for their own IP instead though for the creative freedom that would allow them. Still, gadgets such as a grappling claw allow for quick, silent movement throughout Sekiro’s world and stealth kills are an important part of the gameplay, harkening back to this early influence.

Sekiro received high critical and fan praise upon release. While it was clearly a FromSoftware game, it never felt like merely a Souls game in Japan. The combat system, quick movement and action gameplay all felt distinct. The difficulty was criticized by many but in 2019, high difficulty has long since become a trademark of FromSoftware’s design so most have come to expect it. Sekiro would go on to win Game of the Year from The Game Awards in 2019.

Thank you so much for listening! I’m going to be on Gaming Observer Radio with Adrian Simple talking about The Game Awards 2019 so if you would like to hear my thoughts on the show and what we have to look forward to in 2020, look up The Gaming Observer in your favorite podcast app or on Youtube. I’ll post links on my Twitter @vg_oftheday. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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