SEKIRO: SHADOWS DIE TWICE 💀


#1024

A best friend/housemate has MD to a degree he can handle DMCV in Hard/Son of Sparda, but watching me with with Sekiro he though it looked good, and asked for my thoughts so I’ve been like: you should try this if you want, but it baseline requires some handling you might find difficult to meet.

Given the right time and adapting controls I don’t doubt he could, guess that’s all I have to contribute atm


#1025

real talk, i would personally love to sit down on a couch with some of y’all and watch / compare playstyles to see exactly where the differences are coming in that make it impossible to clear those first few bosses or wherever the 2-hit difficulty walls are. from just online discussions it is hard for me to understand what’s going wrong there.


#1026

@vikram Well, for example that waypoint podcast linked earlier makes the argument that modern difficulty mechanisms in games are about making you feel like you’re overcoming challenges rather than actually making you overcome challenges, and that if it provides the same feeling as a result, then it’s a positive thing to go with the more inclusive version. Of course where I along with other difficulty defenders disagree is whether those two feelings are the same.


@u_u The two notions can intersect. I remember an example from The Witness that Jon Blow discussed, which was the sound puzzles, basically whether or not they should have subtitles describing the sounds to allow for people with hearing problems to solve them. Conceptually the problem was that it gave away at least two things, that those particular puzzles were about sounds in the first place and what sounds and attributes of sounds should be paid attention to (and it seems like you’d guess that from where they are in game but there’s a couple hi-tier sound puzzles that are deliberately placed in contexts where their relation to sound is not obvious and meant to be inferred from the fact they use the sound puzzle grammar), and putting a spoiler warning on the subtitle settings would have the same problem.

It essentially came down to a choice between accessibility and the mystery of the puzzle. Eventually he went with the puzzle (although you can complete the game without the sound puzzles you can’t 100% it) but it really depends on your target.


#1027

people are different. I don’t think it’s a mystery to be solved unless you’re a game designer yourself who is actively trying to carry off this balancing act. For my part I’m actually grateful to see souls fans bouncing off of this to the extent they are because I think that indirectly goes some way to disproving the myth that the souls games are all super duper impenetrably peak difficult.


#1028

You asked why there was less noise for an easier setting in earlier From titles - I made a couple of suggestions


#1029

I think it’s worth keeping in mind the fallability of the people who made the game. From’s great strength has always been their insularity but it’s exactly the sort of thing that would blind them to the consequences of removing their existing difficulty modifiers (summonable aid and rpg levels). And shipping a game too difficult is one of the easiest and most common mistakes; everyone developing the game has had years of practice, knows the intended play pattern, and is just not a trustable source (yes I have made this mistake before).

Japanese developers also tend to not have a strong culture of playtesting. In the last week I’ve heard stories of both Team Ninja and Platinum being shocked when first watching user testing run by Microsoft, and realizing how hard their games were.

“And Itagaki removed his sunglasses and said, I didn’t want people to not be able to play the game,” the story went.


Interestingly, exposure to user testing and the Microsoft culture resulted in decidedly worse games for these developers, and I think in general games need an author willing to set the bar for people to meet them at. But that’s because we lack the skill to make an appropriately testing experience for a range of audiences and can only focus by limiting the vision, not due to a desire to cut out the audience.


#1030

yeah people are different. that’s the point. i want to see for myself how the experiences differ so as to better understand where they are coming from. in a more personal setting which would remove the element of vague hostility from both sides, hopefully


#1031

idk I think this is a pretty low bar for taking others’ reported experiences at face value


#1032

That’s a good point, but in that particular case it seems like complete* audio description captions would have made that information available without giving anything away. It’s understandable that this wasn’t possible for time or budget reasons though

*For the whole game, not just for scenes where sounds are clues.


#1033

The problem with that was probably more that some specific sound attributes were essential, so it becomes really impractical to describe every sound in the game at the same level that’s needed to obfuscate the descriptions needed for the puzzles, like this keypad goes la-re-do or those frogs croak in a waltz rhythm. It’d make for the weirdest set of captions ever, and even then through this very nature it’s either cluing you in that there may be important sound patterns or compelling you to find the option to disable the super weird obsessive-compulsive sound captions, which will be a problem for the puzzles.

It’s also, ultimately, defeated by the highest difficulty sound puzzle which is, in a way, undescribable (or rather, describing that specific soundscape with words would immediately point out what’s special about it in relation to the other soundscapes and give the trick away, while, if just listening to it, it might go over your head unnoticed like a gliding ninja approaching terminal velocity).


#1034

The witness is specifically impossible for people who cannot differentiate pitch and for people with color blindness. Thats a place where talking about accessibility makes sense.

Sekiro is an action game I can clear near perfectly despite hand tremours and a tendency to RSIs. I find it extremely disingenuous to conflate “sekiro is a challenging game” with “sekiro is gatekeeping people with disabilities”


#1035

Impossible to 100%, specifically. You can still get all endings, you just can’t finish 100% of the puzzles.

Also, I completed the Witness 100% without help despite being certifiably colorblind, so all in all my colorblindness may not be the colorblindness that’s problematic in that game, just like your specific disability might not be the obstacle others would be and talking about accessibility in Sekiro might still make sense.

But there’s things to say on the difficulty side, too. The Witness specifically is impossible to 100% for people who just use walkthroughs, because there’s two parts where you have to solve procedural puzzles instead of predefined ones, and on a timer so if you’ve just looked up puzzle solutions until that point you just don’t have the mental tools for that section, you’ll suddenly have to do all the work on internalizing the rules that other players did by playing through the whole remainder of the game, which will feel like smashing into a wall. In that aspect there’s a definite parallel to the way Sekiro expects you to learn its intricacies through encounters. Not to mention the whole thing where the feeling of solving the puzzle is the reward itself, just like how fromsoft games create some of their specific feel through overcoming challenges.

I’m not saying it’s doing it right, mind you, however in a discussing about what compromises games should make, it’s a definite example of a game that almost doesn’t make any so it’s interesting to bring up.


#1036

I really don’t think there should be “modes” in games generally, short of something like Streets of Rage 2, where each difficulty is an entirely hand-crafted experience. In Sekiro, a game where there are so many nuances that are important to understand and master, a training mode that is woefully inadequate for actual training is of very little help. I would have much rather taken a text document that fully explains how the mechanics work over the hand-holding you receive. The combat in this game is full of nuances and you are put in a space where you have to learn all of them in real-time because the game refuses to make any of them explicit beforehand. With as much precision and knowledge as is expected, the half-explanations are neither sufficient nor acceptable. If From wants a trial by fire, no explanation should be provided at all. If they want us to know how things work, then provide us with the depth we are expected to demonstrate.

It’s honestly the indecision that’s frustrating.


#1037

i just want to add that i don’t think accessibility is a thing limited to people with disabilities. i use accessibility options across all kinds of electronic devices that i use.

i’m not disabled. i’m not trying to use disabled people as a excuse that this game should be easier. but yeah, i guess i wish the game gave me a few more tools to work through these early bosses.

i guess ultimately i’m just impatient, if i kept going maybe i’d beat these guys eventually. but the amount of time i’ve put into this game is not trivial. i feel like i’ve exhausted all my tools for improvement. i guess i really do just have to git gud, and i’m not willing to keep bashing my head against that wall, so i guess it is my fault.

it just… really sucks to not enjoy something you really tried hard to enjoy, that you want to enjoy? it sucks feeling left out and wanting to discuss the actual game and not how hard it is. i’m sad. that’s all. i’m really sad.


#1038

Tulpa and Chevluh I feel you are butting heads with the same point. Tulpa clearly click with Sekiro in a way that most of us didn’t/don’t. I would take the guess I am now halfway through.

It is clearly as good as every other From software with really interesting level design, mysterious characters, etc. It is those sort of pedigree that I really can only compare it to the Souslborne games. Eventually with BB I thought there was enough weapon variety. Which as everyone has said already where Sekiro differs.

I am more comfortable with the combat now but it doesn’t spark Tokimeku in me. I keep comparing it in my brain to MGRising. Which boi I love the counter combat in that.

I will say the strength of the game is there is a lot of different ways to win. Based off how I play, boss strategies I’ve watched, and then speedrunNOHITPERFECT all have different styles.

So hmm.

The thing I want more than anything from the game is a big thick manual with explaniations and vague hints and character bios and a mis-scaled worldmap of this crazy world. It is maybe entirely because of the way I am playing it, but I really want that sort of grounding to keep me straight.

Then I remember Demon’s Souls came with exactly that and it was great.


#1039

I thought I had stalled out as early as one very mean bull and a lady that likes to stand on wires, with my still recovering-very-slowly-from-surgery hands screaming me after a half-dozen passes at each, any given session. Then I stopped trying to read the first at all and just never let go of the circle button and precisely timing my parries or dodge spacing for the gigantic arcs of its attacks didn’t mean much anymore? I just ran in big stupid circles! I didn’t touch a mechanic! It worked.

Then the game opened up and it’s much more pleasant with all the bunny-trails to follow and run away from if a given boss or area is too much. Having that one choke-point is a pretty weird decision?


#1040

it feels like they thought that fight was pretty trivial when really it’s not at all until you stumble onto that hold circle technique


#1041

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but for me that fight was instead the one I won by not running and standing super close instead, because the boss doesn’t run when you’re up close and is significantly less dangerous when not running and also terrible at dealing with an enemy attacking from behind (general horse was much better at it, which may be why people don’t think of trying it here). It makes me very happy that a number of different approaches can usually be found on any given boss.


#1042

it feels like they wanted that fight to be an object lesson in Always Be Sprinting as a technique


#1043

There is a mis-scaled worldmap, press triangle on the fasttravel screen