Look, I know what you’re thinking: "Hey, that’s a nice inflammatory title you’ve got there - it's really going to go down well with the Dark Souls crowd."
Well you know what? Thanks to Activision sending us down to London to play Sekiro for a closed doors session, I’ve had hours of time with Shadows Die Twice, and enough time to KNOW that there are simply some areas of the game that ARE more refined than those of its great grandfather.
So put down your Zweihanders and let’s fat-roll over to the land of the rising fun, as I’m not slagging off Dark Souls, I’m just saying improvements can and have been made. While this game "is not Dark Souls!" it maintains a development style and many clear similarities - all of which make comparisons apt.
Now, off we go.
8. Streamlining Combat
Sekiro punishes those who wait. While positioning has been an important part of other FromSoft titles, a lot of emphasis was on waiting for your chance to strike; a lot of "shields-up and turtle-poke"ing to get the enemy to react.
In Sekiro, it’s about making your own opportunities.
This is accomplished through the sheer amount of combat options at your disposal. If an enemy is guarding a lot in an effort to waste time until his mates show up, then break that guard with a charged attack or heavy swing from your axe. If a musketeer is taking pot shots, break from combat with the grappling hook and eliminate him from the mix using stealth.
Guarding and parrying are on the same button now, which makes it much more viable to deflect attacks even when your back's against the wall. The sometimes iffy parry window from previous games is gone, and it’s clear when you can and can’t negate a strike.
There’s no stamina meter either, meaning that you can break from combat quickly or continually dodge and jump out of sticky situations.
What does govern everything is "poise", represented by a bar that fills when you hit enemies and take hits yourself while blocking. If it fills and breaks then it’s either an insta-kill opportunity for you, or you’re going to be in for a world of hurt. It’s clearly displayed above enemies on-screen, meaning you always know how tantalisingly close you are to opening up enemies throats, without obstructing the flow of combat.