An insanely difficult new game from the creators of ‘Dark Souls’ has some players demanding an easy mode, but hardcore fans think it would ruin the creator’s vision
- “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is a very hard video game; for many, it’ll be the hardest game they’ve ever played.
- The steep difficulty curve has some players demanding an easy mode to make the game more accessible for less skilled players, and for gamers with disabilities.
- Hardcore fans of FromSoftware, the company that made “Sekiro” and “Dark Souls,” believe that overcoming the difficulty is an essential part of the experience.
“Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is a very difficult video game.
For players with no prior experience with games made by developer FromSoftware, “Sekiro” could very well be the hardest game they’ve ever played in their life.
Released on March 22nd, the critically acclaimed “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” continues FromSoftware’s penchant for insanely tough games — but some players feel the experience alienates players who might be less skilled or physically disabled.
Veterans of FromSoftware titles like “Dark Souls” and “Bloodborne” have come to embrace the unforgiving difficulty as a core part of From’s games; the remastered release of “Dark Souls” was aptly named the “Prepare to Die Edition.”
Every enemy in “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is a lethal threat.
“Sekiro” follows a one-armed ninja, the Wolf, who must duel and overcome dozens of deadly opponents, some of whom are human, and others who are…not.
While Wolf can dispose of his enemies with a single well-aimed strike, every opponent players face in “Sekiro” has the potential to be deadly. Powerful bosses can kill the Wolf with one or two blows, which sends players back to their last checkpoint and takes away some of their leveling progress as a penalty.
Man I got stuck at this mini boss well over an hour, but my lovely chat kept giving me tips and I made it through 😭❤️ #Sekiro pic.twitter.com/U44VJ6eGLZ
Dying in one or two hits to a computer controlled enemy is frustrating enough for most players — but whenever the Wolf revives at a checkpoint, “Sekiro” also revives every enemy the player has beaten thus far. For example, if a player kills five enemies before dying against a boss, they’ll need to mow down the same five enemies after reviving to earn their rematch.
Part of playing “Sekiro” is breaking through the difficulty curve.
To make things even tougher, the bosses in “Sekiro” don’t appear in a specific order. Instead, they wait in specific areas of the game until the player encounters them. That means players can accidentally stumble across enemies that are far too strong for them to beat, and some bosses can show up as a complete surprise.
Sekiro is just full of… surprises pic.twitter.com/GiQtnpw975
In a lot of ways, playing “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is a war of attrition. The game expects you to die a ton of times before you understand how to fight properly, and you’ll probably die dozens more times trying to figure out the right strategy to beat your very first boss. Success in “Sekiro” feels like the video game equivalent of digging your way through concrete with a spoon.
Beating “Sekiro” takes some serious skills, but should it be an exclusive club?
But there are players who feel that the steep difficulty curve is a barrier to enjoyment. For players who struggle to master the flow of combat or can’t execute “Sekiro’s” advanced moves on command, the game is frustrating, rather than rewarding. Even basic enemies at the start of the game can kill Wolf in just a few hits, and if the player can’t beat them in a fight, they simply can’t progress.
Game critics and accessibility advocates alike have criticized “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” for its lack of an easy mode, or any other kind of accomodation, for players who want to experience the game without the demanding combat requirement. Hardcore fans of FromSoftware games have argued that this would compromise the game’s vision, since it’s clearly designed to be hard to beat.
Should games like Sekiro have an ‘Easy’ mode? Yes. Don’t like it? Don’t use it. All games should have user-friendly options. All games should be accessible to all users – be it an ‘Easy’ mode, custom button-mapping, or other accessibility options. Everyone should be able to play.