How Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s grappling hook arm changes Dark Souls-style combat

When Activision told me to swing by and see an unannounced game during E3, I didn’t really know what to think—but I definitely wasn’t expecting the next From Software game. I still think it’s an odd fit, Activision and a Souls-style game.

But I’m not complaining.

It’s called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and if you didn’t see the trailer during Microsoft’s press conference you can catch it below.

Give me a hand

Luckily we also got a chance to see the game running behind closed doors, though unfortunately we don’t have any game footage to show you today. This was strictly a hands-off demo, running us through about 15 to 20 minutes of Sekiro on the PC.

We also weren’t given names for any of the characters, which might make this write-up a bit awkward. The antagonist, for instance, was referred to only as “The Rival” the entire time. He has a name, From just isn’t sharing it yet. Same goes for the protagonist, as well as the “Young Lord” who you’re charged with guarding.

In any case, the game is set in the Sengoku period, towards the end of the 15th century. Your character serves the aforementioned Young Lord, who From was content only to say is a “very special person.” He’s being pursued by enemies as the game starts, when The Rival (I told you this might get awkward) cuts off the main character’s arm—presumably in a duel.

sekiro 03 embargo 6.11 3pm pt From Software

Miraculously your character doesn’t die, instead being fitted with the Shinobi Prosthetic where his left arm used to exist. This is the central conceit of Sekiro, a tool that factors into exploration and stealth and combat. The first feat we’re shown, and one you might’ve caught from the trailer: It can be used as a grappling hook.

This immediately differentiates Sekiro from Dark Souls and Bloodborne before it. No longer are you earthbound, funneled through corridors on your way to a goal. Now you can climb up on top of houses, or grapple over walls. And yes, there’s a dedicated jump button also.

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