Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of, if not the best game of 2019 so far. The game brings back the proven and well-established Soulsborne gameplay mechanics from other From Software games. However, these mechanics come with a twist as the game has a Japanese setting. The intricacy of the combat and the strategy in Sekiro is unrivaled. In addition to that, the game just feels very robust and responsive to an extraordinary degree. Many have claimed Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to be the gold standard in video game combat and expect others to learn a lot from it. While a lot of people may disagree with this accolade, the game’s impressive sales figure and community feedback only strengthens its case.
Sekiro has been out for exactly one month and has managed to become one of the best-selling games of this year already shipping millions of copies in the process. Even people who usually do not like games like Dark Souls are hooked on it and have absolutely no complaints with it. One of the biggest gripes a lot of people had with other Soulsborne games is that they just didn’t feel very responsive. However, Sekiro fixes that by bringing fast and technical combat combined with patient and well-thought strategic approaches. In spite of all this praise, the game is still far from perfect. From Software aren’t fooling around though, as they continue to dish out consistent balancing and bug fixing updates to the much revered game. The latest update in the cycle, patch v1.03, comes out today and brings much-needed changes to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
The patch notes for update v1.03 have been divided into two main categories; Changes to Strategic Approaches and Other Fixes. Most of the bigger changes are covered in the first one but the latter does contain some good news for players who might be stuck at some stages or have performance issues.
Spirit Emblem Costs
The most popular change is probably going to be the reduction in the cost of Spirit Emblems for a lot skills and items. It seems like From Software have finally started to listen to the community as the change has been requested by pretty much everyone. According to a lot of players, even having spirit emblems in the game as a currency has become redundant. The thing is that spirit emblems are just so cheap and easy to come by that there is no point to having them in the game. It just adds that little bit of grinding element to the game that takes you away from the fun core gameplay of the game. Maybe spirit emblems should be transferred from the limited resource category and become like your healing gourd, regenerating every time you rest at an idol.
The change has also been welcomed by the community because by the time you’re about to finish the game, most skills and prosthetics cost way too much for players to try new stuff. A lot of people just ended up sticking with buying stuff for their old prosthetics instead. This restricted the gameplay variety for a vast majority of players and thus, dampening the playability of the game. The patch notes do not specify by how much the spirit emblem costs have been reduced so we just have to wait and see. While in no way perfect, the reduction in spirit emblem costs is still a step in the right direction. However, we all would like them to not be a limited resource that you have to grind for over and over again as it adds little value to the actual gameplay.
A change many newer players would appreciate is the reduction in the Blazing Bull’s vitality and the change in its posture. According to From Software, this change has been done to “improve game pacing and balance time in combat”. While it is true that you could use firecrackers against the Blazing Bull, it just took too long to be fun so the change is a welcomed one. Other than that, the mortal blade has been improved now from its damage-less toothpick state and can finally live up to its reputation a bit more rather than being stuck as a back ornament. The game also got some other bug fixes to improve general performance issues.
What didn’t get fixed?
A lot of players are still having issues with controllers for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. While most of them are just button prompt related as the game doesn’t have DualShock prompts for the PC version and instead shows Xbox controls, a lot of people have been having connectivity issues as well. These changes need to be fixed as soon as possible as the game is designed to be played with a controller. Other than that, a lot of people have also been asking for an improvement in the speed of some combat arts. Using some of the combat arts on anything other than basic enemies is pretty much useless as they feel too sluggish so you just end up taking the hit. Also no, the game isn’t adding an easy mode if that was what you wanted for some reason.
While it is still far from perfect, Sekiro nevertheless manages to continue being one of the best games out right now in terms of gameplay and combat mechanics. The latest patch has brought some much-needed tweaks to Sekiro that will surely improve the gameplay experience for both older and newer players alike. If you wish to learn about the details of all the changes coming in version 1.03, full patch notes are posted below. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is now out on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One.
Patch Notes V1.03
Improvements to Strategic Approaches
- Adjusted the efficiency and Spirit Emblem cost of the following to encourage usage and diversity of approach:
- Prosthetic Tools: “Lazulite Sacred Flame,” “Loaded Axe” series, “Sparking Axe,” “Lazulite Axe”
- Combat Arts: “Ashina Cross,” “Dragon Flash,” “One Mind,” “Floating Passage,” “Spiral Cloud Passage,” “Mortal Draw,” “Empowered Mortal Draw”
- Items: “Spiritfall” series
- Reduced the Posture damage dealt by the first hit of the Combat Arts “Senpou Leaping Kicks” and “High Monk” as it was causing more damage than intended in certain cases. Posture damage dealt in the latter-half of the combo has been increased.
- Increased the Poison build-up dealt by the Prosthetic Tool “Sabimaru” against enemies that were intended to be weak against it.
- Increased the drop rate of “Divine Confetti” for Fencers in Ashina Castle.
- Adjusted loading screen tips and tutorial text, as well as adding new text.
- Slightly reduced Posture and Vitality of Blazing Bull in order to improve game pacing and balance time in combat.
- Lowered the price of information sold by Anayama the Peddler.
- The Chained Ogre inside Ashina Castle is now Red Eyed.
- Fixed a bug where “Gokan’s Sugar” and “Gokan’s Spiritfall” were not mitigating player Posture damage taken while guarding or deflecting enemy attacks.
- Fixed a bug where system crashes could cause save data to become corrupted on PC.
- Fixed a bug where certain enemies would sometimes stop attacking the player.
- Fixed a bug where certain actions could not be performed after reconfiguring the controls.
- Fixed certain bugs that were allowing the player to access unexpected areas, which could result in becoming unable to obtain items or make further progress.
- Fixed cases of certain text being displayed incorrectly.
- Improved stability.
- Improved performance.
- Other various bug fixes.