A first glance in detail at Sekiro technology Shadows The Twice
One of the best things about Sekiro: Shadows The Twice, the new feature of From Software, is that it feels familiar and different at the same time. This is the second opportunity in which the Japanese studio can achieve this, after Bloodborne took the skeleton of the Dark Souls saga and combined it with a deserted Gothic environment and a revised combat system. Sekiro is an equally ambitious leap, and from what I have seen so far, it deserves to be celebrated on its own. The developers continue to play with a myth that is much closer and is a beautiful world inspired by Japan, created from scratch, with shinobi, burning temples and feudal tribes, all with great caution and attention is represented. As far as the quality of art management is concerned, the results are different from what we have seen before.
The movies are used to tell parts of the story, but the design of the world is once again the star. Of the snowy roads plagued by samurai after a burning temple at a mountain, every place is different. From a technical point of view, it is clear that the engine is similar to that of Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne. Part of his setup – even habits of performance in PS4 Pro – is well known in Sekiro. The mechanics also have points in common: the bottle of Estus, the woman in black and other central pieces of the Souls saga have their equivalent here. But even that, which is of software to enter a new area, makes it so attractive. There is a commitment to building their world, even though the technical foundations are similar, which Sekiro follows its own path.
I played on PlayStation 4 Pro for the first two hours and I loved it, though the Souls saga veterans who want to make the leap have to adapt to the many changes that From Software has made. The biggest difference? In Sekiro, a single stroke with the katana is an important moment – an exact cut that rewards the end of a series of steps and parries in which you have to look your moment. The scenarios are also more widely distributed than in other Van games. The verticality of each zone is addressed by the jumping button and the hook, while the developers encourage you to opt for a stealth run that runs through the long grass, if you prefer to take advantage of the option.
What does this imply on a technical level? For starters, the From Software engine needs to provide more comprehensive and navigational scenarios. It stretches in all directions and from the bushes with trees facing the side of a mountain to the roof of the temples, is all a waiting area to be explored. The hook also increases the rate of movement. All these things went to the game to stream details in time, much sooner than any other soul. Switch to multiple points in a row and move quickly through a series of trees, all without almost insertion. The options are there and the hardware is complete, two aspects that collectively offer an incredible level of freedom.
Anyway, we’re in a well-known area with regard to the engine, which definitely helps. The way the scenarios are streamed after the interaction of the physics in the clothes, it goes through when you throw books or break urns, remembering everything from previous software games. Even the ragdoll physics after a fatal blow responds to a very similar way to Bloodborne. Managing your character, with an animation similar to the steps, also has its own. Many of the strengths of the engine are transferred to Sekiro; It’s a comfortable starting point to work out, and innovation comes from it.
Sekiro stands out with its own visual identity, with some excellent effects. A satisfactory blast of alpha comes from the enemies when the last blow is received, an eruption that increases in the close-ups. Fire in the Hirata area also uses high-resolution, high-resolution effects on a large scale. Although it is duplicated several times, the alpha components convincingly fuse with the scene thanks to the brightness, the repulsion of the characters and the reflections in the water. This moment is easily one of the most outstanding in the first hour of the game. In silence sections, there is an effect of creepuscular rays that subtly filter between the trees, also at night. All these features are old known from the From Software engine. They are the basic tools, but they are used in a fresh way to make Sekiro’s world a reality.
The Gothic vision of Bloodborne still requires an aesthetic, so this time the chromatic aberration has been disabled. As a post-processing effect, the distortion added to the edges of the image was deliberate – and it is still contradictory. And now? In Sekiro, the image is clean and sharp. High-grade sampling is used to mix the frames, not only in the movement of the camera, but also with the individual objects. The result is free of artefacts, at least on PlayStation 4 Pro. Of course, we’ll see how it scales in the rest of the consoles, but at the moment there is almost no dithering or banding in the boundaries. The image is fantastic, and it helps to make a little bit of the variable that is the frame rate. We played Sekiro in a 1080p mode, very similar to the one that launches Dark Souls 3 with Pro’s patch, where the action does not have a block and oscillates between 40FPS and 60FPS. The most loaded alpha effects scenes fall to 30FPS.
Talking to the image quality, there’s a curious topic. If you think about PlayStation 4 Pro, it would be normal to accept a 4K output. We played Sekiro in a press event where only hardware was available to capture 1080p, so the material accompanying this article has a native resolution of 1920×1080. How much commitment From higher resolution output software is something that can be seen, but the previous studio experience with the enhanced Sony console has been reduced to a patch for Dark Souls 3 which is the frame like this with Sekiro happen. We’ve crossed our fingers to be more ambitious with the launch of this game, especially since it was the first time in a Miyazaki game and its team at Pro and X hardware stores that are already in stores. .
After these two hours at the start of the game we are excited and optimistic about what is coming. From software, knowing how to rebuild a world, a lore and a few characters from scratch, and from what I’ve played, they seem to have succeeded again. On this occasion, there is more emphasis on linear and conventional narration, but as a peer, the scenario is wider than ever, making it firmer in action and more demanding with its technology. If Bloodborne showed the software’s ambition at the beginning of this generation, Sekiro looks like a fantastic example for the end. Sekiro: Shadows The Twice will appear on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC next March 22.
Translation by Josep Maria Sempere.
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