Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is quite a departure from the Soulsborne games From Software has come to be known for. One thing players should be prepared for is a new leveling and progression system that's very different compared to previous From Software RPGs.
In Dark Souls, players level up their characters in traditional RPG fashion by putting points into stats like dexterity, strength, intelligence, and so on. However, in Sekiro progression is tracked through skill trees. Players can earn experience points and invest in different paths, each with their own specific skills. There's a tree that advances shinobi arts for ninja skills, samurai arts for sword work, and another skill tree for your prosthetic arm tool.
It's also not just about earning experience and moving towards a path either. In a cover story by Game Informer, From Software reveals that you have to unlock a skill tree by finding a particular item in the world. The goal, according to From Software, is to give players a feeling of role-playing by helping them find their preferred combat style. Whether they want to play Sekiro as more of a ninja, or an aggressive swordsman.
In addition to skills learned from progression, players can pick up new attachments for their prosthetic arm like an axe weapon or shuriken launcher. Regardless, a player's primary weapon will be their katana, as Sekiro director Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed to us in our interview with him at E3 last year.
Another big departure for Sekiro is that experience and currency are divorced from one another. In Soulsborne games, players could choose to use Souls or Blood as either experience to level up, or as currency to purchase weapons and upgrades. In Sekiro, players can earn experience from defeating enemies as well as gold to use separately.
While the dark atmosphere and macabre storytelling should be familiar to From Software fans, judging from these new details on its leveling system, not much else will be. Sekiro is shaping up to be a different experience altogether from the studio's recent hits. From what we've seen, the most common reference point for Sekiro appears to be the Tenchu series—far away from the bonfires of Dark Souls.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is coming out on March 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more, check out our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice guide for trailers, previews, and interviews.