This article is a bit more on the personal side than what I am used to publishing. I am a huge fan of the Dark Souls and Bloodborne series. From Software for me is a personal taste. They make games that take a lot of time, trial and error. In my daily life, I sometimes struggle to focus on any given task. My mind wanders away constantly, and it’s up to me, with effort, to center my thoughts. This daydreaming makes me anxious on occasions depending on my daily stress. This is the story of me, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and my daily anxiety.
The good ol’ Dark Souls days…
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a game I have been excited for, for a long time. I knew what I was getting into though. I was aware this was not going to be an 8-hour piece of cake kind of game. Even with my anxiety, beating the Dark Souls trilogy and Bloodborne felt so good for me. The cooperative game was one of the best bonding experiences I’ve had with friends. Even though it was a rough ride, I never felt that anxious, cause I was sharing the frustration and even laughing it off along with my friends.
When Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was announced, and it was mentioned there won’t be any co-op component for it, I was disappointed. These games were amazing, and sharing with my friends made it bearable for me to play without getting my anxiety levels through the roof. Even though I decided to give it a shot, and I was in for the surprise of a lifetime.
The hardships of Sekiro
Sekiro is a brutal game. Bosses are plentiful and merciless. It was exactly was I was expecting and also, what I was fearing. No online meant no one else but me. No comedic relief from my friends dying, just the enormous reddened kanji of Death on screen and me. I have a hard time with games that require such a precise combat system because I can’t focus for too long without my mind thinking of something else.
As I moved forward with my frustration and attempts to make something fun out of Sekiro, I discover something of vital importance. Sekiro is not Dark Souls or Bloodborne, and it wasn’t demanding the same principles from me anymore. Here, there’s no stamina bar, meaning that I could attack, dodge or deflect as much as I wanted to. All this, of course, meanwhile my pose bar wasn’t getting wrecked by the boss at hand.
Sekiro: A zen state of focus
This little change did something for me that no other From Software game have done. I learned how to focus. As I battle one of the bosses, I discovered that the key was to chain my actions together, barely stopping in between. My dodges were converted rapidly to attack, and then to deflect on an upcoming enemy attack opening up the opportunity for another strike at the boss. So on and so on.
This more fluid, and split-second decision type of gameplay made me realize my mind was able to focus. Albeit, for just some minutes during boss fights. Still, it was so rewarding for me to see how bright my resolve and my thoughts were as I got closer to that red deathblow indicator. For someone like me, that has 20 items in his mind at once, having that moment of clarity chaining one move after the other, felt stunningly rewarding.
My daily Shinobi path
After my experience with Sekiro, I try to emulate as much as I can that chaining of ideas and actions on my daily life. I never honestly felt this was something I could improve on, just a trait that I had to live with. It was not something that dramatically affected my life, so I decided to ignore it.
But through these boss fights, I have learned focus and resolve even under stress is possible for me. To my surprise, what should have been a stress trigger, ended up bringing some “zen” into my mind. I try to keep my train of thought for as long as I can. It is not a night to day dramatic change, but it has undoubtedly made me faster and more efficient in keeping my tasks within a schedule.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an excellent game, if you’re having troubles with it, here are some tips we have for you!