Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice shakes up FromSoftware’s action-RPG formula in several ways – chiefly in the sense that it’s not really an RPG any more – but the changes coming to combat are some of the most intriguing.
There’s a new stat called posture, which sounds like an extension of poise in Dark Souls: it gets its own gauge now, and when exhausted, one becomes vulnerable to something called a ‘Shinobi Deathblow’, which sounds like a finishing move.
Thanks to a few E3 previews, we can say more about exactly how this will work. If you take a blow when you’re blocking, your posture will reduce by a little. If you take a blow when you are not blocking, your posture (and presumably your health) will reduce by a lot. If you parry – that is, hit the block button at the exact time your opponent’s blow lands – your opponent’s posture will reduce instead.
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When your opponent’s posture is exhausted they will stagger, much as they would when depleted of poise, and be vulnerable to a Shinobi Deathblow. As FromSoft explained to Critical Hit, these will deal “a huge amount of damage at all once.”
The boss fights in the E3 demo “were very much about getting their posture down and then delivering Shinobi Deathblows,” according to PlayStation Access. Apparently it’s not clear if there will be a stamina bar as well as posture, since the demo was running with the UI off.
We have a rough idea of the Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice release date – early 2019, which most likely means March, since that’s when both Bloodborne and Dark Souls III launched. For everything else we learned at E3, hit that link.