Sekiro: Understanding the “Easy Mode” debate


It’s been less than a month since the release of From Software’s latest game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. From Software’s games are often depicted to be notoriously difficult and this has sparked an intense debate. “Does Sekiro need an easy mode?”

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Related Reading: Review – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a bewitching test of skill

Plenty of articles have since been written choosing a side or the other but the main contention between the two camps can be easily summarised. If you are interested, a cursory search on Google ‘Sekiro easy mode’ will put you in the right direction to read these articles.

Sekiro needs an easy mode:

  • Easy mode doesn’t affect hardcore players
  • Accessibility to more players
    • People do not have time to play get better at the game
    • People just want to experience the story and world

On the easy mode side, accessibility is a great thing and having an option for your experience in a game is usually a welcomed thing. A game is usually not just about its game mechanic but also how it ties into its world and the ambience it creates.

When the mechanic is difficult it requires a certain amount of time commitment to familiarize and master it. This can get in the way of experiencing the ambience and story of the world. Having difficulty options allows players to choose if they want a challenge or have an easier time and experience the game world more. We can look at it as a mechanic vs ambience focus for player experience. This is an oversimplification of course.

The final argument is that an easy mode will not affect how existing players have been playing the game. Many suggest scaling down the damage from enemies.

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Sekiro does not need easy mode:

  • Respecting developer intent
  • Takes away the sense of accomplishment

On the no easy mode side, the main argument is that Sekiro was designed the way it is and we should respect and accept the experience that FromSoft wants the players to experience. This leads to the point about robbing people of their sense of accomplishment if the game became a cake walk.

The deadliness of the game and its fights actually becomes a part of the ambience as you are forced to play cautiously and check every crook and cranny for hidden enemies as well as items that might give you an advantage.

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Both sides have valid points and are worth considering. There are plenty of arguments and counter-arguments but at the end of the day. From Software is the one making the games and how they make it is up to them. That said, which side of this debate do you fall on? 

Wei Song

A bullet fired is better than two in the chamber