Soulsborne Difficulty Review: Dark Souls Vs Sekiro

The massive wave the Souls series made gave birth to a new genre called Soulsborne, which pertains to a series of action role-playing games particularly developed by From Software. A game can be tagged as part of this genre if it has the same core mechanics of the Souls series.

Following the successes of the franchise, From Software decided to take a leap further by releasing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This groundbreaking game fused the mechanics of the Souls series, along with stealth gameplay inspired by the classic Tenchu series. It’s popularity and unique mechanic earned the rights to become the Game of the Year in 2019.

Two massive hits, both known for its insane difficulty, lore, and action-packed gameplay, fans couldn’t help but compare the two. The question that’s been plaguing everyone’s heads is which title is harder? Sekiro or Dark Souls? Personally I managed to play and finish both games, so here are some thoughts.

The Inevitable End in Dark Souls

Unforgiving or Simply Challenging?

You can test that basic knowledge against mobs who are strategically placed throughout the Undead Asylum. The game knows you’ll get comfortable with the basic mechanic sooner, so it gives you a boss to contend with. No more tutorial at this point. You either chip away its health points or find another way to get past it.

Dark Souls’ hard difficulty lies in the possible fact that we, as gamers, got too comfortable in relying on the game itself to hold our hand halfway through the mechanics. Dark Souls force you to go back to your roots, back when games allow players to experiment on their own to learn the mechs.

Taking You Back to Your Gaming Roots

This is opposed to the conventional RPG game where you just dump your stats, find legendary equipment, and go God mode. To put it simply, Dark Souls is hard because the gameplay mechanics is not what players are used to. As a result, a lot of players end up dying multiple times. This forces them to re-think their steps and actually learn how to beat the game rather than blindly steamroll through it.

Sekiro: Shadows Dying More Than Twice

Breaking the Conventional Soulsborne Gameplay

Dark Souls gave you the freedom to dodge or block enemy attacks. Whatever your playstyle is, you can make do with proper stat allocation, exact timing, and stamina management. Maybe even just spam backstab for good measure. But Sekiro is a different game completely, the same way it forces you to play a specific protagonist, it also locks you to adapt a specific playstyle.

If you want to be at an advantage in Sekiro, you would want to combine the dodge mechanic with proper parrying techniques. It took Tenchu’s stealth mechanics into a whole new level, where blindly charging through enemies will have dire consequences. This completely threw me off, along with other players, which humbled our self-esteem, dying more times we could count.

A Challenge to Veteran Souls Players

What makes the game hard for veterans is that they need to unlearn everything they learned in the previous titles to make way for a new mechanic introduced in Sekiro. Those skills acquired from long hours playing Souls are already close to instinct, and learning a new process proved to be more difficult than it should.

Answering the Soulsborne Difficulty Debate

This is why the debate doesn’t seem to end because players have different experiences. Plus, we all have different gaming histories and varying playstyles. What you find hard can be easy for the person next to you. So whether you think Dark Souls is harder than Sekiro, or the other way around, just know that your experiences differ. You and your friends can always agree that the two are great games that can give gamers a run for their money.

Originally published at on August 5, 2020.

I play and write all about games, from Mobile to PC.