Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in a Fromsoftware title published by Activision in 2019. The title was well received by both fan and critic alike, and marked a measurable departure from the the Dark Souls titles Fromsoftware has become so well known for.
Sekiro received a surprising amount of modding attention a few years after release, with more than a few total overhauls. Today, I will be covering one of these overhauls: Long May the Shadows Reflect (LMTSR).
LMTSR is a difficulty overhaul intending to challenge even veterans of the core game. It features changes to enemy placement, bosses, status effects, items, abilities, and more. These changes dramatically change how the player must approach combat; stealth is now much more difficult to pull off, but far more rewarding given the increase in enemy count and enemy stats.
While there are significantly more enemies placed around the various levels, LMTSR really shows its teeth with the changes to bosses. In the base game it is very possible to beat every boss encounter with just the starting weapon and a mastery of the system, but LMTSR forces use of both prosthetic tools and combat arts to counter certain enemy combos. This forces the player to explore more carefully to find new items and abilities, which then must be combined to create windows of opportunity for the player in these fights.
For example, one boss the player fights several times throughout the game is Genichiro Ashina. LMTSR adds fire damage to his bow attacks, making them chip through the player’s block (or parry). This changes how the player must react to this ability; it must be dodged instead of countered. Little changes like this punish muscle memory reactions and force the player to adapt on the fly when playing through the mod.
LMTSR could not achieve what it does without the excellent framework Fromsoftware created in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This “parasitism” as Serres describes it is more akin to symbiosis; the mod extends the longevity of the base game while also making use of the high quality framework. Without the base title to work with, the modification would simple amount to random hex editing and would not achieve anything memorable.
While LMTSR can often times feel oppressive in its difficulty, this mod allows those who love the combat systems of Sekiro to continue to play the title and still enjoy a variation of content.