Reviewers will not get their hands on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice until after the game releases. The title comes courtesy of FromSoftware, the developer behind the Souls franchise, as well as Bloodborne.
Sekiro takes players to late 16th century Japan, where they take on the role of a ninja left for dead with a severed arm after his lord gets kidnapped. When the ninja wakes up, he learns that he has a prosthetic arm and gets dubbed "Sekiro." Unlike Dark Souls, the game does not have typical RPG features, such as character customization, classes or crafting. The player will have access to tools through the prosthetic arm, though, such as a grappling hook. A recent trailer offered details of the game's setting and story, but beyond that, Sekiro still remains something of a mystery.
Sekiro will remain something of an enigma for longer than most games, too. YouTube user and game reviewer Skill Up tweeted that reviewers will not get access to the game early, as per Activision, but will have to wait for review codes until the game releases. Skill Up also went on record suggesting that FromSoftware had earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the quality of its games. Usually, fans become concerned when a publisher withholds game codes prior to release, but Skill Up made it a point that they do not feel as though it will be an issue for Sekiro. Their full tweet is here:
Activision has said they wont be releasing review copies of #sekiro ahead of release date.— Skill Up reviewing #FarCryNewDawn (@SkillUpYT) March 7, 2019
Usually this would be cause for concern, but it's @fromsoftware_pr we're talking about here; I think these guys have earned the benefit of the doubt.
FromSoftware has a good reputation with players for a reason. The Souls series has continued to keep players and critics happy, with Dark Souls 3 breaking Bandai Namco sales records. Fans continued to support the Souls series, and Bloodborne, because the games blended the right amount of difficulty and ingenuity - nothing felt like it was unfair, and FromSoftware has made a reputation on crafting games that empower players willing to sink the time in to become good at them.
For players on the fence about buying Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it might be a tough decision to make without having any reviews to go on. Most in the industry believe that players can trust FromSoftware to deliver a solid and entertaining game, but that doesn't mean the trend of withholding review codes is any less troubling. In an industry where transparency has already been an issue, forcing fans to either wait or take a chance on a game they're not sure about seems like a cruel decision from developers. With game critics already receiving unfair criticism from industry members looking to protect their properties' images, it's fair to wonder why Activision feels the need to enable that behavior further.