Sure, sure, everybody’s excited about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but let us not forget about From Software’s other upcoming game, which comes out on November 6: Déraciné, a slow-paced adventure game set in a boarding school. I played it at Tokyo Game Show, and now I can’t wait to play more.
The kids at the boarding school are debating whether or not “faeries” exist. You know that they definitely do, because you are one. You play a spirit that exists in the world and can manipulate objects, and while you don’t talk directly to the kids, they talk to you, especially once they realize that you’re real.
It’s all very sweet. I don’t think this is a horror game? Pretty sure it’s not? I think after Rule of Rose and the like we tend to associate Japanese games about turn-of-the-century British schoolchildren with murders and/or ghosts, but it seems like the only ghost in Déraciné is you, a nice ghost.
It definitely takes a little while to get used to all the controls. Locomotion is via hot spots; you look at a blue glowing area on the floor and press the main button on the right Move controller to jump there. You can press the left Move button to crouch, which is important for searching. The smaller buttons turn you around and open various menus—you can open your magical pocketwatch-type device to get a hint as to what to do next, open your inventory, and open a dialog box that explains any item you’re holding.
Once you get that all down, it’s a pretty simple adventure game: Explore, talk to people, figure out what puzzles you might need to solve, find items, use them in the right place. I had to track down a few vials of herbs to put into a soup. One of them was in a locked treasure box, the key to which I had to find by listening in on a conversation between two ghostly “memories” of characters that were elsewhere in the house, then go rooting through their pockets.
Another vial was attached to the collar of a dog, and I found him by crawling under a porch. Soon, I was face to face with an adorable doggo and overwhelmed with the sheer cuteness. I tried to pet him on the head and it didn’t work, but I felt good about having tried it.
It wasn’t too difficult to solve the puzzles, but I didn’t really care about that. The world that From Software has built here is beautiful, and the slow-paced, low-pressure gameplay lets you truly experience it.