Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Age rating: 18+
Ghost of Tsushima is the last major Playstation 4 exclusive. After the controversial Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima became the most important PS 4 game. It was not immediately clear from the commercials about the gameplay mechanics of the game. In pre-release gameplay videos GoT looked like many games at once. As the saying goes, first impressions are usually deceiving, but not this time.
The Game Setting
Ghost of Tsushima was captivating with its setting from the very beginning, although at least two games in a similar style have recently been released. A bright, but at the same time not straining the eye, the picture promised unprecedented beauty, and the number of leaves that the east wind drives back and forth was surprising for PS4 hardware to handle. In reality, everything turned out to be like this: you fall in love with the game at first sight. A static picture (like any screenshot) is looking great even without the dynamics of real gameplay, which is a rarity for games, so you can safely search for tons of beautiful screenshots on the net and go on a short excursion to Japan of the 13th century.
The Gameplay and Story
A couple of hours later, when the first shock passes, reality comes to the fore, where the picture gets blurry a little, and you are left alone with the gameplay, like a samurai in a fair katana fight. Ghost of Tsushima is a typical open-world game, but with its peculiarities. Your adventures will be happening on two islands of Tsushima, which are quite compact (maybe even small in comparison to other modern open-world games).
In Ghost of Tsushima, you have to fight the Mongols. Visitors from the west after the conquest of Korea decided to move east and seize a bit of Japan, catching the local population by surprise. The latter presumptuously ignored the impending threat, deciding that they would deal with the enemy as with a plate of ramen. However, the Mongols had a serious numerical advantage, because 80 samurai, including Jin Sakai, the main character of the game, fell under the onslaught of the enemy. Almost everyone was killed, Jin’s uncle was taken prisoner, and the nephew had no choice but to collect the remnants of the militia across the islands and free a relative.
Most of the time Jin is busy seeking allies and gaining their trust. Future companions of our samurai are bright and memorable characters. For example, almost at the very beginning, we will be introduced to a thief, a sake seller, and a ronin who need something from our ward. The main plot of the game is done well, with a bit of intrigue and several twists.
However, there are few annoying things in the game, it’s almost like playing at online casinos and getting near jackpot combination in a slot games, but losing. Same with this game. Great game with several annoying things. One of them is the dialogues. They will cause disappointed sighs by the player. Most of the dialogue consists of hackneyed and formulaic phrases. Flashbacks are filled with lectures like: “Strength and honor are the most important thing for a samurai.” And the cutscenes are made as a collection of beautiful scenes, but with very poor editing. I had the feeling that I was watching videos of a game from the previous generation, although we have many examples where this is done better with less use of console resources.
The Game World
A huge plus of the game world is its compactness. You can cross each of the islands in a few minutes, and radical changes in the surrounding nature occur very often, so you never get bored by the background of your adventure. As in any open world of this kind, there are many question marks on the map to be investigated and the “fog of war” to investigate. In fairness, all these additional tasks and gathering do not tire at all, since they are quite diverse and interesting. The world of the game is very friendly, there is no mini-map, but there are many small pleasant things that make it easier to navigate around the world, and all “navigators” are made in the same stylistic as the game.
Battles, Combat System, and Weapons
It would be strange if there were no epic battles in the game about samurai. However, the combat mechanics in Ghost of Tsushima is as standard as possible: there is a strong and normal attack, a bow for ranged combat, and consumables in the form of bombs or throwing knives. There are a few stances that switch fairly intuitively during even the hottest fight; they will help you fight in different styles and with different types of opponents. One interesting feature was a challenge to a duel: when facing enemies who had not yet noticed us, pressing a button, forcing Jin to loudly challenge one of the enemies. As in a western, rivals stand opposite each other, and the one who has stronger endurance and faster reaction win. It looks as impressive as possible, but it gets boring quickly.
Weapons and almost any parameter can be leveled up. To do this, you need to collect resources for a long time by freeing checkpoints or fortresses and going through all sorts of side quests. Ghost of Tsushima has the good and the bad:
- The good – you can complete the game without leveling, but it will be very difficult, especially in the second half of the game.
- The bad – if you spend a lot of time on leveling, then the battles for you will become as boring as possible, and you will simply mow down crowds of enemies by pressing one button.
I’ve already mentioned the great visual art, but it’s worth chiding a little. Technically, the game looks impressive, but many things remain strange: weak face animation, plastic faces, and character shapes, the environment sometimes looks like from the previous generation. Although in general everything is pretty OK, but Infamous Second Son made by the same studio released back in 2014, looked at least as good as Ghost of Tsushima.
There are many beautiful general plans in the game since the photo mod in Ghost of Tsushima is one of the best, if not the best among the existing ones. In it, you can even adjust the direction and strength of the wind, particles in the air, and the weather over the time of day, it’s just WOW!
The latest Playstation 4 exclusive came out pretty controversial, but you know what? The game as a whole turned out to be quite good and strong, it will find its buyer. Some will enjoy the leisurely gameplay, stopping by for an hour or two after work, while others will love the aesthetics or setting.
Sucker Punch was one of the studios that adequately opened the current generation and closes it on a good note with enchanting, beautiful, in some places disappointing and secondary, but certainly not a bad game.