As always, I’ll try to prevent disclosing too much for the sake of spoilers in this Ghost of Tsushima Review!
I can’t even begin writing until I give complete credit to Sucker Punch. It’s rare that developers have such success on NEW IPs and this was no exception. It’s already Sony’s best selling new IP ahead of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn. It sold over half the copies TLOU2 did in 2 days if that gives you an idea of how great this game is doing.
If you’d like to watch my short and sweet video review, you can check it out at the bottom of the page.
Ghost of Tsushima Review
Sucker Punch Productions have been in the PlayStation exclusive club since PS3 with the hit IP Infamous, which went on to see 4 sequels. GoT is their newest game and first new IP in quite some time. This game perfectly captures the 13th Century Japanese culture with beautiful surroundings and incredible combat experiences. Overall it’s one of the best for PlayStation 4. Best new IPs, best console exclusive, and best open-world game. It repurposed elements and made them their own with near flawless execution.
My overall score for GoT is 4.4 / 5. The gaming community is in a frenzy over this game and it’s been extremely well received among players. Don’t be surprised when this game is up for GOTY contention.
You are the young Samurai protagonist, Jin Sakai, in the year 1274 when Khotos Khan, grandson on Ghengis, terrorizes the island of Tsushima in an attempt to overthrow Japan. Your story starts hard and fas, immediately on the beach of Komoda. After much bloodshed and loss, Jin is one of the last survivors of the brutal attack. As with typical open-world games, you have to rank up and improve your character, abilities, weapons, armor, etc. Also traditional, there are a linear main storyline and additional side quests. Unlike most open-world titles, in GoT it benefits you to do the main quest first. The story is a slow burn, starting off slow, like a romance novel where you wait an eternity for your ship to have their first kiss. That’s the pacing of GoT. It hits you randomly, with closed fists, and then retracts for a more relaxed pace. The story is cliche and predictable but it is extremely well thought out and aligns with traditional Samurai films. There are some twists and turns and things that stood out as well as things that struggled with pacing or excitement. But in general, it’s a decent story that connects you emotionally with Jin and his struggle to liberate his island. How far would you go to protect your people and your birthright? The dialog and honor choices you make will affect the game, and only you get to decide what final ending to the main quest you’ll get.
GoT story gets a score of 4 / 5
Some of the characters are annoying, some are placeholders, some you can’t help but hate while others flip flop, and then there is Yuna. Overall the characters and the way the game used them could be better but it could also have been much worse. There were challenging deaths in the game as well as betrayal but there was also redemption, life, and honor. So much honor. Jin can transform from a stoic honorable warrior to a man clearly torn with emotion, regret, and hate. You really feel that fueling drive as you play deeper into the game and immerse yourself more with the characters and the world of Tsushima.
I give GoT Characters a 4 / 5
I had some issues here and at the same time, there was a brilliance that will change the way open-world games are made. I’ve seen this game before. It’s like Seikro, Uncharted, and Assasin’s Creed had a baby in 13th Century Japan. I had a lot of complaints about climbing mechanics, auto panning, and poor camera angles. But a minimum HUD, lack of lock-on, and a technically precise combat system blew me away. With encounters based on timing, skill, precision and use of in-game abilities, it’s really the driving factor of why this game is a fan favorite. Little things like the Guiding Wind were so innovative. What’s even more creative is that the weather is affected by your play style. While the game will force you to use dishonorable methods of fighting, you don’t have to continue that path unless you want to. If you do, expect that the world around you will reflect that. Assassinations and Ghost weapons are so damned fun and it’s almost frustrating that those actions cause such a beautiful map to be dark and dreary, but such is the life of a samurai.
The gameplay of GoT gets a 4.5 / 5
This game is STUNNING. While the facial animations aren’t the best I’ve seen, they’re DAMNED good. The world is the most beautiful I’ve seen. Every blade of grass, even petal on flowers, every leaf on the tree is detailed and crisp. The way the water moves and sounds are so realistic. The weather’s effect on the environment is so perfect. It’s so beautiful and it has the best photo mode I’ve ever used in a game. Like EVER. I spent hours filming hot springs, or sunsets over the ocean. It’s breathtaking how aesthetically pleasing every part of this game is. The textures, blood splatter, even the stitching holding the garments and armor together. They really didn’t hold back on making a game whose beauty would rival anything the console has seen so far.
GoT Graphics gets a 5 / 5
The combat is extremely smooth and the game is very polished. Poor camera angles from auto panning are what, literally, killed me the most. Not being able to see through the building or tall grass to see well enough in duels, or in general combat. But for not having a lock-on, which makes sense, it’s a remarkable combat environment. Triggering actions or quest lines sometimes required you to be in an exact spot and I didn’t like that you couldn’t enable an option to skip a cutscene (there is not new+ game) and that annoyed me. But the way the weapons and abilities worked was just so damned well done. Load times are INCREDIBLE. This is a 50 MB game that fast travels in seconds. And if you make a jump between a wall and rock and miss don’t fear. The game never sticks you in a poor spot. Jin is always refreshed and loaded just close by. A brilliant design that I don’t see talked about much.
Performance of GoT gets a score of 4.5 / 5
There were times I found myself bored as often as the times I just couldn’t get enough. All open-world games get repetitive, and ‘grindy’ but I feel this game set a new standard for ways to start doing things differently. It’s truly worth the purchase, the play, and the replay if you haven’t already.