Ghost of Tsushima Review
This is a better-late-than-never moment, we finally have the Ghost of Tsushima Review that is absolutely worth it.
It took quite some time to playthrough this epic from studio Sucker Punch. Alot longer than I though it would take me to complete. Throw in the struggles of Working from home with kids and family and you have yourself a recipe for a rather long review period. That being said, I wasn’t about to rush through this game just to get an article out. Instead, I was going to give this game the time and effort that it deserves and I’m so glad I did. This title marks the very last exclusive for the PlayStation 4 console. It marks the end of a fantastic generation as we transition to the Next-Gen of consoles and games, and boy, what a swan song! So without any further ado, here’s the Ghost of Tsushima Review you’ve been waiting for.
Ghost of Tsushima sees players taking on the role of Samurai Lord Jin Sakai. The game takes place during the Mongolian invasion of Japan. Straight out the gate, you are thrust into a futile attempt by the Samurais of Tsushima to stop the invasion as the Mongols hit the shores of the island. Immediately the Japanese defence is brutally crushed by the Mongol force leaving everyone dead in their wake except for Jin and his Uncle the Lord of Tsushima, Lord Shimura who’s taken hostage by Khotun Khan. He tries to convince Lord Shimura to bow to him and prevent further bloodshed of his people during this invasion.
Jin survives the onslaught of the Battle of Komoda Beach, saved by a female character who will be with him during the course of the game, Yuna. As a thief, she helps Jin escape the horde and fight another day. However, Jin consumed by the Samurai’s defeat goes on a futile second attempt against the Khan. Jin is badly defeated and releases he will need other drastic means to take the fight to the Mongols. The honourable way of the Samurai proves to be useless against the brutally and unorthodox methods of the Mongols. The game then follows Jin as he learns new ways to fight off his invaders and recruits allies help his crusade to take down Khotun Khan. You will get a Mass Effect 2 suicide mission vibe from the game. Following the same theme of the player character doing ally specific missions to have them join your fight. It’s a very engaging story that is well written and excellently executed by the cast.
The story pacing is on point and continues to push you forward without feeling like unnecessary filler is sprinkled everywhere. Though Jin lacks a bit of personality, his motives are well and clearly communicated and you never find yourself wanting more out of the story. A very well executed plot and characters makes this one of the most compelling titles of the generation.
Ghost of Tsushima is a very unique open-world game that borrows influences from a ton of other best in class games. For example, there are Tenchu-style stealth and ninja traversal and equipment. There’s Red Dead Redemption 2 Level of scale and attention to detail to the world. Throw in some Next-Level sword combat and light RPG mechanics and you get the idea of the type of stew that Sucker Punch has cooked up. Make no mistake, this isn’t merely an Assasins Creed in Fuedal Japan clone. Ghost of Tsushima outclasses any of the modern Assassins Creed titles at their own game.
You will get access to multiple Sword stances throughout the course of the game that is perfect for attacking different enemy types. One stance is superior against shielded enemies while another does the business against huge brutes. As you spend more time with the game you will find yourself swapping on the fly to tackle the enemies as they show up on the screen. It’s a very deep combat system that will take some time to perfect, and as soon as you get that “aha” moment, you will be an unstoppable force. Mixing your Ghost (let’s call it Ninja shall we) equipment with your Samurai skills, hopping in and out of stealth at the battle rages on. The game allows you to tackle any quest the way you see fit. Whether it’s staring down your Mongol enemies right in front of their encampment in a One on One stand-off. Where a risk/reward game mechanic comes into play. Succeed in the stand-off with a well-timed execute of the sword swipe and you have fewer enemies to deal with in the enemy camp. Fail and you immediately lose most of your health and risk a near-instant kill.
Alternative, you put your Ghost skills to the test, silently executing enemies from the shadows or rooftops above. Using your Kunai blades to throw at enemies even before they know you are there while swing stealthily with a rope-hook from rooftop to rooftop. Or expertly executing a multi-enemy-insta-kill maneuver. Through my playthrough, I found a perfectly balanced mixture of both gets the job done the best. Either way, the game leaves the options in your hands. Add to that a healthy progression skill tree that lets you upgrade your weapons, armor,equipment and all the individual fighting stances well beyond what any other game in its class gives you access to. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Ghost of Tsushima has enourmous customization options for your character and weapon sets. With not a single micro transaction in sight. (Are you taking notes Ubisoft?) You will have hours upon hours exploring and fighting your way through this incredible experience.
As you’ve already seen from the screen shots in the article so far, this game is a masterclass of graphical fidelity, art direction and technical execution. Especially when running the game on a PS4 Pro (Which I used for this review), even though it is a checkerboard 4K image, it gives the impression of a Native resolution with a sharp and detailed presentation. Sucker Punch has left no stone un-turned in terms of every graphic technique from this generation of games. You have high polygon assets for not just the main characters but the NPC who usually get no love in other games. The entire game world exhibits beautiful fluid simulations for the blood, as you slash your enemies with your Katana, and the rivers and streams.
Your environment feels alive with blades of grass being animated and flowing in the direction the wind blows. Animals roam free and lots, and lots of PARTICLES EVERYWHERE! Particles for Leafs, particles for sword clashes, particles for burning ash and embers of fire, particles for snow, particles for rain splashes. Particles within fog and other ambient environmental atmospheric effects. It’s truly a sight to behold while seeing it all in action coming together beautifully.
But my favourite visual trait of all, is the breathtaking use of colour. It is varied and contrasts beautifully regardless of which area you are in the game world. The detail in the different character armour sets shines through because of the fantastic use of contrasting dark and bright colours. I mean just look at the images here, furthermore, look at the gameplay video below and you will see just what I mean. All of this a stable and perfect 30FPS lock regardless of what’s happening on screen. An absolute technical tour de force.
But, the game is not entirely without its faults. Because it is so gorgeous, the issues become that much more glaring when you spot them. Like the weird animations (or lack thereof) for your character when walking up a hill slope or stairs. It’s a massive eyesore that once you’ve seen, you can never un-see. Or the subtle Openworld jank that comes with NPC animations being very lacklustre in non-cut-scene cinematics. With all that being said though, it’s still an utterly magnificent looking game.
Ghost of Tsushima ends this console generation (at least for PlayStation 4) on an exceptionally high note. It brings all of the best parts of this generation into a compelling story, gameplay and exploration experience that is worth every cent in the price of entry. This is one of those games you will find yourself accidentally Platinum-ing, not because you are a trophy hoarder, but because you find that you can’t stop playing this phenomenal title. If there’s any takeaway from this Ghost of Tsushima Review it’s that you should absolutely have this title in your library. What a way to end PlayStation 4’s stellar exclusive run. All eyes are on Sony to see if they will match and surpass the level of quality exclusive titles in the Next Generation. And I can hardly wait!