Ghost of Tsushima (2020) Video Game Review

details
Title: Ghost of Tsushima.

Release date: July 17, 2020.
Console (played On): Playstation 4.
Mode(s): Single-Player and Online Multiplayer.
GENRE(S): Action, adventure, Drama, Stealth.
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions.
Director: Nate Fox & Jason Connell.
Writer: Ian Ryan, Liz Albl, Patrick Downs & Jordan Lemos.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Composer(s): Ilan Eshkeri & Shigeru Umebayashi.
Voice Actor(s): Daisuke Tsuji, Eric Steinberg, Sumalee Montano, Patrick Gallagher, and many more!

My Overall Rating:

Rating: 8 out of 10.

thoughts

We all live by a code. We abide by rules that we deem right, sometimes imposed by society, sometimes established through culture and history. With them, we are able to understand the world, pick the paths we want to walk, forge our identities, and build our legacy. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Even if it means making personal sacrifices, even it means breaking that very code that served as the foundation to our lives. From the developers who brought gamers the Sly Cooper and Infamous franchises now come a brand-new project exclusively on PlayStation that will send fans to 1274 when the fictionalized Japanese island of Tsushima is invaded by Mongols and one samurai will fight for his people at all costs.

What is Ghost of Tsushima about? Led by Khotun Khan, the Mongolian army swarm the island of Tsushima to pursue their mission to conquer the Japanese mainland. With the entire nation’s samurai army assembled to repel the invasion, the battle requires every single one of them to put their life on the line, including Jin Sakai, whose uncle Lord Shimura leads the people’s defense. Unfortunately, his uncle is captured, Tsushima is captured by the Mongols, and Jin miraculously survives a terrifying engagement only to realize that, alone, he will not be able to give back the people, the home that they were stripped of. He thus embarks on a mission to recruit allies, disrupt Mongol activities throughout the island, and learn new techniques outside of his samurai ways to one day take down Khotun Khan and his army.

Sucker Punch Walks Us Through Ghost of Tsushima's E3 Trailer –  PlayStation.Blog

Starting off at the lower fraction of the island, you are given the opportunity to discover the people through an open-world setting. As you give them a hand with their problems, you slowly build a reputation amongst them and work your way towards conquering back the various portions of the land, moving upwards as you recruit new allies ready to help you with your cause by reclaiming castles and territories occupied by the Mongols. Each major character also has a parallel chain of side-quests that allow you to invest yourself into their troubles and learn about their history, their drives, and their motives. While Jin Sakai’s character isn’t particularly charismatic, his plight remains one riddled with tough decisions that challenge his training as a samurai, often bringing him to wonder if he’s right to go down a shameful path to achieve his goals. It is his transformation that will bring gamers to appreciate his character. With themes of loyalty and revenge at the heart of this narrative, the team behind this video game does an exceptional job in breaking down the core values, lives, and dilemmas that oppressed people must embrace to survive.

The gameplay mechanics that are presented in Ghost of Tsushima are fairly simple and gains complexity as you progress. Focused on a blade-to-blade fighting system, players must assume one of four stances that they can alternate between in mid-fight to take down various enemies. With each engagement, they must strategically attack using light or heavy attacks, as well as a dodge or block technique, to try and break the enemies’ body equilibrium and then put an end to their miserable lives. On top of his katana and tantō, Jin Sakai also learns to use various weapons, from kunai to smoke bombs, to gain an advantage on his enemies, especially when he’s surrounded by a dozen of them at a time. While the enemies’ artificial intelligence is often questionable, there is just enough realism in battle sequences, especially when played on “lethal” difficulty, where a single slice can be the end of anyone’s life, to make every encounter immersive, engaging, and gore-tasticly satisfying.

Galloping On My Way GIF by PlayStation - Find & Share on GIPHY

Where this video game outdoes itself is in its visuals and aesthetics. It is incredibly stunning. Spine-tingling. Heart-stopping. Having replayed the entire game on the PlayStation 5 to experience the visual upgrades to a game that was already astonishing, it is also safe to say that they didn’t dare cut down their efforts in the graphics department. Unsurprisingly, the game’s entire flow relies heavily on exploration. Traveling on your mysteriously loyal horse (that magically appears behind you when you call for its aid), you are brought to travel countless kilometers exploring a beautiful fictionalized Japanese landscape that add its own dose of magic and beauty to this video game. Although it requires gamers to have an affinity for such things—if the option of a photo mode doesn’t already say so—it is clear that the developers wanted players to grow to love this animated environment and understand its hidden beauty amidst the chaos brought upon it by the Mongols.

If there’s one thing that can’t be reproached to this game it is its ability to immerse gamers into a world that captures the emotions and culture of the Japanese people. Add in the optional graphics setting that allows gamers to into Kurosawa Mode to simulate the legendary Japanese director’s movies, with staggering black-and-white rendering, as well as a phenomenal score that brings to life the story at hand, there’s very little more that they could’ve been done to deliver a polished narrative-driven game. Just to prove us wrong, the developers also later added a cooperative multiplayer expansion called Ghost of Tsushima: Legends that offers gamers the chance to go into additional story-driven content to try and defeat a supernatural demon back to wreak havoc on Tsushima. Having now platinumed the game, it is only a matter of time before a sequel is announced, especially now that a live-action movie is officially confirmed, to pick up the story where things were left off and for fans to revisit the tales of Tsushima.

Ghost of Tsushima (2020) is a visually breathtaking homage to 13th Japanese samurai history with a riveting tale of honor, courage, and tradition within a quest for revenge.


EXHIBITA
Ghost of Tsushima (2020) is out on Playstation 4 since July 17, 2020.

Have you played this game?
Will you? What do you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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38 comments

    • Hahah I hint at the issues I had without focusing on them throughout my review since it still ended up being a fun game overall.

      1) What had me rate it 8/10 is the repetitive nature of the gameplay, especially once you’ve gotten past the first (out of 3) act.

      2) I wasn’t as compelled by the protagonist as I wish I was by the end of the game. He does enough to become a new PlayStation icon but not enough for me to go nuts about who he is.

      3) The focus on exploration also makes the game feel extremely stretched out, making it a must that players ENJOY the exploration element if they are to overlook the time it takes to get through sections of the game. While there are things you can do as you go around from one quest to another, there’s something more “empty” about certain regions that cut into my “immersion”.

      4) And the AI not being particularly competent makes some engagements later on less exciting, especially if you’ve unlocked most of the hidden techniques.

      Then again, I didn’t want to focus on these issues since they aren’t huge enough to kill the story or the rest of the game’s qualities hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • I just started this game. I knew it would be good as soon as I loaded it up and saw the option of playing it on Kurosawa Mode, lol 😀 I’m still very early in the game, but so far it plays a lot like Assassin’s Creed (a good thing) and the graphics are gorgeous on the PS5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad to hear that hahah I hope you have a blast exploring all the corners of Tsushima as you slash away at all the Mongols who ravaged that land! 😛 It does indeed have similar combat to AC, tuned for samurai gameplay. In NG+ there’s a charm that adds more blood to your kills that I had to keep just to make everything splashier hahahah Enjoy! 😀

      Like

  • Ghost of Tsushima was my favourite game of 2020. It had an exciting and emotional story, the gameplay was superb, and the whole look of the game was stunning. Had a great time playing the game. Enjoyed the multiplayer as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely deserved some spotlight despite the issues I had with it! I do look forward to what Sucker Punch plans to accomplish with an inevitable sequel though. I was really impressed that Legends was a FREE expansion though. Those raid chapters alone could’ve been paid content; they were that good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really loved the scope and scale of Ghost of Tususima. There was so much content in the game anyway but the Legends DLC brought a whole new dynamic to the game with the addition of multiplayer. easily one of the best games of 2020, and I’ve no doubt there will be a sequel at some point from Sucker Punch.

        Liked by 1 person

  • The visuals of this look very much like one I think you reviewed in the past. Was that the same game just on a different console, or was there another very much like this one, maybe focusing on ninja instead of samurai? I just remember the horseback riding through the fields of flowers, going into a town stealthily and taking everyone out, going onto a boat docked on shore, and the photo mode which had caught my attention. Was that maybe just a preview of this game before it came out? Or am I going completely insane?!?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahaha I just want to say you’re going insane to play with you but that wouldn’t be what friends would do! 😀 I think what you remember is what you ended up looking up after I mentioned to you that I was playing this game a while back. That’s when you shared your interest in the in-game photo mode and that I thought it wasn’t surprising at all coming from you! 😀 I only got around to reviewing it now (it’s been a while that I finished the game actually hahah) but I’m glad that there are remnants of that talk lingering in your memory. 😛 While I imagine you won’t be able to get around to this game, I do hope the movie adaptation will do it justice just so you could try that out someday! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, all that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not also going insane. 🙂 But yes, I’m remembering now. I must have watched one of the play through videos because the images were so impressive. If I were more of a game player I suspect I’d enjoy many aspects of the game. And I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the movie adaptation. I’d absolutely be interested in checking that out.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I recently got a PS4 for my birthday 😀 😀 Was SO excited before realizing that I hardly have time to play any games. I love the look of this game. It’s one of those that impresses me and that I’d love to play but it intimidates me a little too, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You get extra points for joining the PlayStation family!!!! 😀 As for time to play… Yep. That is an issue for pretty much all our hobbies, huh? 😛 I’m glad to hear your interest in this but, hey, if you do give it a try, I hope you have a blast at least enjoying the beautiful environment! 😀

      P.S. Happy belated birthday!!!! 😀

      Like

    • Don’t worry, it’s far more “complex” than it sounds. You can’t really button-smash your way through battles. You have to switch stances often, use additional weapons, run, dodge, roll, do consecutive heavy blows without getting interrupted, etc etc. It’s mastering the art that complexities the whole thing in the end. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • The aesthetic looks absolutely gorgeous! 😍 I can definitely see myself just wandering about in this imaginary world, very oblivious about the enemies and other in-game threats, very much like when I used to cook soup in Skyrim, right in front of a cave full of enemies… good times 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  • A friend of mine recently completed his game and all he could rave about was the stunning aesthetics and immersive narrative. This is the kind of game that made me wish I owned a PS4, or borrow my brothers because everything about it sounds right up my alley. I love narrative-driven games, especially ones that explore those ever-relevant themes of loyalty and revenge. The fact that we get to know the history of our characters makes it all the more interesting. I’m told they’re looking to make this into a move and hopefully they can find that balance between the action and the narrative depth. Brilliant review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lois! Really glad to hear such an enthusiastic comment about the game. I wish you could try it out for yourself. You’d be amazed by the aesthetics without a doubt. It’s even more fluid and impressive on a PS5 too! And yes, story-wise it has so much to offer, in bits and pieces, and you pretty much dictate at what pace you want to progress through those story stuff too! I fear for the movie since most games-into-movies adaptations have been tricky, turning out to be flops in the end. I have a bit more hope for this one because they have soooo much material to play with though!

      Like

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