Ghost of Tsushima Review

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Sierra Donis, Staff Writer

One of the latest exclusive hits to come to PS4 and PS5 is Ghost of Tsushima, a single-player triple-A, open world, melee combat game. Released by Sucker Punch studios in July of 2020, Ghost of Tsushima is a stunning and gorgeous action-adventure game that takes place in feudal Japan during a Mongol invasion. 

 

This rapid and action-packed adventure follows the story of one of the last standing samurai in Japan, Jin Sakai, as he learns the costs of staying honorable and remaining loyal to his family and traditions. Set on Tsushima island in the year 1274, Jin and his clan — Clan Sakai — must defend the island with everything they have to protect against the invaders from seeping into mainland Japan. 

 

This story was nothing less than a masterpiece full of awestruck moments and devastating depictions of war at the time. Allowing players to become immersed in history and follow along in this Kurosawa-samurai-film inspired video game despite having all fictional characters, Ghost of Tsushima has many non-fictional elements that play into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jin begins his journey to defeat the Mongols and their tyrannical and fearful leader: Khotun Khan. His quest is one of choosing morals, and who to trust. Yet, his main goal will always remain the same: save his people and home no matter the cost. On his journey, Jin would meet allies from all over the island, each one of them having their own compelling story and character arcs.

 

“And it might even be as simple as just, you know, dialect choices or intonation. We have made efforts at every point along the way to do our best, to represent this stuff with great care. Hopefully, that shows in the final work.” -Brian Flemming, Sucker Punch Co-Founder, interview with Polygon

 

The main quests create a great campaign with dramatic twists and turns, amazing cinematics and duels that you simply can’t not get goose-bumps from. You can explore side quests that go from helping a sake-enthusiast known as Kenji, to helping a bowsman named Ishikawa track down one of his past students who turned evil. All appealing tales that show realistic lessons, and amazing storytelling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combat in Ghost of Tsushima is fantastic. There is no way that you don’t feel awesome while wielding the katana and slicing through enemies. Sucker Punch’s selection of combat abilities and stances was perfect. The stealth category, however, was lacking. As the enemy AI did have problems interacting with Jin whenever he would sneak up on them. The stealth didn’t feel nerve-wracking and was simply too buggy and simple to feel like a smooth and enjoyable experience. 

 

However, the most enjoyable part of the sword combat and game is the duels that take place throughout the story. Duels introduce new enemies, each having unique fighting styles and challenges for the player. Capitalizing on the game’s great graphics, Ghost of Tsushima’s duels take place in cinematic and beautiful environments. Two that stand out are duels in an autumn forest with blood-red leaves falling slowly around you and a raging storm with rain pattering on your armor as you fight your deadly opponent. 

 

“They [creative directors and Sony personnel] all went out to Tsushima, stood on the beach where the invasion happened, met with the local artisans. The historians took tons of reference photos, and also visited other historical sites from that period in Japanese history as well, on the mainland, and just began the process of learning.”-Brian Flemming, Sucker Punch Co-Founder, interview with Polygon

 

The landscape in Ghost of Tsushima is also another amazing and graphically stunning aspect of the game; the bamboo forests that were dark and mysterious, to lush fields full of life and color. The atmosphere was very similar to the real-life Tsushima according to Sucker Punch personnel who visited the island, making for a true-to-life experience. Overall, it greatly builds on your experience when playing with it’s phenomenal scenery and graphic design. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost of Tsushima was definitely one of the best games of 2020, giving you a great campaign, a perplexing story, and enticing combat that you can enjoy, despite the poor stealth gameplay. The characters are well-written and captivating, each with great stories that amount to several entertaining side quests. The main campaign full of stunning cinematics and twists will leave you at the edge of your seat while combating foes with your katana. It’s truly a story about sacrifice and the shackles of tradition and honor. All amounting to an outstanding game.

 

Verdict: 9/10