Ghost of Tsushima (Gaming)

by cheapLEY @, Monday, July 20, 2020, 18:54 (187 days ago)

Did you think Sekiro looked cool, but maybe too hard? Have I got a game for you.

Ghost of Tsushima is the new Sony exclusive, and seems like the final big first party game before the PS5.

I like it! It's a big open world action game with some RPG mechanics, like just about everything these days. Think Assassin's Creed and you're basically there. It doesn't do a whole lot new for the genre, but it does do that genre pretty well.

I'll start by stating (and showing) the obvious. The game is beautiful. It's not The Last of US II, or even Horizon: Zero Dawn in terms of technical prowess. There are some mediocre models and muddy textures everywhere. The animations during combat are fantastic, but Jin's feet clip through the ground like 80% of the time. The style, however, is incredible. Horizon: Zero Dawn meets Breath of the Wild, maybe. Here's a few screenshots (which aren't great at showing what the game just looks like while you're running around, maybe, but these are all just scenes I stumbled upon and took pictures of).

PS4 really needs better picture sharing options. I'm far too lazy to find a thumb drive.

You'll spend your time in the game exploring a massive open world on the Japanese island of Tsushima. It's varied and gorgeous. It's probably the best open world design since The Witcher 3. It feels like a convincingly real place in a way that not many video games do (not even Horizon), and I always love that. It's the type of game where I walk, not run, everywhere and just take it all in.

It's also the first open world game that I can recall that works without a mini-map (there's not even an option to turn one on). The game directs you to your destination with the wind. When I first saw videos of it, I thought it looked silly and like a bad gimmick, but it's not. The world is filled with leaves, grass, pollen, embers, flowers, etc. Everything blows in the wind, and the wind always blows towards your destination. The wind kicks up dead leaves and grass and pollen, so there's always an easy trail to follow, but it seems very natural and looks amazing. If you need a little more direction, you can swipe up on the touchpad, and the wind will gust really hard for a few seconds to give you a stronger indication of direction, and it will also do that whenever you set a new destination. It's a truly amazing feature, and probably the one real innovation the game brings to the table.

The actual gameplay is pretty familiar if you've played modern Assassin's Creed. You can sneak around and hide in tall grass. Enemy camps typically have lots of stealthy routes you can take to sneak up on people. It's fun enough and I think it does that stuff well (honestly, probably better than modern Assassin's Creed).

The real fun is the sword combat, though. It's very Sekiro-lite, I would say. There's a strong emphasis on parrying or using strong attacks to break an enemy's guard. The game also has four stances, each of which is strong against a specific enemy type. If you're fight an enemy with a sword, you use Stone stance. A guy with a shield, swap to Water stance. It doesn't seem strictly required, but using the correct stance allows you to break their guard easier. You can also just rely on dodging and parrying (which you'll have to do even if you're in the correct stance). However, if you blow stealth in enemy territory, the game will throw lots of enemies at you, and that's when it is at it's most fun. Juggling ten different enemies, swapping between stances on the fly. It's really engaging and far less button mashy than it initially feels like it's going to be.

I have been itching for a big open world sort of checklist game, and this is extremely that. If you're looking for something like that, check it out.

I'm still early, but I will say the story is pretty standard video game stuff. The Mongols attack the island and kill most of the Samurai, and you get to recruiting help and killing Mongols. The main sort of internal conflict is Jin, the main character, wrestling with wanting to uphold his Samurai honor while also being a sneaky assassin and doing what's necessary to fight back. It works, I guess, but it's not the most interesting thing in the world. The sidequest stories seem fairly interesting, though. There's definitely stuff to like there, but it's not Horizon: Zero Dawn.

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