Ghost of Tsushima is a game you don’t want to miss out on. I’ve been played this game for two weeks straight and have finally completed it. This is also the second game that I have ever gotten the platinum trophy for.
I usually don’t go for platinum, especially with open world games like this. So, for me, that’s saying a lot about how great of a game it is.
Ghost of Tsushima first pulls you in with its compelling story.
Right from the beginning we are introduced to an army of samurai who are moving towards the mongol invaders. Before the battle commences, they send a messenger ahead to try to parley.
Unfortunately for him, he gets a brutally disrespectful death as soon as the general walks up.
The guy didn’t even give the messenger the time of day, he just doused him in oil and set him on fire like it was common courtesy. It was pretty savage, but at least the general made his intentions clear.
From there, we are given control of our samurai, getting our first taste and feel of the game. Riding into battle surrounded by your allies and then mowing down the invaders in your path.
Being introduced to the combat system in a high octane, adrenaline fueled way is a great opening to the game and further sucks you into Ghost of Tsushima‘s world.
Of course, if we were to win here, there would be no story to tell. So, we lose most of our samurai companions to the foreign troops and start our quest for revenge.
A story of change, sacrifice and honor. Going from a highly respectful samurai to a “ghost” assassin for the people.
You get samurai duels in Ghost of Tsushima.
Have you ever watched a movie where there are two people facing off against each other, and whoever has the quickest reflexes wins? Well, in Ghost of Tsushima we get to be an active part of that.
Fighting in this game is very fun and makes you feel like a true samurai. There are many aspects that allow for adaptation to the types of enemies we go up against.
One of the favorite encounter types of many gamers, including myself. Imagine one of those cowboy showdowns often found in old western movies, but with swords.
Ghost of Tsushima encourages head on confrontations with groups of enemies. Get close enough for the prompt and find yourself in special semi mano-a-mano combat.
A screen that is usually reserved for cutscenes helps you focus on the unfortunate souls that decided to take the challenge. Watching for your opponents move towards an attack, then to defeat them with a single slash during their mid swing.
There’s nothing like getting a 3-5 streak in a standoff, it makes us feel like the ultimate samurai.
Another favorite fighting mechanic in Ghost of Tsushima. Duels are one on one clashes with special combatants across the land. Throughout the island of Tsushima, we see these beautiful arenas where they take place.
The opponents in this type of combat are much better than the average schmucks that are seen roaming the world.
Akin to standoffs, but is more focused on defeating a single challenger. A classic fight of honor and dignity, to see who the better swordsman is.
There are 5 different types of enemies in Ghost of Tsushima. Spearman, swordsman, brutes, shield bearers and archers. Four of these foes are best dealt with by using the respective stance. I won’t get into too much detail about them, but here’s a brief summary of each:
- Stone Stance – Mainly used against sword wielding enemies, helps to stagger them quickly.
- Water Stance – Best for getting their shields out of the way.
- Wind Stance – Most effective against spear wielders. I had a hard time trying to parry these guys for some reason, so this stance really helps with that.
- Moon Stance – Great for stunning the big guys so they can be taken down faster.
As for archers, they can be annoying sometimes, but just returning fire or running up to them will do the trick. It’s a piece of cake to get rid of them.
In short, the combat was fantastically fun. There’s a bit of a focus on assassination too, after all that’s where the “ghost” comes in.
Very much like the Assassin’s Creed series where it’s Templars vs. assassin’s. Though in this case, it’s the samurai vs. a ghost vigilante.
On top of all that, Ghost of Tsushima is absolutely stunning.
Finally, we have the graphics. I was floored by how amazing it looked when I first got into the game. After the prologue when we are riding our horse in an open field of pampas grass, it felt incredibly epic.
I rode around the map as soon as control was handed over to me. Main story missions were pushed to the bottom of my to do list. Beautiful, wide open spaces filled with lush greenery. Such a live and dynamic world, filled with hidden places waiting to be discovered.
Avoiding all mongol camps, knowing that they would reveal a large area of the map. Opting instead to uncover the entire area on horseback. Unveiling every fog covered inch of the landscape, participating in every battle against patrols and bandits.
Pretty much doing everything I could to drag out the game, even though it’s already a decent length. Such as charming world that we just don’t want to leave, even after we’ve done everything possible in it.
Sadly, there is no new game plus, so once we get to the end, that’s it. Fun while it lasted.
Ghost of Tsushima is fantastic, BUT…
Despite all the high praise, there are still things that could have been better in the game. Maybe it’s just me, but I found the facial expressions to be a bit flat. Sometimes, they just didn’t seem to convey the proper amount of emotions in some of the scenes.
The English voice acting wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t stellar. I had to quickly switch over to the Japanese voice over, and that made the game so much more immersive. Japanese is just my preference though, so I’m a little biased there.
At first, the lip synchronization kind of threw me off and took away from the experience as it was tailored to the English language. But, it’s good to see the developers actually take the time to mold character lips to English words.
Other than those things, the overall experience is incredible. A wholesome feeling game with some sad, tear jerking moments, but all that just makes for a great story to play through.
What are your thoughts on Ghost of Tsushima? Did it let you live the samurai fantasy that you imagined?
Let me know down in the comments, I’d be happy to see what your experience with the game was.