Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, Ghost of Tsushima is quite possibly the last great PlayStation 4 exclusive from Sony Interactive Entertainment. This open-world adventure brings players into ancient Japanese history, and into a samurai era of the First Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274.
Let’s take a look at what Sucker Punch Productions have been working on for the past several years.
Ghost of Tsushima Details
Platform: PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure, stealth
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A war-torn island ripped apart by the Mongol Empire
Ghost of Tsushima‘s story is inspired by history and takes place in the late 13 th century, during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The Mongol Empire is on a rampage and has devastated many countries. Tsushima is all that is left between the Mongols and mainland Japan. During the first wave of the Mongol invasion on the island, many lives were lost.
As a result large areas of the island were quickly conquered and its inhabitants enslaved. You assume the role of one of the island of Tsushima’s last samurai, Jin Sakai. As one of the only few survivors of his clan, Jin sets out to reclaim the island from General Khotun Khan of the Mongol Empire and free its inhabitants.
As you make your way across Tsushima, Jin is faced with many tough decisions. Conflicted, Jin must decide if he will fight with honour like a samurai or become the Ghost and go against his Uncle’s teachings.
Roam vast countrysides and expansive terrain
Exploration is one of the key gameplay elements of Ghost of Tsushima. Sucker Punch came up with a way to allow the island to guide the player in the most immersive way possible. With a simple swipe up on the touchpad, you can use the Guiding Wind to navigate the island. You can call a gust of window at any time to point you in the right direction on your travels.
Additionally, there are other visual cues that can lead you to unknown and hidden locations. Things such as smokestacks, which indicate people are in need of help, interesting and odd shaped trees, and even animals trying to get your attention.
Fight with honour or do whatever it takes to win
There are essentially two types of combat in Ghost of Tsushima. Fighting with samurai honour and always facing your enemy head-on. And, fighting like a savage warrior who uses every dirty trick in the book possible to win. It’s these choices, which cause an internal conflict with Jin all throughout the story.
One of my favourite gameplay elements is challenging enemies to a lethal standoff. If you are quick, you can deal a lethal blow that will absolutely decimate your opponent. Furthermore, there are many different combat stances that you can unlock. Each of these combat stances have attacks that cater to a specific type of enemy.
On the other hand, fighting as Jin the Ghost, sneaking up on your enemies and taking them out from behind is quite satisfying at times. If spotted, you can use kunai for a quick kill and it will actually invoke fear into the other enemies around you.
Surprisingly, Ghost of Tsushima doesn’t give you the ability to lock on or focus on one enemy. This means that not only do you have to fight but you also have to position the camera at the same time. This often led to me having to stop fighting for a second or two and then move the camera. When there are multiple enemies you are fighting, you can imagine what a headache this can be.
When sneaking around as Jin the Samurai or fighting as Jin the Ghost, you’ll have different armour on. This is because the armour in Ghost of Tsushima gives you different mechanical advantages—it’s not just cosmetic. As you explore the island of Tsushima, you will discover charms that will give you an edge in battle. Additionally, you can use Technique Points to learn and upgrade your skills.
As your legends grows, you’ll learn all-new techniques that will transform Jin from Samurai into Ghost. And, you get to decide how those techniques evolve and grow over time. That means that not only can you choose how the Ghost gameplay evolves but you can fine tune the look as well.
Feudal Japan like you’ve never seen before
Visually, the Ghost of Tsushima is a treat. There are points in the game where I got off my horse and stopped to take the world around me in. The lighting effects and the way in which the landscape sways in the winds can be truly breathtaking. Sucker Punch did a fantastic job of recreating 13th century Japan.
All of the main characters in the game look fantastic and are superbly animated. Oddly enough, there are some NPCs that you meet in the game that look out of place and not as well polished as the others. It doesn’t take away from the overall experience, they just look weird.
For those wondering, yes, you can play Ghost of Tsushima with Japanese voices with English subtitles. While the English character voice acting is good, the Japanese voices lend a more authentic feel to the game.
Ghost of Tsushima has a photo mode that includes features such as colour grading, depth of field, and features that highlight the motion and movement about the game. For example, you can control the wind’s direction and speed. You can even change out the particles to different types of leaves and fireflies. And, you can select a track of music from the game’s score to fit your scene.
There are a lot of options included in this mode that allow you to tailor a photo or even video to your liking. To further immerse you in the world, Sucker Punch has included a way to feel like you are playing in your favourite samurai movie. There is a windy, black and white, film grained out mode that can be enabled from the very beginning.
Ghost of Tsushima is an enjoyable and memorable open-world experience
Ghost of Tsushima is yet another feather in the cap for Sony and the PlayStation 4. With the PlayStation 5 on the horizon, Ghost of Tsushima is quite possibly the latest great Sony exclusive on PS4. While the story starts off slow for the first 5-7 hours, it quickly picks up and I found myself invested in Jin’s well-being and his struggles.
Exploration and combat are executed superbly, most of the time. There were times when the wind would lead me to a dead end or to the bottom of a mountain I couldn’t climb. And, with no on-screen mini map, I often had to pause the game and switch to the map to see if I was going in the right direction. Again, it didn’t happen all the time but when it did it was frustrating.
Overall, Ghost of Tsushima is an enjoyable and memorable open-world experience with a fantastic story, great gameplay elements and a magical island to explore.
+ Superb combat and exploration elements
+ Character customization allows you to fine-tune gameplay and visual aspects
+ The island of Tsushima is a sight to behold
+ Side missions help to fully flesh out Jin’s character
– Narrative is slow to start off
– No auto lock on or targeting of enemies
– Mini map on the screen would have been helpful navigating
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF GHOST OF TSUSHIMA
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5