Ghost of Tsushima – Review

Synopsis

It’s the late 13th century, and the Mongol empire has laid waste to entire nations in its campaign to conquer the East. Tsushima Island is all that stands between mainland Japan and a massive Mongol invasion.
As the island burns in the wake of the first wave of the Mongol assault, samurai warrior Jin Sakai resolves to do whatever it takes to protect his people and reclaim his home.

Review

The first thing I learnt about this game that I didn’t realised is that it’s based on a true life event that happened in the 1200’s. I think there is obviously a lot of dramatisation etc when it comes to the story that you play out in game but the actual event of the Mongols invading Tsushima was real and was an absolute white wash as the start of this game shows. The history nerd in me thanks the developers for this, because I did scour the internet to learn more about the attack and know that it was the first step for the Mongols on there route to trying to conquer Japan.

Now, in terms of the game, it is one that is absolutely sensational to look at, it is one of the best looking games I have ever seen, and after playing The Last of us Part 2, I thought that was going to be tough to beat, but in my eyes, this is just as good if not better. The use of lighting, the way the grass, trees and and all other foliage moved in the breeze, how you could truly feel that the game was alive and I must admit that I spent a lot of time playing around with the games Photo Mode which was able to capture this beauty first hand.

The beautiful island of Tsushima

You can see from the image above just how beautiful this game looks and playing with HDR switched on just makes that experience so much better.

One of the features within the game that I found very unique in the way it’s been implemented was the way points. You can go into the map look at where theres mission markers or undiscovered locations and set the way. When you’re back in the game this is shown to you by the wind.

I honestly thought this was a very unique way of doing it and one that falls within the ethos and style of the game. Instead of having markers on the floor show you, just have the breeze flow around you and guide the way. All you had to do then if you needed reminding was to swipe up on the DS4 touchpad and the breeze would help you along.

Let the wind guide your way.

Technically the game is very good and plays very smoothly, in fact i think its been a while since I’ve played a game on the opening weekend that has been this good in a technical sense without any glitches that have needed to be patched out, and its been quite refreshing knowing that I can go straight into the game and have such a smooth experience each time.

I like how the game play kind of mixes in some Assassins Creed the features where you can climb rocks, use the grappling hook to swing from place to place. You can only climb at designated points and use the grappling hook on certain areas. It’s good for when you need to get up to shrines and also go over mountains instead of trying to walk around them.

Which brings me onto another aspect of Ghost of Tsushima. Exploration. This game has been built and created for you to explore, you don’t have a mini map or compass, you can press the options button in the DS4 to bring to map up and see where you are and what icons are around to explore, which then brings into the play the guiding wind mentioned above. Ghosts of Tsushima wants you to explore everything that is has to offer and that is exactly what I’ve been doing. You get a horse at the start of the game to help you get from point to point and explore around, but I must admit that unless it’s forced me to use my horse which it does in some missions, I’ve been exploring the island on foot. Taking in all the beautiful vistas that the game has to offer as well as finding locations which I may have missed had I been on horse back.

Another thing that I’ve been super impressed with is the loading times, they are absolutely rapid, literally only takes a few seconds, so when I’m fast travelling from one spot to the other and its getting me there super quick, I know that I’m not wasting time, and within a click of the fingers I’m where I need to be. Sensational!

At first I found the combat a little tricky to deal with, I always forgot about blocking and defending, which is a very important part of the combat system, if you don’t learn and block/defend yourself when in fights, you’re not going to last long and will get chopped down quickly. But once I managed to master these techniques, I loved it. The smoothness of being able to strike so cleanly and take someone down while following it up with another sweet block or strike instantaneously to the next person was just sublime!

With the combat you’re given different stances which you earn by completing certain tasks, there are 4 different ones within the game; Stone, Water, Wind and Moon. Each stance is beneficial to a certain type of enemy. So the Stone stance is good against swordsmen, Water is best against Shielded enemies, the Wind stance is best against spear attackers and the Moon stance is effective against brutes. At first I thought that in the midst of battle that it would be to awkward to change stance to the more preferred one for the attacker I was dealing with, but I wasn’t too bad, especially once i learned which direction on the D-Pad they were set to, it was just then holding down RT and selecting the appropriate direction. Satisfaction!

Pretty much everything that you use within the game can be upgraded, from your armour, ghost weapons, Katana. Everything with the right resources can be upgraded and what impressed me greatly about this was that everything that you can loot from the world has a use, but what I found was that each item was clear in what it was needed for, usually there’s so much loot in open world games that you don’t really grasp what it can be used for. But in Ghost of Tsushima I found that everything I was collecting from supplies, flowers, bamboo etc I knew what it was going to be needed for. Which when it came to upgrading items I knew that the metals I was collecting along with supplies could be used for my gear to upgrade, flowers allowed me to get vanity products such as dyes and different style items for my armour and Katana.

For me this was an outstanding game and one I have thoroughly enjoyed playing, the story telling was absolutely spot on, the world and everything in it for me was perfect. Doesn’t happen often, but I’ll give this 10/10

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