Review: Ghost Of Tsushima (PlayStation 4)

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.

Pros:

  • Jaw-dropping graphics.
  • 46.99gb download size.
  • Platinum trophy.
  • Performance mode-better framerate or higher resolution.
  • HDR support.
  • Blood-on/off.
  • Accessibility options-subtitle backdrop, simplified controls, toggle button holds, aim assist, projectile indicator, and vibration.
  • Cinema mode-English sub, Japanese voice, and English sub or black and white with Japanese voice and English subtitles.
  • Invert axis and sensitivity sliders.
  • Camera speed settings.
  • Camera mode-has every possible setting you could want plus the ability to change poses, the weather, and make short animations.
  • 3 difficulties-easy, medium, and hard.
  • Brutal yet fantastical opening scenes.
  • Uses the DS4 speaker for certain sounds.
  • In-game cutscenes.
  • Tutorial for combat is done during the course of the Prologue.
  • Resolve-build it up with parries, killing enemies, etc and use to heal.
  • Save when you want from the menu.
  • Choose your horse and name him.
  • Standoff-walk up to a settlement/gate and challenge an enemy to one reflex-based fight with one hit kills. This number builds as you level up.
  • Wind-this is used to show you which direction to go and you can see it whenever you want by swiping the touchpad up.
  • Map-fills in as you discover places and you can put down customer waypoints.
  • Hidden collectibles-Mongol artifacts and records.
  • Survey-you can (with the help of a marker) survey and mark key points of a settlement.
  • Find crafting materials in the world via chest, Enemies, lying around, and coping down trees and plants.
  • Focused hearing-activate to see enemies through walls.
  • Techniques-earn technique points by leveling up and put points into skill trees to unlock new attacks, abilities, etc.
  • Can use the wind to find the next closest artifacts, records, or flowers.
  • Merchants to buy new clothing, dyes, and weapon parts.
  • Customization-use dyes on clothing.
  • Crafting-armour, sword (which is broken down into parts like blade/hilt). Everything can be upgraded and improved.
  • Full open world.
  • Play how you want and do as you wish.
  • Main story mission along with many many side missions and tasks for rewards.
  • Bamboo strikes-find this optional mini-game of sorts whereby you press a combination of buttons as fast as you can to chop bamboo and earn resolve points.
  • Legend status-once you fill the full circle of exp (techniques) you will get new status and more health and a new ghost weapon.
  • The map uncovers as you play and can show where you have been.
  • Tenchu vibes with the stealth and ability to go through Crawl spaces and under hits, through vent type structures and assassination kills.
  • Unlock many fast travel points across the map.
  • Haikus-find tranquil places and earn new headbands by combing phrases you see in the area.
  • Inari shrines-honor the shrine to get a minor charm slot. You can find these by following foxes in the world.
  • Vanity gear- basically high-end clothing/attire.
  • Autosaves frequently.
  • Mythic tales-(optional side missions) listen to bards and learn ancient attacks/abilities.
  • Golden bird-see one of these and follow them as they lead you to a secret.
  • Each set of armor gives a buff to stats and ability like buzzing when near an artifact or gives a health boost. You can swap armor when you like.
  • Stances-unlock and upgrade them as you play. Each stance is good against particular enemies and you can fast swap in battle.
  • Playing loud or stealth means each way is a different game.
  • Touch pad-swipe to sheath sword, use flute, wind direction, and emotes.
  • Actions can influence the weather. Not 100 percent on the trigger but rumor has it, if you do a lot of stealth then missions will be at night whereas less stealth brings daylight.
  • Pacing of unlocks is well executed as if you just main the story you will get to see a bit of everything and level up accordingly, this is due to exp being done on a task/tale/encampment type basis and not exp per kill.
  • Epic fight scenes that you are in full control of.
  • Nails the atmosphere of the world but also the danger when in combat.
  • A likable cast of characters.
  • The story is well told and has many unforeseen twists and turns. It feels predictable but it really isn’t.
  • Occasional multiple choice questions and answers segments.
  • After finishing the game you carry on playing and take on any side tales (missions) and side objectives whilst also claiming back the land and towns.
  • Going just for the story it took around 30 hours.

Cons:

  • Voices seem out of sync at times on either language choice.
  • Slow restart loads.
  • Only one control scheme.
  • Slow starter as you jump in and out of cutscenes.
  • Some of the facial work lessens the impactful scenes.
  • No lock-on for combat, aim assist isn’t the answer as it’s too strong and makes certain attacks a lot harder to pull off.
  • Can’t skip any dialogue no matter how trivial.
  • Later missions feel padded with actions like following a character to a particular spot being a favorite trick.
  • The enemy Ai doesn’t spot your Ai.
  • Few broken animations and clipping.
  • Using Crawl spaces and buildings, in general, is not that good as you really cannot fathom if it’s worth doing or not.
  • All buildings land up being the same layout over and over.
  • Whilst I love the idea and tech of the weather changing along with the time of day, it can break the immersion as it changes after a small conversation or cutscene.
  • The multiple-choice questions and answers segments feel pointless as they have no bearing on anything.
  • Breaking out of concentration hearing is so easy to do and is unusable in the water.
  • Invisible walls especially annoying when in the water and trying to hide under the Dock.
  • Using the wind for direction is not always clear and still requires the map.
  • Cannot skip any cutscenes no matter the size or importance.
  • Bad checkpointing and it can also respawn you somewhere completely different.
  • Bad end of a game boss fight especially with pacing, checkpoints, and how bullet spongey it was.

  • 10/10
    Graphics - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Accessibility - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Length - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Fun Factor - 9/10
9/10

Summary

Let’s get this out of the way. For the first five, six hours I hated this game, it was slow, the story was laying the groundwork so not that thrilling, combat was messy and it was all just not great. Now I can’t pinpoint the exact moment but I found myself enjoying the game and consuming it within days. Combat was still a sticky part for me, I just don’t like the lack of lock on and bad camera placement but I fixed all this by going full stealth. Talking of which the stealth is good and is not immune to criticism for you can see enemy outlines through walls or go through many vents and crevices but again the camera meant you never knew what was gonna happen when you do something. Overall it was more fun than combat that’s for sure and levelling up and getting more toys did make more stealth kill options. Fast travel points are everywhere and that’s good as the just moving around on a horse is kind of boring and just triggers random gang fights, the world is spectacular to look at but the horse is so mundane, It would have been cool to have the same sort of system that Assassin’s Creed uses where you can set a waypoint then press auto follow. That’s kind of the real deal with Ghost of Tsushima, its a bloody amazing looking game and has flashes of brilliance but for every positive there is a negative. The story was just so goddam good and its that alone that come me coming back hour after hour, I felt the last hour of it was a stress fest but the last five hours was just so intoxicating. Activities in the open world are not varied, repeat often and have so many it’s hard to keep up and even harder to care. Playing just the story I was never out of my depth, I maxed a few skill trees and didn’t feel like I needed to do side missions. What I took away is the story is must play, the other parts like traversal, activities and combat are all old hat and stuff you saw in open world games many years ago, if you are interested then please do play the story and make it your main focus, you can then use the open world activities to just maintain your stay in the world, so what I am saying is its a game that never pushes the genre but the story is strong enough to carry it to victory. I thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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