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Ghost of Tsushima Review: A Visual Treat and Every Bit Thrilling

The classical movies featuring sword-wielding Samurais have always been fascinating. Also, the Samurai Jack cartoon series when released in 2001 went on to win many hearts with its jam-packed actions and dynamic characters. Now the gallantry of samurais comes in the form of a new PS4 game.

The Ghost of Samurai made by Sucker Punch Productions and directed by Nate Fox is set in feudal Japan of the 13th century and tells the story of a samurai warrior. We have reviewed this open-world game and found it to be every bit thrilling. Here are the details of our review.

Classical Plot

In the 13th century, the East Asian ethnic warrior group Mongols were rampaging throughout Asia with conquests after conquests. In 1274 they invaded the Japanese island Tsushima. This true incident constitutes Ghost of Tsushima’s plot. However, the characters are imaginary.

Jin Sakai is the protagonist who takes on the Mongols led by Khotun Khan. The latter is ruthlessly powerful and kills the outnumbered samurai army, captures Jin Sakai’s uncle and the leader of samurais, Lord Samura. Grievously injured Jin Sakai, however, escapes as he was left for dead.

Jin collects allies and learns new fighting techniques. He manages to free Lord Samura from the Mongols. And in that process, he starts being revered as “The Ghost” by the locals. The Mongols strikes back by defeating the samurais and capturing Jin, who later manages to escapes again.

Jin realizes he can’t defeat the formidable enemy by sticking to just and honorable ways of fighting but will have to resort to guerilla tactics much to his uncle’s displeasure. He stealthily infiltrates into the Mongols ranks and poisons their food. Furious on this, Khotun Khan recreates the same for Samurais and then a series of battles ensues, which eventually ends with the killing of Khotun Khan.

Thereafter comes the twist. Instead of being complimented by his men, victorious Jin faces the charge of being a threat to the stability of the Tsushima, forcing him to go on the run.

Flexible Gameplay 

The Ghost of Tsushima is a combat style of game, seemingly a mix of Assassin’s Creed and the Witcher. The breakneck speed, stealth, and aggression add to the excitement of the game, which is already based on an engaging premise. Other than customary swords, bows, and arrows, you can use different weapons such as throwables that include knives, sticky bombs, etc.

Different attack modes give you the flexibility to adapt to the nature of attacks from the opponent. The Stone Stance is effective against other swordsmen, but in the case of heavier rogues, it is the Moon Stance which works better.

There is no lock-on button to block fatal attacks, so you must be constantly vigilant to avoid such attacks. However, you get the audio and visual cues before the enemy mounts an attack. You are not looking for achieving level or ranks here, but each successful mission will add to your skill points, which will enable you to unlock special skills. You can unlock stances and charms and increase your arsenal as you advance into the game.

The side missions centred on the main characters are an important part of the gameplay since completing them allows you to improve the skills to face the larger enemies. Along the way, musicians also let you explore new missions by their narration. However, you are not advised to indulge too much into the side missions lest you should be distracted from the primary campaign.

The build-up to the story is slightly slow before it picks up the speed and becomes pretty engaging. However, the lack of skipping dialogues and scenes comes in the way of the fast-paced, stimulating campaign. You can’t directly get into the business unless you spend significant time in moving around and horse-riding.

Another thing you may like or not is that the Ghost of Tsushima is combat style gaming that doesn’t require problem-solving skills from you. The AI can be tricked even if you are spotted. It is something that could be improved.

Apt Audio, Visuals & Graphics

The entire game is a visual treat with everything set to maximum beauty. The adventure takes you through Japan’s most breathtakingly beautiful landscape that comes alive with befitting colors. The vibrant animation makes the characters believable.

The island is full of natural lush green beauty, leafy forests, and exotic terrains. The calm visuals are further enhanced by the addition of fireflies, petals, and autumn leaves. If you like any visuals too much, you can capture them using the Photo Mode button to share with your friends on social media.

The Kurosawa Mode gives you the option to play the game in black and white mode if you are fans of classic Akira Kurosawa movies. The cinematic visuals and twist & turns in the story are complemented by an excellent background score composed by Ilan Eshkere and Shigeru Umebayashi.

The music is of traditional Japanese origin. For example, traversing the pastures’ calm visuals is complemented with a melodious shakuhachi (Japanese flute) score, whereas Taiko (Japanese drum) beats go well with the sword-fighting. The characters speak both English and Japanese, depending upon your choice.

Our Verdict

The historical setting, thrilling combats, and exciting exploration, all offered in excellent art styling, make the Ghost of Tsushima a perfect swansong for the PlayStation 4. Sony has proved that it is capable of making first-party games for the PS4. The long hours of gaming, however, test the console by generating some heat. Notwithstanding, the game runs seamlessly without any lag or frame drops.

We think the makers could have cut down on some side missions as well as the paddings. Besides that, there is nothing much to complain about this well-designed game. If you love the gory blood-shedding duels in the open-word games, the Ghost of Tsushima will keep you engrossed. It is undoubtedly one of the best game released for PS4 in 2020.

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