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An incredible, open world, samurai game – Ghost of Tsushima Review (PS4)

Ghost of Tsushima Review – To be honest, I wasn’t normally keen on playing open world games. For some odd reasons, I usually got too lost in the numerous side quests and after a while, I just lost interest in playing the game as a whole. To my surprise, this didn’t happen to me with Ghost of Tsushima.

The main story keeps me hooked to continue on playing, and the side quests don’t feel repetitive and boring. I mean, there’s so much high tower you can climb within minutes in Assassins Creed, or so many outposts to clean in FarCry. Okay to be fair, you’ll be climbing cliffs and clearing camps as well in Ghost of Tsushima, but it never feels mundane.

It’s possible that this is because Ghost of Tsushima excels in many things: graphics, gameplay, combat mechanics, interesting characters, skill progression, dialogues, interesting plots, and many more. All these combined make Ghost of Tsushima into a cohesive, single player game that makes you want to come back and progress in the game.

Ghost of Tsushima is beautiful and looks even gorgeous in PS4 Pro. If you watch the trailers and videos around the net, you’ll see how beautiful everything looks; the detailed & lifelike characters, the grass swaying in the wind, the fire from a burning farm, the way rain hits the roof and falls, and so much more. It is clear that the design team masterfully crafted the game with so many details that you can just stand still and enjoy the view.

Even the gore and blood aren’t that excessive in game. They are somewhat necessary (I mean, this is a samurai game after all) and again, crafted in detail. Blood splatter goes on the direction of your katana, and some, ahem, decapitation only happens rarely when you unleash a secret attack that you’ll unlock later.

I can just talk about the graphics and design of the game in a single 1,000 word article alone and that won’t be enough. My PS4 Pro machine might be able to say it better though, I can hear it working hard at times with the fans going berserk.

A great samurai game should have a great swordplay and Ghost of Tsushima is full of it. The game gives you different mechanics to face different opponents with stagger and specific stances. Facing enemies with shields? Switch to the Water Stance and they will stagger quicker. Facing enemies with swords? Switch to the Stone stance. They also design the switch to be seamless, thanks to the slow motion action while you are switching, and also how you can remember them (e.g PlayStation’s triangle button looks like the tip of a spear, round button looks like a shield, cross button looks like two swords, and square button looks like a brute or for bigger enemies). Like I said, they really think these through when designing everything in the game.

There are also a variety of weapons to use and unlock, plus a lot of things to upgrade. Collecting resources are needed to upgrade these, but thankfully you are never be forced to spend a whole hour just to cut down trees or mining stones. These resources can be collected while you are on your way to a mission place, or while moving from one tent to another killing enemies. While I wish that I don’t have to search on every corner to find out if there are resources lying around, at least I don’t have to do this excessively.

In fact, you aren’t really required to upgrade everything to the max, I find. On the normal difficulty setting, even I feel confident in progressing with what I have (after a few upgrades) and already feel powerful enough to beat most enemies. While a completionist would love to upgrade everything and visit every place possible on the map, you don’t have to.

Ghost of Tsushima 4K

This is what I like about Ghost of Tsushima. I can enjoy the game without having to finish every little quest or visiting every unknown marks on the map. But I ended up doing this anyway, all thanks to the interesting quests and beautiful places to gallop my horse to. Most games would give you repetitive quests like “kill X” and “fetch Y”, but in Ghost of Tsushima, there’s always a story behind every side quest. Plus, every dialogue is also voice acted and they are doing a great job with the English dialogues. While I’m tempted to switch to Japanese thanks to many of my favourite, One Piece voice actors, I ended up happily with English. They seem to be voice-acted by Japanese (from the accent), so it still feels real and natural.

There are a lot of things to do and places to visit in Ghost of Tsushima, but I love how the game also has side storylines from allies you’ve recruited. Considering you’ll be seeing and interacting with them a lot throughout the game, it’s good that you can actually sympathise and care about these people. This makes all the actions and story progression even more immersive.

Unlocking new armors and secret moves have also been made special. You don’t just go to a certain place and grab them – well you do, but this is done beautifully through listening to rumours, a hand-drawn storytelling, and a few extra steps to locate them. In the end, unlocking these actually feels special and as if you’ve made a great effort (without being too draining and difficult).

Ghost of Tsushima Review Conclusion

There really is a lot to talk about and praise in Ghost of Tsushima, but it simply is the most gorgeous and well-crafted open world game I’ve ever played. It has the most gorgeous graphics, fluid & awesome fighting, believable quests and characters, character progressions, interesting side quests, and more.

Ghost of Tsushima also makes use of every button and feature on your PlayStation controller, and while it may be confusing to remember at times, the game UI + slow-motion action do help a lot. And all these actions and buttons are not for nothing, as they create unique and fun experience each time a fight occurs – and you will fight a lot. You wouldn’t mind though, because heck, you are a samurai wreaking havoc in either stealth or face-to-face with honour to fight against enemies invading your homeland.

It’s really hard to find something to complain about the game and even if there is, it’s really minor and does not hinder you in enjoying the game as a whole.

I won’t find it surprising if Ghost of Tsushima makes it as the Game of the Year in 2020!

Disclosure: Ghost of Tsushima review code was supplied for reviewing but all opinions are mine and not paid

Ghost of Tsushima Review (PS4)
Overall
5

Summary

An excellent, gorgeous open world game that does everything right

Pros

  • Gorgeous looking
  • Awesome gameplay & mechanics
  • Attention to detail
  • Immersive
  • Plenty of things to unlock and do

Cons

  • Some side quests may feel repetitive
  • Borrowed elements from other popular games like Assassins Creed, Far Cry, etc

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