Playing Ghost of Tsushima, is a visual fest. This is definitely one of the most beautiful and breath taking game, I have played. The colors are so vibrant, you will fall in love with Japan. Shout out to PlayStation Asia for getting us an early copy!
One notable mode which will interest Japanese film fans, is the Kurosawa mode. Named aptly after famed legendary Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa. This mode gives you the feel that you are playing the game in a classic black and white film. Just think of Kurosawa’s classic film, Seven Samurais and you are one of them. Well, that’s what I would do.
Check out the launch trailer here.
Ghost of Tsushima is set in 1274, when the Mongols first invaded Japan. The main bad guy is Khotun Khan, a fictional grandson of Genghis Khan. Then again Genghis has sowed his seeds of love pretty much in every part of the world, there actually might be a real Khotun Khan. Anyway, this Khotun is ruthless and has an awesome cinematic intro. The samurais are totally outnumbered yet they still decide to go for an all out attack against the Mongols and tons of them get massacred.
You play the young samurai called Jin Sakai. Jin follows his uncle, a samurai leader who gets captured by Khotun Khan. Jin tries to fight Khotun at the start and naturally gets his ass handed over to him. Fella nearly dies but this lady, Yuna rescues him and helps him recover. Yuna’s a thief by the way and there is a clash of conflicting ways between Jin, who wants things done honorably aka the samurai way and Yuna who wants things done in a more stealthy way aka sneak attack. The good thing is Jin, gets to learn that not everything can be done the samurai way so he adapts and makes it work whether he likes it or not. You can clearly see that, in Jin’s first stealth kill. So he becomes the Ghost. Ghost does all things Jin the samurai doesn’t. Stealth kills and what not. Whatever it takes to save his uncle, protect and liberate the people of Japan. That is his mission.
It is very obvious, Ghost of Tsushima pays homage to Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films. And kudos to Sucker Punch when it comes to details. The costumes, the weapons and the colorful sceneries are amazing. I so badly wanted to play the game in Kurosawa mode from the start. But if I did, I would be missing out the vibrant colors of the game. I will definitely replay the game in Kurosawa mode the next time.
For me, the best way to play a Japanese game, a samurai game especially is with Japanese dialogue and English subs. It just brings out the authenticity. Unfortunately, the Japanese dialogue does not match with the characters’ lips. This is very obvious during the close ups and cut scenes. Sadly the characters’ lips are synced to English dialogue instead. I felt like I was watching Kung Pow or a badly dubbed movie. If only Sucker Punch had given more emphasis on the Japanese Voice overs instead. I have to say the Japanese voice overs were fantastic. Way much better than their English counterparts. The English ones were kind of flat and dull unlike the Japanese which were dramatic and it matched perfectly with parts of the story.
One of the things, I liked about Ghost of Tsushima are the characters. You do get attached to some of the characters. One of them looked and sounded like the Dharma Initiative Asian guy from Lost. I may be wrong.
There are side quests that helps you spend time with your closest allies, though they may at times be a little dull, the conversations, you have with them as you walk or ride with them are interesting. But as interesting as the conversations are, it does get annoying when the character’s voice over sounds distant from you even though he is just beside you.
The open world is breath taking and something different from this open world game is that it doesn’t have a mini map. Instead you rely on the wind directions, birds and animals to go along your way to missions, side quests and collectibles. It took some getting used to for me, cos I relied on mini maps a lot whenever I play games with huge maps. But once you get the hang of it, it’s easier.
The combat is a little more tougher, it isn’t as easy like hack and slash Dynasty Warriors kind of combat. You need to use different stances to fight certain enemies and rely on different techniques so don’t get too comfy with just one style. One of my fav things about this game is the standoff. The old classic Mexican standoff where you face your enemy and see who draws first but with swords.
All in all, Ghost of Tsushima is truly a fascinating game. Just take a moment to soak in the beauty before you end your enemies’ suffering. It’s definitely a contender for GOTY.
Get the game on PlayStation here.