We take a look at the game play, story, combat and graphics and make a verdict on whether this is a must buy for Summer 2020

Ghost of Tsushima, is it a must buy?

Ghost of Tsushima, is it a must buy? Like many of you all I have been eagerly awaiting Ghost of Tsushima probably the biggest release by Suck Punch Productions to date.

We take a look at the game play, story, combat and graphics and make a verdict on whether this is a must buy for Summer 2020.

Story

The story follows Jin Sakai a 13th Century Samurai tasked to fend off Mongol forces on the Island of Tsushima. The story beings at graphically intense battle of Hanada Beach where unsurprisingly Jin has been left for dead.

Ghost of Tsushima tells a story of the Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274 CE. This is excellently executed through the narrative of fictionalised character Jin and cast of three-dimensional characters.

The story leans heavily on the tension between Jin the Samurai and Jin the Ghost. Consequently this constant tension draws you into game play and Jin’s story with an ongoing emotional impact. Jin struggles significantly with this turmoil throughout the game.

Is it right for Jin to go against his traditional Samurai training in order to save the people of Tsushima? Markedly this is portrayed through the ‘ghost’ side of Jin throughout the game. It’s the age old ethical question, is it right to kill one to subsequently save the many?

Game play

Game play unravels organically as we follow Jin around the Island of Tsushima. Jin battles with invaders in open combat, uses stealth skills and gadgets to sneak into invader territory. This supports character and story development.

Jin is able to unlock areas of the map through story development. He is also able to unlock areas through solo exploration. Game play starts off slowly whilst you navigate through the story and build up basic abilities such as stealth, ranged combat/sword play.

Evidently Sucker Punch Productions appear to have given a lot of thought to Jin’s character development which coincides with his fighting abilities.

Actions lead to consequence. Whilst the game does allow you to narrate Jin’s path, I feel game play did not always reflect the decisions I made for Jin. This leads to a slight feeling of disappointment because in my opinion ‘why give me the option?’

Combat

Jin is equipped with two upgradeable swords: a long katana for open combat, and a short wakizashi for stealth.

Jin can learn four different fighting style combos to fight different kinds of enemies: Swordsman, Shield–bearers, Spear-wielders and Brutes. Jin’s combat skills improve as the new skills and stances allow him to counter different enemy types.

Sword combat is engaging and draws you into the story with stunning graphics, visuals and gore. Jin also has several skills trees available to develop to improve his combat, defence, general skills and stealth. These are interesting to explore and develop at first however by midway point of the game you have likely developed your favourite combat choices anyway.

Overall, I enjoyed the range of combat, skill development and the fluidity. Whilst mechanically combat can begin to feel repetitive towards the end, I can forgive this given the captivating storytelling and immersive graphics which fully incorporate Samurai aesthetics into combat fighting.

Graphics

You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who does not agree that the graphics and sound on this game is something to be excited about. Sucker Punch has ensured that Ghost of Tsushima is a graphical treat through a combination of exploration, fine detail and particle rendering.

Map exploration isn’t quite what you expect. Jin relies on the ‘Guiding Wind’ – a gentle breeze that blows grass, flowers and leaves to indicate where to go next.

This use of navigation is a particularly nice touch that I believe more games should utilise. Not only does this lead to increased screen estate, which obviously is always a good thing. It allows path finding therefore to become a natural and beautiful part of exploring the world.

Verdict

Visually stunning and packed with adventure. If you’re a fan of story telling and character development in an ‘Assassin’s creed’ style of game then this game is a must buy.

Undoubtedly the game does have a few short comings, especially in relation to storytelling. These however are more than easily overlooked due to immersive game play which utilises a combination of exploration and combat.

If you enjoyed reading this article, then make sure to check our thoughts on PS5 vs Xbox Series X.