Ghost of Tsushima
I initially struggled with Ghost of Tsushima, but don’t take this as a bad thing. I received a review copy the day after I had completed The Last Of Us 2, which basically destroyed me. So to begin with I took a few days off gaming to try and recover mentally and emotionally. Then when I thought I had recovered, I started Ghost of Tsushima.
My initial session left me underwhelmed and, yes, bored. To be fair for an open-world game, Ghost has a very linear introduction, and gameplay does take a while to build up. But also, I was having trouble leaving The Last Of Us 2 behind.
But with three weeks up my sleeve, I was certain I’d manage to get past The Last Of Us and start to really experience Ghost, and I did.
Ghost of Tsushima introduces us to a samurai named Jin Sakai, who finds himself conflicted between maintaining the samurai code, or to use any means necessary to kill the leader of the Mongols who invaded his homeland, Khotun Kahn.
So not exactly original in any way – a hero fighting for freedom and his people – but does have the distinction of being set in 13th century Japan, and casting you in the role of the last samurai. Though as an open-world game, it pretty much follows the formula of those than have come before it, From Red Dead Redemption to Assassin’s Creed.
You get a horse and a few basic weapons. As with most open-world games, you have a variety of upgrade trees which give you new fighting or defense moves, more weapons, and armour, all upgradeable with enough resources.
Rush through the main quests and you’ll miss most of the game. The beauty is in the side quests, the exploration, the decisions made on what skills to upgrade first. All standard fare, and if it wasn’t for the setting, I probably would have just abandoned the game.
One of the great original concepts in the game is obviously you don’t have GPS, but you do have the wind. Select a location on the ma and the wind will blow towards it, giving you a gentle hint as to which way to go to get to your chosen location.
On the way, however, pay attention. Gather everything to see glowing, follow the yellow birds and the foxes. Trust me, follow them. Pick your fights, especially early on in the game. The only way to fully upgrade our character is by exploring and doing all the side missions.
Did I mention how stunningly gorgeous the game is? And how awesome the photo mode is – hell it’s way better than The Last Of Us 2 in this respect.
So is this samurai slasher worth your time and money?
In short yes. It’s strengths out weight the fact that it’s just like a number of other games released in the last year or about to be released over the next year. But it is an open-world game so it will demand a lot of commitment from you to get the most out of it.
For me personally, it’s a game that has a lot of life left in it, as I haven’t finished it yet – yep, I have a nasty habit of reviewing games that I have yet to complete, but that’s because reviews are more useful before or as soon as possible after the release of a game, and not several months later.
And it’s going to take me months to finish Ghost. Because I want to explore everything. Because I want to constantly stop and take photos. And because unlike that other game I keep mentioning, there feels like there is no urgency to finish this game. Almost as if it has a life of its own and I just want to see where it takes me, to enjoy the journey more than the destination.
Because whilst it is a brutal game, it has a sense of peace that is carried with you in the wind.
Rating: R13 Restricted to persons 13 years and over. NOTE: Bloody violence & content that may disturb