Ghost of Tsushima is one of those games that is both refreshing and derivative at the same time. Its beautiful and aesthetic Japanese motifs counter-balance gameplay mechanics that we’ve seen many times before. While nothing is entirely new in Ghost of Tsushima, it being reminiscent of Assassins Creed and Sekiro among others, its ever changing biomes and breathtaking scenery offer a delightful gaming experience that is worth the money but doesn’t over stay its welcome.
Right off the bat lets get the gameplay out of the way. Besides the swordplay, Ghost of Tsushima is pretty much a carbon copy of an Assassins Creed game. There’s outposts that you have to conquer, stealth, and assassination mechanics that would feel right at home in Assassins Creed. Unlike recent Assassins Creed games though, enemies don’t have levels. You never come across an enemy that you can’t defeat due to you not putting enough hours into the game. Which can be a good thing if you want to just play the game without hitting an artificial level wall. With the right techniques unlocked (which don’t take a long time to unlock) you can seamlessly dispatch any amount of foes whether you go the stealth route or take them head-on.
The swordplay is what makes this game different. You have 4 stances that you can unlock throughout the course of the game. Each one is focused on beating a certain type of enemy. You switch them by holding down right trigger, and then pressing the corresponding face button that matches the enemy type you want to defeat (between shield men, spear men, swordsmen, and brutes). In larger encounters there will be many foes of each type trying to engage you at the same time, switching between the stances at will keeps the fighting fluid and encourage a feeling of skillfulness when you come out on top.
The games beauty comes from its many different biomes. It takes place on, you guessed it, a fictional version of the Island of Tsushima in Japan. There are many types of forests, from bamboo to sweeping red maples, all the way through mossy swamps and snow capped mountains. While the map is large, it is manageable. You can ride a horse from one end the the other in (I’m guessing here) 25-35 minutes, or you can fast travel (which is quick compared to other games with long loading screens).
Ghost of Tsushima also has many flavorful side quests and locations to see, that immerse you into the world. Examples include investigating a haunted forest, or visiting every shrine in the game. While these can get tedious toward the end of the 50 hour play-through (and that 50 hours includes all the quests and most of the collectibles which is a nice length for a casual gamer) they all give you upgrades, whether its a skill point or a tiny increase in health.
Ghost of Tsushima is a gem of a title that doesn’t include any micro-transactions (an increasingly rare thing in today’s world) and is a beautiful gaming experience from start to finish. While it does borrow heavily from games such as Assassins Creed, Ghost does this in a tasteful manner which highlights the games strengths and allows many casual players to fully enjoy this complete world and story Sucker Punch Productions developed.