There are few ancient military classes as iconic as the samurai. Ghost of Tsushima will not only allow us to live out our Samurai fantasies and be a noble warrior, but will also let us delve into the world of The Ghost.
Set in late thirteenth century Tsushima, Sucker Punch has developed what looks to be an incredible game full of iconic Samurai culture within the ancient Japanese land. Much like how Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks to be a celebration of all things Viking, Ghost of Tsushima is the Samurai game we’ve all been waiting for.
With dramatic combat and incredible exploration opportunities, Ghost of Tsushima could be the game that finally transfers the feel of a great Samurai film into a game. But the addition of The Ghost mechanics means that Ghost of Tsushima has many secrets within its story; ones that we can’t wait to explore with the protagonist Jin Sakai.
With Ghost of Tsushima being released on 17th July for PlayStation 4, it’s not long until we can learn the ways of the Samurai and The Ghost. But, for now, here are 10 reasons why we’re extremely excited to play.
Jin Sakai, Ghost of Tsushima‘s protagonist, becomes the last Samurai, and the only hope for defeating the Mongolion forces. In the official story trailer we see him being trained by his uncle, Shimura, who teaches Jin all the lessons of the Samurai. Perhaps this will form a tutorial of sorts, and we can’t wait to learn the ways of the Samurai.
But Jin begins to learn new abilities, ones not taught by his uncle; these even seem to contrast the teachings of Shimura. The Ghost addition creates a complex dilemma within Jin, and this could be what drives his character forward. It should make for a great character arc, and fully dynamic protagonist.
Of course, no Samurai game would be fit for purpose without great fighting mechanics. Ghost of Tsushima does not look like it’s going to disappoint there, with the May 14th State of Play showing off some incredible footage of Jin’s combat skills. There’s clearly a wide variation in the weapons available too, making us only more excited to wield a katana or bow.
Interestingly, it appears that once an enemy is near there’s an option to have a stand off; the screen’s ratio changes to make it like a film, and a tense musical score begins. It feels just like a classic Samurai film. With the ability to parry also allowing for slow motion attacks, combat looks incredible.
Ghosting your enemies
As seen in the State of Play gameplay trailer, Ghost of Tsushima will allow the player to attack enemies with the methods of The Ghost. These include more stealth, ways to distract the enemies, and even use of a kunai for a quick kill. With a plethora of Mongolian enemies, The Ghost certainly needs these extra tricks.
The Ghost seems to bring about some Assassin vibes from older titles in the Assassin’s Creed series. That’s no bad thing; if that’s the case, The Ghost’s approach will be a great addition to the Samurai skills.
A key story in history
Despite not being entirely factually accurate, Ghost of Tsushima certainly looks the part when it comes to bringing of late thirteenth century Japan to life. The Mongolian armies are well remembered for their skill, perseverance, and brute force. With the Mongols attacking Jin’s homeland of Tsushima, we get to see the full ability of the Mongolian army.
Leading the vicious Mongol army is The Khan; a fierce leader who is clearly cunning and knowledgeable. Within the story trailer we even get to see The Khan try to influence Jin; no doubt a pivotal moment in Jin’s development. The overarching story within Ghost of Tsushima looks completely compelling, and the historical additions make it feel even more grand and important.
Ghost of Tsushima‘s open world looks to be full of exploration opportunities. But unlike some games that rely solely on waypoints, Ghost of Tsushima will “let the island guide you.” The gorgeous setting of Tsushima has multiple eye-catching locations and landmarks, and each invites the player to explore that area. It’s the tactic the developers of Breath of the Wild used for encouraging exploration.
The State of Play presentation indicated that you “can’t have exploration without curiosity”, and much of the setting invokes that very curiosity. Even the wildlife in the game can guide Jin to hidden shrines or important locations. Plus, the wind allows the player to see which direction they should be going. This naturalistic approach could well come to define the greatness of Ghost of Tsushima.
Customise your own warrior
As has become commonplace in many adventure games, Ghost of Tsushima allows the player to customise the protagonist with different sets of armour and weapons. Each type has its own abilities, allowing the player to control Jin the way they want. That’s something which relates back to the contrast between the Samurai warrior and The Ghost.
Interestingly, each set of armour also seems to include a section for charms. Not too much is known about charms yet, but it appears that they offer advantages during combat. Likewise, there will be opportunities to gain technique abilities, which will almost certainly allow for great Samurai moves, or awesome Ghost skills.
The breathtaking setting
The environment in Ghost of Tsushima looks like a gorgeous watercolour come to life. It’s clear that exploration is key in Jin’s journey, and it’s impossible to install that drive to explore without first having a setting that draws us in. And Ghost of Tsushima looks set to do just that.
From forested areas, to wide fields, beaches, shrines and villages, every part of Ghost of Tsushima looks amazing. What truly stands out is the use of colour; the way the vibrant flowers slowly dance in the breeze. We can’t wait to see everything the setting of Tsushima has to offer.
A culmination of stories
Within Ghost of Tsushima, there appears to be random events taking place. In the State of Play, we were shown a scene where Jin rides past a bear attack; these types of events could take place fairly often. It’s a good indication that immersion is key, and that Tsushima will feel like a living world.
Later, after following a fox, Jin even finds a new NPC character who offers him a new quest. Of course, it was expected that Ghost of Tsushima would have side quests, but this provides a good idea on how these quests will be given to Jin, and how he finds them. Coming across them while exploring feels natural, adding to the realism being crafted by the game’s world.
Play like it’s a Samurai film
Some of the greatest films of all time have been influenced by the Samurai genre (just ask George Lucas). Ghost of Tsushima looks to be paying the ultimate tribute to this fine genre. From duels to quick paced combat and slow motion moves, it feels just like watching a Samurai film.
But Ghost of Tsushima goes so much beyond this; it allows the player to truly feel like they’re getting the authentic experience. Even before the game begins, the player will be able to turn off the English voice acting, and only have subtitles over the Japanese script. Players can also change the graphics so that it’s more grainy, or even black and white.
Capture your own Samurai photo
Most modern games include a dedicated photo mode, but Ghost of Tsushima looks to redefine this by allowing ultimate customisation. Everything from colour grading to field of depth and focus can be controlled by the player. Prepare to take some truly stunning photographs.
Even better, Ghost of Tsushima allows for short videos to be created in game. You’ll be able to capture the motion of slowly swaying flowers and the gentle blowing of the wind. Even the musical score can be edited, allowing us to create an iconic visual of thirteenth century Japan.
Ghost of Tsushima is coming to PS4 on 17th July. Pre-order your copy from Amazon.