Ghost of Tsushima: A Beautiful Journey

A scene from Playstation’s Ghosts of Tsushima. Sucker Punch Productions/Sony Entertainment

Sucker Punch Studios has produced one of the finest Sony exclusives and a brilliant swansong for the PS4 with its brilliantly ambitious 2020 release Ghost of Tsushima. Utilizing a lush visual style reminiscent of a Kurusawa samurai epic, Directors Nate Fox and Jason Connell chose to create a game that is both fantastical in its aesthetics and realistic in its gameplay to the point where one can simply stop in the middle of some field while on horseback and just take in the highly detailed world around them. 13th century feudalism never looked so good, and from its vast open terrains and hundreds of side quests, Ghost of Tsushima is bound to keep you engaged for hours on end. 

The Pros 

Tsushima island, the setting of the game’s world, is a vibrant pastoral island set off the coast in a fictionalized feudal Japan during the height of the Mongol invasion. The world is characterized by succinct land masses from open meadows to snow covered mountains that give the setting a specific geographical distinction. The world is also inhabited by a wide array of non playable characters that, combined with some brilliant dialogue, feel organic to the exposition of the plot. The game allows players to traverse on horseback along with a grappling hook device which allows you to scale cliffs. 

The world of Tsushima is simply stunning as the most minute detail is covered to great effects such as the color of tree leaves and the colors of different horse breeds. Combat is coordinated realistically without catering to mindless button mashing. The gameplay also incorporates some stealth sequences for those who do not like to engage enemies directly. Weapon-wise, the developers placed a strong emphasis on historically accurate Japanese weaponry during the samurai era such as Tachi spears and swords.  

Everything about this game is enmeshed in lore and discovery. Fantastic creatures mixed with Mongol forces are mixed into the array of small fishing villages and woodland forests. Shinto Shrines are scattered across the varied landscapes that give the world of the story a sense of authenticity.  NPC’s are also highly developed with characters, such as the thief Yuna, proving valuable to the overall plot of the story. The game is stunning and rarely drags on especially during travel segments and side-quest missions.  Ghost of Tsushima is a technical marvel and deserves its place as one of the PS4’s greatest exclusives of the past generation. 

The Cons

One major gripe one can have with this game are its side missions that tend to insistent on following foxes to various parts of the world map. The world is beautiful certainly, but when one must constantly follow a fox to unlock other side quests it tends to become nerve-racking when compared to the beauty which surrounds players. A tedious distraction that can deter one from the joy factor of this otherwise flawless masterpiece. Also, the game lacks alternative gameplay modes that make this title more if a singular story-driven experience. Overall, Ghost of Tsushima does a lot more right than wrong and such gripes are minute in comparison to its overall stellar world setting. 

The Verdict 

Sucker Punch Studios has developed a masterful interpretation of 13th century Japan that mixes historical accuracy with fantastical mythology. From its vibrant visual aesthetics to its engrossing combat, the game blends well-crafted exposition with crafty gameplay mechanics. This title is simply a joy to behold and brings everything together into a final product that is palpable in every way to players. Definitely a fitting end to the PlayStation 4 era and it definitely ends off on a creative high point. 

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About Anthony Frisina 83 Articles
Anthony Frisina is a graduate of the City University of New York-Brooklyn College with a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Anthony went on to attend Brooklyn College's Film Academy and Writer's workshop program, achieving an interdisciplinary degree in Screenwriting and Film theory in the Fine Arts. Transforming his love for classic American cinema, Anthony went on to adapt a number of his own works into different mediums, including his well-received Western novel The Regulator. Anthony likes to spend his free time writing articles for magazines and periodicals that cover a wide range of topics, from science fiction to popular culture. As a screenwriter, Anthony has had his screenplays featured at numerous spec script writing competitions across the country where he one day hopes to write the next great American film.

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