Ghosts of Tsushima – First Thoughts

There was so much hype around this game that I knew I was going to play it eventually. With the addition of Legends (the multiplayer DLC) and the price drop for Black Friday, I finally got my hands on it and so far I’m thoroughly impressed.

While third-person games are normally not my cup of tea, I was convinced to buy Ghosts of Tsushima for PS4 around Black Friday 2020. The Legends multiplayer DLC was icing on the cake as on the weekends I play with a few friends who were also getting the game.

Those posting about it on the internet couldn’t speak higher about the game. They considered it a capstone to the PS4 legacy since the PS5 was launching soon. The visuals, story, and game play were all given top remarks that were hard to ignore.

Samurai legacy

I’m not going to talk too much about the story to prevent any spoilers. I went into the game blind, knowing only that it was a samurai, open world game with excellent story telling. After a few hours into it, I couldn’t agree more. You’re put into a situation only to feel like you need to push forward and progress at any costs. It’s not hard to become attached to your character and those that you cross paths with early on in the story.

The setting of Tsushima is vast but doesn’t feel too large like some other games. Bigger is not always better and with fast travel options you’re free to traverse as you like. The environment is inviting and so far I haven’t fast traveled yet. Picking up supplies and side quests as you progress from area to area makes the trek worthwhile.

The menus are clean and intuitive, allowing quick navigation between game play and settings / equipment. There are also collectibles throughout the game that you can read more on if you want to dive into some of the lore it offers. The missions are outlined neatly and its easy to switch between interest points as you decide what to do next.

Swinging steel

As mentioned earlier, third person games normally don’t do it for me. The control schemes are always over complicated which normally leaves me fumbling around and getting killed over and over again. The action in this game is very polished and the controls are quite simple. I’m sure as more items and skills are unlocked the game play will become more challenging, but at this point I know that if I die it’s not because of the games control mechanics.

Combat is clean and fun, for now anyway. Challenging battles feel right and understanding the environment your fighting in provides a much needed and appreciated advantage. Items are kept to a minimum in battle and healing is a button press, allowing you to focus on combat and not worry about stopping the action unless you want to.

What’s interesting is that the game doesn’t force you into any particular play style. Want to run in and start swinging? Good luck. Stay in the shadows and play it really safe? No problem. I enjoy a balance of both game plays, knowing that if I’m trying to stay hidden and make a mistake, I can still complete the mission without having to start over.

Onward we go

I’m hoping to stick it out with this game and finish it. I look forward to playing it which is something that I normally don’t feel with games lately. If you like the smoothness and visuals of Horizon Zero Dawn, the challenge and risk/reward of Bloodbourne, and the open world and depth of Red Dead Redemption 2, then this game is probably something you should check out. I think it combines the best of top games and creates something unique and special.

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