478 - Ghost of Tsushima

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JaySevenZero
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478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions for Ghost of Tsushima for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder that where the feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but keeping it brief is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mostly reading out essays. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Belmont03
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Belmont03 »

I had zero interest in this game when it was shown off and leading up to the games release. However, when the game released the world was in the middle of a pandemic and me and my roommates were taking the time to play through my backlog, newer AAA games ( I was still working so no need to save every penny) and of course Animal Crossing. So with that said, I went and bought the game day one to let one of my nonworking roommates play while I watched and decompressed from work... I ended up watching both my roommates platinum the game on my TV, LG CX OLED, and taking a peak myself, while they weren't playing, at the Kurosawa mode which I loved... Since then two of my coworkers have platinumed my copy...

I mention the make and model of my TV so that I can comment on how amazingly beautiful Kurosawa mode was on a TV with CRT level perfect blacks. While it made the game very difficult to play, which is no problem for me I love a challenge, the game so clearly looked like a Kurosawa movie that I could spend hours upon hours working my way through the game fighting the shadows as I try and read the enemies. I'm hoping that I can make that happen before the show is recorded so I can report back and see if its possible to read everything through those perfect blacks. If not I can say the game is satisfying to watch other people play, and I don't regret spending 60 bucks to watch other people play it.

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Quiet Paul
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Quiet Paul »

A game I had to take many breaks from and took me much longer to complete than I’d care to divulge.

I understand it’s inevitable comparison to Assassin’s Creed, however I rather enjoyed taking out camps when I had to. I personally loved walking in to a camp, all bad-ass, and challenging the first group of enemies to a stand-off. Getting the timing right for a one hit kill on up to 4 or 5 enemies was very satisfying! The gameplay from there maintained its interest by almost forcing the stance switch to best defeat whichever enemy I had encountered next, removing the element of turning my mind off and button mashing until everyone was dead. Sneaking around and taking my time to take out all the enemies one by one does make for a fun challenge but most of the time I’d lose patience or be noticed and end up taking the enemies head on.

I believe it is my “must complete” attitude towards games in general that consistently put me off playing as I would trudge through a lot of the side missions and errands and found a lot of them to be very tedious. That includes fox dens and the golden birds.

Part of what kept me coming back is wanting to be in that World, the rolling hills, tall grass, the beaches, cliffs and snowy landscapes. I love snowy areas in games and when it can be as relaxing as this game makes it, I’m more than happy to whittle away time on just wandering around.

What got me through in the end was accepting that I wasn’t going to 100% the game. Once I learned to ignore all side quests and concentrate solely on the missions that I had to complete then I found it much easier to stick with and follow through to the end.

The story is a pretty standard tale of Samurai versus Mongol during the first invasion of Japan in the later 1200’s. I’ve a mild interest in Japanese history and I did enjoy the story for the most part. I believe that Jin’s unyielding emotionless character is an intentional choice by the developers as Samurai are taught to live their lives logically and rationally and without emotion, as emotion leads to the dark side of the force or something. However it does make that decision a little questionable when Jin goes ahead and ignores that part of his training by dishonouring himself through his actions; and yet, still no hint of emotion coming from Jin. Am I just trying to excuse dull acting?

The fighting, exploring and upgrading system all feel very fluid and straightforward. So much so I could stop playing for weeks and easily pick it up again making it all the more enjoyable and would definitely recommend playing for that, the setting and the main story.

3WR: Great photo mode

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Pconpi
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Pconpi »

I love the quiet, reflective moments Ghost of Tsushima provides. While the world is stunning and beautiful the stories of the people in the game can be brutal and heartbreaking with families being torn apart, sons and daughters killed, and communities destroyed. The game counters those narratives with peaceful meditative moments at hot springs, writing haiku, and vistas at Shinto shrines. The haiku writing in particular was something that surprised me with how engaged I became with the activity. I first dismissed it as an obligatory nod to the Japanese artform, but as the game progressed the more I relished slowing down and reflecting on the topic presented, either through the lens of Jin or through my own life. I would slowly pan through the presented scene trying to find the words that best represented my feeling, taking deep breathes, and absorbing the scenery while the soothing theme played. Even when the combinations weren’t great it still sounded beautiful as Jin read it upon completion. These moments contributed to my adoration of the tone and setting Sucker Punch created resulting in a game world that was captivating to inhabit.

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Whippledip
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Whippledip »

I'm curious about this because I have yet to get around to playing it, does the "Kurosawa mode" actually change anything aside from becoming black and white? Because there is a lot more to Kurosawa films than "is japanese" and "in black and white".

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Tolkientaters
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Tolkientaters »

I platinumed this game and overall enjoyed it. It's a beautiful vibrant world with satisfying combat and a novel twist on how to guide the player from place to place.

The constant movement of everything (grass, trees, rain, ect.) in the world was definitely inspired by Kurosawa films, I just wish I could say the same about the writing. The characters were incredibly self serious with little attempt at levity and the main conflict with the Jin and his uncle didn't feel particularly interesting.

Kurosawa's films are full of interesting people, the most memorable character from Seven Samarai (Kikuchiyo) is comic relief half the time. I didn't feel much for Jin or his supporting cast which was a shame because Khan and Tsushima were incredible, I wish I was playing a more interesting character like a certain wandering ronin with no name.

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Marlew
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Marlew »

Whippledip wrote: April 23rd, 2021, 5:59 am I'm curious about this because I have yet to get around to playing it, does the "Kurosawa mode" actually change anything aside from becoming black and white? Because there is a lot more to Kurosawa films than "is japanese" and "in black and white".
And "about samurai".

I think the sound might change to mono or something like that, completely superficial, anyway.

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designermatt
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by designermatt »

As a fan of Kurosawa samurai films and beautiful open world games like Horizon Zero Dawn, this looked like it would tick a lot of boxes for me. I picked it up at launch and got engrossed very quickly - who doesn't want to play as a samurai on a righteous revenge mission? - and for a few weeks was thoroughly enjoying playing every day.

The design of the environments is just beautiful, and I loved the stylised, over-saturated colour palette that for me, made everything feel like a gently moving painting. The minimal UI, and touches like following the wind and animals to points of interest - instead of some big video game arrow - only immersed me further.

There was real satisfaction to gradually levelling up your character and particularly in learning new sword stances and improving your technique. Pulling off parries and gracefully dancing between enemies felt skillful, and victories felt earned.

I had a lot of fun with Ghost of Tsushima, but did grow fatigued after a few weeks of play. There was just so, so much to do and find on the map, and a lot of repitition with tasks like finding fox shrines, that my attention gave out before I got near the end of the story. I could have ignored the side quests I suppose, but I wanted an excuse to explore the lovely world and that for me was much of the appeal. I found myself wishing for a smaller, more curated version of the game - same stuff, just less of it. Maybe I'll fancy picking up my sword again sometime and will go back to pick up where I left off.

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Toon Scottoon
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Toon Scottoon »

My one complaint about Ghost of Tsushima was that three quarters of the way through the game, my bloodlust was satiated. I don't think this is because I've evolved to the point where arterial spray or the ability to cleave through bone as easily as sky doesn't give me deep satisfaction, nor does this mean I didn't like this game's combat mechanics. The menu of moves Ghost of Tsushima pushes you to deploy in creative ways is lengthy and well considered. My issue was that the combat in this game seemed like its central mechanic, and that bummed me out because I thought that for as excellent as the combat was, everything happening around it was even better.

Take the visuals. Even on the base PS4 where I originally played this game I was losing my sake at how vivid the each region in the game looked and moved. In my California backyard we have pampas grass planted by our home's previous owner. When we have a storm, it strikes our back windows, and every time I notice this I also think how much it looks just like the pampas grass in this game, and how wonderful it was to be led by the breeze through biomes as organic and fully realized as these.

The music, the photo mode, the customizable sword and armor sets, THE CAST. I mean for Suckerpunch's team to stir together voice work, motion capture and animation in a manner that generated such a memorable, if one dimensional, heavy in the Khan, and then juxtaposed that with the raw, pliable, emotive Jin, as well as the stoic and regal if inflexible Shimura was a genius bit of rendered alchemy.

So I'm sorry Sucker Punch, but this game is not perfection embodied, but it is incredible and a game worthy of most people's time.


Three word review - Hot Tubbin Hero

Haiku review

Without Kenji's drink,
there would be no game to play.
So raise your glasses

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JCVanDan
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by JCVanDan »

Ghost of Tsushima is without a doubt the most visually spectacular video game I've ever played. I've played some native PS5 games since getting one at launch, and even though GoT is obviously a PS4 game the extra detail present in those games cannot beat the sheer artistry on display from Sucker Punch. The game regularly made me catch my breath as it presented me with a visual moment that is ridiculous to think isn't even authored in the classic sense, they are just fortunate configurations of lighting and scenery resulting in something that looks like a moving painting. There were even a couple of moments that made me emotional I was so taken by how well it looked.

On top of this treat for the eyes is the best open world combat system I've come across. Every Katana strike thuds into enemy soldiers, blood spatters, and Jin Sakai seems calm and considered as he brutally slices his way through the mongol hordes, making the player feel wonderfully powerful. The combat is exhilarating and I really felt as if I was killing people, a rare thing in video games. The parry and dodge work really well together and make you engage with the areas in which you battle, managing space and waiting for the right moment to attempt a parry. Think Sekiro-lite and you're onto something. It's so refreshing to play an open world game with combat as deep and satisfying as this. I can't help compare it to Assassin Creed's shallow and boring melee combat, or Witcher 3's floaty disconnected weirdness. I think the combat is a total triumph and by far the best thing, mechanically, about the game. On top of this is a pretty decent stealth system. Admittedly it's not the best around, with some quite stupid AI on display and some pretty obviously placed hiding areas etc, but with the head on combat being so fun I tended to attempt to thin the herd a little bit first with some stealth before rushing in and acting like a one man army. The combination of approaches meant the combat encounters rarely felt one note.

I also really enjoyed the story, an enjoyable narrative about a man struggling against both massive odds and centuries of tradition as he tries to do the right thing for his people. The dynamic between Sakai and Shimura was intense and really went places. When it came to a head in the final emotional duel I was genuinely moved, not wanting to kill Shimura but doing it nonetheless as per his wishes. The Mongol leader Kotun Khan is a bit one note and I didn't find him that interesting but I don't really think it's about the Mongols. They're just an excuse to explore the themes of honour, family, and tradition present in the story.

One of the most common complaints I've heard about the game is the boring open world activities. It is true that aside from the usual base capturing (which never really gets old due to the combat), the other open world activities are a little bit inane. However, due to the masterstroke of using nature within the game to reveal these activities I found it very easy to ignore them and after doing a few of each type I spent the rest of the game ignoring them. This is the way I play open world games anyway, mainlining the central narrative while dipping into side quests. I've never been one for hoovering up icons so I didn't mind.

There is one area though where I think they could really improve if they ever get a sequel out. I think there could have been a lot more variety in the main story missions. They never really go outside of 'attack big base, duel with leader', and the side stories actually contain a bit more variety with some sections where you have to tail people through the countryside etc. I don't think there would be anything wrong with actually having some long linear sections in story missions. I'd love to see some complex indoor environments where the designers could flex their level design muscles a little bit more. This would offer some variety from the open world gameplay.

Also one last thing, a massive shout out to the Ghost stance. This was introduced towards the end of the game and there are few things in games that have made me feel more powerful than the first time this happened. I was playing on hard where the combat requires careful play and concentration, so the fever dream of ghost stance felt wonderful as I saw the Mongols screaming and backing away as I sliced through them lopping off heads and cutting bodies in two with one fell slice.

You can probably tell I really liked this game. It's the best open world game I've played in a long time, and I will be there on day 1 if we get a sequel. If only to experience my eyes melting and my brain exploding when I see what Sucker Punch can do aesthetically with a native PS5 game.

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DomsBeard
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by DomsBeard »

I had no interest in Ghost Of Tsushima however after TLOU2 left a sour taste in the mouth I wanted a AAA game to get stuck into so picked up Tsushima.

I then went onto 100% this game, I loved every little bit of it.

The story though formulaic is great with some genuine heartbreaking and touching moments, some unexpected. The Standoff system as basic as it is I am still not bored off and makes you feel powerful. The progression is also great, I walked into the final boss fight feeling like as a character Jin and as the player, we had both grown and were powerful to smash that ''final'' boss to pieces.

The ending faced me with a difficult choice and a decision I still think about now, I've never read the alternative option to what I chose.

I'd say the biggest praise I could give it is it was my GOTY in 2020, in the year that an amazing remake of one of my favourite games of all time came out (FFVII).

I've bought the art book, I've got the hoodie, I love Ghost Of Tsushima :D

It was the first thing I put on when I got my ps5 and it is insanely beautiful, I just need to get some friends to try the legends mode as I have not touched that yet.

I cannot wait for a sequel.

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mike_le_watt
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by mike_le_watt »

I enjoyed Ghost of Tsushima immensely. It's the first game I've ever got the platinum trophy for. There is just something about this game that I adore.

It's visually stunning, even on a base PS4 (on which I played it). I never bother with photo mode in games, but frequently found myself being distracted by Ghost of Tsushima's photo mode, calling my non-gaming wife in to show off the beautiful captures that were possible. The visuals were complimented by the audio design wonderfully. I'm looking forward to giving it another play through on my PS5 with the Pulse 3D headphones. I must admit that I did play the game in English after attempting it in Japanese with subtitles. I personally couldn't keep up with the dialog and control the character at the same time, and therefore switched it to English dubbing. But huge kudos to Sucker Punch for offering so many different ways to play the game (visually and audibly).

The combat mechanics of the game really suited me and I loved the stance progression. It was extremely satisfying when you successfully parried an enemies attack. Surprisingly, the stand-off mechanic never got boring and I found myself indulging whenever possible.

I think it's the detail that I love the most about this game. The huge variety of apparel available, the haikus, reflective moments in the hot springs and the foxes made the game so enjoyable and so much more than a run-of-the-mill stealth hack-n-slash. The narrative was enjoyable but fairly straightforward, but the way in which it was presented was simply sublime.

In the year that gave us The Last of Us Part 2, an IP I hold as one of my favourites, I was surprised to find that Ghost of Tsushima was my game of 2020. Sucker Punch should be exceptionally proud of this game, I absolutely love it.

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Marlew
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Marlew »

Shallow, cookie-cutter game design, workmanlike combat and paper-thin narrative are somehow elevated by extraordinary visual presentation. We've seen every single element before, but it's never looked so good. While the Kurosawa references are superficial and highlight how dull these characters are in comparison, the stylised lush fields recall the hypnotic beauty of Onibaba. At least half of my time with the game was spent tweaking photos and admiring the stupendous atmosphere and lighting effects. For everything this game nicked from the modern Assassin's Creed games, I wish it had taken the tourist mode. I'd have put another fifty hours in.

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Eterno
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by Eterno »

I had no intentions to buy Ghost of Tsushima, thinking it was yet another open-world action RPG with a bloated map. However, living in Hakata bay, I would very often see the remains of the Genko Borui, the 20km wall that was built in 1276 to stop the Mongol invasion, and one afternoon as I was walking by the beach along these ruins, I decided to buy for at least the historical aspect of it.

It turned out to be my absolute favorite open world game. It is to me the best balance between open-world, main story quest, side story-quest and exploration objectives such a game has ever reached. The main story taking a very episodic approach with each side character made it very easy to follow throughout the game. The side stories while not always being the most interesting had some good moments and where less in number but so much more engaging that similar games. My OCD never felt compelled to complete everything before I move on and I’m sure this is mostly due to the lack of HUD. Absolutely great decision.

Where the game shined for me is truly the graphics and world building. I think this is the most beautiful game I have ever played. Once again, the lack of HUD makes me really admire the scenery and the choices of colors is absolutely splendid. The first few scenes where you ride your horse through fields and Jin lets his hand run through the grass was a truly impactful moment for me in terms of how beautiful games are now.

I also loved the representation of Japan. While I’m aware of all the “video-game adjustments” made, I think it’s one of the best representations of this period and some Japanese traits in general. The Japanese voice acting was extremely well done, with a lot of the typical Japanese restraint that you usually don’t get in games that go more the anime way. The story itself was also anchored in a lot of traditional Japanese themes and reproduced faithfully. It was truly hard to believe this game was not made by a Japanese dev team.

Gameplay itself was ok. It’s not where the game shines but the combat is engaging enough to make it fun to play. My favorite gameplay aspect has to be the shrine exploration, with some unfortunately way too easy platforming, but as a Tomb Raider fan, it really scratched that itch.

Overall, this is an incredible game that I recommend anyone who is interested in Japan to experience. I still love to boot it up on Sunday mornings just to explore randomly for a hour or so, it’s just one of the most relaxing experience to have and makes me want to go out and explore more!

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luke10123
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Re: 478 - Ghost of Tsushima

Post by luke10123 »

Ghost of Tsushima was the second game I played on my PS5, behind Demon’s Souls, and had been looking forward to it for some time. At 4K running at 60FPS, it’s a truly beautiful game that really makes the most of the setting. It’s an incredibly polished experience but unfortunately it suffers from being released into a completely saturated market. There seem to be no end of open world stealth action games with crafting and collectables in which you contextually stealth kill your way through a plethora of bandit camps.

Ghost of Tsushima achieves something rare in this genre in that it doesn’t feel like ignoring the stealthy option is a punishment. In fact, I found stealth killing my way through camps relatively boring and much preferred to call out the enemy and carve my way through the front gate in the least subtle way possible.

The combat itself, is visceral and satisfying. However, I feel like it could have been better tutorialised. In particular, that the different stances were unlocked much quicker, as up to that point, open combat didn’t really click for me and I found myself more often than not resorting to the pretty uninspiring stealth mechanics. The lack of a lock-on was also something that I found annoying throughout most of the game. That being said, by the time I’d unlocked my abilities and gotten to grips with the combat, I found myself loving every encounter, and was incredibly satisfied every time I’d flawlessly defeat an elite group of enemies.

Suffice to say I enjoyed the experience enough to pick up the Platinum Trophy and am looking forward to coming back to the game in the future to go through it all again.

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