Very busy and frantic times are approaching! With the release dates of our consoles: Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X approaching, a very exciting end of the year is anticipated.
Coincidence (or not), in a short period of time two exclusive ‘headliner’ games were launched for the Sony console. First it was The Last of Us and then Ghost of Tsushima.
Developed by Sucker Punch, Ghost of Tsushima depicts a ‘Feudal’ Japan threatened by an attempted Mongol invasion.
Pplware has already joined the fight against Mongol forces and has already experienced Ghost of Tsushima.
A history of the Far East
Historically, the island of Tsushima has been the scene of several invasion attempts by the Mongol armies. Since it is located in the strait between South Korea and Japan, it is a strategic location of great importance for anyone who wanted to invade the Country of the Rising Sun. Invariably, the Mongols never managed to carry out such an invasion.
Ghost of Tsushima depicts precisely one of those Mongol attempts. It is up to the player to prevent the invasion.
The last Samurai
The player embodies the skin of Jin Sakai, Tsushima’s last Samurai.
After the initial assault by the Mongols, the Tsushima Samurai organize a frontal attack against the thousands of soldiers who land on the beach. Against such a powerful attack, they are crushed and Jin Sakai and his uncle (Lord Shimura) are the only ones who survive. Shimura is imprisoned by the invaders and Jin is saved by Yuna (a ‘thief’ who saves him with ulterior motives).
Jin Sakai knows that in order to prevent the total invasion of the island and subsequent attack on Japan, he must free his uncle and in the first Act of the game, that is precisely his objective.
The Tsushima Lands Adventure
However, Sakai will not be able to do it alone and throughout the game, he will have to travel the island and carry out various missions in order to obtain allies in his quest. At the same time that it does, a legend is also generated around it… the Legend of the Ghost!
The discovery of Tsushima Island is one of the central points of the game. Not only for the amount of missions, points of interest, that are found, but also for the extraordinary beauty that the island presents.
Graphically, the game is astonishing and throughout Tsushima, we can find different types of environment, from mountain massifs, grasslands with violet or white flowers, rice fields, dense forests, beaches with fishing villages, rivers with villages on the banks, swamps in the North… and everything with life and credibility.
Details like the mud in the clothes, the fog, the blood splashing, the wind in the trees, the sea, the animals …
Effects like sunsets create scenes of tremendous beauty on Tsushima Island
And it is precisely in these places (and on the roads) that we find dozens of inhabitants of the island that give us, on the one hand, feedback about the island and the Mongol invasion, or, on the other hand, they tell us a lot of folklore and legends of the region. I have to confess that I did not look for the truth of most of these legends, but many exist and are part of the region’s mysticism.
These inhabitants that we are meeting also serve to give us dozens of parallel missions which makes us travel all over the island. There are dozens (not to say more) of missions and, whoever is a perfectionist will have more than 70 hours of game time here, if we add the main campaign with all these additional campaigns and also a little exploration.
Exploring is almost imperative. In addition to the natural beauty that Sucker Punch implemented in the game, there are countless points of interest scattered around the terrain that deserve the time invested to find them. It will be a crime to play this game without exploring every corner of Tsushima Island.
And it doesn’t even take much effort to find them because the game, in a somewhat facilitating way, presents several ways to take the player to those places. On the one hand there is the Handlebar Wind, which can be invoked with just a swipe of the finger on the central button of the Dualshock, and which indicates the direction (without having to access the map). On the other hand, there are golden birds on the island that if we follow, we will find some of these places.
Fight or Die in Tsushima
In Tsushima, the fight is intense. Some fight for conquest and others (we and our allies) fight for freedom. However, as for dying, the story is different. This, because our hero does not die, just reloads. In fact, one of the most fanciful aspects of the game is the fact that one man, despite having some allies at certain times, managed to destroy a Mongol invasion.
There is a concept in Ghost of Tsushima that is important in this respect: Determination. Determination is acquired through combat feats (sometimes driven by used amulets) and which, when we have little energy, allows us to recover some. These are yellow balls, located above the health bar, in the lower left corner and can also be used for Mythic attacks.
Jin Sakai is a Samurai but, in order to face such a large enemy, he will have to learn to fight in a different way, less ‘honorable’
Well, but Jin Sakai is a Samurai and as such is a formidable warrior. It becomes more formidable as it evolves in the game. This is because, as we complete missions, discover points of interest or eliminate enemies, we will also earn Technique Points. These Technique Points allow Jin to evolve his arts.
There are 3 main categories of combat that we can evolve:
All of these categories and sub-categories have varied abilities to unlock and evolve and, being each useful in certain circumstances, they end up being important in the course of the game.
A personal part for the Kunai. They are one of the Phantom’s weapons and are similar to Shurikens. Since they are useful to bewilder and injure enemies, I love using them as presentation cards in combat.
Weapons and Combat
As I mentioned, Jin Sakai is able to use a large number of Phantom weapons and accessories (Kunai, Sticky Bombs …). However, and being a samurai, there are more traditional ones that could not be missing: bows that can be long or short, the samurai Katana or Tanto Sakai, a short blade for murders.
However, if necessary, in the middle of the fight you can also practice some martial arts in combos that flow in the fight.
There are not many weapons, but they are essential for a Samurai and for the resumption of Tsushima. However, combat is not always the most appropriate way, and the player can choose to complete missions in various ways. Either a more aggressive stance and confrontation, or more elusively trying to go unnoticed and annihilating enemies through the silence. And so the fame of the Ghost of Tsushima is created.
All the places, where we pass, offer numerous tactical options to go unnoticed, being a matter of option. Shrubs, tall grass, walls, buildings, ravines …
The battle of Gost of Tsushima is brutal and, regardless of whether you use more elusive maneuvers, there is a lot of visceral action in the action. It is not a game for children, presenting a lot of violence, sometimes quite graphic. The blood splashing, the gurgling of enemies succumbing, the blood smeared in armor,…
Appealing to the feeling of ‘honor’, there is still the concept of Confrontation. Confrontations are launched when we encounter a group of enemies and challenge one of them to combat. It is a one-on-one combat with the first enemy that appears to us and its mechanics are interesting. Basically, it consists of timing to press the Triangle long enough for the enemy to launch its attack (note that the enemy can simulate attacks).
It is also in the Confrontations that we notice an occasional stubbornness of the camera in positioning itself behind foliage and trees.
Most combats flow naturally, with attacks, deflections and counter attacks being responsive and realistic. This being on foot or on horseback (although the combat on horseback is little explored). Speaking of horses, an interesting detail is that we can shoot an arrow at the animal, to bring down its rider.
The least strong point comes through moments of some lack of intelligence from enemies or our partners. For example, when we try to go unnoticed by a group of Mongols, if we are accompanied, our partners are sometimes exposed, being Jin perfectly hidden, the AI does not detect them.
Scattered around the island, there are also some sanctuaries (in honor of the fox) that allow us to equip some very useful amulets.
As in so many other RPGs, they are boosts in certain aspects and, since we can use a limited number of amulets at a time, they will have to be carefully equipped.
For example, the Okininushi Amulet allows the player to regain health while not in combat, or the Immunity Amulet that reduces the chance of enemy arrows doing damage by 15% or the Hidden Vision Amulet that causes enemies to leave to chase us 40% faster.
There are many different types of Amulets with diversified advantages, so the player will have to equip the ones that best suit his way of playing.
The number of amulets equipped increases as the player pays homage to certain shrines hidden around the island, which is also an incentive to explore every corner of Tsushima.
Meditate, Reflect and Observe
There are several points of interest throughout Tsushima, in addition to those required to complete the missions ….